Drink a glass of water. Dehydration is one of the leading causes of a common headache.

Gently massage your head, temples, neck and shoulders. This will release tension and encourage your body to relax.

Take a hot shower or bath. The full-body warmth can initiate your relaxation response and reduce tension quickly, easing symptoms from a throbbing headache.

Lay in a quiet, darkened room with a soothing, cool towel covering your eyes. Sleep-deprivation is a common instigator for pesky headaches. The sweet spot for optimal nightly rest is seven to nine hours. A cold compress also reduces inflammation and constricts blood vessels, reducing pain from headaches. Some experts recommend applying a cold compress on the front of your neck (specifically on your carotid arteries) to ease headache pain. Conversely, if a hot compress sounds more appealing, give that a try. Finally, the lack of stimulation (i.e., darkening your space) can ease the side effects of light-sensitivity.

Avoid foods with histamine, as they can cause an immune response that leads to headaches. These foods include aged cheese, fermented food, alcohol, smoked fish and more.

Eat regularly. Undernourishment and infrequent eating can leave your body fighting to find a balance, which can cause headaches. Make sure to eat every couple of hours.

Consider caffeine If you make a drastic change in your caffeine consumption, it can lead to a headache. However, consuming small amounts of caffeine can actually help manage headache symptoms because caffeine narrows blood vessels and can help relieve headache pain.

Talk to your physician about possible teeth grinding. The jaw tension from tooth grinding can create a storm of a headache. If your dentist has broached the topic with you about nightly teeth grinding, discuss this possible cause with your physician if you get frequent headaches.

Over-the-counter medications are always on the table and include pain-relievers like Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Ibuprofen (Advil, Advil Migraine, Motrin), Naproxen (Aleve) and Aspirin.

Some aim to prevent headaches with regular physical activity; supplements, like different vitamins and minerals; relaxation methods, like stress-easing essential oils or breathing exercises; and more.

Periodic headaches are considered normal and can usually be attributed to some aspect of our lifestyles. Talk to your primary care physician if you begin to notice a pattern in your headaches or if they begin to disrupt normal activities. Seek emergency care if you experience:

  • A severe, sudden headache
  • Headache after a head injury or fall
  • Fever, stiff neck, rash, confusion, seizure, double vision, weakness, numbness or difficulty speaking
  • Pain that worsens despite treatment


“6 Tips for Headache Relief,” mayoclinichealthsystem.org, Nov. 10, 2022.

“18 Remedies to Get Rid of Headaches Naturally,” healthline.com, March 8, 2023.

“11 Unexpected Ways You Can Relieve Headaches,” huffpost.com, Nicole Pajer, April 12, 2019.