Headache Relief Without Drugs: 6 Natural Remedies

Easier than you think: Next time your skull's pounding, turn to these natural DIY headache remedies for quick relief.

The Coffee Remedy

A clinical trial in Illinois found that caffeine, which reduces the swelling of blood vessels, can reduce both the intensity and frequency of headaches. Subjects in one group were given caffeine alone, and 58 percent reported complete relief. Subjects in the other group were given caffeine in a combination with ibuprofen and 70 percent saw symptoms disappear. Try sipping a cup of coffee for headache relief.

The Hot or Cold Relief

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To cure a tension headache (caused by contractions in the head and neck, and brought on by–among other things–stress, anxiety, and lack of sleep) without painkilling drugs, dip a washcloth in hot water, wring it out, and fold it into a compress. Now place it on your forehead or the back of your neck to relax tight muscles.

To ease a vascular headache (including migraine and cluster headaches, and stemming from the contraction and expansion of blood vessels in a particular area of the head), follow the same procedure, but using cold water, which constricts the blood vessels and reduces blood flow, taking the pressure off and providing relief to a hurting head.

The Massage Remedy

Use your middle finger to massage the points of the face just opposite your nostrils–that is, at the level of the tip of your nose. Massage with clockwise circles for 2 or 3 minutes to provide relief for your headache.

The Foot Soak Remedy

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Blood drawn to the lower body will reduce pressure in the blood vessels of the head—and what's lower than your feet? To help soothe a throbbing vascular headache, soak your feet in a small tub filled with hot water mixed with mustard powder for headache relief. After a half hour or so, hotfoot it to the nearest towel and dry your feet.

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The Ginger Tea Remedy

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Ginger works especially well for migraines. Make a tea by pouring 3 cups water over 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger. Let steep 4 to 5 minutes, then strain through a small sieve into a teacup. Sip the tea for headache relief. Ginger tea bags are also available, but the tea lacks the punch of fresh ginger-root tea.

The Headband Remedy

Tie a scarf, necktie, or bandana tightly around your forehead to reduce the flow of blood to your scalp, and in turn, to throbbing, swollen blood vessels. You should feel some relief after a few minutes.

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