As happy as we are to leave winter behind, a sudden shift in weather can trigger bothersome headaches. Thankfully, these tweaks cure pain — no Rx required!
Choose lavender to relieve a migraine.
Scientists pinpointed one reason headaches increase with the change of seasons: spring cleaning. “Certain artificial fragrances in cleaning products are common migraine triggers,” says Jeffrey Landsman, M.D., of Mercy Personal Physicians. In fact, they spark headaches for 70 percent of migraine sufferers and can linger in our home for weeks. Instead, pick products made with lavender, or add two drops of lavender essential oil to an unscented cleaning product. Research in European Neurology found that the scent calmed overactive nerve cells and relieved migraines in 71 percent of folks in just 15 minutes.
Rub your jaw to tame a tension headache.
The past year has been challenging for everyone, so it’s no wonder we’re all feeling a little rattled. And as it turns out, chronic stress has triggered an epidemic of nighttime teeth-clenching — aka bruxism — according to a new report from the American Dental Association. What’s more, grinding your teeth at night puts 1,700 percent more force on your jaw than regular chewing, leading to next-day tension headaches. To quell the ache, circle a knuckle along your jawline from the back to your chin for 60 seconds just before bed. Doing so helps break “the headache effect,” says Dr. Landsman, since working out tension in the jaw slashes the likelihood that you’ll grind in the night.
Sip tea to ward off a repeat headache.
Do headaches keep coming back even after you reach for pain relievers ? In a surprising twist, blame may lie with them. “Rebound headaches occur when medication used to treat head pain wears off and causes a new headache,” says Dr. Landsman. One fix: sipping ginger tea. Scientists found that 500 mg. of the spice (just an eighth of a teaspoon) eased pain on par with Aleve, without the risk of a rebound headache.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.