Natural Tips for Headache Relief

If you get a headache, your first impulse for headache relief may be to reach for a pain reliever – aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen are all popular remedies, but all have possible side effects and may even interact with your medication. NSAIDs like ibuprofen can cause stomach pain, and may even boost your risk of having a heart attack, according to the National Institute of Health. So what do you do if you have a pounding headache but need to – or want to – avoid OTC pain relievers? You choose a natural method instead.

Choosing a way to relieve headache pain naturally allows you to avoid any pesky side effects or interactions and still get headache relief. Expect most of these ideas to take a little while to work – usually about the same amount of time it takes for an OTC pain reliever to do the job.

Temperature Changes: Simple temperature changes can help relieve your headache; simply applying a hot or cold compress to your forehead may do the job. According to a study by the Oxford University Press, applying a cold compress can help constrict your blood vessels and alleviate your headache, particularly if your pain feels like pressure or tension.

Headaches that are caused by tension in the neck, jaw or even shoulders can be alleviated with a hot compress, which naturally soothes and relaxes tensed up muscles. You can make your own compress at home, or you can purchase hot and cold compresses in ready-made form to have on hand in the event of a headache. Either way, you’ll always be prepared to combat headache pain without reaching for a pain reliever.

Have a drink: Many headaches are caused not by stress, tension or illness but by simple dehydration. According to Dr. Howard LeWine of Harvard Health publications, if you have pain in the front of your forehead or on one or both sides of your head, dehydration may be the culprit. Decreased urine output and urine that is dark in color are other signs that your headache may actually be a symptom of dehydration

. While a dehydration headache is painful, it is easy to get rid of. Simply down some extra water – between 16 to 32 ounces and wait a bit and your dehydration headache will disappear. You can also try a sports beverage with electrolytes to speed this process, but avoid energy drinks, soft drinks, and coffee since the caffeine can do more harm than good.

Get a massage: A full body massage is a relaxing, luxurious treat – but even if you don’t have time for a spa visit, massage techniques can help relieve your headache symptoms. According to information collected by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, gentle massage techniques applied to the temples, neck, and forehead can reduce headache pain as well as an over the counter pain reliever, with none of the side effects. Taking a few moments out of your day to gently massage away a headache can help you in more ways than one. If you take a break, even a quick one, you’ll likely feel more focused and less stressed when you return to your tasks, particularly if you’ve gotten rid of your headache.

Dr. Jonathan Wilhelm is a Board Certified Chiropractor, he has successfully treated thousands of patients with headache and migraine pain, in Bozeman, Montana and surrounding areas. You can learn more about his practice by visiting:

 — ,