Headaches Demystified: Triggers, Fixes, and Remedies

Headaches are as old as history and as common as television commercials.

While the modern practice seems to be moving towards popping a pill every time your head gets heavy, there are natural methods by which you can ease your headache with simple home remedies. These methods can prove to be much healthier, chemical-free alternatives to get relief.

In this post, we are going to cover everything from why you get headaches to the science behind them. We will also go over some of the best ingredients and techniques that are a quick way to ease the cumbersome pain.

Prevention is better than cure being the mantra, we will cover the most common headache triggers so you can take steps to avoid the discomfort altogether.

Let’s head right into it (pun intended)!

The Science Behind Headaches

Headaches can be caused by a multitude of factors so they are generally categorized into different groups. But why does the head hurt?

Well, there are no pain receptors in the brain i.e. the brain is incapable of feeling pain. Most often, damage or inflammation in the areas around the brain such as sinuses or the blood vessels makes it feel as though the inside of the head is where the pain is originating from.

The most general categorization of headaches is into primary and secondary headaches:

  • Primary headaches are stand-alone headaches not caused by other medical conditions.
  • Secondary headaches are ones caused due to other conditions such as increased pressure on the skull, dental procedures, fevers, or injuries.

A very common type of primary headaches is tension-type headaches and it accounts for nearly 90% of all reported headaches. Headaches that last longer than three months are often called chronic headaches and include migraines and cluster headaches.

For your convenience we’ve crafted this table to get an overview of common headache types and triggers.

Knowing how headaches are triggered and what causes them isn’t going to help you stop. So, what needs to done in order to ease the throbbing in your head? We recommend home remedies and here is why you should go for one of our remedies.

Headache Type

Tension Headache

Migraine

Cluster Headaches

Common Triggers

  • Muscular strain in neck, jaw or supporting muscles.
  • Anxiety and emotional stress.
  • Eye strain and dehydration.
    Clinical depression.
  • Genetic causes such as a hormonal imbalance or fluctuation.
  • Sensitization of the central nervous system to light or
    sound.
  • Components of Tension-type headache.
  • Genetic tendencies.
  • Tobacco smoking.
  • Dysfunction of hypothalamus.

Knowing how headaches are triggered and what causes them isn’t going to help you stop. So, what needs to done in order to ease the throbbing in your head? We recommend home remedies and here is why you should go for one of our remedies.

Why You Should Go for Home Remedies

We’ll hand it to you straight: no chemicals.

Home remedies have gone up in popularity since awareness about the harmful side effects of chemical medications has increased. Not only are you saved the dilemma of stocking up on different kinds of pills but you can also rest assured that your cure can be made whenever you need it.

In addition, the natural way resonates much more harmoniously with the human body in general. The body is part of nature after all, so there is very little reason to not go for home remedies in the first place.

These natural home remedies are also excellent for a great number of people who cannot (or should not) consume chemical headache relief drugs in the first place. These can include the young or the elderly and even pregnant women.

Finally, home remedies have been around since ancient times and continue to be effective even today. With modern science backing up these home remedies, you get the best of both worlds by opting for the natural way.

7 Quick Facts - Headaches and Migraines

Infographic

Home Remedies for Headaches.

5 Tips for Instant Headache Relief

By now we have established that headaches are not an ailment themselves but rather a manifestation of some discord in your inner system or due to some illness you might have. Regardless of the cause, there are ways to relieve that headache which you can get started with right away.

Tip 1: Stretch, Relax, and Breathe

The simplest first, this requires no equipment, ingredients, or a lot of space. A relaxed body is less prone to stress and muscle strain related headaches. And one of the easiest and fastest ways to relax is by simply breathing.

These three breathing techniques can not only help alleviate your headache but are also great practices in general:

  1. Deep breathing. Deep breathing is simple to do. Breathe from your stomach (not the chest) drawing in as much air as you can before slowly letting it all out slowly. This is one of the fastest ways to relax and a great meditation aid.
  2. Rhythmic breathing. This is a method used by professionals who work in high stress situations such as police officers and firemen. Count to 4 as you breath in, hold for 4, and then let go for 4. Repeat the process till you feel the relaxation settling in. This is a very simple technique and yet is superbly effective and fast acting.
  3. Visualized breathing. This one is also a great meditation technique. It works best with eyes closed so it is recommended to find a comfortable spot for this. With eyes closed imagine the air flowing through your lungs and back as you breathe. Imagine relaxation entering your body with every breath you draw and exhale out all the stress. This makes for very good afternoon relaxation sessions.

A good stretch is also a great way to relax. You can use these 5 simple stretches for quick relief:

  1. Cervical extensor stretch.
  2. Cervical rotation.
  3. Chin tuck stretch.
  4. Lateral flexion stretch.
  5. Shoulder rolls.
stretches for headaches

5 Simple Stretches for Quick Relief.

You can follow the diagrams given above to get an idea of how to perform these simple stretches.

Note: It is important with any kind of exercise or stretching that if you feel the motion exerting force in the wrong areas or experience pain, stop and consult a doctor or expert.

Explanation of Technique and Why It Works

Stretching helps relieve headaches for a number of reasons. It can release trigger points which are minuscule twitches in the muscle that causes the body to tense up. These can cause headaches if near the neck and head area. The given exercises also include stretching the different muscle groups that are associated with headaches and work to loosen them up. By relieving the stress in your body you can bring that headache down a notch and even get rid of it completely if the muscle tensions were causing it in the first place.

Tip 2: Get Moving

When the head won’t do, think with your feet. Getting up and moving about can do wonders for your aching head. It is easy but requires dedication because in order for this to be effective you need to move and exercise regularly.

While exercising and walking provide relief, doing so regularly will lower the chances of getting a headache in the first place so it is very beneficial to form a routine.

There are many types of exercises that you can opt for in order to reap the rewards. Long walks in the fresh air are a great way if you cannot do the more strenuous types of exercises. If you can handle it then aerobics and outdoor sports are great methods of getting your body the exercise it needs in a fun way.

Explanation of Technique and Why It Works

From a biological stand point, humans are meant to walk. Humans are one of the few species that experience the runner’s high – natures reward system for moving. This is one the reason why exercise yields many rewards in general along with being a great headache fix.

Tip 3: Improve Your Posture

How you carry yourself can be a major factor in preventing headaches. The requirements of modern life have most of us working in offices, sitting hunched, and staring at a computer screen.

Finding good ergonomic equipment – keyboards, mice, and other computer peripherals – can be highly beneficial. A comfortable chair and a conscious effort to sit straight in a relaxed manner also go a long way in improving posture.

Explanation of Technique and Why It Works

Slouching, hunching forwards, and sitting with a slump all puts an unnecessary strain on our muscles and ligaments. This can often results in a headache. Sitting straight and relaxed allows better overall management of the stress ensuring the body doesn’t strain too much.

Tip 4: Ice It

Ice is a great way to soothe a headache. It numbs the pain and is very easy to apply and use. It is recommended to use an ice pack but you can simply take ice out of the freezer wrap it in a cloth and apply it to the back of your neck and over the forehead.

Explanation of Technique and Why It Works

Since headaches can be caused by inflammation in the surrounding area, applying ice reduces that inflammation and numbs the pain.

Tip 5: Use Your Imagination

The mind can do marvelous things. Find a nice quite place to relax and picture any scene that fills you with calmness and serenity. It can be a beach, a forest, or a nice quiet mountain abode. Now imagine feeling the finer details such as the rush of the waves or the wind flowing through your hair.

Once you are relaxed and in your serene place you will feel the headache slowly dissolve into nothingness.

Explanation of Technique and Why It Works

Meditation and mental imaging exercises have been shown to bring positive improvements to the human mind and body. These practices can help regulate anxiety and stress along with easing the headache.

7 Proven Home Remedies and Natural Cures for Headaches

Ginger

Ginger is a common household spice. While they have beautiful green and purple flowers it’s the underground stem (of a tan color) which is used as a spice and in this case, as the home remedy. Ginger can be found pretty much all over the world and in your local stores.

Why It Works

Ginger has a lot of different uses and it is because it has over 200 different substances that can be found in its oils. Ginger is also believed to block prostaglandin, which are lipid compounds that have hormone like effects in humans and animals. These prostaglandins can sometimes cause muscle contractions as well as control inflammation.

Since ginger can impair the functioning of these compounds, it can help stop migraines effectively.

How to Use It

Ginger can be consumed in many ways. Here is a list of the easiest methods to consume ginger for your headache or migraine:

  • Fresh ginger root.
  • Ground or powdered ginger root.
  • Ginger tea.
  • Ginger oil or syrup.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is one of the best home remedies for headaches. It is easy to find and consume and as a bonus it also has a long shelf life. This means it won’t expire anytime soon and you don’t have to worry about a bottle lying around in the kitchen.

Why It Works

Apple cider vinegar has a long history of use for various purposes. It is believed that the high mineral content which includes calcium, iron, and potassium helps in regulating the body. It also helps balance the acid-alkaline ratio of the body.

How to Use It

Apple cider vinegar is quite easy to consume for your headache:

  • Mix two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar into water and consume three times a day.
  • For stronger headaches, you can add apple cider vinegar into boiling water and make a steam therapy for faster relief.

Mint Leaves

Mint is a common household item that can be easily grown indoors in a pot or even a water bottle. It is also easy to work with and is a great headache reliever.

Why It Works

Mint has been known to have medicinal properties for years. According to Daily Mail, research has shown that menthol (found in peppermint, also in spearmint in lower quantities) can relax the blood vessels and muscles in the head and neck.

Mint also has medicinal properties such as being an antifungal, antiseptic, a digestive tonic, and many more. Because of these properties, it can also assist in relieving a secondary headache – if your headache is due to some other condition such as a digestive ailment.

How to Use It

Mint can be consumed in the following ways to alleviate your headache:

  • Make mint tea from mint leaves.
  • Extracting mint juice from leaves.
  • Applying mint tea compresses to the temple and forehead.

Basil

Though technically it is also a mint, as it belongs to the Lamiaceae family, basil is a common household culinary herb that can help ease your headache without much effort.

Why It Works

Basil has a wide range of medicinal properties that can have a great effect on human health. It has been found to exhibit anti-inflammatory properties that are great for relaxing your muscles and easing headaches.

The herb also has anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, anti-microbial, and anti-oxidant properties which help in working towards easing secondary headaches, as well.

How to Use It

  • Basil leaf can be dried to make a facial steam. A table spoon of basil leaf in two cups of boiling water can relieve the headache after breathing in the steam for a little over 5 minutes.

Lavender Oil

Lavender oil has gained much popularity over the years and is now readily available in most stores. It has great therapeutic properties that can be a great aid for soothing headaches.

Why It Works

Lavender oil has anxiolytic and spasmolytic properties and is a sedative and that helps ease the pain. Research has also shown that the main constituents which are linalool and linalyl acetate can affect the central nervous system, making it an effective treatment for anxiety related headaches.

It also plays a part in regulating serotonin which aids in reducing pain and prevents headaches from happening.

How to Use It

Lavender oil can be used by itself and also in conjunction with other ingredients for a great therapeutic session.

  • Lavender oil massage – use 1-4 drops on your fingers and massage the back of your neck, temple, and forehead taking great care to avoid it from dropping into your eyes.
  • Peppermint and lavender oil footbath.

Cayenne Pepper

This common spice can do much more than just add flavor to your food. While it may not be pleasant for everyone, it is a very effective method for curing headaches.

Why It Works

The active ingredient of cayenne pepper, capsaicin, effectively overloads your pain sensors and that stops the pain signal. This happens because a neurotransmitter known as substance P is what induces the sensory signal our brain recognizes as pain. And capsaicin causes it to deplete by overloading it.

No pain no headache!

How to Use It

  • Cayenne muscle rub.
  • Cayenne pepper swab for nostrils.
  • ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper in 2 cups of water for slow oral ingestion.

Vitamin B2

Vitamin B2, otherwise known as riboflavin, is a part of many common everyday foods. These can be some of the most effective home remedies for a headache.

Why It Works

Vitamin B2 is an effective treatment for migraines and headaches because it plays a vital part in the cellular metabolism. It is also required by the body in order to produce red blood cells. Studies have shown doses of Vitamin B2 significantly reduce the duration and intensity of headaches.

How to Use It

You can consume vitamin B2 by eating foods such as:

  • Almonds.
  • Asparagus.
  • Broccoli.
  • Cheese.
  • Eggs.
  • Lean meat and poultry.

3 Common Headache and Migraine Triggers

Vitamin B3

Niacin, also known as Vitamin B3, can be a trigger for vascular headaches.

Why Is It Causing Headaches?

This vitamin causes the small capillaries to dilate or open up. This can sometimes result in a surging headache due to increased pressure of the blood flow.

It is recommended that an expert be consulted before taking vitamin B3 supplements.

How Are You Consuming This?

Vitamin B3 is part of everyday foods such as:

  • Green Peas.
  • Liver.
  • Mushrooms.
  • Peanuts.
  • Tuna.

You can reduce your intake of Vitamin B3 by cutting down on these foods.

Chocolate

Many will be saddened to hear this, but unfortunately, chocolates might be triggering headaches in people who are prone to migraines.

Why Is It Causing Headaches?

Some specialists have reported that chocolate can be a possible trigger for migraines because it contains amino acid tyramine. However, the jury is still out on this one as more research needs to be conducted before reaching a final verdict – so keep your fingers crossed!

In the meanwhile, however, it would still be wise to regulate the consumption of this food.

How Are You Consuming This?

Chocolate isn’t just the bars of delicious coco but can also be found in many other foods such as:

  • Chocolate cakes.
  • Chocolate cereal.
  • Flavored milk and items with chocolate flavorings.

MSGs

This is one that many people are not aware of. MSG is short for monosodium glutamate. This ingredient, while has been deemed safe for consumption by the FDA, has been the subject of much controversy and thus FDA has imposed that MSG containing foods should say so on their label.

Why Is It Causing Headaches?

Although research has not yet found any direct link between headaches and MSG, there have been numerous reports of people having reactions to MSG. These reactions are known as MSG symptom complex and have led experts to believe that some small percentage of people might suffer from short term MSG reactions.

How Are You Consuming This?

MSG is a flavor enhancer and is commonly found in:

  • Chinese food.
  • Canned soups.
  • Canned vegetables.
  • Processed meats.

Wrapping It Up

So we’ve covered some of the best home remedies for headaches in this post. Hopefully, you will find this article helpful and be able to fix that annoying headache.

Did you find this article to be useful? Do you know of any other home remedies that are a quick fix for headaches? Share with us in the comments below!

If you’d like any topics elaborately covered by our BloggInc. experts, leave your petitions in the comments as well.

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