Bizarre Headache Remedies That Actually Work

Headaches are not only annoying, but some can bring you to your knees. Dealing with a headache is commonplace too as nearly half of adults have experienced a headache at least once a year, according to the World Health Organization.

While irritation and pain from the average headache is frustrating, migraine headaches can be debilitating. Symptoms include nausea, light and sound sensitivity, as well as pain. At least one in seven adults deal with a migraine, which may include the use of pain medication. Not all treatment may work the same for everyone, which is why it may be worth your while to investigate some unconventional therapies. The treatment on page 8 may seem odd, but can actually provide fast relief.

1. Body compression

Palm acupressure treatment | sb-borg/iStock/Getty Images

In some cases adding compression to certain parts of your body may give you headache relief. Buzzfeed users share some of their experiences with how compression worked for their headache pain.

One reader said squeezing the flat area between the thumb and forefinger, really hard, gave relief. Another found pinching the area on the ear called the daith helped. Or you could get that area pierced too.

Next: You’d never guess this would offer headache relief.

2. Botox

Lyn Talent receives a free Botox injection

Woman getting Botox | Win McNamee/Getty Images

Getting regular Botox injections may reduce chronic migraines, according to Health. While most people seek the treatment to reduce wrinkles, the FDA approved Botox to treat migraines in adults. The treatment often involves several injections around the head and neck, given approximately every 12 weeks. And while getting Botox for cosmetic reasons can be costly, some insurance carriers may cover costs for migraines.

Next: Treat your head through your feet.

3. Soak your feet

Aromatherapy foot soak

Feet in water |

Who knew that the way to your headache was through your feet? The idea is to draw blood to the lower extremities to reduce blood vessel pressure in the head, according to Reader’s Digest. Fill a tub with hot water combined with mustard powder. Soak your feet for about 30 minutes and then towel dry.

Next: Maybe it is what you should eat.

4. Eat certain foods

Pickled gherkins in jar, fermented food with spices

Pickles | merc67/iStock/Getty Images

Some foods have a positive impact on actually reducing headache pain, according to Buzzfeed. Not all these ideas are backed by science but readers found eating certain foods helped their headache. For instance, one reader said chewing on raw lemon segments reduced pain. Another said eating something frozen, but not ice did the trick. And if you are a pickle lover, one reader said eating pickles really helped.

Next: This treatment may be more cost-effective than prescription medication.

5. Biofeedback


Man with sensor in his head | BSANI/Getty images

This method actually tries to teach the body how to respond naturally to headache pain, according to Health. Electronic sensors track your body’s functions like temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension.

Data gathered from normal physiological functions is fed back to the patient in the form of computer images or sounds. These images or sounds are ultimately meant to teach the body how to prevent headaches from occurring. Researchers say headache therapies like biofeedback may end up being more cost-effective than purchasing prescription medication over time.

Next: This therapy is also medicine free.

6. Acupuncture

acupuncture needles

Acupuncture needles | HansJoachim/iStock/Getty Images

This method may provide relief for those who deal with chronic tension or episodic headaches, according to Health. Acupuncture involves tiny needles being inserted into the skin. The needles are placed in areas to reposition the body’s energy flow or “qi.” Treatments can run anywhere from $60 to $120 for each session.

Next: You could do this at home.

7. Heat and cold therapy

painful neck

Woman with sore neck | Vonschonertagen/iStock/Getty Images

The extremes of hot and cold therapy may help reduce headaches, plus may be an effective treatment if you are averse to taking medication, Health reports. Pregnant women, who often have a limited number of medications they can take, may find this effective as well.

If you have tension in your neck, apply heat. However, for a throbbing headache, don’t use heat, but rather ice your temples.

Next: Adding the right kind of pressure can help reduce pain.

8. Wear a headband

Hipster woman wearing glasses and a headband

A headband can help provide fast relief. | Khosrork/iStock/Getty Images

Although it may seem counterintuitive, applying pressure to your head with a headband or tightly tied scarf or bandana can help quickly reduce headache pain. The pressure can help reduce blood flow to your scalp, which ultimately means less blood flow to the pounding blood vessels in your head, according to Reader’s Digest.

Next: You may need more than just a little squeeze sometimes.

9. Massage

woman getting a massage

Woman getting a massage | petrenkod/iStock/Getty Images

While massage may bring only temporary relief, those who received massages on a regular basis seemed to have fewer migraines, according to Health. One small study found six weekly massages reduced the number of migraines. Plus the massages helped with sleep too. Not only did the massage help during the treatment, the relief continued for three weeks after.

Next: This is another low-risk therapy.

10. Stretching

Fit women doing exercises stretching hamstrings lifting legs

Woman stretching |

If tension is causing the pain, consider performing stretches designed for headaches, Health reports. Three different stretches may help. One is where you bring your chin forward, up and then side-to-side. Another is doing shoulder shrugs. A final stretch is called neck isometrics where you press your palm into your forehead. Hold for a bit and then press your hand to each side of your head. Do this two times a day for about 20 minutes. Try to do the stretch for about five seconds, release and then repeat up to five times.

Next: Get moving.

11. Cardio

Cardio exercise

Couple running on treadmills | vadimguzhva/Getty Images

Getting the blood flowing may do the trick too, especially if you deal with migraines, according to Health. Consider cycling, running, swimming or even fast walking to reduce pain. One study found those who participated in a 12-week cycling program had a reduced incidence of migraines. Plus, the pain intensity was lower too.

Next: Or you could chill out.

12. Meditation

woman meditating on the beach

Person meditating | Kieferpix/iStock/Getty Images

Learning to shift your mindset away from pain may help you find relief from headaches, according to Health. One form of meditation studied at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine showed promise. The technique is called Vipassana, which is an ancient approach that connects mind and body. The approach may possibly reduce the severity and frequency for people with migraines. Plus, quality of life improved too.

Next: Bring mind, body, and spirit together for this approach.

13. Yoga

Young black woman doing yoga

Woman doing yoga |

If you get migraines you may want to consider trying yoga, according to Health. In a small study, those who had frequent migraines saw a reduced number and less anxiety after doing three months of yoga. What does yoga do for you? It joins breathing exercises with physical poses, plus meditation. The ultimate result is more relaxation and a higher balance between the mind, body, and spirit.

Next: You can try this technique right now.

14. Relaxation exercises

Relaxation exercises

People doing yoga | Ridofranz/Getty images

Tension may be why you are getting a headache. Which is why using a relaxation technique may give you relief, according to Health. Some approaches include deep breathing, using mental imagery, and listening to relaxing music. One study found that using a relaxation technique was better at improving sleep for people with tension headaches than acupuncture.

Next: Your morning Joe may be able to help.

15. Drinking coffee

National Coffee Day is Sept. 29

Cup of coffee | Christopher Jue/Getty Images

Headache pain may be derived from swollen blood vessels. One remedy is to drink coffee or something caffeinated to provide relief, according to Reader’s Digest. One study found 58% of the participants found total headache relief by drinking caffeine alone. Even if you partner your coffee with ibuprofen you may see relief too. About 70% in the same study found their headache improved.

Don’t love coffee? You can try ginger tea instead.

Next: Try removing this from your life

16. Eliminate certain foods

Becan and Sausages

Sausage | Beats3/iStock/Getty Images

Certain foods may be the reason why you are getting a headache in the first place. Foods that create inflammation may be the culprit, according to Health, which could trigger a migraine. Inflammation inducing foods include cured meat, aged cheeses, MSG, and gluten. Eliminate inflammation-inducing foods from your diet for about six weeks. Then slowly add them back in, one by one, to see if your headache returns.

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