Headaches are a punishing reality of modern life. From stress to lack of sleep to weather fluctuations can trigger neurological changes which lead to head-pressing pain. If you have frequent seizures or are among the 38 million American adults susceptible to debilitating migraines, medication is an option. But there are also plenty of natural, science-based options that can help alleviate your throbbing head without much risk of side effects, and also prevent future attacks. Such alternative therapies are important right now when pandemic headaches are on the rise and everyone is a bit tense and tense.
Migraines can cause a wide range of symptoms – nausea, dizziness, blurred vision, tenderness … [+]
After digging through expert research and data, we discovered 12 effective headache treatments and migraine relief products to use at home. From relaxing temple massage balls to weighted neck rugs to green light therapy lamps, these solutions target various neurological symptoms and could be game changing for you.
Massage your temples
Cooling ice cream scoops
While this tool was technically designed for removing swelling on the face, the ice cold balls are also great for relieving pain around your temples. Move the balls around the sides of your head, on your forehead, and under your eyes in small circular motions – which, as an added bonus, can help shrink bags under your eyes while you’re at it.
A portable essential oil roller
Saje Peppermint Halo Cooling and calming oil mixture for the head
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While essential oils may not necessarily treat your migraines, they can distract you from the pain and help you focus on another feeling. Studies have shown that cooling peppermint oil has a calming effect, and this rollerball option is the perfect size to aim at your temples and is easy to store in multiple places – your bedside table, your purse, your car – when you have these Feeling dull pain begin to settle in.
An anti-inflammatory balm
Amy Lindwall, the herbalist and founder of the Olja Wellness line, formulated her bestselling menthol ointment to relieve pain anywhere in the body, but one of the most popular uses among followers is for headache relief. Try rubbing the balm – which is fortified with anti-inflammatory blue tansy – on your temples and shoulders and neck to “relax the muscles that tend to keep you tense,” says Lindwall.
Handle a pounding head
A portable ice pack
For whole head pain, this adjustable hat has three reusable gel ice packs that will stay cold for long periods of time (but won’t freeze the brain) and provide instant, soothing relief. It is also lined with a cozy, fleece-like material and is completely machine washable.
A tool that kneads your scalp
If you have a tension headache, this top-notch choice does a deeply relaxing scalp massage with 28 individual knots that rotate both clockwise and counterclockwise to reach the pressure points on your head. Plus, according to many Amazon reviewers, it won’t tangle your hair in the process.
Give your eyes a break
A solution for eye strain
Headaches are often the result of eye strain, says Los Angeles-based facialist Joomee Song, whose practice is shaped by ancient Eastern healing therapies. Unsurprisingly, she says, “Migraines have become one of the main problems I see with my clients.” In addition to home eye massages (squeezing and releasing the areas under and around the eyes for three minutes), Song recommends the self-warming eye masks from Kao, which flexibly adjust to the shape of your eyes and gradually warm up to soothe cramped muscles in about 20 minutes. “Resting your eyes that way and getting your circulation going will help alleviate other problems,” says Song.
A green light therapy lamp developed by scientists
A 2020 study by the University of Arizona found that one to two hour exposure to green light per day can reduce the number of headache days per month by an average of 60%. Developed by migraine researchers at Harvard Medical School, this green light lamp creates small electrical signals in the eye and brain to reduce sensitivity to light. Keep it on your bedside table at night, and there is a desk lamp too.
Release neck and shoulder tension
A spine and shoulder adjuster
Sitting in a chair or looking down for an extended period of time can bring your spine out of alignment and strain the small muscles at the top of your neck and base of your skull – which can lead to a headache. This stretcher will help gradually adjust the curve of your neck when worn for 10 minutes a day over a period of one to three days.
An acupressure pillow
Large clinical studies have consistently shown that acupuncture can relieve headaches as effectively as over-the-counter pain relievers. As a convenient alternative at home, try this expert-approved neck wedge, lined with small bundles of spikes that target acupressure points on your neck to mimic the effects of acupuncture and also provide neck traction and spinal alignment.
A weighted heat wrap
Soothing comfort ThermaComfort Weighted Hot Neck Shoulder Wrap
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Headaches are often accompanied by persistent pain that radiates from the neck to the back of the head and shoulders. This targeted wrap is filled with clay beads to add weight and calming pressure to relieve pain and sore muscles. It can be used warm (heated in the microwave) or cold (stored in the refrigerator).
Treat and prevent the pain internally
Full spectrum CBD drops
A recent clinical study found that using cannabidiol (CBD), the non-intoxicating component of cannabis, for 30 days reduced the effects of headaches in 86% of respondents. Plant People’s full-spectrum CBD formula is available in varying concentrations to reduce inflammation and pain, and meets the strict standards of Standard Dose, a CBD distributor that relies on independent third-party data to determine the ingredients in the review products sold to him. (Bonus: Anything you buy ships for free).
A migraine supplement developed by neurologists
In clinical studies, magnesium, riboflavin, and coenzyme Q10 have been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. Cove’s neurologists medical advisory team designed Beam to contain all three in one over-the-counter powder that you add to water for three months and drink daily to treat migraines (the citrus-flavored elixir will also help you recover as dehydration is another common cause of headaches).