What gets rid of a headache fast: Home Remedies, Prescription Treatments, and More
Home Remedies, Prescription Treatments, and More
Anyone who’s experienced the splitting pain of a bad headache or migraine attack knows how difficult it can be to work, drive, or even carry on a conversation while your head is pounding.
But when a headache strikes, you can do more than just crawl into bed and wait for it to go away — although resting or sleeping may indeed help. There are other effective headache treatments available and ways to find quick relief.
Know What’s Causing Your Headache
The best way to get rid of a headache quickly may depend on what’s causing it, or what type of headache it is. Some common and less common types and causes of headache include the following:
- Tension-type headaches are the most common headaches. They tend to cause a dull, pressure-type pain on both sides of the head.
- Migraine is also common, affecting nearly 40 million Americans. Migraine attacks tend to cause throbbing pain on one side of the head, often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, dizziness, tingling or numbness, visual disturbances, and sensitivity to light, touch, smell, or sound.
- Consuming too much alcohol results in a hangover, or a headache that’s accompanied by thirst, fatigue, or nausea.
- When a sinus infection is the cause of a headache, it typically occurs alongside nasal congestion, nasal discharge, decreased sense of smell, and a feeling of pain, pressure, or fullness in the sinuses. Many so-called sinus headaches are actually migraine attacks.
- COVID-19 can cause headaches with migraine-like or, more commonly, tension-headache characteristics, research published November 11, 2021, in Current Pain and Headache Reports found. Headache can be the first symptom of a COVID-19 infection, and the pain can persist for days or weeks.
- Cluster headaches, which are rare, cause severe pain, usually on one side of the head, that lasts from 15 minutes to three hours when untreated. They are accompanied by a runny nose and tears in the eye on the same side of the head as the headache. For most people, cluster headaches occur in a series, or in “clusters,” lasting weeks or months, separated by remission periods of months or years.
- A brain aneurysm is a weak or thin spot in an artery in the brain that can bulge or rupture, causing bleeding in the brain. The pain caused by a brain aneurysm is often described as the “worst headache you’ve ever had,” and it may be accompanied by such symptoms as dilated pupils, blurred or double vision, pain above and behind an eye, weakness, numbness, or difficulty speaking. If you experience these symptoms, seek medical help immediately.
If headaches are disrupting your life and they don’t respond to the treatments you try, see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
Over-the-Counter Medication for Tension Headache Relief
Just about any over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever, or analgesic, can offer relief for tension headaches, says Jack M. Rozental, MD, PhD, an associate professor of neurology and a headache specialist at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
Medication that contains only one drug, like Tylenol (acetaminophen), Advil (ibuprofen), Aleve (naproxen), or aspirin are effective headache treatments, he says, as are those that include a combination of aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine.
These pain relievers may also provide relief for hangovers and for headaches related to sinus infections or COVID-19. Some people who have migraine attacks also find them effective, particularly if taken at the first sign of an attack.
How quickly OTC pain relievers work depends in part on what formulation you take. For example, liquid medicines, orally disintegrating tablets, and chewable tablets will work faster than extended-release pills. How full your stomach is when you take these pain relievers matters, too, with a fuller stomach slowing absorption of the medication.
Your doctor or pharmacist can help you choose among the many OTC pain relievers on the market to make sure you’re using a product that’s safe for you and is likely to help.
Frequent use of OTC analgesics and caffeine-containing medications can lead to medication–overuse headache (see below), so judicious use is recommended.
Prescription Painkillers for Frequent Tension Headaches
For those people who have frequent or recurring tension headaches, doctors sometimes recommend prescription-strength doses of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen.
Indocin (indomethacin), an NSAID that is available only by prescription, is “usually used for arthritis, but can also be very useful as a headache treatment,” Dr. Rozental says. “Indomethacin’s downside is that it is among the drugs most likely to cause gastric irritation as a side effect,” including stomach ulcers and bleeding. It can also harm kidney function if taken at high doses or chronically.
Treatments for Quick Migraine Relief
Treating migraine symptoms right away can shorten the attack, which otherwise can last from hours to days.
The types of medications that can alleviate symptoms once a migraine attack has started are known as acute, or abortive, medications. These include OTC pain relievers such as aspirin and ibuprofen, prescription medications called triptans, and a new class of drugs called CGRP receptor antagonists.
Not everyone with migraine will respond to all of these drugs. You may need to try several before finding the drug or combination of drugs — and the doses — that work best for you.
Triptans There are currently seven triptan drugs available in the United States: almotriptan (Axert), eletriptan (Relpax), frovatriptan (Frova), naratriptan (Amerge), rizatriptan (Maxalt), sumatriptan (Imitrex), and zolmitriptan (Zomig).
All triptans are available in pill form; two, sumatriptan and zolmitriptan, come as a nasal spray; and one, sumatriptan, is sold in an injectable form.
Triptan injections start working in about 10 minutes, nasal sprays start working in 10 to 15 minutes, and most pills start working in 30 to 60 minutes, although the longer-acting triptans, frovatriptan and naratriptan, take one to three hours to start working.
CGRP receptor antagonists Sometimes referred to as “gepants,” two CGRP receptor antagonists, rimegepant (Nurtec ODT) and ubrogepant (Ubrelvy) are available for acute treatment of migraine. Both are oral tablets that start reducing pain in about one hour. These drugs may be alternatives for people who can’t take triptans or don’t get relief from them.
Lasmiditan (Reyvow) Lasmiditan is also available as an oral tablet and can alleviate migraine pain in as little as an hour. Because lasmiditan works differently from triptans, it may also be an alternative for people who can’t take triptans or don’t get relief from them.
Dihydroergotamine (DHE) Intravenous DHE is commonly used in emergency departments to relieve intractable migraine. For home use, it’s available as a nasal spray, Migranal and Trudhesa, and an injection, D.H.E. 45, and is most effective when taken soon after the onset of migraine symptoms for attacks that typically last longer than 24 hours, according to the Mayo Clinic.
While Migranal and Trudhesa contain the same drug, Trudhesa delivers the drug higher in the nasal cavity, an area rich in blood vessels, meaning it should start working faster.
Ergotamine Combinations of ergotamine and caffeine — Cafergot, sold as a tablet, and Migergot, a rectal suppository — are less effective than triptans at resolving migraine pain but may be appropriate for some people. They can relieve pain within 30 minutes, according to MedlinePlus.
Neurostimulation devices A nondrug option for migraine treatment is a neurostimulation, or neuromodulation, device, which delivers electric or magnetic pulses to nerves that are directly or indirectly involved in pain processing. Several devices targeting different nerves are available, and all can be used for acute treatment of migraine. All are most effective when used as early as possible after the start of symptoms.
Anti-nausea drugs The drugs used to treat headache caused by migraine may also relieve other symptoms, including nausea. But if your migraine therapies are not relieving nausea and vomiting, speak to your doctor about prescription anti-nausea drugs.
Acute Treatment for Cluster Headaches
Given the severity and also the relative brevity of cluster headaches, acute treatments need to work quickly to relieve pain and suffering. According to the neurologist and headache expert Peter J. Goadsby, MBBS, MD, PhD, writing for the American Headache Society, effective acute treatments for cluster headaches include:
- Inhaled oxygen
- Injected or nasal triptans
- Injected dihydroergotamine
- Topical lidocaine nasal drops or nasal spray
According to the patient advocacy group Clusterbusters, high-flow 100 percent oxygen will abort a cluster headache attack within 15 minutes for most people.
Another option for treating cluster headache is the drug galcanezumab (Emgality), which in 2019 became the only drug specifically approved for this type of headache. It’s also approved for the prevention of migraine attacks. Emgality belongs to a class of drugs known as calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) antibodies.
When used to treat cluster headaches, Emgality is self-administered using three 100 milligram (mg) prefilled syringes, which are taken one after the other at the start of a cluster period and then every month until the end of the cluster period.
The nerve stimulation device GammaCore Sapphire is also FDA-approved to treat cluster headache. The device is held against the front of the neck to stimulate the vagus nerve during an attack.
Home Remedies to Ease a Headache or Migraine Attack
Many headache symptoms can be at least partially alleviated without medication. Here are some tips for homemade headache and migraine relief.
Apply an ice pack to your head and neck. Cold compresses on the head and neck are a common home remedy to ease the pain of a migraine attack. Some people also find it helpful for tension headaches. To avoid skin injury, wrap the ice or cold pack in a cloth and apply it for no more than 15 to 20 minutes at a time.
Apply heat to the head, neck, or hands and feet. Applying heat may help relieve a tension headache or dull the pain of a migraine attack, according to the Mayo Clinic. Use a heating pad set on low, a hot-water bottle, a warm compress, or a hot towel. A hot bath or shower may also be helpful, or simply run warm water over your hands and feet.
Have a big glass of water. Dehydration can trigger a migraine attack or lead to a nonmigraine headache, says the National Headache Foundation. Replacing the liquids your body needs may help to relieve the pain.
Practice a relaxation technique. Meditate, breathe deeply, and try to visualize a peaceful image. “Various relaxation techniques can significantly help patients who suffer from ‘muscle contraction’ headaches,” says Rozental.
Give yourself a massage. Massage eases muscle tension, and sometimes helps to reduce headache pain, according to the Mayo Clinic. Gently massage your temples, scalp, neck, and shoulders with your fingertips, or gently stretch your neck.
Try acupressure. You may be able to reduce migraine and headache pain by massaging the pressure point located in the “V” between the thumb and forefinger. Use the thumb of one hand to massage the other hand with a circular motion for 15 to 20 seconds, then switch hands.
Drink a caffeinated beverage. In small amounts, caffeine can decrease migraine-related pain in the early stages of an attack or enhance the pain-reducing effects of OTC medication, according to the Mayo Clinic. But don’t overdo it: Too much caffeine too frequently can lead to withdrawal headaches if you later cut back quickly. Caffeine can also contribute to medication-overuse headaches (see below).
Dab on some peppermint oil. Rub some peppermint oil into your temples or forehead to see if this natural remedy helps reduce your head pain, suggests Migraine.com. Because peppermint oil can cause skin irritation, you may wish to mix a drop of peppermint oil into a teaspoon or two of a neutral oil such as jojoba or avocado oil to dilute it first.
Close your eyes and rest. This is an effective treatment for headaches associated with migraine, and it can help ease a tension headache as well. Sit or lie down in a quiet, dark room with your eyes closed and just relax for a bit. “Patients with migraine instinctively seek out a dark, quiet environment in which they can go to sleep for at least a few hours,” Rozental says. “Sleep frequently diminishes or eliminates the pain.”
Self-Care Tips to Prevent Headaches and Migraine Attacks
You may be able to prevent some headaches and migraine attacks by avoiding the triggers that set them off. Here are some wellness tips that may help.
Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to a headache or trigger a migraine attack, and a chronic lack of sleep — caused by sleep apnea, for example — can also cause headaches. If you snore or suspect you have sleep apnea, see your healthcare provider for help. Whether or not you snore, try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day to avoid triggering a migraine attack.
Maintain healthy eating habits. What you put into your body and when can have a big impact on your headaches. Rozental observes that regular meals are important, especially for people who get headaches from low blood sugar. “Do not skip meals, particularly breakfast,” he says. It’s also important to eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Manage your stress. Stress can act as a trigger for both tension headaches and migraine attacks, so find ways to manage your stress level, whether through a meditation practice, working with a psychotherapist, exercising regularly, or a combination of approaches.
Avoid cigarettes. Smoking tobacco can trigger migraine attacks and nonmigraine headaches in both the person who smokes and in those exposed to secondhand smoke, according to a study from the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology.
Limit your alcohol intake. Too much alcohol can lead to a hangover in anyone. For some people with migraine, any type of alcohol is a trigger for a migraine attack, and for others, only certain types of alcoholic drinks trigger attacks. Learn some tips for drinking safely from MigraineAgain.
Keep a food journal. Write down everything you eat and drink for a period of time to determine whether a certain food or beverage may be triggering your migraine attacks.
Exercise regularly. Exercise releases chemicals in your body that block pain signals to the brain and can help prevent tension headaches and migraine attacks, according to Mayo Clinic. But start slowly; overdoing it with vigorous exercise can trigger some types of headaches.
Maintain a healthy weight. In younger people, up to about age 50, obesity raises the risk of migraine. And in people with episodic migraine, it raises the risk of chronic migraine.
Consider taking supplements. Supplements like riboflavin (vitamin B2), coenzyme Q10, and magnesium (if your level is low) may help prevent migraine attacks, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Butterbur is an herbal remedy that some people take to prevent migraine attacks, but some experts caution against it because of possible liver toxicity. Always talk to your healthcare provider before taking any supplement.
How to Treat Medication-Overuse Headaches
Frequent use of any acute headache medication, including OTC drugs, can cause what are known as rebound, or medication-overuse, headaches, says Rozental. By definition, a medication-overuse headache occurs on 15 or more days of the month as a consequence of regular overuse of acute or symptomatic headache medication.
The only way to stop medication-overuse headaches is to stop using the drug or drugs that are causing them. However, this process can be uncomfortable and cause worsening of the headache, among other symptoms, according to the Migraine Trust. If you think you may have medication-overuse headache, speak to your doctor or a neurologist trained in chronic headache management.
Am I at Risk for Chronic Daily Headache?
Anyone who has recurrent acute headaches and who uses short-acting medication or techniques to treat them is at risk of developing chronic daily headache, which is characterized by headache symptoms 15 or more days of the month over three months.
The two most common types of chronic daily headache are chronic migraine and chronic tension-type headache, although people diagnosed with chronic migraine often also have symptoms of chronic tension-type headache, and vice versa.
Individuals with chronic daily headache often also have a diagnosis of medication-overuse headache.
If your head pain or other symptoms cause you to frequently take short-acting medication, talk to your doctor about being referred to a headache specialist, who should be able to identify medical treatments as well as lifestyle or behavioral changes that can prevent your symptoms while also reducing your reliance on acute medications.
Additional reporting by Ingrid Strauch.
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Some home remedies and lifestyle changes may help you get rid of headaches faster. This includes staying hydrated, changing your diet, or trying things like massage and acupuncture.
Relieving your headache
For many people in today’s busy world, headaches have become an increasingly common occurrence. Sometimes they are the result of medical conditions, but often, they’re simply a result of stress, dehydration, a late work night, or just overdoing it at your spin class.
While there are plenty of treatments to reduce headaches, including over-the-counter ibuprofen or acetaminophen, or prescription headache medications, they don’t always eliminate the symptoms.
And tempting though it may be, the solution isn’t to take more than the recommended dosage. In fact, many common (and super simple) lifestyle habits can help reduce your headache pain without you ever reaching for a pill.
Yes, massages may seem luxurious, but they’re also incredibly therapeutic. Sometimes headaches result from tension in the upper body due to muscle strain from poor posture or a rigorous workout routine.
Massage therapy may be able to reduce chronic pain as well as ease muscle tension that causes headaches.
Take the time to research types of massage (Swedish, deep tissue, shiatsu, etc. ) and get reliable referrals for a practitioner near you who can effectively address your specific pain points.
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For muscle tension headaches, hot and/or cold compresses can offer relief. For the cold portion, place ice in a plastic bag covered with a thin cloth to avoid harming your skin. Place the ice pack on your forehead and/or cheeks, basically wherever the greatest source of pain is.
Just be sure to limit cold pack applications to no more than 10 minutes at a time.
For the hot portion, you can purchase a heat pack at most drugstores, or make your own using uncooked rice. Take a small pillowcase or piece of fabric and fill it about two-thirds full with uncooked rice. Sew or tie the open end together.
When needed, microwave the rice for one minute. Apply to the back of your neck or forehead for heated relief.
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Aromatherapy is the study of how certain smells can trigger positive and even healing responses in the brain.
Some smells have been reported to soothe and reduce the incidence of headaches. These include peppermint extract, eucalyptus, and lavender oil. They are readily available at many local health food stores or online.
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Acupuncture involves applying fine, sharp needles to key areas on the body as a means of promoting energy flow. It’s thought to stimulate the body’s natural pain-relieving compounds, and according to the National Institutes of Health, has been shown to reduce headache frequency and severity.
Yes, breathing. You know, that thing you do all the time already! It may sound silly, but tension-related headaches can sometimes be relieved with regular breathing exercises that help focus your mind and ease your muscles.
Start by finding a quiet place with a comfortable chair in your home, office, or other location where you will not be distracted. Next, take slow, rhythmic breaths, breathing in for five seconds then out for five seconds. As you relax, your muscle tightness reduces.
You can also try a progressive relaxation technique by focusing on each major muscle group in your body. Start from your toes and work your way up.
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Dehydration can contribute to a headache, but it can be easily avoided. Grabbing a good old-fashioned glass of water can help as much as an electrolyte-containing beverage such as Pedialyte, Gatorade, or Powerade.
But just as there are drinks that can reduce headaches, there are those that can trigger them.
Drinking too much coffee or too many caffeine-filled soft drinks can lead to headaches. So if you normally start your day with a Starbucks quad latte, you may want to trade it for a toned-down mixture of half caffeinated and half decaffeinated.
Alcohol, and particularly red wine, can also lead to dehydration that triggers headaches.
We hear a lot about the health problems caused by lack of sleep, and not getting your nightly minimum can lead to chronic headaches. But knowing you need more sleep and actually getting it are two different things.
There are several ways you can improve the amount and quality of your sleep, including the following.
Commit to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at regular times. Even if you just go to bed 15 minutes earlier or sleep 15 minutes later, this can be a step in the right direction.
Avoid stimulants in the hours before bed. Stimulants like alcohol, sugar, nicotine, and caffeine can keep you from sleeping and keep you up at night with trips to the bathroom. Give your body time to wind down before your head actually hits the pillow.
Choose a relaxing activity before bed. Turn off the television or computer and treat yourself to a good book or a hot bath. It may sound old fashioned, but a little relaxation goes a long way!
Certain foods, while delicious, have been known to contribute to headaches. Try keeping a “headache diary” of the foods and drinks you consume on a daily basis or specifically when you experience a headache.
If you identify a particular trigger, avoid it for some time and see if the headaches reduce. Possible problem foods include:
Caffeine-containing foods and beverages. Examples include chocolate, coffee, cola, and tea.
Monosodium glutamate-containing foods. MSG is used as a preservative and has traditionally been used in some Asian cooking. It’s also found in foods like instant ramen noodles.
Nitrate-containing foods. Most simple meats, such as hot dogs, lunch meat, sausage, and pepperoni can cause headaches.
Tyramine-containing foods. Tyramine is a compound produced by the breakdown of an amino acid called tyrosine, and it’s found in foods like pizza and aged cheeses.
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The warmth and comfort of a steaming cup of herbal tea makes it an excellent way to wind down at night. Those same soothing qualities can have pain-relieving effects. Because herbs can interact with medical conditions and medications, it’s important to check with a doctor before drinking these teas.
Favorites for relaxation include chamomile, ginger, and dandelion.
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Rachel Nall is a Tennessee-based critical care nurse and freelance writer. She began her writing career with the Associated Press in Brussels, Belgium. Although she enjoys writing about a variety of topics, healthcare is her practice and passion. Nall is a full-time nurse at a 20-bed intensive care unit focusing primarily on cardiac care. She enjoys educating her patients and readers on how to live healthier and happier lives.
How to quickly relieve a headache without medication
Published: 10/24/2018Updated: 06/06/2023
Suddenly a headache: what could be the reasons? What to do if your head hurts a lot, and there are no pills at hand? Effective methods of relief of migraine symptoms without drugs. Prevention recommendations.
Headache is a common phenomenon that every person experiences from time to time. Pharmaceutical industry
offers a wide range of medicines for the rapid relief of migraine symptoms. However, for a number of reasons, it is not always
it is possible to take a pill (pregnancy, lactation, etc.). Finally, painkillers may simply not
be at hand in time. How to be in this case?
In this review you will find the answer to the question of how I can get rid of my headache without medication. We have collected in one
place the most effective techniques and are ready to share them with you.
In today’s world, there are many factors that provoke the appearance of migraine symptoms. Consider the main
- atmospheric pressure drops,
- overvoltage at work,
- stressful situations,
- headache may appear on the background of depression,
- unhealthy lifestyle (alcohol abuse, smoking),
- lack of sleep and rest,
- hormonal changes in the body,
- due to various diseases (e.g. arterial hypertension or sinusitis),
- overexertion of the eye muscles.
Headache can develop under the influence of a wide range of factors. Medics
are unanimous in their opinion that such a state should by no means be tolerated. Migraine is characterized by destruction of nerve
endings and brain cells. If this problem is ignored, it can become chronic.
Therefore, it is important to know what to do for pain in the head and start acting on time.
How to relieve a headache without pills: effective methods
So, you suddenly have acute migraine symptoms, and the pills were not at hand. Stands up accordingly
the question is how to relieve the pain in the head?
In fact, drugs are not the only way that quickly helps with headaches. Apart from
pharmacological agents, there are many more proven methods that people have resorted to at different times. Here you can
include special exercises and practices, enrichment of the body with fresh air, water procedures, etc. Consider
each method in more detail in order.
Probably many of you have noticed that after a long stay in a confined space, the head begins to “buzz”.
The reason for this condition is banal – a lack of oxygen and an increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide. Under such conditions
the vessels of the brain begin to narrow, resulting in pain.
In this case, the answer to the question of how to make your head not hurt is literally on the surface. You just need
ensure the free flow of clean air into the room. To ventilate the room well enough.
If you live near busy highways or industrial sites, open
windows will not be the best idea – dust and harmful gases will freely penetrate inside. For this case there is
effective solution: install breather. The ventilation system will be
effectively clean the air streams from the street and provide a continuous supply of pure oxygen.
Massage is an effective method that will help relieve headache at home. He may be
- Point (acupressure) is a special technique that consists in pressing on
certain points on the human body to treat various diseases (including migraine) and improve general
state of the body. This massage is based on the principles of Chinese medicine. For example, to relieve headaches
click on the following places: a point between the eyebrows (“Yin-tang”), two points under the cheekbones on the sides of the sinuses
(“Ju-liao”), two points in the middle between the beginning of the spine and the ear (“Tian-Zhu”), etc.
- Generic – Helps relieve spasms and improves circulation. Can be massaged with gentle movements
the area around the neck and shoulders, as well as the temples and forehead. Strong pressure on the head and neck should be avoided.
Headaches are often the result of severe overexertion and stress. Relax and recover
Taking a warm bath or shower will help.
Heat will help dilate blood vessels and relieve spasms. To enhance the effect, you can add steam to the water
drops of special aromatic substances. For example, it can be lavender, sandalwood, lime, mint or
eucalyptus essential oil.
It has long been established that these substances have a calming effect and improve sleep, which means that there is a high probability that
that after taking such an aromatic bath, migraine symptoms will quickly pass.
Re-hydration for headaches
If you are puzzled by the question of how to get rid of a headache, then try to remember how much liquid
usually drink during the day.
Dehydration is one of the possible causes of migraine symptoms. This is especially acute on hot days.
The lack of fluid leads to an active contraction of cells in the brain, which causes pain. So don’t forget
drink enough liquid daily. For an adult, this rate is approximately 1-1. 5 liters
This may seem strange to some, but in some cases headaches can be caused by the use
types of products. For example, she is a frequent “guest” in people who abuse alcohol, foods high in
caffeine (tea, coffee, some types of sweet soda), chocolate (in addition to caffeine, it also contains
beta-phenylethylamine, which leads to the expansion of the blood vessels of the brain), various smoked meats (sausages, sausages
If you suffer from frequent headaches, you should limit your intake of the above foods and
include in your diet “antipodes”, rich in:
- magnesium (nuts, seeds, beans, spinach) – this component helps to relax muscles and reduce tension,
- vitamin B (dairy products, eggs, green vegetables) – it improves blood circulation and helps reduce
- coffee can be replaced with ginger tea with the addition of a small amount of tea leaves and honey. This drink is not only
It will relieve headaches, but it will also be an excellent prophylactic against colds.
What should be done so that the head does not hurt: we distinguish between primary and secondary pain
To understand how to relieve pain in the head, it is necessary to understand its true cause. Physicians distinguish between two types
- Primary – occurs under the influence of external factors and does not have a structural and metabolic cause. Described
The above methods will help to quickly remove such a headache without medication.
- Secondary – in this case, the symptoms of migraine are the result of a disease or any pathological
process that takes place inside the body. It can be: a brain tumor, hypertension, Lyme disease,
intracerebral hematoma, etc.
How effective treatment for recurring headaches will be depends largely on the accuracy of the diagnosis and
timely identification of the true causes of the development of such a condition. Therefore, even if you managed for a while
stop the symptoms of migraine, with frequent exacerbations, be sure to consult a doctor.
When headaches get worse, some people immediately start to panic and think about the worst. Indeed, a migraine
may be due to a serious illness. However, more often these symptoms appear as a result of improper
The following preventive measures will help to achieve a stable “remission”:
- spend more time outdoors and do not forget to ventilate the apartment every day,
- review your diet (food should be easy to digest and rich in useful trace elements),
- control the amount of fluid you drink to avoid symptoms of dehydration,
- observe the correct sleep and wake patterns,
- avoid stressful situations and overexertion as much as possible,
- alternate between work and leisure (people who are constantly busy with work often suffer from headaches),
- get rid of bad habits (alcohol, smoking).
If the headache becomes frequent and intense, be sure to contact
doctor for accurate diagnosis and treatment. We wish you good health and good mood!
step-by-step instructions with expert advice
Probably everyone has experienced a headache at least once in their life. According to the World Health Organization, headache is one of the most common disorders of the nervous system, and almost 20% of the population suffers from chronic headaches 1 . Headache can be called the oldest disease of mankind. The first descriptions of pain appeared more than 5000 years ago, and since then this problem has not ceased to be relevant.
Pain of pain is different. There are several types of headaches that differ in their cause, intensity, frequency of occurrence, localization and accompanying symptoms. To put it simply, all types of pain can be divided into primary and secondary 1 .
Primary headaches are not a symptom of any disease: they include tension headache and migraine. 90-95% of all headaches are primary.
Secondary headaches are usually caused by injuries and diseases of the brain and blood vessels 1 .
We will talk about the primary headache, which is of a short and episodic nature. Such pain can be relieved at home without consulting a doctor. With regular and prolonged headaches, a medical consultation is necessary.
Step-by-Step Guide to Relieve a Headache
If your headache is not caused by a serious illness, you can manage it yourself. We have compiled a step-by-step instruction for you on how to quickly relieve a headache at home.
The easiest way to get rid of a headache is to take over-the-counter medication. It can be an analgesic or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. Aspirin, ibuprofen or preparations based on them are commonly used 2 . The medicine will begin to work approximately 30 minutes after ingestion.
However, you should not abuse painkillers. Be especially careful with aspirin. Among the contraindications: blood clotting disorders and stomach ulcers. Children should also not be given aspirin.
Prophylactic drug treatment to reduce the frequency of seizures is carried out strictly according to the doctor’s prescription.
If you are not a drug addict, massage is an excellent pain reliever. Massage your head, earlobes and neck. Massage will improve blood circulation, relieve tension and divert attention from pain. Perfectly helps with headache massage of the occipital region and the base of the skull. A massage of the back, bridge of the nose and biologically active points on the body will enhance the effect.
Warm bath or shower
A warm bath is a great way to relax. Warm water improves blood circulation, relieves tension in the muscles of the head and neck 2 . To enhance the effect, add sea salt or a few drops of lavender, mint or marjoram essential oil to the water. If you can’t take a bath, a warm shower is a good alternative.
Essential oils can also be inhaled or rubbed into the scalp. Apply a drop of lavender oil to your temples and massage them for 10 minutes. A cold compress with lavender oil applied to the forehead or back of the head will also help. Rosemary, peppermint and chamomile oils also have a calming and relaxing effect.
Rest and healthy sleep
Overwork and chronic fatigue are common causes of headaches. Healthy and long sleep will help reduce the frequency of attacks. If you have a headache during the day, then lie down for at least 5-10 minutes in a dark, cool and quiet room. Even this slight rest will help reduce the headache or get rid of it altogether.
Water and nutrition
Often a headache can occur due to a lack of water in the body, due to which the blood “thickens”, water-salt metabolism is disturbed 3 . Drink a glass of water to help relieve pain. To prevent dehydration, try to drink at least 1 liter of pure water daily.
Headache can also appear with sharp fluctuations in blood glucose levels with irregular meals. Eating hot food will help you feel better. A cup of hot coffee or strong tea will also help to cope with pain, as the caffeine and tannins contained in them constrict the vessels of the brain. But don’t get carried away, too much caffeine can also cause headaches.
Fresh air is an excellent remedy for headaches. Lack of oxygen and prolonged work in a sitting position disrupt the blood supply to the brain 3 . Take a walk in the fresh air, do a couple of physical exercises. If this is not possible, just open the window or sit on the balcony.
Cold constricts blood vessels for a while, which brings immediate relief from headaches. It can be ice cubes wrapped in a towel, or just a plastic bottle of cold water. Apply a compress to the forehead, temples, back of the head and base of the neck for 10-15 minutes, and the headache will subside.
Constant tension and stress interfere with the body’s production of dopamine (the “pleasure hormone”) and can lead to headaches. In addition, when we are stressed or excited, we often clench our teeth and tense our neck muscles.
Try to relax. Use any relaxation technique you know, be it breathing exercises, relaxation, or just prayer. Even simple yawning can help relax facial muscles.
Popular questions and answers
We asked our expert general practitioner Mikhail Lystsov to answer popular questions related to the causes and treatment of headaches.
What causes a headache?
— There are many causes of pain. They may be the result of injury or serious illness, but most often they are not pathological in nature and are caused by overexertion of the muscles of the head and neck, or are the result of fatigue or stress. Such pain can be removed at home, it does not last long. For severe and prolonged pain, consult a doctor.
What should I do if my head hurts for several days?
– If the headache lasts for several days, especially if this has not been observed before, do not delay your visit to the doctor. The causes of such pain may lie in the violation of the functions of organs or systems of the body (for example, vascular pathology). A qualified doctor will help to find and eliminate the cause of this condition.
Which doctor should I contact if I have a headache?
— Headache is treated by doctors of any profile. It all depends on the cause of the pain. Whether it is caused by a disease of the central nervous system, ENT organs or the musculoskeletal system – the profile of a specialist depends on this. If you suffer from any chronic disease, please contact your doctor. At the first visit, consult a general practitioner or neurologist. These doctors will conduct an examination, identify the cause of the disease and, if necessary, refer you to a narrower specialist.