If you’re just starting to get a headache, you may reach for a bottle of over-the-counter painkillers. That’s normal. But if the headache continues, you can try a number of home remedies for headaches that may work in lieu of pain-relieving drugs. While these techniques don’t work effectively for every type of headache, they can be a first attempt at dealing with your headache pain in a more natural way. Don’t start a home remedy on your own, however. Get an accurate diagnosis of your condition from Dr. Amr Hosny at the Advanced Headache Center in NYC and Paramus, NJ. Call today for a definitive consultation.
Why Use Home Remedies for Headaches?
Home remedies for headaches are often the best course of action to take when you’re just starting to get a headache. Popping a pill may sound like an easier choice, but even over-the-counter medications can aggravate your headache or cause chronic headaches. Home remedies offer relief from the pain your headache causes, but without aggravating the condition.
To better understand which home remedy may work for your headache, consult a medical specialist who understands headache causes, triggers, and treatments. Harvard-trained Dr. Amr Hosny has years of experience working with patients suffering from headaches. His practice, the Advanced Headache Center, has eight locations throughout Manhattan and across the river in Bergen County, New Jersey. The right diagnosis is important as there is a vast difference between types of headaches, such as:
Which Home Remedies Work Best for Headaches?
Primary headaches have no underlying causes, while secondary headaches — like spinal headaches, post-concussion headaches, and thunderclap headaches — are often due to a medical condition, such as a head or neck injury. Your specialist works to understand why and how you get headaches before he makes any recommendations for treatment.
You may need to answer some questions regarding your medical history and family background, as some headaches are genetic. Once Dr. Hosny has diagnosed your headache type, he may provide you some instructions for trying home remedies if your pain isn’t too severe. Home remedies include:
- Drinking more water. While this may sound too simple to work, studies have confirmed that dehydration can cause migraines and other forms of headaches.
- Exercising more. You can try physical therapy or opt to exercise at home. Yoga and Pilates are great ways to keep in shape while enabling your body to release natural painkillers: endorphins. Exercise may also reduce the frequency of your migraines.
- Stress and anxiety are leading causes of tension headaches, which is the most common type of headache in the U.S. By meditating, you relax your body and mind, decreasing your chances of triggering a migraine.
- Reducing caffeine consumption. Limiting or totally removing caffeine from your diet is another way to prevent needing migraine medications and other painkillers. Caffeine narrows your blood vessels and restricts the flow of blood to your brain, which can result in migraine pain.
- Improving your sleep. Not sleeping enough or suffering from restless sleep or insomnia may cause chronic migraines and tension headaches. Sleep also helps you to destress by relaxing your brain, further preventing the need for migraine treatments.
- Using compresses. Whether you use hot or cold temperature compresses, applying one to your head or neck area helps with headache pain. Hot compresses help to relax your muscles, while cold ones dull the pain from the headache. Try alternating between hot and cold for the best results.
How Can I Use the Home Remedies Effectively?
Most home remedies are designed to offer short-term relief. Dr. Hosny from the Advanced Headache Center in Midtown Manhattan and northern NJ knows that you can gain some long-term benefits from these treatments if you administer them properly. You may need to change your lifestyle to accommodate the home remedies in ways such as:
- Become more active. Exercise promotes circulation of your bloodstream, relaxes the mind, keeps your muscles supple, and helps your body stay in shape.
- Don’t skip your breakfast. Eat all your meals, but breakfast is especially important to give you the energy to start your day. Also, opt for healthier food options to keep your weight down, if that’s an issue for you.
- Develop regular sleep patterns. Try to go to bed at the same time every night. Set your alarm for the same time every morning. That regularity acclimates your body to a regular sleep pattern, encouraging you to sleep fitfully every night. If you suffer from insomnia or you still get restless during your sleep, talk to your migraine specialists for suggestions.
- Stop smoking.
- Drink less alcohol. Alcohol in excess affects the frequency and severity of your headaches.
- Keep a headache journal. Record when your headaches start, the pain intensity, and other details, such as what you’ve eaten. Reviewing these notes with your headache specialist helps him create a treatment plan that may need to go beyond home remedies.
- Restrict your intake of over-the-counter painkillers. Take them when your headache’s just starting, but don’t take them for more than 10 doses in a row. These drugs can cause medication overuse headaches.
Home remedies for headaches don’t work for all types of headaches, especially secondary headaches, where there’s an underlying medical condition for your pain. Always check with a headache specialist before starting any home remedies for headaches. Contact Dr. Hosny for more specific instructions for curing your headache pain.
Dr. Amr Hosny has either authored or reviewed and approved this content.
Advanced Headache Center
41 5th Avenue,
New York, NY 10003