You know that heat and humidity make headaches more likely. And you know that the last thing you want to do when you’re in pain is hop in the car and head to the drugstore. But, what you may not know is that help for those summer headaches may already be in your medicine cabinet!
For Migraines: Try Aspirin
This just in from scientists at Florida Atlantic University: Taking 900 mg. to 1,300 mg. of aspirin at the first sign of a migraine cuts pain by 70 percent. That’s better than prescription meds! Aspirin even prevents symptoms like nausea and light sensitivity by calming blood vessel swelling and inflammation — two migraine triggers.
For Sinus Pain: Try VapoRub
To tame head pain caused by sinus congestion in 10 minutes, reach for Vicks VapoRub. Murray Grossman, MD, an ear, nose and throat specialist, advises massaging it onto your temples and neck in a downward motion. “The menthol opens nasal passages to improve drainage and relieve sinus pressure,” he explains, while the massage helps flush pain-triggering toxins.
For Tension Ouch: Try Joint Cream
Arthritis creams like Voltaren and Bengay can tame a tension headache in five minutes if you rub them along the base of your skull and down the back of your neck, Swedish scientists say. Pain-killing compounds absorb readily through skin, while the massaging motion relaxes spasming scalp and neck muscles.
For Rebound Pain: Try Ginger Chews
Few things are as frustrating as getting rid of a headache only to have it come right back. The fix: ginger chews! A study in Phytotherapy Research suggests munching on two ginger chews (or taking a 500-mg. ginger supplement) eases head pain by 52 percent in 30 minutes, and by up to 90 percent in two hours, without risk of rebound pain. Study co-author Ali Moghimi, PhD, credits compounds (gingerols) with calming aches as quickly and effectively as prescription sumatriptan.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.