Med-free ways to get rid of pain
by Eric Metcalf
Your nearest grocery store or pharmacy offers a variety of medications to tackle headaches. But you don’t even have to leave your home – or put medicine with hard-to-read ingredients into your system – to find relief from a headache.
For garden-variety headaches, experts advise these five natural treatments:
Many people find that certain types of headaches – especially migraines – respond well to cold packs. Wrap a small bag of ice or frozen vegetables in a dry towel and place it over your forehead and temples. Leave the ice on your head for up to 15 minutes at a time, then take it off for at least 15 minutes.
Warmth also has the power to halt headaches, especially tension-type headaches caused by tight muscles in the neck and scalp. Place a warm pack on your neck and the back of your head, or step into a warm shower and let the water flow over the back of your neck. Be sure the water isn’t too hot, as this may cause even more discomfort or burn your skin.
A soothing massage can help press away headache pain. Use the tips of your fingers to rub the back of your neck, your temples, your scalp, and your shoulders. Tightness in these areas may be contributing to your headache. Even better, ask someone else to provide the headache-relieving rubdown.
Falling asleep can provide a break from your headache pain, and when you wake up you may find that the discomfort has lessened. Sleep may be especially helpful for migraine headaches. Find a quiet place to lie down, and pull the curtains closed and turn off the lights. If you can’t fall asleep, just try to rest quietly.
Stress and anxiety can cause a headache to flare up, but relaxation exercises can help relieve it. Try one of these relaxation techniques to melt away your next headache:
Lie on your back in a dark, quiet room. Tense the muscles in your feet, then let them relax. Do the same for the muscles in your lower legs, then your thighs. Move all the way up your body, tensing and relaxing your muscles.
While sitting in a comfortable position or lying down, close your eyes and picture yourself in a soothing environment, like a warm meadow or deserted beach. Imagine the feel of the breeze on your skin and the smells surrounding you. While you use your imagination, breathe deeply and feel your breath entering and exiting your body.
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