10 Ways to Get Rid of a Headache
If you’ve ever had a headache, you know it can make even the smallest daily tasks monumental. You’re not alone — nearly two out of three children will have a headache by 15, and over nine in 10 adults experience a headache sometime in their life. Headaches are the most common form of pain and a major reason for doctor visits and missed work days. Overall, about 13 percent of Americans suffer from headaches, and the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that almost half of all adults worldwide will experience a headache during any given year.
The good news is there are several simple things you can do to ease the pain without a trip to the doctor or drugstore. Try these tips and get to feeling better fast.
1. Try a Cold Pack
If you have a migraine, place a cold pack on your forehead. Ice cubes wrapped in a towel, a bag of frozen peas, or even a cold shower may lessen the pain. Keep the compress on your head for 15 minutes, then take a break for 15 minutes.
2. Use a Heating Pad or Hot Compress
If you have a tension headache, place a heating pad on your neck or the back of your head. If you have a sinus headache, hold a warm cloth to the area that hurts. A warm shower might also do the trick.
3. Ease Pressure on Your Scalp or Head
If your ponytail is too tight, it could cause a headache. These "external compression headaches" can also be brought on by wearing a hat, headband, or even swimming goggles that are too tight. In one study, women who loosened their hair saw their headache disappear.
4. Dim the Lights
Bright or flickering light, even from your computer screen, can cause migraine headaches. If you’re prone to them, cover your windows with blackout curtains during the day. Wear sunglasses outdoors. You might also add anti-glare screens to your computer and use daylight-spectrum fluorescent bulbs in your light fixtures.
5. Try Not to Chew
Chewing gum can hurt not just your jaw, but your head as well. The same is true for chewing your fingernails, lips, the inside or your cheeks, or handy objects like pens. Avoid crunchy and sticky foods, and make sure you take small bites. If you grind your teeth at night, ask your dentist about a mouth guard. This may curb your early-morning headaches.
6. Get Some Caffeine
Have some tea, coffee, or something with a little caffeine in it. If you get it early enough, it could ease your headache pain. It can also help over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen, work better. Just don’t drink too much because caffeine withdrawal can cause its own type of headache.