Headache and Migraine Relief. Easy and Effective Remedies You MUST Try.
First, my personal history with headaches and migraines.
Headaches. One of the most common and painful experiences in my life. I’ve been having headaches since I was in junior high. They got bad during high school and even worse after I graduated. Headaches are very common among the adult population. Sadly, I experience them a lot more frequently than the average person. The reasons I have them will later be explained.
I also experience something called “migraines.” They occur less often than my headaches, but when they do, boy are they harsh. Migraines are like headaches times ten. They are often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, impairment, and sensitivity to light and sound. Sometimes, during the onset of a migraine, I see “sun spots” which I can only describe them as those black splotchy lights you see after looking at the sun too long or entering a dim lit room on a sunny day. Often times when I experience those “auras” (aka: visual impairments), I’ll start to come down with a gnarly migraine soon after. Even if I’m having a totally normal day, the aura is a huge indicator that I’m soon to endure a migraine.
Now, for the reason I experience headaches and migraines is complicatedly unclear. I’ve had a few doctors, different diagnoses, and a lot of dead end answers. Headaches, as far as I’ve come to learn, are tricky. I have researched, read books, talked to others, and become consumed with trial and error. At the end of the day, even doctors are still stumped as to why they keep occurring.
Hereditary genes have a lot to do with them for sure. My mother, her siblings, and my grandfather have all experienced headaches and migraines most of their adult lives just as I have begun. I knew growing up my mother had them almost weekly. I used to feel so bad for how bed ridden she was all the time. Later on in life, it occurred to me that migraines are hereditary and I’d also likely experience them one day, too.
So, with that being said, if you have headaches or migraines (even occasionally), maybe some of these remedies can help you ease the pain. With extensive research, doctor suggestions, and peer advice, I present you with remedies to relieve headache and migraine pain.
Disclaimer: The advice given is to be used with your own discretion and further actions should be consulted by a doctor beforehand.
To relieve headache and migraine pain:
Drink more water.
Many people experience headaches simply because they are dehydrated. Plain and simple, keep yourself hydrated.
Don’t skip a meal.
Missing breakfast or lunch can take a toll on your blood sugar and energy levels. If you’re at work or partaking in any sort of exercise, remember that food is fuel.
You might just be hungry or didn’t eat enough. Even if it’s a small snack, your headache is the body trying to tell you something.
Caffeine or sugar withdrawal.
If you’re accustom to morning coffee or a heavy sugar intake as part of your daily routine, the body definitely notices when you’ve skipped it. Although you should monitor your caffeine and sugar intake overall, having some can result in short term relief.
If you’re faced with a difficult task during the day or feel overwhelmed with something in your life, stress can cause our muscles to tense up and leave us with a headache. As unavoidable as stress can be at times, making life adjustments to ease the tension will help tremendously.
Muscle pain management.
Just as mental stress can cause headaches, physical stress/strain can lead to them, too. If you work an office job, try correcting your posture and ease neck strain. If you do physical labor often, try your best to relax as much as possible afterwards or consider massage therapy/chiropractic care.
Try to get a good 8 hour sleep every night. Also, it’s important to train ourselves to go to sleep around the same time every night and wake up the same time each morning (even on the weekends). Sleep plays a huge part in stress management, energy restoration, and overall alertness.
Heat or ice.
I’ve heard both are good for pain. I’ve invested in a heating pad for my neck. Sometimes, I like to ice my forehead every ten minutes because I like numbing the pain, even if it’s only in ten minute intervals.
Massage therapy or chiropractic care.
I can’t say I’ve gotten a massage (unless a pressure point facial counts?) but I’ve gone to the chiropractor for over a year. For me, it was a hit and miss depending on the month. I can’t quite say if it helped for sure, but it made me feel amazing. Massage can help relieve muscle tension which can later alleviate headache pain.
Who doesn’t love taking a nice, warm bath? The heat relaxes the muscles and calms the mind. If your headache severity is low enough, run yourself a warm bath. I bet this would help do the trick. Sometimes, we just need to relax.
Now, I know I’ve heard naps make things worse, but I’ve gotta say, sometimes sleeping away a headache is the only thing I can do. I know naps throw off your sleep schedule, but I’m a sucker for giving in to pain relief. So, although it’s not recommended, I often use this method as a last resort.
Over the counter pain medication.
I used to take ibuprofen, but I think I abused that pain killer a little too much. Now, I take “Excedrin: Tension Headache” and that often does the trick. Remember, pain killers should be a last resort. They’re not good for you long term. There’s such a thing as rebound headaches which are withdrawals to the medication taken the precious day. Use medication if absolutely needed.
Pressure point massage.
Typically, it’s always better to get someone else to do it, but if you have to do it yourself, locate your pressure points and temples. Try massaging them to relieve tension and pressure.
Let your hair down.
Quite literally, take your tight pony tail out. If you keep your hair tied up for work, try your best to loosen the knot or consider cutting your hair if it’s heavy. Hair pulling had given me way too many unnecessary headaches.
Shoe insoles or better shoes.
I know it’s weird, but if your posture is bad, your headaches will be, too. It all starts in the feet. If you do a lot of walking during the day, make sure your feet and shoes are well taken care of.
Mindfulness and relaxation from the mind is a powerful tool and defense against tension and stress related headaches. Clear your mind, focus your energy on positive thinking, and the results will be sure to follow.
Sometimes, our dietary choices influence us in ways that you couldn’t imagine. Energy, stress, and even inflammation can occur if our diet is off. Try keeping a headache journal and keep track of the previous foods we consume before getting a headache. Remember consistent ingredients in our foods and try removing them from your diet to see if it helps.
I’ve heard that people take magnesium during the onset of a headache and it works. Some even incorporate it into their diet. Now, I’m not advising you do this on your own, but I’d speak to a doctor or do more research before trying it yourself. It DOES work for people.
I know they help with minor headaches. Essential oils can be soothing, calming, and freeing to experience. The smell of peppermint and lavender help me alleviate symptoms of headaches when they first appear.
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2).
My doctor recommenced 400 mg once a day. It’s hard to come by in store, but you can purchase a reasonably priced bottle on amazon with one tablet equivalent to 400 mg.
Butterbur extract 75 mg.
My doctor also recommended these three times a day. They’re natural and safe. It will not hurt you to take them often, every day.
These are doctor prescribed of course. I currently take “Amitriptyline” and they help a lot. Even though they aren’t being used to relieve depression, the physical aspect of them helps a lot with tension release. The better I feel mentally and physically, the less my headaches occur.
(This is the generic version that I take called Sumatriptan) Now, this is only for migraines and is doctor prescribed. I take one (or half of one) if I am experiencing nausea with my headaches. They restrict the blood vessels in my brain to relieve inflammation which causes migraines.
I know finding relief is difficult. It honestly takes a lot of trial and error to figure out the best ways to manage our own pain. Lastly, remember that headaches are a signal that something is wrong. Did you know the brain can’t actually feel pain? The pain sensation we feel comes from underlying reasons. Listen to your body. Our headaches are trying to communicate something to us. Be aware of your day to day activities, food and water intake, sleep schedule, stress, and posture.
Go to a doctor if you experience a migraine or feel that your headaches are unmanageable. You’re not alone. Please feel free to share your own stories with headache and migraines with me. I’d love to hear if anyone else has any different recommendations to try.