Headaches are a common problem, but that doesn’t make them normal. Headaches and migraines can interfere with your day and they make regular routines and concentrating more difficult. While it is easy to take over the counter medications to relieve the pain, not everyone likes taking or relying on medication, especially if headaches happen frequently. If you are looking for natural ways to relieve headaches, here are seven great suggestions.
1. Drink Water
Dehydration is widely understood to be a common cause of certain types of headaches and migraines. Please remember to keep well hydrated (at least 2 litres of pure water per day) as this has been shown to decrease headaches rapidly and effectively (provided dehydration is the cause).
You can also keep yourself hydrated with fruits and veg that have a high water content such as:
- Bell peppers
2. Take some Magnesium
It’s also been shown to have some great benefits on reducing headaches and increasing brain function.
Magnesium is one of the most common mineral deficiencies we have in the UK so it’s important to include healthful foods that are naturally rich in magnesium in your diet such as:
- Swiss chard
- Dark chocolate
- Pumpkin seeds
- Black beans
- Yoghurt or kefir
Taking 200-600mg of magnesium per day can reduce the frequency of headaches. The supplements can come in a variety of forms from tablets to powders such as magnesium sulphate that you can use in the bath and absorb across the skin (transdermally) if you prefer to relax and wind down than take a tablet.
One of the most common side effects of taking magnesium, however, can be diarrhea. Lowering the amount you start taking initially or taking it less frequently can help to avoid that trouble.
3. Try Chin Tucks
Some headaches can occur due to increased strain and load through the joints and muscles at the top of the neck from poor posture. Chin tuck exercises can help to reduce symptoms in some of these cases.
Simply push your head backwards without tilting so that your chin tucks inwards and your face stays looking straight ahead. You should feel a stretch at the back of the neck whilst you’re doing this and just hold it for 10 seconds and repeat this a few times every hour.
4. Try an Elimination Diet
It’s widely understood that some people can be more sensitive to certain foods. One of the ways that this can present itself is by causing headaches. It may not be something you’d necessarily link together but unless you try taking certain foods out of your diet for a while to see if it makes a difference you may never know. Common food triggers include alcohol (beer and wine especially), chocolate, caffeine, and dairy products. Food preservatives with nitrites and monosodium glutamate and artificial sweeteners like aspartame have also been linked with migraine triggers too . Here’s a link to a useful article that will offer some more information on trying an elimination diet https://www.precisionnutrition.com/elimination-diet-infographic .
5. Get Some Sleep
We all know sleep is important, but it’s vital for those who have regular headaches. Fatigue and sleep deprivation are much more common amongst people who tend to get headaches. This can be difficult because headaches can be draining in their own way but it’s important to make sure you’re getting your 8 hoursso that your neck and shoulder muscles are well rested for the following day. To keep your energy levels consistent throughout the day, consider foods that are lower on the Glycaemic Index or foods that have simple fats that release energy slowly throughout the day like nuts and seeds instead of reaching for foods higher in processed carbohydrates like sandwiches, biscuits or pastries.
If you don’t have the option to sleep, try getting some rest or spend some downtime in a dark room. Reducing sensory stimulation of light, noises and strong smells can decrease the amount of background processing your brain is doing which may help to reduce symptoms.
6. Take Ginger
Ginger helps to reduce inflammation and can be as effective as typical medical treatments for migraines and may assist in reducing headaches too. Ginger root is available in many forms, including tea, chews, powder, and capsules, so you can find a way to take it that works best for you.
7. Visit a Chiropractor
Chiropractic care has been shown to help relieve headaches. When a headache originates in the neck, it is especially helpful to visit a Chiropractor because they can help to stop the pain by addressing the cause of the problem. In the majority of headache cases we see, we’ve found that the number of headaches, severity, and duration of a headache or migraine a sufferer experiences usually decreases and can go altogether.
Headaches have a variety of different causes including food or chemical allergies or intolerances, illnesses, neck or back problems, and hormone imbalances to name a few. Whilst these natural remedies may not cover all of these bases, they will be a great start to see if they can help. If you have headaches and are concerned that nothing is working or helping with them it may be a good idea to schedule an appointment with your health professional (chiropractor, GP etc.) to see if they can offer some additional insight to your specific case.