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Stopping a Headache Fast: 5 Unique Methods

I'm a registered nurse and have worked in many different healthcare settings. I recently began writing online about a variety of interests.



Headache: Causes

I don't think any one of us has escaped getting a headache at some point in our lives. Some of us experience more than others. There are different types of headaches: sinus headaches, tension headaches, and the more severe migraine. Tension headaches are probably the most common type, by the way. Here, I'm going to give some tips to help you get rid of those nagging headaches.

First, for the formalities. As you know, headaches can be caused by many different things, and often we don't know the cause at all. A frequent, persistent, or severe headache can sometimes be an indicator of something serious going on. If you experience these, you should be checked by your doctor to rule out any serious conditions. Also, the tips provided in this article are for informational purposes only and should not substitute for proper medical care. You should always check with your doctor before taking any new medications.

Now, with that said, let's stop that headache! (Be sure and read to the end to see my personal favorite!)

1. Massage Therapy

As I mentioned above, the most common form of a headache is a tension headache. Have your spouse or a friend rub your shoulders and neck. This promotes circulation and helps you relax. It’s even better with a little warmed-up lotion or massage oil. The heat promotes further relaxation. If you don’t have any available, just try a real warm cloth around your neck for a few minutes after the massage to try to get your muscles even further relaxed. Getting rid of the tension can help get rid of your headache!

My personal opinion: This tip I usually use after I’ve already done some other things. It does help and is useful if you’re playing the waiting game while your medicine kicks in. We don’t always have someone right there or someone willing to give us a massage when we have a headache. So this tip is not always feasible, but it does help.

2. Tongue in Cheek Method

Oftentimes, people keep their tongue pressed to the roof of their mouth. This can unknowingly cause more tension in the muscles, thus giving you a headache. Try concentrating on keeping your tongue off of the roof of your mouth, suspended in the middle for as long as you can. Keep your lips closed, and notice how this forces your jaw and facial muscles to relax. You don’t necessarily want to put your tongue against your cheek—I know that’s what the name implies, but what else was I going to call it, right?—just keep it from the top of your mouth. This will help force your facial muscles to relax and can quickly stop a headache!

My personal opinion: This can be very effective but difficult to maintain. If your headache starts to fade after a minute or two and you don't concentrate on holding your tongue suspended, your headache can return easily. Sometimes, though, it can get rid of a headache completely in just a few minutes without medicine!

3. Hot and Cold Therapy

All right, these are going to be lumped together because although they can work well for some people, you first have to figure out what is right for you. Hot works for some people, and cold works for some people. It can be trial and error.

You can try a very cool washcloth on your forehead. Turn the faucet on and let the cold water run for a while. When it gets nice and cool, go ahead and wet the cloth. Then you can lay down and place it over your forehead or even over your eyes.

On the opposite side, a warm cloth may work better for you. Don’t get the cloth so warm it’s uncomfortable, though. You don’t want to add a burn on top of that headache, either.

Another option, do a cool cloth around your neck and your feet in a warm bucket. In theory, this will draw the blood more toward your feet, thus reducing the pressure in your head (I’ve not tried this one, to be honest).

Last but not least, a hot shower. You can get into a nice hot shower and let the water spray over the top of your head. You can even turn and let it hit your shoulders and neck to help relax you.

(Keep in mind that if you attempt any of these and it makes the headache worse, stop right away.)

My personal opinion: These work great to stop some people's headaches, but the only one that gets rid of mine (other than the feet in bucket thing that I haven’t tried) is the hot shower. I get into a very warm shower when I feel a strong headache coming on and let the water hit me right in the forehead for about five minutes. Then I turn and let the water relax my neck and shoulder muscles. Presto, the headache is gone! I’ve managed to ward off a few migraines with this trick too!

4. Medications

I know, you’ve tried it, and oftentimes they don't work to stop that headache. That’s why you’re here looking for tips. I’m adding this because it’s worked every time for me. Take your Tylenol with an over-the-counter allergy medication like Claritin. A doctor suggested taking two extra strength Tylenol and a Claritin with it, then lying down and resting for about an hour. Keep in mind you should not exceed 4 grams of Tylenol in a 24-hour period—even less if you drink alcoholic beverages daily. Be sure and follow the directions for each medication that are present on the bottle.

Be sure to check with your doctor before trying any new medications or medication combinations. You need to make sure there won't be any adverse reactions or interactions with other medications you might be taking.

My personal opinion: I have used this trick many times at work where there wasn’t anyone to give me a massage, I couldn’t get into the shower, and the boss wouldn’t be too happy with me if I were to relax with my feet in a bucket and a wet towel around my neck. As I said above, it’s worked very well for me. Whether this tip will work well for you or not really depends on the cause of your headache, which we don’t know most of the time. Personally, I usually start by doing this and then work on the other methods to get rid of my headache!

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5. Pressure Points (My Favorite Tip!)

Some of us know there is a pressure point in our hands, but did you also know it can help relieve your headache or migraine? Well, it can!

First, to find the pressure point, take your dominant hand and use your first finger and thumb to feel around on your other hand. So if you’re right-handed, use your thumb and first finger of your right hand, and vice versa if you’re left-handed. You should feel around the fleshy area between your first finger and thumb of your non-dominant hand. You’ll know you've found the pressure point when it sends a mild jolt through that hand.

Now you want to firmly but not painfully massage that area. The best bet is to have someone do this for you if you can (if only we all had our own personal masseuse). This can provide almost instant relief from a headache at times! Even if your headache is gone within a minute or two, continue to massage this area for approximately 10 minutes to keep it away.

My personal opinion: This is the easiest, most effective thing I’ve found. It really does provide almost instant relief with some headaches. The only downside to it is that I notice my headaches will come back after a few hours if I don’t do anything else to ward them off.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Naveed Ahmed from Bahrain on January 05, 2018:

Great ideas for healing headaches. It added to my knowledge as I didn't know about the "tongue in cheek method" and the "hot and cold therapy" shared here.

I have also shared my tips about using different herbs for getting rid of headaches and migraines in one of my hubs. I hope that can also be beneficial for the readers of this hub (who are looking for different ways for healing headaches and migraines).

Jenny Stub (author) from Missouri, US on August 05, 2012:

Sometimes I will have someone push down on the top of my head, and that does help me as well. I was in a bad car accident when I was sixteen that really messed up my neck. Having someone push down a little on the top of my head helps put the curve back into my neck the way it's suppose to be and will help my headache. I usually take something to help me go to sleep while they do that, and when I wake up it's usually gone. I thought that was specific to me so I didn't include it, but I'm glad you have a method that works for you. When a headache is really bad it's miserable, and I'm all for anything the works. Next time I'll try pressure on the front of my head and see if that helps as well. Thank you for sharing!

erkikle from California on August 05, 2012:

The pressure point thing doesn't work for me. It either doesn't do anything or it makes it worse. The best thing I have found is to lie perfectly still in a quiet room and put light pressure on my forhead. It's best if you have a friend rest their hand on your forhead. It takes a while but it helps with headaches caused by several things, including motion sickness. If I do it right away and for a long enough time, it can ward off migrains too.

caluyaronel1992 from Philippines on April 27, 2012:

Adding relevant links and videos will surely help your readers, it will also help you and your hub to increase in reputation.

I too have a lot to learn, well good luck to both of us.^^

I'll be waiting for your next hub. Take Care.

Jenny Stub (author) from Missouri, US on April 26, 2012:

Thank you caluyaronel1992! Now that I'm getting the hang of how to construct hubs a little better, I'm going through and adding some relevant videos and links to some of my hubs. I was so happy to find the video demo of the pressure point on you tube! I think it would really help people if they only knew about it!

I still have a lot to learn, I'm sure I'll be tweaking my hubs for awhile still! Thank you for commenting!

caluyaronel1992 from Philippines on April 26, 2012:

The pressure points really do work.^^ Awesome hub, very helpful.

Thanks Vampsdes.

Jenny Stub (author) from Missouri, US on April 24, 2012:

Thanks TamCor! I really have used these methods and they do work! The pressure point is really amazing!

Tammy Cornett from Ohio on April 24, 2012:

What an interesting hub--full of useful info that I will definitely try next time I have a headache, and will certainly pass on to others.

Thank you for sharing these helpful solutions! :)

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