Whether you’re suffering from a migraine, cluster, or tension headache, the experience is not a pleasant one. But we’ve got good news—there are plenty of headache remedies out there that can help you get relief! From natural home remedies to taking an over-the-counter pain reliever like Advil Ibuprofen Tablets, we’ve collected a few simple ways to help you treat your headache at home.
- Give your eyes a rest. Taking some time to lay down and close your eyes can be an effective way to help relieve headaches. Sometimes, a simple mid-afternoon catnap is enough to do the trick. Whether you simply rest your head on your arms on top of your desk at the office, lay back on a comfortable couch, or take a nap in bed, resting your eyes and relaxing your body can be the reset you need to ease tension and help a headache dissipate.
- Stay hydrated. If you can’t remember the last time you had a glass of water, this tip is for you! Staying hydrated is important for more than just warding off headaches—it helps support overall health and a balanced lifestyle. Dehydration is a common contributor headaches, so making sure to get plenty of fluids, especially when you feel a headache coming on, is important. If you’re not drinking enough throughout the day, trying carrying around a reusable water bottle as a reminder, or make a habit of downing a tall glass with your meals. If you get bored with water, try adding fruit for some natural flavoring, or explore the world of herbal tea. Peppermint, ginger root, and chamomile tea are all soothing herbal choices that can simultaneously help you stay hydrated and help you wind down.
- Apply a cold compress. Placing a cold pack or ice cubes wrapped in a towel on your forehead is a headache remedy that many say helps their migraines. The cool temperature is soothing and can offer some relief. If you don’t have a cold pack, a bag of frozen peas can work in a pinch, as can taking a cold shower.i
- Or try the opposite: apply a warm compress. Depending on the type of headache you’re suffering from, warmer temperatures may be more soothing than cold. Try placing a heating pad on your neck or the back of your head, or applying a warm compress directly to your forehead. You can also take a hot shower or bath. The warmth can help relax your muscles and relieve tension.ii
- Try some mindfulness techniques to reduce stress. Whether you have a tension headache from staring at your computer screen for too long or you’re prone to stress-induced migraines, taking a few moments to relax is never a bad idea. Step away from the source of stress and take some deep breaths. Try taking a walk around the block or sitting outside in nature. Doing some simple stretches like a neck-to-ear stretch or expansive upper body stretch can give you immediate relief from the tension that comes from sitting hunched over a desk all day. In the long term, developing a yoga or meditation practice can also be beneficial.
- Turn down the lights. Many people find that they experience light sensitivity with headaches, and migraines in particular.iii If you also find this to be the case, turn down the lights or go into a dark room. If you need to go outside, wear sunglasses. You should also be mindful of the light coming from your screens—computer, TV, and phone. Turning down the brightness of your tech may give you some relief. Take it one step further and adjust your screen settings so that the light it gives off is warmer, rather than the harsh blue light that can be uncomfortable on our eyes.
- Take an OTC pain reliever. An over-the-counter drug like ibuprofen can help provide temporary pain relief for headaches when other home headache relief remedies aren’t cutting it. Try Advil Ibuprofen Tablets or Advil Liqui-Gels for fast and powerful relief.
- Be proactive. Knowing your triggers and preventing headaches before they come on is the ultimate headache remedy. Some of the most common lifestyle factors that cause headaches are stress, lack of sleep, alcohol consumption, skipped meals, and poor posture.iv If any of these factors sound familiar, work on identifying how you can change your lifestyle. Stressed out? Try relaxation techniques or seek out a therapist or counselor. Not sleeping enough? Go to bed earlier and make sure to practice good sleep hygiene. If you’re always on the go and find yourself skipping meals, make sure to keep healthy snacks on hand. Although lifestyle changes are sometimes the simplest way to reduce the frequency or severity of your headache, making these changes can be easier said than done. Cut yourself some slack and know that change doesn’t always happen overnight.
We hope these headache remedies can help you get the relief you need next time you’re suffering from a headache. For additional articles on health and wellness, explore more Tips & Resources from Advil.
i. Mayo Clinic. Migraines: Simple steps to head off the pain. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/migraine-headache/in-depth/migraines/art-20047242. Accessed 07/17/20. Referenced text highlighted in source document.
iv. Mayo Clinic. Headache. https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/headache/basics/causes/sym-20050800. Accessed 07/15/20. Referenced text highlighted in source document.