How to Get Rid of a Headache Without Medicine

Headaches are so inconvenient and annoying! And, they have quite the knack for ruining fun times and making the not-so-fun times even worse. Like most people, I usually reach for over-the-counter medicine without much thought. I just want to get past the pain so I can keep on keepin’ on! But, did you know that analgesics can cause rebound headaches (1)?

Yep, taking OTC medications can multiply one pesky little headache into many unwanted, clingy new enemies. Hello headache number 28 of a 28-day month. Plus, with OTC analgesics, we’re only treating the symptom instead of the cause.

I started thinking about why I get headaches in the first place. It’s generally three reasons for me: sinus, tension, or dehydration. Considering the causes helped me come up with some natural go-to solutions to get rid of headaches.

6 Natural Remedies for Headaches

The first time I tried the methods detailed below, my headache was gone faster than if I had used OTC medication. That experience is the inspiration for this post! Some days, I’m not sure which type of headache I have, so I’ll use a combination of techniques. Your headache causes and solutions may be different than mine. But hopefully I can share some ideas that might work for you, too:

Deep Breathing
Taking deep breaths probably won’t work alone, but it’s the first step in taking control of your headache and showing it who’s the boss! Deep breathing tells your body to slow down and relax.

Calming Scents
I really like the herbal blend in this scarf by Herbal Concepts, so I keep one at home and one at work. The two strongest aromas in it are lavender, which is a nerve tonic and cinnamon, which is an anti-spasmodic. Your go-to scent might be a hand cream, an essential oil, a candle, or something else like this headache and migraine essential oil patch.

Weighted Neck Wraps and Blankets
The scarf mentioned above has flax seeds in it that give it some weight, which I find relaxing. It lets my neck and shoulders know to take a load off. Since it’s a normal-looking scarf, I can get away with wearing it at work and nobody notices. If you want to try something more extreme, weighted blankets are trending. Studies on weighted blankets are limited and claims range from “weighted blankets are calming” to “weighted blankets increase oxytocin.” Truth is, some people like the weight and find it soothing, while others don’t. If you enjoy the heavy chest protector during X-rays at the dentist, chances are you’ll benefit from a weighted blanket.

Binaural Beats
Binaural beats are a type of sound therapy that utilizes two different frequencies in the right and left ears. Listeners use headphones. Different frequencies can cause different effects. For example, alpha patterns encourage relaxation while beta patterns are great for alertness and concentration. You can find all kinds of binaural beats music on the internet for a variety of purposes. Basically, just search “binaural beats for headaches” and give them a listen until you find one you like. Save it so you’re prepared. I personally like binaural beats that are mixed with the gentle sounds of nature: waterfalls, birds chirping, and all that sappy stuff.

Saline Nasal Spray
I think most of my headaches are related to sinus issues. The sneaking suspicion arises from the persistent, nagging, ongoing pressure in my forehead. Oh, and because I have to blow my nose every 10 minutes—that too. I keep a saline spray with me at all times to help flush out my sinus cavities. This has become a habit that I keep up with daily, and I can definitively say my sinus issues are better than ever. Steer clear of medicated sprays though. Who needs a side of rebound sinus issues with a main course of rebound headaches? Ugh!

If you’ve got a headache, no matter what the cause, it’s time to chug some water! It’ll keep your headache from getting worse and ease a headache that stemmed from dehydration (2). Enough said.

Natural Headache Relief

There are a million other solutions available for naturally soothing a headache. Try a bunch and see what works for you. Remember to:

  • Try to understand what causes your headaches
  • Determine the types of headaches you get
  • Plan ahead and be prepared with props and techniques

My co-worker, Joe, told me he likes the method of rubbing the part of your hand between your thumb and forefinger, even if it serves mostly as a distraction. That reminded me how my head never hurts as much during good conversations with good people.

Headaches are an unfortunate part of life, but try to stay in the game and don’t be shy to let others know what you’re going through. You never know who might have a magic technique.

Do you suffer from headaches? What kind of natural solutions work for you? Let us know in the comments!


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