9. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar can either be used as a cold compress or inhaled via steam to soothe headache pain. Soak a clean cloth with ACV and refrigerate to create a compress that may be rested on the forehead and temples to relieve pain. Alternately, add ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar to about one quart of boiling water. Lower your face over the water and drape a towel over the back of your head to trap the steam. Breathe deeply for five to ten minutes then pat your face dry to remove excess vinegar. Be sure to rehydrate after using this remedy by enjoying a large glass of cool water.
10. Ginger Root
Ginger root is a prostaglandin inhibitor, meaning that it behaves like aspirin. Brew three thin slices of raw organic ginger root in hot water to make a tea for easing headache pain. If you like the taste of ginger root, you can also simply chew on a small piece of fresh root. Ginger offers the added benefit of curing nausea, making it ideal for those who experience more severe headaches.
11. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint can be used as a soothing aromatherapy oil to ease minor headache pain. Use this oil alone or – if you find peppermint to be too strong – dilute peppermint in a carrier oil like olive or coconut. Massage this therapeutic oil into your temples, the back of your jaw, and your forehead and let it soak in.
12. Cold or Hot Compress
Even if you dislike vinegar, you can still create a cold compress using other materials. Some of the easiest and most readily available materials may already be in your freezer at home. Grab a bag of frozen veggies like peas, carrots, or corn that will drape easily over your forehead and temples. For an easy hot pack, place a damp towel in the microwave or oven until it is almost too hot to touch. Wrap the wet cloth safely inside a dry second towel and drape over the face. You can also add aromatherapy oils like peppermint or eucalyptus to your hot compress for extra pain-soothing power.
Stress and muscle tension are big culprits when it comes to intermittent headaches. If you experience frequent soreness around the neck and shoulders in addition to your headaches, you might want to set aside some time each day for stretching and meditation. Yoga and Tai Chi are excellent physical methods for relaxation. Classes are readily available at many fitness centers, or check your local bookstore for print guides that you can follow at home.
Even simple breathing exercises can help to tone down the mental noise after a stressful day. Find a space in your home where you can be alone – preferably a quiet place without a lot of direct light. Drop your shoulders back to open your lungs and focus on each breath. Surround yourself with things that you find relaxing such as soft music, aromatherapy, candles, or plants.
14. Watch Your Posture
Something as simple as sitting or standing up straighter while you work can completely eliminate tension headaches. When you slump forward, you put strain on your back and neck muscles. Also, shoulders that droop forward can put undue stress on the upper back muscles. Try to avoid ‘computer posture’ which combines forward-slump and shoulder-droop with backward neck-craning. Not only can this lead to chronic headaches, it can also permanently damage your spine.
Set a constant reminder for yourself – a visual cue or some other method that you think will work for you – and after a couple of weeks of diligent self-correction, you will begin to naturally sit or stand with better posture.
15. Engage Your Muscles
While it may seem counter-intuitive, going for a brisk walk or slow jog can help to regulate blood flow and ease a headache. For this reason, regular exercise is a proven preventative against headaches. Just be sure to stretch before and after each workout so you don’t end up with muscle cramps elsewhere in your body.
As a side note, try to go outside when you walk or job. The fresh air (assuming that your headaches aren’t seasonal allergy-related) can also sometimes help with the pain.
The myriad of tiny face muscles that move when you smile can help to relax your jaw and relieve headache-inducing tension. Smiling is also a great mood-enhancer and stress-reliever. If your headache is compounded with a bad day or grumpy disposition, try forcing yourself to smile for two minutes. This simple physical exercise can actually release chemicals in your brain that will make you feel better, relax your mind and body, and ease that awful headache pain.
17. Stay Hydrated
Last, but definitely not least, for those who experience frequent headaches or migraines, make sure to keep yourself hydrated. If you aren’t sure how much water you need, use this calculator to get a good idea. If it turns out that dehydration may be the cause of your headaches, up your water intake or eat more hydrating foods such as cucumber, melons, and leafy greens. This will not only help with your head pain, it will improve your overall health as well.
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