Suffering from headaches, but you’re not too sure what to do about them?
Headaches are a common condition, and unfortunately, a lot of people deal with them on a regular basis—sometimes even daily. And, while serious headaches like migraines often require medical intervention, most of us are just left coping with everyday headaches like those caused by tension or stress.
A standard headache can have a lot of causes, including those that aren’t due to any sort of underlying disease. In those cases, your best bet is usually to treat various potential causes—and to (hopefully) prevent headaches from happening in the first place.
Here are natural methods that may be worth a try.
1. Up your water intake
If you’re not drinking enough water every day, that could be what’s to blame for your headaches. In fact, tension headaches are often referred to as dehydration headaches, since they’re likely at least partially caused by either failing to drink enough water or by failing to replenish the water that you lose through sweat while exercising.
As a good rule of thumb, aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day, with each glass measuring at least eight ounces (one cup). If you’re working out a lot, you may also want to supplement your electrolytes by adding in a low-sugar sports drink, which will help keep you hydrated for longer.
2. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep
For many people, there is a very strong connection between the amount of sleep that they get and the frequency and severity of their headaches. That’s because a lack of sleep leads to an increase in certain proteins that both cause pain and reduce the body’s threshold for pain, which is a recipe for headaches and other ailments.
Plan for at least 7-9 hours of sleep every night to stay balanced, and check out the sleep section of our blog for help making it happen.
3. More ginger tea, less coffee
Too much caffeine—or drinking caffeine too close to bedtime—doesn’t just mess with your sleep cycles; it can also lead to headaches. Try to limit how much coffee you drink every day to no more than 200 mg, and as an alternative for that extra third or fourth cup, swap in some ginger tea. Ginger contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, both of which can help address the root causes of tension headaches.
4. Get active
Endorphins are natural painkillers, and they’re released every time that you work out. Walking, biking, or swimming are all excellent ways to increase your daily physical activity, even if you’re not a gym person. Just try to get at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week and you should be able to find some relief from ongoing headaches.
Other quick things you can try:
- Ice or heat packs: Place directly on your forehead for 10-20 minutes at a time. Ice will numb the area while heat will increase blood circulation, either of which can help with the pain of headaches.
- Stay off your phone: Easier said than done, we know, but limiting your phone time is key, since staring at a screen has been proven to put strain on your eyes that can lead to headaches.
- Get a massage: Tensed muscles can lead to headaches, so get some relief at the spa or give yourself a massage by rubbing your temples and shoulders.
Headaches happen, and they can make it hard to take care of yourself in other ways. Browse the rest of our blog for easy things that you can do in all areas of your life to feel your best, including things that can help you feel better when headaches are getting you down.