Home remedies for headache relief

by Carol Saldanha on Sunday 11 February 2024

4 min read

Headaches are like uninvited guests who show up at a party: they leave you wondering how they got there and what’s the best way to get rid of them. 

Next time a headache crashes your party, you can try one of these 4 remedies to show it the door. These remedies have shown the most promising results during scientific research.

If you suffer from headaches regularly, it’s always best to consult your GP or a qualified health professional.

What is a headache?

Headaches are one of Australia's most common health-related conditions, with around 15% of us taking pain-relieving medication for a headache at any given time.

A headache is a sensation in your head or face that ranges from pressure to a full-on drum solo – it can feel like a constant beat, a steady hum, a sharp jab, or a dull thud.

What can cause a headache?

Defining the cause of a headache is challenging, to say the least – there are more than 200 types of headaches. But in short, anything that stimulates our head and neck pain receptors can cause a headache. Some examples are:

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Large amounts of caffeine
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Skipping meals
  • Too much screen time.

What are the symptoms related to headaches?

Because there are so many symptoms and types of headaches, the list is long. But some common headache symptoms are:

  • Pain on both sides of the head
  • Slow-start pain that gets more intense over time
  • Dull pain or pressure around the head.

Headache symptoms may look like other conditions. If you’re having persistent symptoms, it’s best to see a doctor for a check-up and a diagnosis.

4 headache remedies

It’s important to emphasise that remedies offer temporary relief of symptoms. They’re not a cure for your headache. Again, always seek medical advice for treatment.

We still need more scientific evidence to support these remedies' efficacy and results are different for each person. But there are low-risk alternatives that showed promising results during scientific research.

1. Acupuncture

This might not be for the faint of heart – even though acupuncture is less scary than it looks. 

This ancient Chinese method of relieving symptoms such as pain involves inserting thin needles into the skin to stimulate specific points throughout the body.

Studies show acupuncture is effective in treating some conditions – including headaches.

2. Mind-body techniques

Also known as biofeedback therapy, these techniques are used as an alternative therapy that can help you control certain involuntary bodily functions, like your heart rate and breathing.

The idea behind the concept is to create conscious changes for these involuntary functions – think slowing down your breathing, for example.

Clinical trials indicate some patients benefit from mind-body techniques. Next time you have a headache, try breathing or rest and relaxation techniques.

3. Massage

A study from 2022 concluded that muscle-specific massage therapy could be an effective remedy for non-migraine headaches – if you suffer from migraines, talk to your GP before trying any of these remedies.

Give yourself a massage or apply pressure to specific areas like the neck, shoulders, and the ‘third eye’ to relieve headaches. It's an easy remedy you can try on your own.

4. Water

Your headache could be a sign of dehydration. Next time a headache kicks in, drink some water. Increased water intake can reduce and prevent headaches.

Time to slow down

Stress and muscle tension are also common causes of headaches. Come and hit pause at Virgin Active. Choose from spas, Sound Bath classes, or Zen spaces to rest & recover, and maybe even keep the headache away.

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