Headaches are bad enough as it is. Not only are they painful, but they can often set you back an entire day or more. Often times, the only readily available treatment options (that you are aware of) are over the counter medications that come with a grocery list of side effects.
Once taken, at best they manage the symptoms of the headache, and at worst, they do nothing and potentially damage your kidneys or liver. Luckily, there are plenty of options that are neither pharmaceutical nor dangerous. While different things often work for different headache patients, there is absolutely no harm in exploring the following options.
Meditation has been used for thousands of years to do everything from seeking spiritual enlightenment to getting over the fear of public speaking. Yet one of the more interesting things that meditation seems capable of doing is managing pain. Unfortunately, there has been tenuous clinical evidence at best to support the possibility that meditation is capable of curing headaches or migraines.
Yet this does not mean that it is not effective. Thousands of people swear by its ability to focus away from the pain or eliminate the migraine entirely. Focus on your breathing first. It has a very real connection to the way your body experiences pain.
Yoga essentially combines meditation with stretching (a bit of an understatement). Stretching has already been shown to be effective at relieving and preventing tension headaches, and yoga is chock full of interesting and challenging poses. A recent study found that patients who underwent three months of yoga experienced less frequent and severe attacks than the control group.
3 Heat and Cold
This is perhaps the easiest and least risky headache remedy of all. Even pregnant women can do it. If you feel like you have a tension headache, apply heat to the back of the neck. If the headache is pulsating, attempt to apply a cold pack to your temple. The heat can disseminate a tension headache by enhancing blood circulation, and the cold can help the inflammation of a particular artery that is often aggravated during a migraine.
4 Proper Nutrition
Often times, headaches have a dietary trigger. Try avoiding nitrites (common preservatives found in a variety of foods), as well as MSG and aspartame. The former three are commonly found in meats (especially deli meats), frozen foods, and Chinese take-out cuisine. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that can be found in various diet sodas. Try increasing your intake of Vitamin B2 (riboflavin). It may be effective at preventing headaches.
In order to understand what your triggers may be, keep a headache journal if you experience chronic headaches. Record what you did, ate, and experienced for twenty four hours before the headache hit. After several episodes, you may find common links and be able to establish what your triggers may be. Once you figure it out, avoid them and see if the episodes cease. This will often be a process of trial and error, but it will pay you back in spades if you succeed.