You’re sitting at your desk, in your home, or running errands, and all of a sudden you get this sharp pain in your head — a dreaded headache. According to the World Health Organization, 47 percent of the adult population has had a headache at least once in the past year. They are sometimes so debilitating, especially with the throbbing and intense pains. And when they don’t seem to subside, what do you do? Grab that bottle of aspirin, ibuprofen, or other pain reliever to help ease your suffering. However, instead of turning to pharmaceuticals, try some of these at-home remedies. In some cases, combining these treatments with an oral pain reliever might help, but speak to your doctor or health care provider before starting or changing any regimen.
1. Peppermint Oil: It has been used as a natural remedy and treatment for headaches because of its healing properties. It is a hybrid between watermint and spearmint and activates cold-sensitive receptors in the skin, giving a cooling feeling that will help to soothe your headache.
2. Capsaicin: An active component of chili peppers, it can cause a burning sensation when it comes in contact with human skin. However, it does have healing properties and it's helpful in alleviating cluster headaches when instilled into the nose, according to NYU Medical Center.
3. Acupuncture Massage: By applying pressure to certain points of your head, you can help to release some of the tension. Pressure points are clusters of nerves, and they help to regulate blood circulation. So by stimulating the pressure points, you’re increasing blood circulation and helping to alleviate the pain.
4. Cup of Tea: Caffeine is said to boost the effectiveness of standard painkillers. According to a study, 58 percent of a group reported that they felt better half an hour faster than those who took a standard pain reliever.
5. Stretching: Relieving muscle tension using stretching exercises can help headaches. Here are a few tips from How Stuff Works: Try these three: neck range of motion (chin forward, upward, and toward each shoulder); shoulder shrugs (shrug up, up and forward, and up and back); and neck isometrics (press palm into forehead and hold; press hand on each side of the head).
These remedies are not intended to treat or diagnose any problem. If your headaches are persistent, there might be a more serious issue, and it might be time to see your primary care physician or other medical professional.