How to Prevent and Treat the Worst Headaches Naturally

You woke up again with a dull pain in your head? Who doesn’t suffer from painful headaches cannot understand the feeling of despair, anxiety and even anger that overcomes you each time a new headache starts. Of course, everyone has a severe headache now and then and it is ok to treat them with pills in these cases.

However, when you suffer from chronic headaches, a life without painkillers seems almost unimaginable; you keep supplies at home, in your purse, in a drawer at work. In time, you fall into a vicious circle; on the one hand you can’t make the pain go away without pills, on the other frequent use of analgesics provokes new headaches (a condition called a rebound headache)

How to treat terrible headaches without pills? Here is a guideline to help you fight your headache and reduce the use of drugs to the minimum.

Step No 1. Identify the Type of Headache

suffering migraine

Those of you who have problems with headaches are probably familiar with the most common headache types: migraine and tension headache. Still, apart from these two there are other conditions that cause headaches you should know about.

Why is this important? In order to treat your specific condition successfully, you have to identify the type of headache you have. A person who suffers from e.g. migraine is prone to suffer from other headache types like tension or cluster headache.  Moreover, it often happens that the person struggles with a combination of 2 or more headache types. Unless you know the manifestation of each type, the right diagnose and treatment can’t be set. Here is the list of the most common types of headaches:

1. Migraine headaches

Women are more affected by this type of headache, most likely because of the hormonal changes the body goes through. The migraine attack usually starts with a mild pain in one part of the head, nausea and sensitivity to light and fragrances. Within 30-40 minutes (if no medicine is taken) the pain can become insufferable and a person can even start vomiting. In the worst cases the pain can last for up to 72 hours.

2. Tension headaches

They are characterised by an ache or constant pressure around the head, at the temples and at the back of the head. Even though they are not so difficult to handle as migraine, they are boring and can hinder your daily activities.

3. Sinus headaches

Among people who suffer from acute of chronic sinusitis, headaches are very common and they usually stop after the primary illness is cured. Sinus headaches are recognised by a mild to strong pain in the forehead, upper bone of the nose, under the eyes; you can even feel that your upper teeth are aching. The pain gets worse when you lower your head. This type of headache usually starts during the night, when you’re in a lying position and nasal discharge is not possible. If your suffer from chronic sinusitis, follow the doctor’s advice carefully; use saline nasal sprays at least once a day (especially in the evening) and keep you immune system strong.

4. Headaches connected with allergies

The situation with these types of headaches is similar to those with sinus headaches. Decongesting your nose and taking medicine against allergic rhinitis can help. You should also check if you are intolerant to some foods like milk, gluten, peanuts, food additives etc, since intolerance to some food can provoke headaches, stomach problems and nasal congestion.

5. Headaches connected with blood pressure

Changes in blood pressure, low or high often cause headaches, especially when the atmosphere pressure is above or under the optimal level. You’ll know that the ache is due to low pressure if it gets worse when you lower your head and vice versa. Taking a lot of liquid and savory food helps if you suffer from low blood pressure while lying down to rest can ease the pain if your blood pressure is high. In any case, you should talk to your doctor before taking any medicine.

Step No 2. Finding the Trigger

red wine girl

Lifestyle, generic components, medicine (both prescribed and over-the-counter) can provoke a headache. Being able to identify what causes your headache can help a lot in treatment. Try keeping a diary; write down when the headache occurred, was it preceded  by a stressful situation or food, how long did it last etc. The most common headache triggers are:

  • Caffeine – a moderate caffeine intake (1 to 2 cups a day) can actually help with a headache (caffeine is found in many medicines against it) but you should pay special attention to hidden caffeine in e.g. soft and energy drinks, chocolate, etc. If you drink a lot of coffee and intend to cut down on it, you may expect a headache due to caffeine withdrawal which usually stops after 2-3 weeks when your body get used to smaller caffeine doses.
  • Red wine – a glass a day is said to be healthy, but for a person prone to headache even such small amount can cause pain. Red wine and other alcoholic drinks contain a substance called tyramine which is believed to cause headache.
  • Cheese – all aged cheeses contain tyramine so it is best to take fresh cheese instead.
  • Delicatessen – they contain tyramin and large amounts of food additives. If a pain occurs on both sides of your head within two hours after having processed food, avoid processed products for a while and see if there will be changes.
  • Bad posture – long hours in front of a computer without paying attention to your posture cause pressure in your neck which leads to headache. Get ergonomic chairs and stretch a bit after every hour spent at your desk to loosen the muscle tension. A well chosen mattress and pillow can help too.
  • Strong scents –Perfumes, house cleaning products, flowers, scented candles etc. often provoke a migraine headache; if you can’t avoid them ventilate the rooms regularly.
  • Hormonal changes – PMS (also called PMT), menstruation, hormonal treatments, and menopause can all cause headaches. Talk to you gynecologist to see if this causes your headaches.

Step No 3. The Treatments

Blonde girl lying in the field

1. Take enough liquids

The first and most simple thing you can do is to take enough water. Good hydration helps with all types of headaches. Start the day with a glass of water, and always keep a bottle with you.

2. Eat regularly

Skipping meals lowers the level of sugar in your blood and hence provokes headache. Eat regularly to prevent this from happening.

3. Quit smoking

Even a second hand smoke can provoke severe headache, so imagine how it affects a passionate smoker. Quit smoking completely or at least cut down on cigarettes. The crucial benefit is that your head will get more oxygen which will prevent headaches.

4. Spend enough time at fresh air

Fresh air can do wonders when you have a headache. Go to a park, walk and breathe slowly to calm down and ease the pain.

5. Start doing moderate exercises

Regular exercise will enhance your body’s circulation and bring more oxygen to your head. Still, be careful and pick a mild activity that doesn’t require much strength. You can also try relaxation techniques like meditation, Yoga nidra, and biofeedback.

6. Visit an orthopedist

Very often a headache is caused by a spine or neck problem that can’t be seen on your regular visit to the doctor. That’s why you should visit a specialist, he will know if there is something else hiding behind headaches.

7. Check your eyesight

Maybe you need to wear glasses or change the ones you already have. Problems with eyesight are not always obvious; it looks like everything is ok, but you will know that for sure after a thorough examination.

8. Try acupuncture treatments

Acupuncture treatments are praised as the best way to get rid of chronic headaches. Consult an experienced acupuncturist to see how this can help you.

9. Take magnesium

Researches have shown that taking up to 400 mg of magnesium a day can prevent and cure headaches. Before using it, look here for more information.

10. Oxygen treatments

Some studies have shown that inhaling pure oxygen can relieve pain. To see how the oxygen therapy works and where to find the best doctors follow this link.

Prevention is the key when it comes to treating the worst headaches. Once the pain starts you can try to delay taking pills for 30 minutes by taking a glass of water, breathing slowly, going for a walk and rest if it is possible.

Follow these tips carefully, find the treatment that suits you most and have faith. Soon you’ll be pain-free.

About the author


I am a devoted hedonist who enjoys nice things – food, wine, fine arts, spending time with friends and family. Teaching mandarin Chinese is my life vocation, but my dream is to open a small restaurant and a patisserie. My life's motto: "Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment