Headaches are one of the most common health complaints and yet, their commonality makes them no less painful or debilitating. When a headache strikes, whether you're at work or at home, it makes it difficult to concentrate and stay active.
When you feel a headache coming on, your first port of call should be drinking a big glass of water as dehydration is usually the most common cause.
And while paracetamol is bound to cure your sore head within in a couple of hours, there are plenty of natural remedies that will ease the pain immediately.
Here are eight ways you can beat a headache without the pills, whether it strikes while you're at home or at work...
Spritz cold mist up your nose
It may sound bizarre, but the latest research shows that a spray of cold mist could instantly relieve a migraine. The researchers of a UK study published in the Journal of Headache and Pain have developed a device known as RhinoChill - a battery-powered probe with two nozzles for each nostril attached to a pump, which will spray out cold liquid when turned on. The liquid evaporates into a mist once it has left the pump, and targets the tiny nerves in your face that send pain signals to the brain.
Get a daith piercing
Could a simple ear piercing really be the cure for pounding headaches and unbearable migraines? Apparently so. The 'daith piercing' - a piercing which passes through the ear's innermost cartilage fold is said to be a highly effective long term cure, and can be obtained for under a mere £50. Not bad, considering how disruptive headaches can be to our lives.
A bit like acupuncture, the Daith piercing targets pressure points to ease pain and stimulates nerves under the skin. This subsequently helps the body to release endorphins, and like magic your migrane should dissappear. Thousands of people have taken to social media confirming the Daith piercing as a miracle treatment. It could be well worth a try.
Try some DIY acupressure
With one hand, press the shallow indentation in the back of your head at the base of the skull. At the same time, with the thumb and forefinger of the other hand, press firmly into the upper hollows of the eye socket, right where they straddle the bridge of the nose and meet the 'T' of the eyebrow bridge. Press softly at first, then more firmly, and hold. Try this for three to five minutes and repeat if you need to throughout the day.
If you have a banging tension headache, use your fingertips to push on the very top of your skull to relieve pressure and pain. Press the area for 20 seconds, three times in a row, while breathing deeply.
Lighten up with aromatherapy
Sandalwood, peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender and a wide assortment of other natural essential oils can be used to reduce, if not completely eliminate, headache pain. At home, use them in an oil burner and lie down while you relax into the aroma. For maximum relief, slip away to a room that's cool, dark and quiet, if you can. The longer you can lie there quietly breathing in the aroma, the better.
For a quick fix, add a couple of drops of peppermint oil to a carrier oil, such as olive, sweet almond or coconut, and rub it onto your temples. Or put five drops of lavender essential oil in cold or warm water, then soak a soft cloth in it and drape it over your forehead or neck.
Make yourself a healing cuppa
Lemon, ginger and honey tea is a great combination - simply slice fresh ginger and add to a mug with 1 tsp raw honey, the juice of around half a lemon and boiling water. Change the quantities according to your taste, but do use all three together for the best effect.
If you get headaches at work on a regular basis, make a thermos of this drink at home and take it in with you. Or keep the ingredients in the fridge at work and make it when you feel a headache coming on. In Chinese medicine, a lot of headaches are said to be caused by stomach problems. If you're constipated, you almost always get a headache. Peppermint tea is good for relaxing your stomach and dealing with that headache.
Try a self-massage
Just a light massage can distract you from the pain, as well as improving circulation and relieving tension. Try massaging the web of skin between the base of your thumb and your forefinger with a firm, circular motion. Continue for several minutes, then switch hands and repeat. Experts call this fleshy area trigger point, which is linked to areas of the brain where headaches originate.
Use hot...and cold!
When you have a tension headache, it could be that your neck is knotted. Place a heated flannel on it to help relax the muscles. Soaking your feet in hot water could help too: it will draw blood to your feet, easing pressure on the blood vessels in your head.
For a throbbing head, however, apply a cold compress to your forehead - cold constricts blood vessels, and when they shrink, they stop pressing on sensitive nerves. Use a bag of frozen vegetables or put a couple of ice cubes in a flannel.
If you feel a headache coming on, put a wet flannel in a sealable bag and pop it in the freezer for 20 minutes. It will then be extra cold and the bag will keep any wetness off your skin.
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