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

A 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].

The 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 the pain and discomfort caused by a headache, make use of these efficient and reliable home remedies.

By reading the following article, you will find:

  • Home remedies to get rid of a headache
  • How to prepare these home remedies
  • How to use them for best results

Natural Ways of Relieving a Headache


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 a headache, as it possesses significant analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties [6].

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

The use of ginger appears to have an “abortive” as well as “prophylactic effects” on headaches due to a 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 of ginger and lemon.
  • Add honey.
  • Mix well.
  • Consume a tablespoon of the mixture twice a day until the pain subsides.

Related:How To Use Ginger For Acne: 19 Effective Ways With Directions

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 a tension-type headache [8, 9].

In one clinical trial, 32 patients suffering from a 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 the 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 with almond oil.
  • Massage your forehead with this oil mixture.
  • Repeat remedy whenever you feel pain.

Related:12 Uses and Health Benefits of Peppermint Oil

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 a 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 a 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.

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 a treatment for a migraine headache using a placebo-controlled clinical trial [14].

In the experiment, 47 patients diagnosed with a 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.

Related:11 Health Benefits of Lavender Oil That You Should Know

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 a 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 a 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 every day.

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 a 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 the workout, wrap your head in 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 the 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 a post-traumatic headache with cold packs reduced the pain by up to 43 percent [29].

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

The 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 a treatment for headache and other types of pain.

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 ice cubes
  • 1 face towel

Recommended Directions:

  • Wrap ice cubes in the 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 to 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.

Related:13 Health Benefits and Uses of Rosemary Oil (Backed by Evidence)

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 one 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.

 

Some Q&A About Headache


Q. Is it possible to get headaches because of allergies?
A. Allergies do not directly cause headaches. Then again, allergies might cause sinus congestion. Sinus congestion can then lead to headache pain. So, if you have an allergic reaction and then have a headache alongside it, then you might need a separate treatment for it. Trying using home remedies for headache to get fast relief.

Q. Are painkillers responsible for causing rebound headaches?
A. It may seem that painkillers give you instant relief from headaches. However, taking them in large doses can cause rebound headaches to occur. This is one side-effect of these medicines. So it is best to use herbal homemade remedies to cure headaches. Medicines that can cause rebound headaches are:

  • Aspirin
  • Paracetamol
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines
  • Sleep-inducing pills
  • Some prescribed narcotics

Q. What is migraine?
A. Migraine is a condition of the nerve and blood vessels in the head that causes bouts of severe headaches. Having migraine is like having one of the biggest curses of life.

Q. What are the types of migraine headaches?
A. There are a few types of migraine headaches. They are:

  • Migraine without aura (also called the common migraine)- this is the most common type of migraine headaches
  • Migraine with aura (also called the classic migraine)- this type of migraine starts with a visual disturbance, then the headache starts
  • Status migrainosus – this type of migraine is a long-lasting migraine that does not go away on its own

Q. What are the common symptoms of migraine?
A. Common symptoms of migraine include:

  • A throbbing or pulsating pain
  • Extreme sensitivity to light
  • Extreme sensitivity to sound
  • Nausea
  • Pain on one side of the head
  • Vision changes or blurry vision
  • Aura
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Sensitivity to smell
  • A stiff neck
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness

Q. How can stress impact migraine headaches?
A. Stress is a very big issue for those who suffer from migraine. It is because stress is very difficult to control for them along with a migraine. Stress can impact migraines in a number of ways:

  • any major stressful event, like someone’s death, can cause the first migraine attack in a person
  • everyday stressful events like the traffic jam, a workload can induce migraine attacks

Q. Is there any type of food that may trigger headaches?
A. Yes. There are some foods that may trigger headaches to occur. These are:

  • Food that contains tyramine – this is especially for aged cheese where the protein content breaks down as the cheese ages.
  • Alcohol – you may know this that after drinking too much you can get a splitting headache later on
  • Food additives – Food additives or preservatives are responsible for headaches too
  • Cold foods – cold food such as ice cream often cause a sensation in your teeth. Similarly, it can also cause a “brain freeze” which can then lead to a headache.

Q. Can’t headaches go away on their own?
A. Yes, they can. Usually, it takes time for them to go away on their own. However, if you do not want to suffer the ordeal of a headache, then it is best to try the home remedies for headache for the best results.

Bottom Line


Headaches can ruin your day or your special moment when they appear. However, you don’t have to tolerate it for long. The best way to get rid of a headache is to rest.

Also, you should try these home remedies to get rid of headaches and get relief immediately.

Hope this article was helpful to you.

Read Next:11 Sure Ways to Get Rid of Migraine & How to Use Them