21 Natural Ways to Prevent and Treat Headaches
What's that pain?
Anyone who's ever had a headache (and that's 90% of the entire population, according to some estimates) knows that they can range from nagging to debilitating. The most common type is a tension headache, a mild, constricting feeling around your head that's often caused by holding your neck in a tight position. Migraines, on the other hand, tend to be both intense and recurring. Medication is one way to treat your discomfort, but there are also plenty of natural ways—like the 21 tricks listed here—that can help you head off the ache.
Mark W. Green, MD, director of the Center for Headache and Pain Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, agrees. He recommends lying down in a dark, well-ventilated room. If you can, he adds, try to sleep for an hour or so. "Rather than fighting sleep and making things worse, this can be a great treatment."
Eat small, frequent meals
In general, Dr. Green advises his headache patients to graze on small meals throughout the day, rather than three large ones at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. "This way your blood sugar stays more consistent and you won't experience those types of crashes."
Ice your forehead
Take a hot shower
Get a massage
Go easy on the alcohol
For people who are sensitive to headaches or migraines, however, even just a small amount of alcohol can trigger a painful attack, says Dr. Green. "Anyone will get a headache if they drink a whole bottle of wine, but there are lots of people who will get a headache just from one glass,” Dr. Green says. “For those people, it's all about learning to recognize their triggers and knowing when to stop."