How to Cure a Headache Without Medication

Four Methods:General AdvicePreventing HeadachesSpecific Natural RemediesAlternative Treatments

Whether you're opposed to taking over-the-counter or prescription drugs, or you just don't have any at your disposal, it is useful to know how to cure a headache without the aid of medication. There are many natural remedies, alternative treatments and preventative measures you can try to relieve headaches and migraines. Read on to find out more.

Method 1
General Advice

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    Go for a walk. Going for a walk and getting some fresh air can do wonders for a headache, particularly if it's caused by stress or staring at a screen for too long. Go somewhere quiet, breathe deeply and let your mind wander. Your headache will be forgotten about in no time.
    • Get as close to nature as possible. A quiet country road or a secluded, sandy beach is ideal - but if you're stuck in the city, a nearby park will do.
    • Pick up the pace and settle into a brisk jog, if you like. Studies have shown that aerobic exercise can help lessen the intensity of pain, and regular exercise can help reduce the frequency of headaches.[1]
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    Apply an ice pack. Try using an ice pack to ease the throbbing in your head, by placing it on your forehead, temples, or the back of your neck. The cooling effect of the ice pack will help to relax muscles and relieve pain.[2]
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    Have a relaxing bath or shower. Headaches that are brought on by stress or tension can often be easily alleviated by just allowing yourself to relax. A hot bath scented with soothing essential oils can work wonders, but even a quick shower can help to wash away the stresses of the day.
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    Give yourself a head massage. Use your thumb and index fingers to gently apply pressure to the part of your head that's aching - whether it's your temples, forehead, crown of the head or base of the skull. Use a steady rotating motion, combined with light pressure. Do this for 10 to 15 seconds, or longer if necessary.[2]
    • If they're feeling generous, you can ask a partner, friend or family member to massage your head, neck or back, or treat yourself by having a professional massage.
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    Take a nap. Force yourself to take a nap and your headache might just miraculously disappear by the time you wake up. Find a quiet room, close the curtains and lie down on a bed or sofa. Close your eyes and focus on letting go of the tension in you shoulders, neck and back. Clear your mind, focus on your breathing and try to drift off into a peaceful sleep.
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    Eat something. Headaches are often caused by hunger. Try eating a small, healthy meal, then wait for up to half an hour for the pain to subside.
    • Try to eat meals at the same time everyday to avoid headaches - don't significantly delay or skip meals.
    • Remember to eat slowly - you don't want to end up with a tummy ache as well as a headache!

Method 2
Preventing Headaches

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    Turn off your computer. Spending long periods of time staring at a computer screen is a common culprit for causing headaches. Staring at a bright screen all day puts strain on your eyes and can too easily lead to headaches. Flashing images can over-activate your retina and the nerves in your eyes, another cause of head pain.
    • Try to limit your computer use whenever possible. If you need to use a computer for work, take frequent breaks; get up, walk around, go outside for some air.
    • Take a ten minute for every hour you're online to stave off headaches.
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    Take magnesium. When taken daily, magnesium may help reduce the frequency of headaches and migraines. This is because magnesium can help to ease nerves, which can become overstimulated during headaches and migraines. You’ll likely need more than the average multi-vitamin contains or about 400 to 600 milligrams a day.[3]
    • Look for amino acid-chelated magnesium (many brands contain magnesium oxide, which is not absorbed as well).
    • You can also increase your magnesium by eating dark green vegetables, nuts and seeds.
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    Avoid headache-inducing substances. Some substances are more likely to cause headaches than others. You can prevent headaches by limiting your intake of these substances:
    • Nitrates and nitrites. Nitrates and nitrites are found in processed meats and in monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is used to enhance the flavor of some foods. Nitrates can also be found in some heart medicines.[4]
    • Phenylethylamine, which is found in some chocolate and cheeses.[4]
    • Tyramine, which is sometimes found in nuts and fermented meats, cheeses, and soy.[4]
    • Aspartame, an artificial sweetener found in many foods.[4]
    • Caffeine and alcohol can also trigger headaches in some people.[4]
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    Wear sunglasses. Prolonged exposure to sunshine can mess with your brain’s thalamus, which sends pain signals to your body. To protect your eyes from the glare and decrease the risk of headaches, wear polarized sunglasses with UVA/UVB protection.
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    Let your hair down. Many women get tension headaches from an unforgiving hairdo that pulls at their scalp. Loosen your bun or ponytail, or wear your hair down to minimize the risk of headaches.

Method 3
Specific Natural Remedies

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    Drink lots of water. Dehydration can often cause headaches. This is because the lack of water leads to reduced blood and oxygen flow to the brain. As soon as you feel a headache coming on, try drinking a cool glass of water. If the headache is caused by dehydration, drinking water can ease or cure it within minutes.
    • You should consume roughly about eight glasses of liquid a day to prevent dehydration. [5] However, 20% of this you can already get from from watery foods (e.g. grapes, turkey, watermelon, etc). [6]
    • Drinking water is especially important after the consumption of alcohol, as alcohol causes dehydration, leading to hangover headaches.
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    Use lavender oil. The relaxing properties of lavender products are well known - but did you know that lavender oil can also be very effective in the treatment of headaches? Simply take a bowl of hot water and add a few drops of lavender oil. Lower you head towards the surface of the water and place a towel over your head. Breath deeply, inhaling the lavender-infused vapors.
    • It is also possible to apply lavender oil externally. Try massaging a few drops of the undiluted oil into your temples for a minute or two, while inhaling deeply.
    • Bear in mind that you should not ingest lavender oil.
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    Use rosemary. Rosemary can be very helpful in the treatment of headaches. Try massaging your head with a little rosemary oil (which has anti-inflammatory properties) to instantly alleviate pain. Alternatively, you can drink an herbal tea made from a combination of rosemary and sage to ease headaches.
    • To make rosemary and sage tea, add one teaspoon of crushed rosemary leaves and one teaspoon of crushed sage leaves to a cup of boiling water. Cover and leave to infuse until the water reaches room temperature.
    • Drink this tea two or three times a day.
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    Use cloves. Cloves can be used in multiple ways to ease the pain of tension headaches. Here are some suggestions:
    • Gently crush a number of cloves and put the pieces into a sachet bag or clean handkerchief. Inhale the scent of the crushed cloves to gain relief from headaches.
    • Mix clove oil with sea salt and massage into your forehead and temples. The clove oil provides a cooling effect, while the sea salt intensifies the massage.
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    Use basil oil. Basil is a strong-scented herb which can be used effectively in headache treatment. Basil works as a muscle relaxant, thus it can be helpful for treating headaches caused by tension and tight muscles. Drinking basil tea twice a day is an excellent home remedy.
    • Put some fresh, washed basil leaves in a cup of boiling water and allow it to sit for a few minutes before drinking. Sip the tea slowly and your headache should gently ease away.
    • During mild headaches, you can also chew some fresh basil leaves or massage your head with pure basil oil.
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    Use ginger. Ginger helps to reduce the inflammation of blood vessels, and as a result it is often used in the treatment of headaches. Try adding an inch of freshly chopped or grated ginger root to a cup of loose leaf tea and let it infuse for several minutes before drinking. You can add milk or sugar to taste. Amazingly, ginger tea is said to relieve headaches by reducing inflammation just as quickly as an aspirin would.[7]
    • Alternatively, you can boil fresh or powdered ginger in water and inhale the vapor to get rid of a headache.
    • Chewing a piece of crystallized ginger candy may also help to relive headaches.
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    Use cinnamon. Cinnamon can help to ease headaches, particularly those that strike in combination with the common cold. An easy way to use cinnamon for the relief of headaches is to make a paste from freshly grated cinnamon and a little water. Apply this paste to your forehead and let it sit for ten to fifteen minutes. The headaches should soon ease.
    • Alternatively, you can make a soothing drink by adding two teaspoons of powdered cinnamon to cup of hot milk. Stir in a teaspoon of honey for sweetness, if desired.
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    Use peppermint. The calming and soothing properties of peppermint are well known, and it can be very effective in the treatment of headaches. Use peppermint oil to massage your forehead, temples, and even your jaws. Alternatively, apply freshly crushed peppermint leaves to the forehead and leave to sit for ten to fifteen minutes, while breathing deeply.
    • Fresh peppermint leaves can also be used to make a soothing tea. Simply add freshly washed peppermint leaves to a cup of boiling water and leave to infuse for several minutes.
    • You can also use a peppermint steam treatment, by adding a couple of drops of peppermint oil to boiling water and inhaling the vapors.
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    Eat apples. Apples can help to alleviate headaches. Apples have attributes that can balance the alkaline and acidic levels in the body, thus providing relief from headaches. Try eating an apple (with the skin on) as soon as you feel the beginnings of a headache.
    • Alternatively, you can add two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar - which has similar properties - to a glass full of water. Drink this solution for immediate headache relief.

Method 4
Alternative Treatments

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    Try acupuncture. In acupuncture treatments, thin needles are placed under the skin at certain pressure points around the body. This is said to realign the flow of energy in the body. You may be skeptical, but studies have shown that acupuncture treatments can be effective in the prevention of acute migraines. What's more, acupuncture treatments are accompanied by very few of the negative side effects caused by drug treatments. There is also evidence that acupuncture can provide relief for those suffering from chronic tension-type headaches.[8]
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    Get botox injections. Botox injections - famous for treating and preventing wrinkles - actually have a wealth of medical uses, one of which is the treatment of chronic migraines in adults. This FDA-approved option has been proven to reduce both the severity and frequency of migraines - however, at a cost of approximately $350 per injection, this miracle cure can be pretty cost-prohibitive.[9]
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    Try transcranial magnetic stimulation. This non-invasive treatment uses magnetic pulses transmitted through an electromagnetic coil to relieve headache pain. Although many patients found relief from migraine using this method, the exact science behind transcranial magnetic stimulation is still being studied, making it an experimental treatment.[10]


  • When you have a headache, stay away from the light as it can often make them worse.
  • Stay away from loud and abrupt things.
  • Stay away from electronics.
  • A stone called "hematite" can help also when put on the forehead.


  • If your headache persists and you begin to feel concerned or symptoms worsen, seek immediate medical attention.
  • Read medication instructions carefully.

Article Info

Categories: Headaches and Migraines