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A headache is one of the most common human complaints. In rare cases, it might be a symptom of a serious illness, so someone who suffers from repeat headaches should consult their doctor. In many cases, headaches are caused by hectic and pressurized lifestyles, stress or dehydration. The popularity of common headache medicines reflects the large numbers of people who suffer from this problem. So what did people do before these drugs came on the market? They had a range of natural home remedies for headaches, and these treatments continue to provide alternatives for those who prefer to avoid prescription medicines.

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A Little Relaxation

Since stress is one of the top causes of headaches, actions to relieve and reduce stress can alleviate the condition. The exact technique to use varies between individuals and according to the nature of a headache. For example, if someone has a headache just above their right eye, it helps to lie down on a comfortable sofa with this side of the face resting on the arm of the couch and the person's eyes closed. It also often helps to take deep breaths to fill the body with oxygen and at the same time relax it. Some find that raising and then lowering the shoulders a half dozen or so times per day helps, while others use various meditation techniques.

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A Breath of Fresh Air

Sometimes, alleviating a headache is as simple as stepping out the door of the building or home in which you reside. An office worker with a bad headache is unlikely to be in a mood to go outside and get some fresh air, but this is one of the best moves they can make in these circumstances. A brisk walk through a local park helps relax the tight muscles in the head that produce headaches. It also diverts their minds from the pain and helps to relieve their stress. A fixed exercise routine also acts as an effective preventive measure against recurring headaches.

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Mental Diversions

A nice walk outside is just one of a multitude of methods that someone with a headache may try as a tension reducer. Even if leaving home or the office at this time is not feasible for some reason, it is always possible to go to a quiet corner and close the eyes for a few minutes. During this period conjure up relaxing images, for example, a beautiful beach visited on a recent vacation. If followed persistently, this mental exercise offers surprisingly effective headache relief.

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Avoid Chocolate

For anyone who is fond of chocolate, the idea that their favorite treat might be a cause of headaches is unwelcome news. One of the ingredients in chocolate is caffeine and studies establish that this substance is quite a common cause of headaches. At the same time, other research points out that chocolate also brings some health benefits as a relaxant and a more positive mood stimulant. The chocolate eater who gets frequent headaches may need to find a balance that lets them have their treat in a limited amount, as the food that makes them so happy may be the source of at least some of their pain.

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Finding a Link Between Diet and Headaches

In addition to possible adverse reactions to chocolate, quite a few common mealtime foods may serve as headache triggers for certain individuals. With a little detective work, it is possible to discover if a headache regularly occurs after eating a certain food for lunch. Foods with artificial flavorings or other chemicals or synthetic materials added are more likely to give problems. Read the ingredients on the wrapper or packaging and try to isolate the problem substance. Then, do some experimentation: cut out foods containing this substance from your diet for periods of time and see if the headaches stop during the periods. If so, you may be well served to stop eating those foods entirely.

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Remember to Drink Enough Water

Dehydration can cause headaches. Consider this pain as a major warning sign that the body issues when it becomes low on vital water. It is essential to pay attention and drink enough. Best of all, follow a strict policy of regular drinking water to avoid getting into this situation in the first place. It is all too easy to become dehydrated outdoors in hot climates or while engaged in vigorous exercise or sports. Since dehydration poses serious risks to health and water is widely available and usually free, this particular headache source is not difficult to avoid with a little discipline.

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Cayenne Pepper

Someone with a bad headache is likely to want to go to the bedroom and lie down. But the kitchen may hold a more promising potentially effective remedy. Spicy cayenne pepper is a great cooking ingredient but how many know that it also contains a material called capsaicin that helps reduce pains and inflammation? However strange it sounds, one tried the method to relieve headaches involves placing a small amount of cayenne pepper powder dissolved in water into the nostrils with the aid of a cotton swab.

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A Handful of Almonds

The thought of a little cayenne pepper powder up the nostrils is likely not too appealing. The idea of munching the headache away on a few tasty almonds is certainly a more attractive alternative. Almonds contain a substance called salicin which also happens to be an ingredient in some prescription headache medicines. The only possible cause for concern eating almonds is that there is some evidence that they cause problems for migraine sufferers.

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Pay Attention to Posture

Once upon a time parents commonly told children off for not sitting straight at the table. Some Victorian teachers even forced students to sit up straight against a ruler for extended periods of time. Their concerns focused on traditional ideas of decorum, but when it comes to natural headache treatments, the issue of posture is an important one. Sitting slumped over a computer keyboard is another common headache trigger. It pays to practice sitting upright. Also, consider getting a chair that allows you to sit in a relaxed but straight position.

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Take Some Butterbur

Interest in the traditional cures used by Native Americans is on the rise. Modern clinical trials reveal the wisdom behind some of their traditional medicines. A good example is the butterbur plant, a varietal from the daisy family. It contains substances with anti-inflammatory and blood pressure relieving qualities that researchers have discovered help with migraine treatment.

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.