How to Treat a Headache Without Medicine

Your head is pounding or feeling tight, or there is a dull ache behind your eyes signaling the presence of a nasty headache. Most people suffer from these common symptoms now and then. This ailment has many reaching for common pain relievers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Some worry, however, about taking medication so frequently. Fortunately, some alternative effective ways are available to treat a mild to moderate headache.

A woman with a headache laying down in bed. (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Apply a warm compress on your forehead. The warmth will help the blood vessels in your head to expand, which can improve circulation and help alleviate pain.

Step 2

Lie down in a cool, dark room, if possible. Block out as much light and noise from the room as you can. Relax your body, and sleep, if you are able.

Step 3

Use meditation techniques to calm your mind and help with the pain. Close your eyes and chase worries away with visual imagery. Imagine you are enjoying yourself in a pleasant environment where there is no pain, such as a warm mountain cabin, watching the snow fall outside.

Step 4

Massage your temples and the areas around your eyes to provide relief. Have someone do it for it while you relax, if anyone is available. Monitor the pressure, as too little will not provide relief, while too much can increase your pain.

Step 5

Minimize interactions with other people, if you must stay in a populated environment such as a workplace. Let those around you know you have a headache so they will be likely to lower their voices and give you some breathing space.

Step 6

Eat a snack or light meal if you have a headache, unless you are nauseous. Sometimes headaches arise if a person's blood sugar drops, because he hasn't eaten for a period of time. Conversely, some headaches occur in certain people following the consumption of certain foods. Learning your headache triggers can help you avoid them.

Step 7

Stretch your neck and shoulder muscles to help alleviate tension that may be contributing to your headache. Drop your head slowly, lean it to the left, to the back and then to the right to stretch your neck. Do slow shoulder shrugs to stretch them and your back as well.

Step 8

Put a towel over your head, and inhale warm mist from a vaporizer. This will help open your sinuses, which in turn may help cure your headache. You can also drink a warm tea or sip warm broth to help open sinuses.

Step 9

Use acupuncture, if you experience frequent headaches and want to gain relief without medication. Find a physician who is a qualified acupuncturist by consulting the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture.

Things You'll Need

  • Warm compress

  • Vaporizer


See a physician if you experience a headache lasting more than a day, or if you experience headaches as frequently as weekly.

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