By Estelle Erasmus

1x per day

Stir 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger  into a glass of water or have it as a tea daily to stave off a headache before it starts. 

1240 AD

That’s when peppermint was first mentioned in European medical texts. Massaging your forehead and temples with its oil can help relieve tension pain by increasing circulation, according to research.

Also see: How to Get Back to Sleep After a Nightmare


When a headache hits hard, try this breathing method suggested by neurologist Brian Grosberg, MD. Inhale deeply for 3 seconds so your belly expands. Hold the breath for 1 second. Exhale for 5 seconds and then hold again for 1 second. Repeat 3 to 4 times in a row. Concentrating on the simple act of breathing alleviates the pain.

Related: 7 Surprising Reasons You’re Tired All the Time—and How to Beat Them

18 foods that can impact histamine levels

Consuming high amounts of histamine is a leading cause of migraine. Try avoiding foods on the right, below, and enjoying more of those on the left. “Not having enough of the enzyme diamine oxidase, which breaks down histamine, in your system is another cause,” explains internist Tania Dempsey, MD. “Boost it with a supplement or by eating pea sprouts.”


  • onions
  • garlic
  • thyme
  • tarragon
  • nettle
  • ginger
  • turmeric


  • alcohol
  • vinegar
  • aged cheeses
  • chocolate
  • cured meats
  • fermented foods (yogurt and sauerkraut)
  • nuts (peanuts, cashews, and walnuts)

20 seconds

Twenty seconds of looking away from your computer and focusing on something at least 20 feet away every 20 minutes can alleviate eyestrain, a major cause of headaches. Even better, stand up and stretch to relieve the tight muscles in your neck and back that also lead to head pain.

30 minutes a day

Listening to 30 minutes of a certified hypnotherapist on the free Migraine Relief Hypnosis app (Android, iOS) can reduce pain in a few weeks.

3 to 5 minutes

Taking a few minutes to do self-massage may ease pain. Grasp the back of your neck with one hand and firmly squeeze its sides and release, as if kneading dough. Next, use the same motion with both hands to massage the muscles that run from the base of the neck out to the tops of your shoulders. Finally, with your fingertips, make small circles while moving the skin over your temples and above your ears. 


Our Expert Panel 

Tania Dempsey, MD, founder, Armonk Integrative Medicine, Armonk, New York; Brian M. Grosberg, MD, FAHS, director, Hartford HealthCare Headache Center, Connecticut; Isha Gupta, MD, board-certified neurologist at IGEA Brain & Spine, New York and New Jersey.