Headaches are one of the most common ailments, affecting all types of people and on a huge spectrum of severity. Most people automatically reach for an over-the-counter painkiller to solve the problem and many people use these medications to treat their headaches without any background thought into why they are experiencing the headaches in the first place. Afterall, it’s easy to just pop more painkillers to solve the problem, but many of us don’t consider how frequently we are relying on these drugs to cover-up a more serious health issue.
Did you know that many headaches are preventable given a few small lifestyle changes, and when they do occur many headaches are treatable with easy, and natural, at-home solutions? A headache remedy doesn’t need to be from the pharmacy, it can also be just as effective to make small lifestyle changes, or preparing an at-home remedy!
Lifestyle Headache Solutions
Some headaches are caused by an underlying health issue, such as a food intolerance, unneeded daily stress, or a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Sometimes, all it takes is making a small adjustment to your daily routine to see big changes in the number and severity of the headaches you experience.
1. Gluten Free Diet
In terms of gluten consumption, people either love it or avoid it completely. However, if you are currently eating breads, flours and other deliciously gluttonous things, you may want to consider a gluten cleanse in order to examine its effect on your headaches. For people who have undiagnosed celiac disease, they often see their headaches completely disappear after they cease eating gluten.
You’ll need to consider cutting gluten out of your diet for more than a few days, typically cleanses recommend a multi-week gluten cleanse to experience the full results and ensure the lingering effects of gluten are no longer experienced. Once you are thoroughly gluten free, take a deep breath, and start slowly introducing bread back into your diet. Pay extremely close attention to the change in symptoms, and speak with your doctor if you suspect a gluten sensitivity or intolerance.
2. Stay Hydrated!
Perhaps the easiest solution, but often the most overlooked. One of the primary causes of migraines and headaches is dehydration, especially during the hotter months of year. Although not always recognized by patients and doctors alike, headaches stemming from lack of water are real and can easily be avoided. On top of drinking more water, try cutting back on caffeinated and sugary drinks at the same time. This will improve your body’s ability to absorb enough water to maintain a healthy hydration level.
3. Get Up and Move!
A headache remedy for those of us stuck in office chairs all day, staring at a computer screen! If you tend to be pretty immobile during the day, be sure to start scheduling mini-stretches into your routine every few hours. Set an alarm, then take five minutes to do gentle neck, back and shoulder stretches to ease the tension that tends to build up in these areas when people are hunched over a computer all day long. In one study, it was found that by breaking up the day with stretching exercises, the participants reported nearly 70% fewer headaches than their counterparts over the course of a year!
How to Get Rid of Headaches Naturally!
If and when a headache does strike, rest assured there is a headache remedy that can help ease the suffering. These at-home remedies are cost-effective, extremely soothing, and of course, all natural.
1. Daily Magnesium Supplement
During placebo controlled clinical trials, magnesium was able to reduce the magnitude and duration of oncoming headaches, and was shown to prevent them all together for some people. This is based on the theory of magnesium deficiency during the onset of a migraine. Specifically, researchers measured magnesium levels in the brain, and noted that certain people are more prone to having low magnesium than others (including those with diabetes, heart disease, and alcoholism). Magnesium has the capability to block the communication of pain transmitters, and also reduce the function of the neurotransmitters responsible for the sensory changes often experienced during severe migraines.
Adding a magnesium supplement is an inexpensive and safe way to reduce the overall experience of headaches. Doctors recommend introducing either a magnesium supplement or increasing your consumption of magnesium rich foods such as dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds and certain types of fish. And yes, we just said that increasing your dark chocolate consumption can help prevent headaches!
2. Essential Oil Therapy
Did you know that some essential oils, like lavender, rosemary and thyme, contain similar compounds to over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen? Researchers have discovered that these essential oils can reduce the sensation of headaches through something called carvacrol which is a natural COX-II inhibitor. This substance is a powerful anti-inflammatory that targets the production of enzymes responsible for pain and inflammation.
An added benefit to lavender essential oil is that it is proven to help relax and calm the mind, an important part of managing a painful headache. Another essential oil that many recommend for headaches is peppermint, primarily because it has an intense cooling effect which can stimulate blood flow in the surface of the skin. If you are feeling the onset of a headache, find a quiet room to sit in while rubbing a few drops of one of these essential oils on your temples. Don’t be afraid to try making a personal mixture at home, finding your perfect combination of lavender, rosemary and thyme to suit your mood. Relax for a few minutes to allow the essential oils to absorb.
3. Supplement with CBD (Cannabidiol)
The cannabis plant is mentioned as a treatment for headaches in ancient texts dating back thousands of years, but many people don’t like the high associated with THC. That’s where hemp-derived CBD comes in.
Often migraine sufferers report that headaches begin in response to a trigger, such as bright light, hunger, hormones, or certain smells or foods. The trigger event causes an imbalance in the brain, which should then trigger the production of endocannabinoids to maintain homeostasis. If one is deficient in endocannabinoids, the imbalance continues, leading to the development of a migraine headache. The trigger may also cause inflammation, which may become out of control and contribute to the resulting pain. That is why many people reporting a great relief from headaches and other body aches while using hemp-derived CBD.