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These Natural Headache Remedies End the Pain Fast — No Meds Needed

It isn’t just the fast pace of life making our head throb: Here, natural strategies to spell true relief fast.

With all that we have on our plates, it’s no surprise when we feel a headache coming on. Call it the cost of womanhood: We are a staggering three times more likely than men to report being bothered “a lot” by a headache in the last three months, according to a new national survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And while genetic factors play a huge role, especially when it comes to migraines, hormonal shifts are also a major trigger, asserts neurologist Laurie Knepper, MD, associate professor of neurology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “Many of our patients have had migraines since they were in elementary school and it typically runs in families, but it tends to get worse when puberty hits,” she says, adding that the role estrogen plays is complicated and not yet fully understand, though there’s a clear correlation.

“When women are pregnant, during their third trimester, they often say that 90% of their headaches go away because estrogen surges during his time,” she says. “But as they approach menopause, their headaches tend to get worse, owing to dropping estrogen levels.”

Our time of life isn’t the only factor exacerbating headache pain: time of year is also important. “I hear it all the time from patients: When the barometric pressure changes in the spring, they get headaches,” notes Dr. Knepper, explaining that the pressure changes in our sinuses can lead to pain. The good news: No matter what kind of headache you suffer from, there are simple strategies proven to soothe it. Just read on for natural headache remedies to tame the pain fast.

To relieve migraines: Take the magnesium

The mineral does more than soothe sore muscle, it also tames migraines. Magnesium isn’t just great for soothing sore muscles, it’s also a proven migraine tamer. “We believe it works on the cellular level, relieving migraines by blocking pain signals in the trigeminal nerve system in the back of the brain,” says Dr. Knepper, adding that patients who are reluctant to take a prescription for migraine pain will often start with magnesium instead. (Click through to learn more about magnesium benefits.)

Research shows magnesium also curbs tension and sinus headaches by soothing the network of nerves and muscles that can trigger pain. Dr. Knepper advises taking 500 mg of magnesium daily to help prevent migraines. For best results, look for magnesium glycinate, which is more easily absorbed by the body. What to consider removing from your headache-taming arsenal? Excedrin. “Once the caffeine it contains wears off, many migraine patients report ‘rebound headaches.’” She recommends ibuprofen or naproxen (Aleve) instead.

RELATED: Dentists: This Simple Jaw Massage May Ward Off Your Tension Headaches and Migraines

To relieve screen-time headaches: Try the ‘horizon Rx’

horizon gazing
Davi Zapico / getty

From your cell phone to your tablet, screens are everywhere, and their pain-inducing effects are just as common: A study in Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics showed that that 64% to 90% of computer users suffer from “visual symptoms, which may include eyestrain or headache.” In fact, we can’t address screen headaches without focusing on our peepers: “The pain is coming from our eye muscles, because they’re constantly contracting when we’re looking at our devices,” says pain expert Andrea Furlan, M.D., Ph.D., author of 8 Steps to Conquer Chronic Pain.

The best antidote? Good old-fashioned relaxation. “Set an alarm for every 20 minutes, and take a moment to relax your eyes by gazing at the horizon.” A study in the Nepalese Journal of Ophthalmology showed that people who adopted the 20-20-20 technique (gazing 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes) experienced significantly less eye strain and headache pain.

RELATED: Too Much Screen Time? This Genius Rubber Band Trick Makes It Easy to Put Your Phone Down

To relieve allergy headaches: Sip ginger tea

woman sipping tea
Kobus Louw / Getty

We love everything about springtime, from the cute crocuses popping up to the Easter Bunny hopping by. Well, almost everything: We could do without allergy-induced headaches. Thanks to the swirl of pollen in the air triggering inflammation and increasing sinus pressure, headache pain is all too common this time of year.

Good natural headache remedies for this: ginger tea. A study in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry shows that compounds in ginger calm mast cells, which trigger allergy symptoms. In other words, this “root tea” attacks the root of headache pain. Another perk: “Ginger tea may help ease the nausea associated with severe headache pain and migraines,” Dr. Knepper says. That’s because gingerol, a compound in the herb, is shown to improve digestion and speed stomach emptying. To reap the benefits, aim to drink 2-3 cups of ginger tea daily.

RELATED: Experts Reveal the Best Tea for Headaches That Soothe Pain Naturally

For more headache remedies, keep reading:

This Easy At-Home Gua Sha Facial Gets Your Skin Glowing + Relieves a Headache Fast

Doctor-Approved Home Remedies That Ease A Heat-Induced Headache Faster Than Meds

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