Like many of you, I suffer from headaches. In fact, I am writing this now because frankly… I woke up with a pounding headache. You might be wondering how I can bare to look at the harsh light of this laptop. Well, it’s because I have followed my tried and true relief tricks that work for this crazy-cat-lady without cracking into the bottle of pills!*
1. Recognizing the Symptoms
For me, my symptoms will depend on the type of headache I am about to get. If I have a tension headache brewing, I will start to get pain in the base of my neck. If it’s going to be a bad one, my shoulders may ache a little. Dehydration headaches tend to cover the entire top of my head from temple to temple and feel like a heavy pressure from the top–a mild to moderate all over headache. Sinus headaches start in my cheekbones and travel up the bridge of my nose into my eyes. These are extreme pressure headaches. Migraines are rare for me, but they usually start with aura symptoms–things like fatigue, slurred speech, blurred vision, and light/sound sensitivity. If I do not catch onto those aura symptoms and the migraine forms, it is an INTENSE pain that settles over one eye and radiates towards the ear. If I develop a full-blown migraine, I cannot stand light, food, smells, or even being awake. The first step to combating a headache is catching it before it fully develops!
Ok. I am a huge fan of pickles. Dill, specifically. I can drink pickle juice straight from the jar. But, did you know that keeping pickles, specifically pickle juice, on hand can help you battle a headache? This works especially well for dehydration headaches. This is because pickles are loaded with electrolytes that can help replenish the things your body is lacking when you become dehydrated. Sure, you can combat this slowly by sipping on water, or a bit faster with a sports drink, but what fun is that?! Pickles are delicious spears of sweet relief. I’ve found that dill pickles work best–I have to think it has something to do with the salt content in a dill pickle. If you have a jar in the fridge, have yourself a snack–or, better yet, take a sip of juice… straight from the jar like a heathen!
I typically don’t keep pickles on hand–we just don’t eat them regularly, but I do keep pickle juice on hand… in the form of freeze pops! These are an amazingly refreshing treat when you have a headache brewing. Plus, they can help settle an upset stomach! I get mine right from Amazon.
3. Avoid The Things You Love: TV, Internet and Light
This one is pretty simple, but the hardest to execute. I rely on my shows, and the magic of the internet to keep me alive. These things are some of the WORST things to focus on when you have a headache brewing. Focusing on a bright screen whether you are reading the latest posts on Facebook or simply watching the latest episode of Big Bang Theory, can put a strain on your eyes and head that is not beneficial for a headache. If you can’t sit in the dark in silence for awhile, try listening to some soft, relaxing music. Don’t hesitate to take a nap, too. I always feel better after a nap.
4. Perk Up… with Caffeine!
When you get a headache, your blood vessels are enlarged. This is why caffeine can help relieve the symptoms of a headache! Caffeine has “vasoconstrictive” properties that can help constrict your enlarged blood vessels, easing the pain. Be cautious with this treatment–if you are getting a headache due to dehydration, the caffeine will make matters much worse!
5. Hot & Cold
Headaches can benefit from a little bit of temperature control! If you’re suffering from a migraine or general headache, an ice pack or cold compress will help constrict those blood vessels. The cold can also help ease pain, so it is perfect for these as well as sinus headaches.
Heat is great for loosening things up so you can use a warm compress or a low-heat heating pad to ease the symptoms of sinus headaches and tensions headaches.
6. Relax Those Muscles!
No matter the headache, my muscles get tense. Obviously, my muscles are tense during a tension headache, but I also tend to tense up as a general response to pain. Something that has helped me is to relax my muscles with a balm. Balms used to aid in muscle recovery or injury have been great for me. I rub them on the back of my neck, shoulders, or even my temples.
The Recovery Balm from Lemongrass Spa is an AMAZING balm for this. I use it regularly to help with pain from a chronic back injury and that means it is on hand for my headaches (this was my go to treatment this morning).
Visit my Lemongrass Spa Shop, to get your own Recovery Balm!
7. Minty Fresh!
Essential oils are really starting to join the ranks in all-natural relief. I have been using essential oils, specifically Peppermint Oil, to help aide in my headache relief for ears. Peppermint is a natural pain reliever and muscle relaxer and it works wonders for me. If I feel a headache coming on, I mix a little Peppermint Oil with a carrier, like Coconut Oil, and apply directly to my temples, back of the neck, and wrists. The smell is refreshing and it provides a great energy (caution in using right before bed)! Make sure you do your research on essential oils before you dive into this natural remedy. You should consult a doctor before using essential oils. And be cautious with using around children–all essential oils are not safe for children. Note that not all essential oils are created equal and some may not be certified or even pure. Lemongrass Spa offers essential oils that are USDA Certified Organic and they note right on the product description if the product is safe for kids! You can get your own Peppermint Oil here!
If you’re not up for the challenge of mixing your oil with a carrier, try some amazing pre-made products, like the Soothing Balm, or the Spearmint Eucalyptus Massage Bar (which is also great for sinus headaches because eucalyptus can help get the gunk in your sinuses loosened up).
Get your Lemongrass Spa Soothing Balm
8. Snuggle Time…
When all else fails, grab your nearest cat and engage in force snuggles. Nothing has a stronger healing power than a couple of purrs and some fluffy snuggles from your best kitty friend.
*The author of this article is not a licensed medical professional. All tips and remedies are purely suggestions. Please consult with a medical professional before attempting any of these remedies. The remedies listed are not cures for any medical ailments. The remedies listed are simply tips to attempt to relieve symptoms. Results may vary.