Drink a glass of water
jazz3311/Shutterstock A drink of water might be the simplest and most effective of all home remedies for headaches: “Dehydration leads to the loss of fluid from the brain, which causes it to pull away from the skull and stimulates pain receptors, which can impair your ability to concentrate, make you irritable, and worsen an existing headache,” explains Rashmi Kulkarni, MD, a Family Medicine specialist at Gwinnett Medical Group’s Covenant Family Medicine. To avoid dehydration, Dr. Kulkarni recommends drinking enough water (48 to 64 ounces) throughout the day. This is what happens to your body when you start drinking enough water.
Eat salicylate-rich foods
New Africa/Shutterstock Chances are, you’ve never heard of this chemical, which is found in a myriad of plants and in most pain-relieving medications. It also happens to be the active ingredient in aspirin, putting the foods that contain it near the top of the list of home remedies for headaches, according to Lynn Anderson, PhD, ND, a naturopathic doctor and yoga therapist. She says that consuming salicylates-rich foods alone may be enough to treat headaches. “Fruits that are high in salicylates are raisins, prunes, apricots, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, grapes, pineapples, plums, oranges, tangerines, strawberries, and guava,” she says. Here are 9 more reasons to eat more cranberries.
Use a cold compress
Seksun Guntanid/Shutterstock Just as you’d apply ice to a swollen muscle or an inflamed injury or skin condition, you can ice your aching noggin. “Applying cold or frozen compresses to the neck, head or temples decreases inflammation, slows nerve conduction, and constricts blood vessels, all of which help reduce headache pain,” explains Julie Rosenberg, MD, a pediatric oncologist and author of Beyond the Mat. Here’s how to tell whether ice or heat is best for your muscle pain.