Author: John Carter

14 Ways to Cure a Headache Without Medication

how to get rid of a headache without drugs

You can also get biofeedback programs and devices to use at home with your computer or mobile phone, though not all are FDA-approved. Lisa also testified before Congress and the Food and Drug Administration about her work on drug costs and drug safety. She lives in a DIY tiny home, where she gardens during the day and stargazes the Milky Way at night. There are several natural and home remedies that people can try to get rid of a headache without using medication. Some of these may work better with different types of headache. This may be valuable for women who experience migraines during their menstrual cycle, as vitamin E may help keep their hormones balanced to prevent symptoms.

how to get rid of a headache without drugs

Yoga, nutritional supplements, essential oils, and dietary modifications are all natural, safe, and effective ways to reduce headache symptoms. Aromatherapy that uses some essential oils may also relieve symptoms of a headache. The 2018 review in Children noted that inhaling lavender essential oil for 15 minutes reduced the severity of headaches, according to one study.

Headaches can be a symptom of a serious underlying health issue, such as a tumor, a blood clot, or another medical condition that requires immediate medical attention (5). There are many ways to increase your activity level, but one of the simplest ways is to increase the number of steps you take throughout the day. Nitrates and nitrites are food preservatives commonly added to items like hot dogs, sausages, and bacon to keep them fresh by preventing bacterial growth. This hypersensitivity to odors is called osmophobia and is common in those with chronic migraines (52).

Nondrug Treatments for Migraines

It still isn’t well-studied, but there is some evidence that it may be slightly more effective than a placebo for treating migraine. Read on to learn more about the varying types of headaches, what causes them, and how you can find relief at home. A stationary bike may be better than jogging because it avoids impact that can aggravate a pounding head.

For example, headaches can result from potentially life threatening conditions, including tumors and blood clots, as well as from traumatic brain injury (5). If you have migraine, you know the symptoms can be challenging. You might miss work or not be able to participate in activities you love. Going to bed at the same time each night, avoiding caffeine late in the day, and avoiding stimulating activities before bed are some of the ways you can improve your sleep.

Evidence suggests that magnesium deficiency is more common in people who get frequent migraine headaches than in those who don’t (13). The authors note that one larger study published since the 2004 review found 0.6 fewer migraine days per month in people who took feverfew versus a placebo. They describe previous studies as low quality or providing mixed evidence.

Some, such as biofeedback and medical devices, are less likely to be covered by insurance, says Mia Minen, MD, chief of headache research at NYU Langone Health in New York City. A 2015 review published in the journal Nutrientssuggests that people who regularly experience cluster headaches or migraines may be more likely to have low magnesium levels. The smells of essential oils may bother some people, and experimenting with different oils that individuals find relaxing may be a way to ease headache symptoms. Because people experience negative effects from frequent headaches, it’s important to find natural and effective treatment options. There are many other ways to help reduce headache frequency, duration, and severity. You can work with a healthcare professional to come up with a plan that works best for you.

  1. If you have frequent migraine attacks, you’re all too familiar with the throbbing headaches that can wreak havoc on your day.
  2. Relaxation techniques include practices such as deep-belly breathing, guided meditations, and actively focusing on relaxing the muscles.
  3. But many headache sufferers would prefer to use drug-free approaches—and I don’t blame them.
  4. Other potentially calming teas include herbs such as peppermint, chamomile, and lavender.
  5. This may be valuable for women who experience migraines during their menstrual cycle, as vitamin E may help keep their hormones balanced to prevent symptoms.

However, it’s important to check with a healthcare professional before using any herbal remedy to treat headaches. According to a 2019 study, there’s good evidence to support the use of mind-body interventions such as biofeedback and cognitive behavioral therapy for treating migraine. These therapies are effectively free of side effects and may make a good alternative for medication for some people. Yoga uses breathing, meditation, and body postures to promote health and well-being. A 2015 study found yoga may relieve the frequency, duration, and intensity of migraine attacks. It’s thought to improve anxiety, release tension in migraine-trigger areas, and improve vascular health.

How to Cure a Headache Without Medication

Headache frequency and intensity were reduced more in those receiving both yoga therapy and conventional care than in those receiving conventional care alone (49). It also helps increase the effectiveness of common medications used to treat headaches, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen (43). Caffeine improves mood, increases alertness, and constricts blood vessels, all of which can have a positive effect on headache symptoms (43). To discover whether a certain food is causing frequent headaches, you may consider trying an elimination diet that removes the foods most related to your headache symptoms. A 2021 review that included 6 studies found that treatment with 30–800 mg of CoQ10 per day was effective for reducing migraine frequency and duration (40). For example, supplementing with 600 mg of magnesium citrate may be effective for reducing headaches in people with migraine (15).

how to get rid of a headache without drugs

Keep reading for 18 effective home remedies to naturally get rid of headaches. When a headache comes on, you want to do everything you can to make it stop. Medication usually does the trick, but taking medication isn’t something you should make a habit of—and sometimes you just don’t have any handy. It might also be helpful to speak with others who understand exactly what you’re going through. Our free app, Migraine Healthline, connects you with real people who experience migraine.

Relax with a bath or shower.

Note that migraine attacks may require treatment with prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medication. Headaches are common and most people will experience them in their lifetime. Typically, headaches do not cause debilitating pain and can be managed with over-the-counter medication. Migraine and cluster medications will require specific medication to be treated effectively. A cluster headache is located on one side of the head, face, or neck and does not switch sides.

Some B vitamins may also have a protective effect against headaches. We encourage our readers to share their unique experiences to create a helpful and informative community here on Healthline. Our editors will also review every comment before publishing, ensuring our high level of medical integrity. Acupuncture involves injecting very thin needles into certain parts of your skin to stimulate relief from a wide variety of health conditions. A sinus headache commonly affects the area around the eyes, the bridge of the nose, the cheekbones, and forehead. Find out what your options are when your migraine treatment plan isn’t doing the job.

Natural Ways to Reduce Migraine Symptoms

A study of 400 people who experienced either migraine or tension headaches found that strong odors, especially perfumes, often triggered headaches (51). Alcohol intake is also a risk factor for tension headaches and for cluster headaches, which are among the most severe types of headaches (17, 18). A small amount of caffeine may ease migraine pain in some people. A 2016 study in 50 people with migraine found that eliminating migraine-triggering foods from the diet significantly reduced migraine attack frequency, duration, and severity (42).

What’s more, you can generally use them along with migraine medicines for even better results. Vitamin DMigraine sufferers tend to have lower blood levels of this vitamin than others, and supplements might reduce the number of attacks, some research suggests. One 2013 study found that odors from sources such as perfumes or other strong-smelling chemicals may trigger migraines after just a few minutes of exposure. For people who often experience migraines, avoiding strong smells may be a wise step to take when trying to prevent them.