Headaches can strike quickly and at any time, and the more debilitating kinds can always have a major impact on how anyone goes about their day. Knowing how to get rid of a headache quickly, especially when you do not have any medication to hand, can be an important part of day to day wellbeing and productivity. Here, we have 10 tips for easing the pain or hopefully eliminating the headache altogether, all without any need to head to the store for a box of paracetamol.
1. Use a Cold Pack
It is possible to buy cold packs from most grocery stores and in an ideal world, someone that can feel the onset of a headache will have one to hand. However, this is not always the case, but the good news is that it is easy enough to put something together on the fly. A bag of ice cubes or frozen peas wrapped in a towel can do an equally fine job, and even a cold shower, while uncomfortable for some, can have the same effect. Either way, 15 minutes of cold pressure followed by 15 minutes of recovery should be enough to relieve major symptoms.
2. Try a Hot Compress
Depending on the type of headache, heat can be just as effective as cold in relieving the pain, if not more so. Tension headaches normally start in the back, neck or joints, and applying heat to the area will soften the impact, while a sinus headache is best dealt with by applying the heat source directly to the painful area. As with cold packs, it is possible to buy and keep dedicated hot compresses from the store, but a warm cloth or even a warm shower can be a handy substitute.
3. Do Anything Possible to Relieve Pressure in the Area
If anything ‘unnatural’ is affecting the head area, then it goes without saying that this should be addressed immediately. The removal of hats, headbands and glasses can make a real difference, and even taking out a ponytail and wearing the hair down can have a positive impact.
4. Reduce the Brightness in the Area
Bright lights of any kind can induce headaches, especially in those that are naturally susceptible to them. When experiencing symptoms, turning off the lights or leaving the desk and therefore the monitor until the symptoms subside can be massively helpful. In the longer term, those that suffer from headaches may consider wearing sunglasses outdoors during the day, changing bulbs to daylight spectrum varieties and adding screen filters to their monitors to reduce any impact before it has an effect.
5. Avoid Chewing
Chewing is among the most impactful activities that goes on in the head on a regular basis and doing so can both cause and exacerbate headache symptoms. Chew only when necessary – basically while eating rather than on gum, fingernails or the end of a pen – and keep the amount of chewing to a minimum with small portions.
6. Get Some Caffeine
Most conventional medicines that address headaches contain caffeine, and it is not just to counteract drowsiness and increase alertness. A cup of coffee or tea can have a fast impact on relieving the symptoms of a headache, although it is inadvisable to have too much, as massive amounts of caffeine are known to bring on headaches on their own.
Many common headaches are caused by tension or stress of some kind, and good mental wellbeing in the moment can be crucial for avoiding major headaches. Meditation, breathing exercises or simply mentally focusing on relaxing the muscles can all be of assistance when stopping the onset of a headache before it becomes unmanageable.
For most people, they will not be able to drop everything and head to the spa every time they feel a headache coming. However, self-massage is a viable technique for relieving pain in any area of the body, the head included. Taking a few minutes out to gently rub the head, neck and temples can have the same pain-relieving impact as someone else doing it on your behalf.
9. Try to Keep Ginger to Hand
Without going too deep into the science behind it, studies have shown that ginger can be ideal for helping to alleviate headaches. Used in conjunction with standard over-the-counter pain medication, it can enhance results, and, in some cases, the effects are identical to that of the paracetamol and ibuprofen. Raw ginger, supplements and even teas can all be of assistance here.
10. Choose the Right Medication
If all else fails, medication might be the only answer. It is best to keep this to a minimum and only to use it as and when required, not least because the effectiveness of pain relief diminishes over time as the body becomes accustomed to it. Liquid pain relief is often superior to tablet form as the body will absorb it quicker, and it is important to take any available medication as soon as the pain starts as there is a good chance of it taking effect before the headache has the opportunity to do so.