Looking for headache relief? You’re in the right place. I’ve put together a list of home remedies for headaches that will help ease away the pain – and you probably already have everything you need!
What is it with headaches? I have a pretty good level of pain tolerance – but never with headaches.
That nagging pain just seems to pierce right through my defenses. Suddenly everything irritates me and I can’t think straight. And don’t even get me started on what it feels like when a full-blown migraine sets in. *shudders*
Know what I mean? I wish you didn’t, but since you’re here – you probably do.
I used to get headaches all the time. Between my husband and I, it wasn’t uncommon for us to go through a bottle or two of ibuprofen in a given month. Ugh.
Changing some lifestyle habits has really made a difference (eating better, getting more sleep, staying hydrated, etc), but we still get an occasional headache.
I’ll reach for the OTC medication if I have to, but I always prefer to try natural remedies for headache relief first. Most of the time, it does the trick. Even if I end up taking some ibuprofen, I find I can take less if I combine it with home remedies. (Note: don’t combine herbal remedies with OTC medications – they can have negative side effects if used together.)
But then I started wondering – if I know a couple good home remedies for headaches, I bet my readers know a few more! After all, did you know that 18% of women experience migraines?
So I asked my Facebook fans what 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 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.
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. You can make a tea out of willow bark root for 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? Sometimes just a simple power nap is 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 working 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.
This increases blood flow to tissues and is shown in studies to prevent migraines. If you get debilitating headaches or migraines, getting 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.
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.
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 in relieving headache pain. Try using a cold pack (below) 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. Baltic amber necklace (milk and butter color).
I don’t know much about amber, but Health, Home and Happiness wrote an excellent post on it here. If you have stubborn headaches or migraines, it’s worth a try.
Not quite the same as acupuncture (no needles), one suggestion is to pinch the spot between your thumb and index finger. Gently increase 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 behind 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 as well. 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. A regular yoga practice is the perfect natural remedy for chronic headaches and migraines.
Cherries contain the active compound quercetin, which is a powerful antioxidant and has strong anti-inflammatory properties. Several of my readers report that eating cherries or drinking cherry juice helps tremendously with headache pain.
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 outdoors.
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 helps with energy and moods. 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 if you tend to have stress/tension headaches. Green tea is also especially helpful, as it contains a small amount of caffeine, which some 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 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 in that approach.
“Can headaches be caused by stress?”
Absolutely! I used to get a pounding headache every time I was overwhelmed with stress. Make priorities to lower stress in your life if you can. 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 headaches 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 imbalace, 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 and creative director at The Nourished Life. Her mission is to help people find a more balanced (less stressful!) approach to living a happy, healthy life. Read more about Elizabeth here.