How To get Headache Pain Relief Naturally
Do you need to free yourself from headache pain and want to do it without drugs? Are there any good natural ways to stop headache pain? These methods work with normal stress headaches, and are also very effective with migraine headaches.
This article is divided into two parts, first, how to kill the headache pain you feel now, and second, how to prevent recurrences of headaches.
Tips To Stop Or Reduce Pain:
Massage of the head and neck feels great, and does help to relieve some headaches, particularly if your headache is caused by stiff muscles from sleeping in a bad position. But, for a really severe headache a massage only feels good while it is being done, but soon after it's over the headache returns.
A different kind of massage actually can stop a headache dead. For this massage you lie down on your stomach with your feet bare or in socks. Your partner uses his bare heels to press down firmly on the arch of your feet. He rocks gently but firmly back and forth, forward and back, kneading the feet from arch to toes. He should move his heels to different positions on your instep and toes in a deep massage. The first few times you do this it may be a bit painful, so it should be done gently. After your feet get used to it your masseuse can use gradually increasing pressure. Your masseuse will need to be sensitive and careful not to bear down too hard, and to avoid stepping on the bones too hard and causing pain. A good foot massage can make even a severe migraine disappear like magic.
One point on the hand will often relieve a stress or migraine headache. You can do this one yourself, but it is more effective if someone does it to you. Feel at the base of the thumb and first finger. There is a thin flap of skin stretching between them, and lower down, where the thumb and hand join is a thicker area of muscle. This muscle is the target. Your helper should pinch this point, the meat where the thumb and hand join. Pinch HARD, hard enough to hurt. Done correctly there is a quick flash of sharp pain. You'll feel immediate headache relief. Sometimes the headache will disappear completely, but a dull pain may remain. At any rate, you'll feel a lot better.
Migraines in particular can be cured by a good nap. When I get a migraine I often feel suddenly sleepy. Fifteen minutes of nap sometimes completely stops the migraine.
Mow the lawn:
Seriously. It sounds totally dumb but when I was a teen and had a migraine (I didn't know what it was, then) my Mom told me to mow the lawn to make it go away. I thought she was crazy, and I STILL think it is crazy, but it worked then and it still does. Why I have no idea, maybe the vibration? Use the push-mower.
A mentholated cream, like Vick's or Ben-Gay, applied to the neck and shoulder muscles will give great relief to a stress or tension headache, and may help with some migraines. Rub it from where the muscle attaches to the head, just above and behind the ears, all the way down to the shoulders and back.
If you are sensitive to smells when you have a migraine, this may not work for you.
Hot (or Cold!) showers:
Change your body temperature to kill many headaches, and give relief to migraines. Hot showers feel great while you are taking them, but often the headache will come back after you get out. Try a COLD shower. To be honest, I can only stand to do this in mid-summer when it is really hot, but it works. If your are suffering, it is worth the discomfort.
Tips To Prevent Headaches from Even Starting:
A frequent cause of headaches is a bad sleep position. I used to suffer from daily headaches until I realized that I was twisting my neck when I slept. I learned to adjust my sleep position to relieve neck strain. Either sleeping on the back, with the head supported by pillows so it doesn't turn, or sleeping on my side, with thick enough pillows to hold my head straight, is very helpful.
I saved the best for last. I used to suffer terribly from migraine headaches, until by chance I started a diet that relieved them. I just wanted to take off fifteen pounds, and I ended up finding a cure for my migraines.
I picked up a diet book at the bookstore. One of the key parts of the diet was avoiding all grains. I followed the diet and lost weight. About three weeks into the diet I realized that I hadn't had a migraine in a while. Later, I ate a pizza and got a migraine the next day. I kept on the diet with occasional deviations. It didn't take me long to figure out that every time I ate anything with wheat in it, I got a migraine. Now, I strictly avoid all wheat. This is tough, I used to bake all the time, and I love pizza. I had to learn all about gluten-free cooking, which was a pain in the butt, but that is still better than real pain in the head.
Constipation and migraines are closely linked. Any food that causes constipation will also lead to migraines, if you are a migraine-prone person. What foods cause constipation? The worst offender is white bread, but bananas and cheese also cause constipation. Any processed food that contains wheat flour will cause constipation in people who tend towards it. If you suffer from migraines and constipation, avoid all food containing wheat, including bread and pasta. This includes whole wheat products. Eating bran cereals may result in alternating constipation and diarrhea, with migraines during the constipation phase. Most processed foods contain wheat flour, or wheat gluten as a filler and binding agent. Avoid them.
I still occasionally get a small migraine, but nothing nearly as bad as before. I still eat some prepared foods, and small amounts of gluten contaminate them.
*Update: I have hit upon some exercises that help eliminate headaches. In my new job I sit most of the day at the computer, and was feeling out of shape and getting bad posture. I was also starting to get some headaches. So I began doing exercises to strengthen my back muscles.
You want to keep your back strong and flexible. Many headaches come from muscle strain in the neck and shoulders, and these are rooted in the back. The exercise is this:
Squat down so that your knees are bent, but feet still flat on the floor. Lean forward and down so that your head and body are angled towards the ground, back muscles relaxed. Tighten the back muscles, so that your back is arched upwards. Be careful to keep some bend in your knees, as you should while lifting a heavy object. The goal here is to exercise your back, not strain it. If you have a bad back, this exercise may not be right for you. Ask a doctor or chiropractor.
Relax and do it again. This is a pretty strenuous exercise, so ten to twenty repetitions is plenty, especially at first.
After doing this a few days, I noticed that my new headaches were disappearing. So far after some months they have not returned. This exercise also seems to help to relieve headaches, not just prevent them.
By the way, this will not help if you have a sinus headache! Bending over with the head pointed down will actually increase pressure in the sinuses and make it worse. Sinus headaches are best prevented by avoiding wheat, and following a generally low-carb diet.
I hope this is helpful to you. Headaches are no joke.
Natural Headache Pain Relief. Your Thoughts?
Alica Johnson on December 04, 2017:
I'm absolutely going to try this method of sleep positions to deal with migraines.
tmbridgeland (author) from Small Town, Illinois on June 27, 2013:
It seems like nothing can kill every migraine. Naps don't always work for me either, but usually do.
Adam on June 27, 2013:
My migraine can never be cured by napping. They keep me awake infact, and sometimes wake me up if I get them during my sleep.
Nayothara on October 27, 2010:
Very useful... I would recommend my friends to read your hubs. Most of them are studying and staying up late! And they keep talking about headaches! This is useful and learn so much from this.
LivingFood on October 24, 2010:
tmbridgeland, That goes to show how much I know :) Thanks for the info!
tmbridgeland (author) from Small Town, Illinois on October 23, 2010:
Thanks, Arlecchino. I appreciate the words!
Arlecchino from Top of the Cloud on October 23, 2010:
These tips are just awesome! Well done hub!
tmbridgeland (author) from Small Town, Illinois on October 23, 2010:
Rice and corn don't have gluten, which is what causes problems for most people, so they are safe. I try not to eat too much of them though, they are still almost pure carbohydrate. Hardly any fiber, protein or fat to slow digestion. A little better than eating sugar.
LivingFood on October 23, 2010:
That is a good question! I know that raw fruits and vegetables help me a lot. But it might also be a combination of both...I have never thought about it. That would explain why I can tolerate steamed asparagus for supper for a whole week, but not corn. I was going to try raw corn this summer, but I never got around to it...perhaps I should make rice milk more often and see what happens.
tmbridgeland (author) from Small Town, Illinois on October 21, 2010:
I wonder if it is the lack of grains, or the raw food that is helping?
LivingFood on October 21, 2010:
Yes sprouts are a lot healthier, but I have not yet sprouted grains either. I make rice milk sometimes (good stuff), and from time to time I will have bread. Other than that I do not eat grains.
tmbridgeland (author) from Small Town, Illinois on October 20, 2010:
Does your raw diet exclude grains? I have heard that sprouted grains are much healthier than traditional cooking, but have not tried them.
LivingFood on October 20, 2010:
These are great tips! Taking a nap used to always work for me...but now I keep them away with a raw diet :)