While most headache pains are tolerable, sometimes they make you question your existence. What is worse about a headache is it might not be too painful, but one can barely focus on their work. A good chunk of the population scarcely suffers from headache pain, but almost a quarter of the population is susceptible to experiencing frequent headaches. Since headache pain is recurrent for some people, painkillers are out of the question. So how to get rid of headache pain without palliatives?
Before we dive into this question, we should inform ourselves about the types of headaches, their triggers, and their causes. Also, what contributes to headaches, and when should you consult a doctor?
1-What Causes Headaches?
The cause behind a headache depends upon its type, but here I will give an insight into some common triggers.
- Fastings/ Skipping meals
- Poor posture
- Caffeine withdrawal
- Sensitivity to light, sound, and straining activities.
Note:- these are causes for only one type called primary headaches.
2- Know the Type of Headache/ Migraine attack That is Causing your Headache
There are 150 and above types of headaches. Here we are going to discuss two common types, primary and secondary.
2.1- Cluster Headaches (Primary type)
a- Headache Symptoms-
Cluster headache is a primary type of headache that causes one-sided pain. Excruciating, the pain occurs behind/around one eye and gradually diverges to other areas, such as the face, head, and neck. They also cause runny noses and teary eyes.
Other symptoms of cluster headaches include restlessness, migraine attacks, redness, runny nose, swelling, and facial sweating, all around the affected side.
2.2- Tension Headaches (Primary Type)
a- Headache Symptoms
Tension-type headaches are the primary type of headaches and are the most common ones. This is self-diagnosable and has mild to moderate pain. However, unlike cluster headaches, the entire headache is. Tension headache is triggered due to genetics, stress, sleeping problems like insomnia, spending long hours in front of the screen, extraction work, etc.
2.3- NPHD (New Daily Persistent Headache)
a- Headache Symptoms
New-daily-persistent headaches (NPHD) are a primary headache. Its symptoms are severe to moderate headache pain. But these are chronic headaches meaning the pain can last forever.
The other symptoms are similar to migraine attacks example- vomiting, nausea, and sensitivity to light or sound. These occur between children aged 10-18, sometimes even in their adult years. However, healthcare professionals have not been able to find the real reason behind the chronic nature of this headache.
2.4- Migraine Headaches
a- Headache Symptoms
Migraine headaches cause throbbing and excruciating pain that may last several hours to some days. This neurological disease restricts your movement and is almost 80% genetic. Bright Lights, movement, sound, and others trigger migraines.
Other symptoms are tiredness and sickness, for example- nausea, visual disturbances, numbness, speech impairment, tingling, temporary loss of vision, etc.
Also, check out What Helps with Nausea? 7 Effective Remedies
2.5- Dehydration Headache (Secondary Type)
a- Headache Symptoms
A dehydration headache happens when your body is dehydrated or when there is a shortage of fluids in the body for a long time. The pain from such a headache is mild to severe. Other symptoms might include fatigue, dizziness, etc. Pain relievers and home remedies work best for trigger headaches.
2.6- Sinus Headaches (Secondary Type)
a- Headache Symptoms
Sinus headache symptoms include pressure around the forehead, cheekbones, nose bridge area, stuffy nose, fullness in ears, and puffy face. This type of headache is caused due to cough and cold, seasonal allegories, among other reasons. The pain in sinus headaches is very similar to a migraine headache except for the throbbing part of a migraine.
2.7- Medication Overuse Headache/ Rebound Headache (Secondary Type)
a- Headache Symptoms
These are caused due to overuse of pain medications. People who suffer from frequent headaches start taking pain reliever medicines every day. In turn, medication overuse causes more frequent headaches, and one keeps eating the same to cope with it, creating a vicious cycle of depending on these medicines.
Symptoms of medication overuse headaches are frequent morning headaches and a return of pain once the medication effects fade. The pain ranges from moderate tension headaches to serve-like migraine attacks. To break this cycle of medication overuse, one must either completely stop using daily pain relievers or gradually decrease the dosage as prescribed by the doctor.
3- How Can We prevent Migraines and Headaches?
These are some of the ways listed to prevent headaches
- Healthy sleep of 7-8 hours
- Cognitive behavioral therapy to reduce stress
- Exercise every week- home workout/ gym every every
- Do not skip meals – it is counterproductive on all fronts
- Eating nutritional meals
- Keeping ourselves hydrated
- Avoid your triggers – make a list of your triggers and be mindful of these.
- Reduction in caffeine intake
These are just some ways to prevent headaches or migraine attacks, but one should try maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
4- When Should One Consult a Doctor?
- Frequent headaches for long hours, so much so that one is forced to take painkillers, pain relievers, and over-the-counter(otc) medication daily or at least frequently.
- Throbbing pain with other symptoms, for example:- red eye, eye-tearing, etc.
- Headaches that do not get any better after medication.
- Headaches after accidents
- Headaches after a severe/ mild blow to your head.
- An uncommon but life-threatening headache named thunderclap headache. As the name suggests strikes you with the worst headaches of your life. It is a common symptom of subarachnoid hemorrhage.
- If headaches are triggered by coughing, bending, strain, or exertion.
- Severe headaches/ frequent headaches prevent your normal activities.
5- How to Get Rid of Headache Caused by Tension
Tension headaches are the most common, and the pain occurs all over the head. The causes are stress, tension, strenuous work, exerting activities, etc.
5.1- How to Get Rid of Headache through Medication
Over-the-counter (otc) pain relievers may bring headache relief. The pain relievers include acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium.
Tension headaches can take the form of rebound/ medication overuse headaches once you take these medicines frequently.
5.3- Other Ways to Reduce Tension Headache
To avoid the vicious cycle of rebound headaches, there are other ways to reduce tension headaches-
- Home remedies– Natural remedies like a cold compress work best for tension headaches.
- Yoga– Certain yogas reduce stress, tension, anxiety, and relaxation to mind does wonder. Most of these yogas are one click away. You can perform these yogas at home itself.
- Exercise– Regular exercise from home or the gym also relieve headache pain. Regular exercise provides movement and relaxation to muscles and the mind. There has been enough research and scientific evidence to back this up.
- Counseling– can provide and equip you with coping mechanisms, especially for those dealing with frequent head pain.
- Relaxation techniques– such as breathing exercises, massages, meditation, soothing brown noises, and relaxing music can work to relieve pain.
- Chiropractic Massage– works best not only to relieve tension but also other pains in the parts of the body. The chiropractor applies controlled and sudden force to the spinal joints providing relaxation by increasing physical movement, this work best in providing all kinds of pain relief.
- Other ways- include staying hydrated and a drop of lavender essential oil and peppermint essential oils.
6- How to Get Rid of Headache- Cluster Headaches
Cluster headaches occur when blood vessels dilate and touch a large nerve that runs from the side of the ear down to the face at length, the jaw. The pain is of a worse kind (worse than migraine) but does not stay for days.
6.1- How to
Get Rid of Headache
However, a drawback is that the root cause behind the cause of cluster is not known yet. Therefore, no pain medication, prescription, or over-the-counter (otc) will work.
But nasal sprays or injected medication can be infused to abort cluster headaches. These include
b- dihydroergotamine and
6.2- Other Ways to Reduce Cluster Headache
- Acupuncture– is an ancient Chinese treatment that uses the needle insertion technique to relieve pain.
- Chiropractic Massage– as already discussed, is a popular technique to reduce joint pain (here, neck joints) and provide relaxation and relieve pain.
- Chiropractic care- Though many people have benefitted from chiropractic care to reduce cluster headaches; the exact reason is unknown. One could say that chiropractic work on spinal joints might re-align and re-adjust any such neck joint which is not already aligned.
- Avoid triggers– Find your triggers and actively avoid them, but alcohol, tobacco, and intoxication are the most common triggers for people dealing with cluster headaches.
- Physiotherapy/ Physical Therapy- Working through massage, stretching, movements, and joints helps the case.
7- How to Get Rid of Headache Caused by Migraines
Migraine attacks are the worst form of non-life-threatening headaches. People suffering from migraine attacks suffer from a distinct throbbing pain that lasts for days. The severity of pain can restrict daily activities.
7.1- Acute Treatment through Medication-
- Abortive medication can be used to stop the pain at the nip of it. As soon as you are hinted of a migraine attack, take these. These also prevent the escalation of pain, nauseous, and sensitivity related to light or sound. Abortive medicine dilates the blood vessels and stops the throbbing pain. But, this should be taken as soon as you get a hint of this. Abortive medication- Sumatriptan, Zolmitriptan, and Naratriptan can be taken.
- A preventive medicine named prophylactic can be taken to reduce the severity of the pain.
- Three over-the-counter (otc) medicines that help in migraine attacks are Excedrin Migraine, Advil Migraine, and Motrin Migraine Pain.
- Like tension headaches, overuse of these medicines can increase dependency causing rebound headaches.
- Note- Take these vitamins and medication only at the direction of your healthcare specialist.
7.2- Other Ways to Reduce Migraine Headache
- Cold compress– Many people experience mild pain relief when they place ice packs near the neck.
- Caffeine – in adequate amounts helps to reduce migraine’s severity by constricting blood vessels and bringing them back to normal. But too much caffeine might trigger headaches and anxiety.
- Chiropractic Care– works best in the treatment of migraine attacks. Many studies and researchers have proved that spinal movement adjustments have reduced the frequency and severity of migraine attacks.
- High Histamine Foods should be avoided– by people sensitive to histamine products like cheese, fermented pickles, processed meat, wine, beer, etc. Even though there is a natural secretion of histamine in our body, these products are high in histamine, and people sensitive to histamine might get their migraine triggered.
- Other ways to reduce the severity of the migraine are-
a- Magenisum consumption, Riboflavin (vitamin B2), and Co-enzyme Q10 are just some vitamins, minerals, etc. might help.
b- staying in a dark, quiet, cold room.
c- Yoga and Exercise
c- Meditation, massaging, and applying pressure to your temple in a circular motion
8- How to Get Rid of Headache Caused by Sinus
Sinus headaches are caused by Sinusitis (allergic, nonallergic, or fungal) which changes the pressure in the sinuses due to bacteria. The change in air and pressure in the sinuses causes this type of headache. A weak immune system, nasal growths, allergies, asthma, etc., are common triggers of sinus headaches.
8.1- How to Get Rid of Headache through Medication
Viruses, bacteria, and fungi cause sinuses. For sinus headaches caused by viruses, no medicine is needed. But for bacterial or fungal infections, one might need antibiotic or antifungal medications.
8.2- Other Ways to Reduce Migraine Headache
- Hot & Cold Compresses – alternating between hot and cold compresses placed on their forehead reduces swelling and drains the sinus.
- Neti Pot – owes its origin to ancient India. This is used for nasal congestion from allergies, colds, or sinus infections. The long spout of the neti pot goes into one side of the nose and releases water which rinses the mucus and comes out from the other nose. This drainage of the sinus from the nose makes it easier to breathe.
- If a vaporizer, neti pot, inhaling steam, and hot showers are a hassle, use a saline nasal spray to extract mucus from the nose.
- Other ways include-
- a- hot showers to steam and drain the mucus
- b- Eucalyptus Essential Oil
- c- Stengethening immunity
9- How to Get Rid of Headache – Rebound Headaches
Rebound headaches occur due to the overuse of over-the-counter pain meds.
9.1-How to Get Rid of Headache through Medication
Ironically, to stop rebound headaches, one needs to stop the cause of it, meaning put a break on the usage of pain meds. Initially, a total break from pain medicine might aggravate your headache. But gradually, the pain will subside.
While in some patients, pain meds are completely stopped. In others, they will be tapered slowly.
9.2- Other ways to reduce rebound headache
- A chiropractor can help you find coping mechanisms, techniques, and other natural alternatives.
- Nonmedical therapies such as biofeedback- teach people to modify their bodies’ function without using medicines. This is mind-body therapy for the betterment of physical and mental health.
10- How to Get Rid of Headache Caused by Hormones
Estrogen levels influence many bodily functions and also tend to cause headaches around periods. The drop in estrogen around periods causes such a headache. People suffering from menstrual migraines might experience headaches around their periods, one or two days precisely. Headaches around or during the start of ovulation are called hormonal headaches.
10.1-How to Get Rid of Headache through Medication
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NAID)- such as ibuprofen and naproxen.
10.2- Other Ways to Reduce Menstrual Migraine
- Yoga and Exercise- Practising yoga and exercising once a week helps regulate cramps and prevents headaches. Yoga that regulates your blood flow and increases blood circulation will help during menstrual migraines. For exercise, mild stretching, swimming, bike riding, and trudging a small distance might relieve the pain.
- Healthy Sleep– A healthy sleep of 7-8 hours is essential for replacing old hormones with new ones. Healthy sleep also prevents an overload of hormones, which can be one of the reasons behind headaches.
- Chiropractic Massage– Such massages work on spinal joints and provide relief from stress and tension, thereby preventing headaches.
- Chiropractic Care- also teaches you coping methods to prevent these migraines. In general, frequently working on your spinal joints and being under the supervision of a chiropractor is good for menstrual migraine.
- Birth pills– work differently for different people. Hence, if a particular birth control pill is acting differently for your body and is causing pain, you must visit the doctor.
- Diet– Avoid food that triggers headaches, such as artificial sweeteners, chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol. High-histamine foods like cheese, processed meat, fermented pickle, wine, etc., should be avoided.
11- How to Get Rid of Headache- Dehydration+ NDPH
- Dehydration makes your brain and other tissues in your body contract. When your brain shrinks, it draws away from the skull and puts pressure on nerves causing dehydration and headaches. Since the reason behind such headache relief is the lack of fluid, drinking fluid will plump up the brain and tissue. The brain and tissues will go back to their previous size.
- Degradation Headache can also be prevented by taking over-the-counter (otc) medication, relaxing in a cold and quiet room, stretching and exercising, drinking plenty of fluid, cold compresses, etc.
- New daily persistent headaches (NDPH) are a rare condition that doctors have yet to find the root cause behind its occurrence. Usually, medicines are the only way to treat these or alleviate their severity. Profile access by the doctor might help them recommend the type of medicine one is required.
- Some medicines for New daily persistent headaches (NDPH) disorders are:
- a) Antidepressants- like nortriptyline and venlafaxine, and amitriptyline will help prevent NDPH.
- b) Beta-blockers like propranolol, angiotensin-II receptor, and blockers like candesartan works best in alleviating NDPH. These medicines are used to cure migraine headache
Other ways to prevent NDPH are eating a healthy diet, getting physical activity, and having a sleep schedule of 7-9 hours.
At length, these are some of the few natural and medical remedies to get rid of headache pain.