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Natural Headache Help

admin December 13, 2010

Headaches are an unfortunate part of life.  Many of us have them from time to time, for many different reasons.  Most people reach for the Tylenol when they have one.  However, that can be dangerous.  Tylenol (acetomenophen) is the leading cause of liver failure in the U.S.  Ibuprofen isn’t any better, being the second leading cause of liver failure and causing ulcers and other stomach conditions.  No, drugs are not the answer, especially for a minor headache.

That doesn’t mean you have to suffer, though.  There are ways to help!

  1. Drink water.  Dehydration is often a cause of headaches, so the first thing you should do is try drinking some water!  A lot of minor headaches will fade.
  2. Eat something.  Low blood sugar/hunger can also cause headaches.  Try eating something, especially something containing protein.
  3. Hot/cold compresses.  Choose whichever feels better to you.  You can use a wash cloth with hot or cold water, or you can use an ice pack, or a rice-filled heating pad warmed for a few minutes.  Different headache causes will require heat or ice, so really, just do what feels right to you.
  4. Warm/hot bath.  Take a bath and relax.  If you’re pregnant or sensitive to heat, don’t make it too hot.
  5. Wintergreen, clove, or lavender essential oil.  Wintegreen and clove are the most effective, but also can be dangerous.  Wintergreen is best used under supervision of a trained herbalist.  Neither wintergreen nor clove are safe during pregnancy.  Lavender is safe all the time, so if in doubt, choose that.  A few drops in a warm bath, in a diffuser, or on a hot/cold wash cloth (applied to the forehead) can help.  Mixed with a carrier oil, this can also be used for a massage.
  6. Massage.  Rub the temples, neck, shoulders — anywhere tension may be.  This will help to relax and melt the headache away.
  7. Rest.  Lay down for awhile, sleep if you can.  Sometimes headaches are just a sign that you need more rest.
  8. Exercise.  Have you been lying around too much?  Do you need to get up and move, get the blood flowing again?  Sometimes being too still (especially sitting in an uncomfortable computer chair, for example) can make your head hurt.  Move around, stretch out, loosen tense muscles.
  9. Examine your diet.  Have you eaten anything you shouldn’t have?  MSG and other food additives can cause headaches.  If this is the case, you may just have to ride it out, but you can prevent it in the future.
  10. Arnica.  An arnica salve applied to any sore spots may ease pain and help your headache disappear.

Feel free to use a combination of these methods!  I frequently try a warm bath and/or compress, some lavender oil, water, and rest, and this combination usually gets rid of my headache.

What home headache remedies do you use?

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9 Comments

  1. I've had good luck clearing sinus headaches (cold-related) with saline nosewashes whenever it got too painful. It helps. So can smelling cooking garlic/onion. My mom did that for us when we were kids – if she was making spaghetti sauce and we had colds, we'd stand over the pan of cooking garlic/onion (there was usually meat in it too) with a large dishtowel over our heads to help funnel the steam towards our faces. Hot showers can also help too (like the hot/cold tip above).

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  2. Get pregnant. ;). I swear I only had about 2 headaches the whole 9 months I was pregnant. I had been an avid coffee drinker prior to getting pregnant and quit within 2 weeks of getting pregnant so I was sure I would have withdrawal headaches. But, I had none!

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  3. I second #1 + #2 in particular for us as the things we first do….

    My midwife once told me that lavender stimulates contractions. So some pregnant women may not want to partake after all (or may want to look more into it.)

    Thanks for a great article

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  4. I did some research between my first and second pregnancies and learned that capsulized ginger is a wonderful aide in relieving headaches. I get migraines during the first trimester, which are debilitating. I took capsulized ginger every 3-4 hours and it helped immensely. If first read about it in Shonda Parker's book, Naturally Healthy Pregnancy

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  5. I found out I was getting headaches due to a magnesium deficiency! I had upped my calcium and the body need magnesium to balance with calcium. Calcium will tighten muscles and magnesium will loosen them. So if you are getting more calcium (I switched to raw milk, which has more calcium than pasteurized) your head tightens giving you a headache. I started taking a magnesium citrate supplement and epsom salt baths. The Epsom salt bath gave me immediate relief and the magnesium supplement helped over the course of a few days. Now my diet is more balanced and I don't have to take the supplement. But I still take an epsom salt bath here and there because they make you feel relaxed all over!
    (I am not pregnant so I have no idea how this might affect pregnancy)

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  6. I have had extreme migraines for 20 years. For the past month, I have been weaning off of my migraine meds to go a more natural route. I read that 1000mg of vitamin C every hour will abort a migraine. It seems to help. I am also taking Feverfew in tincture form.
    Amanda

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  7. I’ll have to try the arnica. Thanks for the tips!

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  8. My daughter of 18 gets severe headaches and we have been juicing celery, When you look it up you will find it to be a good electrolyte, it has organic sodium which is good for the adrenals and potassium. My husband has
    suffered from miagraines since childhood and has good luck with this also.Its also good for upset stomachs.

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  9. […] for recovering from colds and flu, and ways to prevent future colds!  Got a sinus headache?  Try natural methods to […]

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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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