Looking for headache relief? You’re in the right place. I’ve put together a list of home remedies for headaches and migraines that will help ease away the pain – and you probably already have everything you need!
Headaches and migraines affect almost everyone – and we all function better without them!
(Did you know that 18% of women experience migraines?) 🙁
I polled my Facebook fans about the natural remedies they use for headache relief. I knew you all would have some great suggestions.
Between an overwhelming response from all of you and more research on my part, I came up with a seriously good list of effective home remedies for migraines and headaches to share.
Here’s what I found:
21 Home Remedies for Migraines and Headaches
Below are some of the most popular headache relief remedies that I found. Not every remedy will work for every person, and it may help to combine more than one to really get results.
Just be careful with combining herbal remedies, as you can definitely have too much of a good thing. It’s safer to combine one herbal remedy with one of the non-herbal ideas (like a bath, a nap, or a glass of water).
Have a mint or drink some peppermint tea – it can really take the edge off! Peppermint is very soothing to the nerves and aids circulation. (You can even place the tea bag on your forehead after you make your tea for extra relief.)
Did you know peppermint has been shown to help with tension headaches?
2. Willow bark.
Known as the natural alternative to aspirin, willow bark is actually what aspirin was originally made from. It contains the pain-relieving compound salicin, and is one of the most common natural remedies for headaches and inflammation (source).
You can make a tea out of willow bark root for practically instant headache relief.
3. Take a nap.
Sometimes the best headache remedies are the things we should be doing anyway – like getting extra sleep. Ever notice how the world seems renewed after a nap? A simple power nap can be enough for your body to reboot and squash your headache.
4. Eat something!
Headaches are often a sign that you’ve gone too long without eating a balanced meal. In fact, my last headache is a good example: I’d gotten caught up in my work and hadn’t eaten in a while.
Next thing you know, I had a raging headache. (Needless to say, I couldn’t work much after that.)
An ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure in this case! Eat regular meals and snacks to keep your body fueled.
Acupuncture increases blood flow to tissues and is shown in studies to prevent migraines. If you get debilitating headaches or migraines, regular acupuncture treatments can make a difference.
Headaches can often be a sign of dehydration. One of the easiest natural remedies for headaches is simply drinking a glass of water. (source)
Staying hydrated is also a good way to prevent headaches from occurring in the first place.
(Note: sometimes it helps to balance water with electrolytes, so adding a little juice and a dash of sea salt to your water can help. Or you can try this homemade pedialyte recipe.)
A good massage improves circulation and is obviously relaxing, and it might be just what you need to melt away that headache. In any case, we all need more excuses to get a massage! 😉
Regular massages can help if you have reoccurring headaches or migraines. In the case of occasional headaches, a neck and shoulder massage from a loved one can make a difference.
8. See a chiropractor.
Being out of alignment can definitely give you head pain. Many of my readers report that regular visits to the chiropractor can provide very effective headache and migraine relief. Usually, a chiropractor will work with you to address the root causes of your headaches, too.
This herb has been used since ancient times to treat pain, including headaches. You can try feverfew capsules or tea when you feel a headache coming on. Get feverfew tea here.
More information on the research about feverfew and headaches.
10. Hot showers.
As with a massage, I’m always up for an excuse to take a hot shower. I always feel more relaxed and rejuvenated afterward, which goes a long way for relieving headache pain.
Try using a cold pack (below at #14) on the back of your neck while you’re in the shower or bath. The hot/cold combination can be super effective for headache relief.
11. Strengthen your neck.
Neck stretches and strengthening exercises have been shown to reduce headaches. Simply doing a few neck exercises for 3-5 minutes per day can make a big difference in long-term pain management – especially if you have the dreaded “text neck” or “computer neck” problem.
Acupressure is similar to acupuncture, but without the needles. You simply apply pressure to specific spots on the body to release tension and relieve pain.
One suggestion is to pinch the spot between your thumb and index finger. Gently increase the pressure until there’s a dull ache, then hold until your head pain subsides.
You can try this throughout the day as needed. This headache remedy is easy to combine with other ideas – try acupressure, a cup of peppermint tea, and a hot bath to attack your headache on multiple fronts.
Magnesium deficiency can be the root cause of chronic migraines and headaches. Correct the deficiency, end the migraines. Magnesium supplements (or magnesium oil) can even get rid of a headache that’s already begun. Learn more about magnesium here.
14. Cold packs.
Whether an ice pack or a cool washcloth, cold can definitely ease headache pain. The back of the neck or the forehead are the best places to apply your cold pack. Try 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off until you feel relief.
The benefits of yoga include improved circulation, relaxation, healthy blood pressure, and heightened neurotransmitter levels.
All of these combined make for a great headache remedy. Regular yoga practice is the perfect natural remedy for chronic headaches and migraines.
More information about research on yoga as a migraine remedy.
Cherries contain the active compound quercetin, which is a powerful antioxidant and has strong anti-inflammatory properties. Research shows cherries can help with head pain.
Several of my readers report that eating cherries or drinking cherry juice helps tremendously with headaches.
17. Get outside.
Let’s face it: the air inside of our homes and other buildings isn’t ideal. Fresh air is vitally important for health, as is getting adequate sunlight.
A few minutes outdoors can be surprisingly refreshing, even enough to relieve your head pain. So grab a cup of herbal tea and enjoy a few minutes relaxing outside.
This supplement (a form of the amino acid phenylalanine), naturally increases dopamine levels, which can help ease pain of all kinds. I also find DLPA boosts my energy level and my mood. Learn more about how I use amino acid supplements here.
19. Salt loading.
This one sounds interesting (I haven’t yet tried it myself), and has to do with detoxing bromide from the body. I’ve heard some pretty impressive reviews about salt loading and headache relief. Read more about it here.
20. A cup of tea.
Not only is a warm cup of tea relaxing, but a tea that uses herbs like peppermint or willow bark can also directly help reduce your headache pain. You can also try chamomile tea if you tend to have stress/tension headaches.
Green tea is also especially helpful, as it contains a small amount of caffeine, which many people find helps with headaches and migraines. Hint: a peppermint/green tea combo is delicious and effective!
21. Eliminate the cause.
This is more of a long-term approach to migraine remedies, but it’s by far the most effective. Certain food additives, lack of sleep, too much sitting, nutrient deficiencies – all these things can play a role in causing headaches and migraines.
Make a note of when your headaches occur and see if there are any clues to what the root cause might be.
Q & A
“Do these headache remedies really work?”
Yes, they really do! But not every remedy will work for every headache. Headaches and migraines are stubborn and complex.
That’s why I emphasize getting to the root cause of your headache. It can help to combine a few remedies and try something new if something else isn’t working.
It also really helps to eat regularly, stay hydrated, get enough sleep, and do deep breathing exercises or meditation regularly to lower your stress levels. Healthy habits can prevent a lot of headaches (quite literally).
“I get migraines that cause me to get dizzy and throw up. Will these migraine remedies help me?”
To be honest, serious chronic migraines are difficult to treat. These natural remedies will probably be most effective if you use them right away when you feel a migraine coming on.
Work with a health professional to develop a plan for long-term migraine treatment and find out how you can include natural remedies within that approach.
“Can headaches be caused by stress?”
Absolutely! I used to get a pounding headache every time I was overwhelmed with stress. Make it a priority to lower your stress levels – this has many health benefits beyond headache relief!
But let’s be honest: there’s a lot of stress we can’t do anything about. In that case, healthy habits are all the more important. I know I’m repeating myself – but eat well, stay hydrated, get some sleep, and meditate when you can. These all lower the impact of stress on your body.
“Are headaches a sign of PMS? Do I use the same remedies for PMS headaches?”
Some women experience more headaches in the week before their period. The headache remedies in this post can definitely help, but it can also be helpful to have your hormone levels checked and try some natural remedies specifically targeted toward PMS (because PMS is usually associated with an underlying hormonal imbalance, usually of estrogen, progesterone, and/or testosterone).
More of our natural remedy posts:
- Calendula Oil Recipe + Why You Need to Make This Today
- Homemade Cough Syrup Recipe
- Weird Home Remedy for Pink Eye
- The Benefits of Bamboo Leaf Tea
Elizabeth is the founder of The Nourished Life and has been writing about natural living for 12 years. Her work has been featured at Shape, Bustle, and Mother Earth Living. Her mission is to help you lower your stress levels and find fun ways to become happier and healthier. Read more about Elizabeth here.