For many, headaches can be an uncomfortable, daily disruption - but they don’t have to be. We share eight ways you can get rid of - and avoid future - headaches naturally
Most headaches last anywhere between 30 minutes and several hours. While they will go away on their own eventually, if you’re unable or would rather avoid taking medication to speed things up, there are a number of different ways you can naturally get rid of your headache.
Commonly headaches are caused by stress, skipping meals, allergies/sinus problems, bad posture, or even as a natural part of your monthly cycle. While taking common over the counter pain medications can offer a quick solution, according to the NHS taking too many painkillers can also cause headaches. If you’re worried you may be experiencing regular migraines, it’s important to speak with your GP, as they may be able to offer alternative treatments, and to help identify certain triggers.
How can I get rid of my headache without taking medication?
1. Limit your screen time
It’s something we recognise that children should avoid, but often can overlook for ourselves; studies have shown that too much screen time can lead to headaches, migraines, as well as other aches and pains. Taking regular breaks from your computer or phone can not only help decrease your chances of developing a tension headache, but can help avoid back pain and even help you to be more productive.
2. Stay hydrated and eat regularly
Ensure you are drinking plenty of water and avoid skipping meals - even if you don’t feel like eating. Having small, frequent meals can help you to avoid your blood sugar from getting low and triggering a headache. If you find yourself reaching for tea or coffee frequently throughout the day, you may still be dehydrated.
Not drinking enough water can lead to a dehydration headache, while too much caffeine (or suddenly reducing your intake of caffeine) can also lead to a headache. Around two to three cups of coffee a day is recommended at most - though try not to go straight from drinking multiple cups in one day, to none the next, as this can also cause headaches.
3. Identify potential trigger foods and optimise your diet
For both migraines and headaches, what you eat (and drink) may act as a trigger. If you are on a strict diet, are dehydrated, drink alcohol, eat irregularly, have high caffeine drinks (tea, coffee, or energy drinks), or for some, eat chocolate, cheese, or citrus fruits, these can all act as triggers.
Research has suggested that increasing your magnesium intake can help to relieve headache pain. Try including more broccoli, kale, cauliflower, beans, and nuts in your diet. Introducing snacks like pumpkin seeds can help to keep your magnesium levels topped up whilst avoiding your blood sugar levels from dropping low if you find yourself frequently forgetting to stop for meals whilst working or doing other things. Working with a nutritionist can also help you to tailor your diet and to find any areas where you may be able create a more balanced, healthy way of eating.
4. Explore the stress-relieving benefits of aromatherapy
Aromatherapy may not be your first thought when it comes to pain-relief, however certain essential oils can have soothing properties. Peppermint oil in particular has cooling, pain-relieving properties when used on your temples, pressure points, or as part of a massage.
Other oils such as lavender can be used to help reduce or relieve migraines and headaches triggered by stress, rosemary can help reduce pain and insomnia, eucalyptus oil can help clear your sinuses and reduce symptoms relating to sinus headaches, while chamomile can help you to relax and unwind.
5. Keep track with a headache diary
While tracking your headaches may not help here and now, future-you can benefit from a few moments spent noting down key things. Next time you feel a headache, take a couple of minutes to write down anything you’ve eaten or drunk recently (or if you’ve skipped meals or forgotten to drink!) as well as how you are feeling (are you stressed, calm, or feeling anxious about anything?) and note down how much sleep you had the night before. This can help you to learn your triggers, and hopefully start to recognise early warning signs before things can develop into a full-blown headache in the future.
6. Put wellbeing first with self-care
Creating a sustainable self-care routine can help you to manage life’s general ups and downs, put your physical and mental wellbeing first, and build in vital time for relaxing and enjoyment into your daily routine. Self-care isn’t (just) about long relaxing baths and reading with a calming cuppa - it’s all about learning to be aware of your own health, identifying your needs, and taking steps to ensure they are being met.
Stress can be a significant trigger when it comes to headaches. Regular self-care can help to combat stress symptoms that may lead to these headaches. Practising yoga can help to ease physical tension in your shoulders, neck, and back that may lead to tension headaches, whilst meditation can help you to focus on your breathing and keep your stress levels under control.
Find out more about self-care for men and how it can benefit you.
7. Try experimenting with crystal healing
A holistic, natural form of therapy that taps into the energy of crystals and helps to unblock, focus, and direct your own energy, healing crystals can be used with the help of a crystal healer or by yourself.
Helping to gently support your body in healing naturally, crystal healing works on the idea that different types of crystals offer different properties and energies. By holding or being near these crystals, your physical, emotional, and spiritual energy levels can be affected, helping with physical issues such as stress or headaches, as well as emotional or spiritual concerns.
Crystals that are commonly recommended to help combat headaches include
- Amethyst to help relieve headaches, fatigue, and stress.
- Rose quartz to relieve pain and headaches, reduce fatigue and anxiety.
- Lapis lazuli to reduce pain.
8. Take time to consider: is your headache a sign of something else?
We all experience headaches from time to time, however frequent headaches can be a sign that something else may be an ongoing issue.
If you find yourself frequently getting headaches, mood swings, having trouble sleeping or concentrating, it could be a sign that you are experiencing work-related stress. Drinking heavily or trying to give up alcohol can also lead to symptoms including headaches, while some experts believe there may be a link between headaches and depression.
If you are experiencing frequent headaches, feel that they are getting worse, or have other symptoms, it’s important to make time to speak with your GP. Getting professional advice and support can help you to feel more at east, and to access any additional information and help that you may need.