12 Proven Ways to Get Rid of Headache (with Step By Step)

Headache is a prevalent problem particularly in Western Europe and the United States [1].

It comes in various types, the most common of which are tension-type and migraine headaches [2].

Another form called cluster headache is characterized by frequent episodes of severe pain [3].

Pain felt in the head region and neck can arise from a broad range of factors which may include lack of sleep, stress, fatigue, viral infection, head trauma, sinusitis, medications and so on [4].

To get immediate relief from pain and discomfort caused by this condition, make use of these efficient and reliable home remedies.

1. Ginger

Dubbed as “the natural gold”, ginger has always been an important herbal plant used in many parts of the world [5].

Among the many health issues that it can resolve is headache, as it possesses significant analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties [6].

A 1990 study conducted in Odense University in Denmark confirms that ginger is an effective and safe remedy for migraine [7].

The use of ginger appears to have a “abortive” as well as “prophylactive effects” on headaches due to migraine [7].

It’s important to note that this herbal remedy does not usually cause any harmful effects [7].

Unlike standard headache medications that should be always be used with caution and only for a limited period, ginger can be used for a long time [7].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 piece ginger root
  • 3 slices of lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of honey

Recommended Directions:

  • Extract juice from the ginger root and lemon using a juicer.
  • Combine the juice from ginger and lemon.
  • Add honey.
  • Mix well.
  • Consume a tablespoon of the mixture twice a day until pain subsides.

2. Peppermint Oil

Most people use peppermint oil to resolve digestive ailments, but did you know that it also works on headaches?

When applied topically, it can soothe and relieve pain from tension type headache [8, 9].

In one clinical trial, 32 patients suffering from headache were asked to use various herbal preparations and a placebo [8].

Significant improvement was reported among the users of peppermint oil [8].

In another study, the effects of peppermint oil and acetaminophen as pain relievers were analyzed [8].

It was found that 10 percent peppermint oil was more effective than acetaminophen in curbing headache in 41 patients [8].

Reduction in headache intensity was reported 15 minutes after topical application of the oil [8].

Apart from improvement of symptoms, it was also mentioned in these studies that peppermint oil did not cause any unpleasant side effects [8].

Other studies report the same thing, stating that peppermint oil can efficiently reduce the severity and intensity of pain felt in the head and neck areas [10, 11].

German researchers explain that this oil appears to have muscle-relaxing and mentally relaxing effects [10].

While it did not influence pain sensitivity, it did increase cognitive performance [10].

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 drops of peppermint oil
  • 1 tablespoon of almond oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Dilute peppermint oil in almond oil.
  • Massage your forehead with this oil mixture.
  • Repeat remedy whenever you feel pain.

3. Eucalyptus Oil

Another oil known for its minty scent and cooling effect, eucalyptus is also a viable remedy for headache and other types of body pain.

The analgesic properties of eucalyptus oil were tested by German scientists in 1995 [12].

More than 30 participants with headache who joined in the experiment were given various concentrations of eucalyptus and peppermint oil combination [12].

The formulations were applied on the temples and forehead with the use of a sponge [12].

Results indicate that eucalyptus oil can significantly tone down pain sensitivity and benefit people suffering from headache [12].

Like peppermint oil, it also has a cooling sensation on the skin that can help make you feel better.

What You’ll Need:

  • 4 drops of eucalyptus oil
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Add eucalyptus oil to olive oil.
  • Use this mixture to massage forehead and temples.
  • Repeat as needed.

4. Lavender Oil

Lavender is the favorite essential oil of those who are constantly stressed out or anxious.

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As an anxiolytic agent and “mood stabilizer”, it can reduce stress, which is a common trigger of headaches [13].

Those who suffer from headaches can also benefit from its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, sedative and hypnotic properties, which will calm your senses in no time [14, 15].

In 2012, researchers from Iran evaluated the efficacy of lavender oil as treatment for migraine headache using a placebo-controlled clinical trial [14].

In the experiment, 47 patients diagnosed with migraine headache were divided into two groups [14].

The first group was asked to inhale lavender oil for 15 minutes, while the other group used liquid paraffin also for 15 minutes [14].

Out of the 129 headache episodes, 92 were treated completely or partially to lavender [14].

Less than half, meanwhile, responded to the placebo [14].

These findings suggest that lavender is an efficient way to manage migraine headaches [14].

Its therapeutic effects are said to be comparable to that of diazepam [15].

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of lavender oil
  • 2 cups of hot water

Recommended Directions:

  • Pour lavender oil in water.
  • Inhale the steam.
  • Do this while massaging your head.
  • Follow this procedure each time you feel you’re about to have a headache.

5. Water

Most people don’t realize that water deprivation and headache are actually connected.

The link between the two has been established in various clinical trials [16, 17, 18, 19].

Findings show that drinking more water reduced the pain associated with both migraine and tension type headaches, recommending water intake as a “cost effective, non-invasive and low-risk” solution for headache problem [20, 21].

In a 2005 study, 18 patients with migraine and tension headaches were randomized to be given either a placebo medication, or additional 1.5 liters of water per day [20].

The treatment period lasted for 12 weeks [20].

Water therapy appeared to reduce the total hours and total numbers of headache by week two [20].

Although the results are promising, researchers recommended a larger scaled experiment to be done on this matter [20].

In a more recent study dated 2015, researchers from London found that increased water intake can treat mild dehydration which triggers the onset of headache [21].

However, they also believe that more randomized controlled trials are needed to confirm the efficacy of water as headache remedy [21].

What You’ll Need:

  • 8 to 10 glasses of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Drink eight to 10 glasses of water a day.
  • Do this everyday.

6. Exercise

Scientists from Finland performed a study that tested the effectiveness of a 12-month exercise program on headache relief [22].

In this experiment, 180 female office employees who suffer from headache and neck pain were allocated into three groups [22].

The first group was instructed to do “isometric, dynamic and stretching exercises”, the second group performed stretching and dynamic muscle workout, and the third group did stretching exercises [22].

It was found that endurance and strength exercises were the most effective, alleviating chronic headache by 69 percent [22].

The second group had a 58 percent decrease in headache while the third group had 37 percent [22].

The conclusion was that all the exercise methods reduced headache, but for the physical workout to be more successful, endurance and strength training should be added [22].

However, it’s imperative for those with severe cervicogenic headache to consult a doctor first before engaging in any form of exercise [22].

Other researchers who did similar studies on this subject also yielded positive results [23, 24].

What You’ll Need:

  • Warm towel
  • 5 drops of lavender oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Do stretching exercises with your neck and shoulder each morning.
  • Engage in strength and endurance workout for at least 30 minutes a day.
  • After workout, wrap your head with a warm towel with lavender oil.
  • Repeat once or twice a day.

7. Basil

A popular herb in culinary, basil is also widely recognized for its therapeutic potential [25].

One of the many ailments it can treat is headache, thanks to its analgesic and antinociceptive properties [26].

A study featured in the Journal of Korean Biological Nursing Science confirms that basil can effectively reduce the pain and anxiety caused by headache [27].

To evaluate how well aromatherapy works in relieving headache, 40 patients with headache were instructed to either inhale oils three times a day or apply oils on neck and shoulders once a day for five days [27].

When the experiment was over, it was reported that aromatherapy oils such as basil oil reduced not only headache pain but also anxiety, stress and discomfort among the participants [27].

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 to 6 leaves of basil
  • 3 drops of basil oil
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • 1 teaspoon of honey

Recommended Directions:

  • Simmer basil leaves in hot water.
  • Add honey and basil oil.
  • Mix well.
  • Drink basil tea once or twice a day until pain disappears.

8. Ice

Cold compresses work for headaches as they are believed to penetrate deep into the skin and numb the painful nerves [28].

In a 1990 study featured in the Cephalalgia Journal, it was reported that regular treatment of post-traumatic headache with cold packs reduced the pain by up to 43 percent [29].

The trial involved 19 patients who suffer from post-traumatic headache, 10 of which were given manual therapy while nine were treated with cold therapy twice a day for two weeks [29].

Pain was much lower in the group that received cold compress treatment [29].

The participants also noted a significant reduction in other symptoms such as ear pain, visual disturbances and dizziness [29].

Scientific findings therefore justify the use of ice in folkloric medicine as treatment for headache and other types of pain.

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 ice cubes
  • 1 face towel

Recommended Directions:

  • Wrap ice cubes with towel.
  • Gently press ice pack on the back of your neck.
  • Do this for five minutes.
  • Repeat as necessary.

9. Cayenne

For the last 9,000 years, cayenne pepper has served as both medicine and food for native Americans [30].

One of its popular therapeutic purposes is to relieve pain, which can be attributed to its high capsaicin content [30].

When applied on the skin, capsaicin exerts strong analgesic actions, reducing the amount of the chemical that transports pain signals to the brain [30].

With the decrease of this chemical, the pain signals no longer get to the brain, and the person no longer feels pain and discomfort [30].

This is why, cayenne is often recommended for muscle pains, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, shingles and other painful conditions [30].

Cayenne also belongs to the list of botanical medicines that are highly effective in treating headaches [31].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Boil water with cayenne pepper.
  • Strain pepper.
  • Drink the solution once a day for one week.

10. Rosemary Oil

The list of headache home remedies won’t be complete without rosemary oil.

As you know, rosemary herb is packed with antioxidants that are good for one’s health [32].

Some of its beneficial antioxidants include rosmarinic acid, carnosic acid, and sesamol [32].

That’s not all, it’s also known for its analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive mechanisms, which are good for those who complain of headaches [33, 34, 35].

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of rosemary oil
  • 1 tablespoon of almond oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Combine rosemary and almond oils in a bowl.
  • Mix well.
  • Massage forehead and temples with this oil mixture.
  • Do this remedy as needed.

11. Feverfew

If you’ve never tried using feverfew for headache, it’s about time that you should.

Anecdotal evidence regarding its efficacy and safety for this particular painful condition abounds.

In one of these studies, 72 individuals with migraine headache were allocated to receive either feverfew capsule or a placebo for four months [36].

Concluding reports show that both severity and frequency of the attacks were significantly reduced with the treatment of feverfew [36].

In addition, participants also noted fewer episodes of vomiting and other symptoms related to migraine [36].

All these positive effects were achieved without any serious side effects [36].

Similar findings were obtained from other studies that probed the efficacy and safety of this herbal remedy [37, 38, 39].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 ounce of fresh feverfew flowers
  • 1 pint of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Boil water in a pot.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Add feverfew flowers.
  • Cover, and steep for 10 minutes.
  • Strain the mixture.
  • Drink once cup of this mixture a day until headache subsides.

12. Butterbur

Another must-try headache remedy that has been proven a number of times to be highly effective is butterbur.

In a randomized controlled clinical trial, 245 patients diagnosed with migraine were given 50 mg or 75 mg of butterbur extract, or a placebo over a four-month period [40].

After the treatment, 75 mg of butterbur extract reduced headache by 48 percent while the lower dosage decreased headache by 36 percent [40].

Only 26 percent efficacy rate was achieved by the placebo medication [40].

Apart from mild gastrointestinal disturbances, there have been no reports of adverse reactions following the use of this natural method [40].

More studies have been done to replicate these findings [41, 42, 43].

Take note, however, that butterbur has been found to contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids that are harmful to the liver.

It is not advisable to make your own butterbur remedy even in the form of tincture or teas.

It’s safer to use supplements that can be found in the market.

What You’ll Need:

  • 50 to 75 mg of butterbur supplement

Recommended Directions:

  • Take one butterbur capsule a day.
  • But be sure to consult your doctor first before using this supplement.

There’s no need to endure pain much longer.

Treat your headache right away by using these simple but reliable home remedies.