Treatment for headaches usually involves popping some kind of painkiller, either prescription or over-the-counter. But over time, those drugs can be extremely harmful — and even start causing more headaches (look up “rebound headache”). The good news is that there are many completely natural, drug-free ways to combat headaches. Here are five to try:
- Stick to a Schedule
Lack of sleep and stress are both major triggers for headaches, and staying on a schedule can often prevent recurring headaches. Go to sleep and get up at consistent times, and be sure to build in healthy mealtimes.
- Stay Hydrated
Dehydration causes headaches, fatigue and a host of other nasty symptoms. Make sure you’re drinking enough water — yes, plain old water, not other beverages — every day. The most recent guidelines suggest between an ounce and a half-ounce of water for every pound that you weigh, meaning a 150-pound person would want to drink between 75 and 150 ounces of water per day, depending on activity level.
- Cut Out Dietary Triggers
Many people find that certain foods or ingredients give them headaches. MSG, nitrates and artificial sweeteners are all common culprits, but some healthier foods, such as bananas, may also cause headaches for some people. (There are also some foods said to help headaches, most of them high-nutrition “superfoods” such as spinach.)
- Stretch and Exercise
Stretching and light aerobic exercise have been shown to both prevent headaches and treat them once they occur. You should see results fairly quickly.
- See a Chiropractor
If you’re unsuccessful trying to control your headaches on your own, you may want to consider seeing a chiropractic doctor. Chiropractic care can target the muscle tension in the neck that causes certain kinds of headaches, giving you true relief rather than just masking the pain the way drugs do.
Do you have any other recommendations regarding a natural treatment for headaches? Share your favorite remedies in the comments.