How to Get Rid of a Headache Naturally

Why do you have a pounding headache? It can be difficult to pin down. But the good news is that everything from herbs to massage can soothe your throbbing temples! Whether you’ve tried painkillers and they aren’t working or prefer something more natural, here are five ways you can stop a headache, sometimes before it even starts. 

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin
4-minute read
The Quick And Dirty

For natural and easy headache relief, give some of the following a try: swallowing a spoonful of olive oil, eating a banana or oats, drinking lots of water, resting your eyes, tracking the food that gives you a headache, unclenching your jaw, and more. 

Olive Oil for Headache Relief

It’s one of our favorite tips from our book Who Knew? Household Shortcuts: As soon as you feel a headache coming on, head for your kitchen! Scientific studies have shown that just a few teaspoons of olive oil eaten at the onset of a headache can have an anti-inflammatory effect, reducing pain as well as ibuprofen does. Mix it with balsamic vinegar and enjoy it on a salad or some bread.

Boost Low Blood Sugar

If you tend to get headaches in the late mornings, late afternoons, and after a long nap, they might be due to low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia. These headaches can be helped by eating foods that release sugar slowly, such as bananas, whole grains, and oats. Getting adequate protein with each meal—30 grams is a good start—can keep your blood sugar levels from fluctuating and may also prevent headaches.

Stay Hydrated

Many headaches are caused by dehydration. Before you reach for the pain reliever, try drinking two or three glasses of water or an energy drink like Gatorade. You may find you’re back to normal in no time.

Old-Time Headache Remedy

It may be an old wives’ tale, but Bruce’s grandfather used to swear that an effective way to treat headaches is to cut a lime in half and rub it on your forehead. In a few minutes, the throbbing should subside.

Rest Your Eyes

Less-than-perfect eyesight can trigger headaches because the muscles around the eyes squeeze in order to focus. If your headaches come on after reading or working at a computer, make sure you give your eyes a rest every 15 minutes by focusing on a distant object for at least a minute. You may also want to get your eyes examined to see if you need glasses or a new prescription.

See Also: When to Worry About a Headache

Watch What You Eat

Headaches may be caused by reactions to foods and food substances such as MSG, chocolate, glutenalcohol, sulfites, nitrites, and fermented foods, such as cheese and yogurt. Since it can sometimes take up to 72 hours for a headache to occur after eating one of these foods, it can be difficult to find a correlation. Keeping a detailed diary of what you eat and when your head hurts can be helpful, or just try to limit these foods entirely.

Herbal Help for Headaches

Feverfew, a relative of the sunflower, has been shown to help reduce inflammation that causes headaches. Look for it in capsule form in your health food store. While you're there, grab some peppermint oil. Rubbing a small amount into your hairline and temples will create a tingly aroma that will encourage relaxation. Ginger can also reduce inflammation—try adding freshly crushed ginger root (about one inch) to boiling water to make a potent tea.

Ease Muscle Tension

Tense muscles in the head, neck, and shoulders can constrict blood flow and make your head pound. Practicing yoga, seeing a massage therapist or chiropractor, or trying these simple stretches can relieve tension. You may also be unconsciously clenching your jaw when you’re stressed. Try paying closer attention to your body, and the next time you notice yourself clenching, place a pencil between your teeth and hold it. It will serve as a reminder not to bite down hard. With time, you may be able to train your jaw not to clench, thus avoiding those painful headaches.

See Also: Nutrition Tips for Headache Prevention

How to Get Rid of Headaches with Acupressure

Much like acupuncture, acupressure involves stimulating trigger points on your body to heal all sorts of ailments, including nausea, sinus allergies, insomnia, and—yes—headaches. For headaches, this trigger point is on your hand: the thick, fleshy patch of skin between your thumb and forefinger. Using firm pressure, massage this “web” part of your hand in a circular direction for a few minutes; then repeat on your opposite hand. Your headache should eventually subside, as this trigger point is believed to connect directly to the source of pain.

Nuts for Headaches

Did you know that almonds can help a headache? They contain a compound called salicin, an all-natural pain reducer similar to aspirin. Eat a “dose” of 20 almonds per day for a tasty way to prevent head pain before it starts.

For more natural remedies, check out our Health and Beauty Tips board on Pinterest. And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook for our Tip of the Day!

The suggestions offered here are for informational purposes only.  The author and publisher do not accept liability for damages arising from the use, attempted use, misuse, or application of any of the suggestions included on this website.

About the Author

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin

Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin are the proud parents of three boys and more than a dozen books. After saving thousands per year using everyday tips and simple lifehacks, they started their own business in the hopes of sharing their knowledge with others. They have been known to go into their friends' refrigerators to turn their eggs upside down so that they last longer.