Headaches vary both in their intensity and the area of the head affected. Mayo Clinic explains: “Headaches may occur on one or both sides of the head, be isolated to a certain location, radiate across the head from one point, or have a vice-like quality.” The duration can also range from anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours.
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On the pain spectrum, a migraine is on the more extreme end.
Migraines are particular bad headaches that can make it impossible to do normal tasks.
As the NHS explains, most headaches will go away on their own and are not a sign of something more serious.
There are simple steps you can take to aid your recovery, however.
The NHS recommends the following:
- Drink plenty of water
- Get plenty of rest if you have a cold or the flu
- Try to relax – stress can make headaches worse
- Exercise when you can
- Take paracetamol or ibuprofen
If you find the above ineffective, research suggests essential oils may do the trick.
One of the most promising is peppermint oil, which is extracted from the leaves of the peppermint plant.
A review of published studies on essential oils states that applying peppermint oil to the temples and forehead provides relief from tension headaches.
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A tension headache is commonly described as a constant ache that affects both sides of the head.
What’s more, One small study looked at the topical application of a 10 percent menthol solution for migraine treatment.
Menthol is the chemical component of peppermint oil.
They found that when applied to the forehead and temples, participants had a longer duration of pain relief and less nausea and light sensitivity compared to placebo.
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Another study investigated the use of a treatment gel for migraines.
The gel contained menthol as one of its components and was applied to the skin when a migraine began.
Researchers found that there was a significant improvement by at least one severity level two hours after application.
Bolstering the association, peppermint oil has been shown to alleviate general pain complaints.
One study examined the effect of peppermint oil tablets on people with difficulty swallowing and non-cardiac chest pain.
Over half of the participants reported an improvement in their symptoms.
According to the NHS, certain activities can worsen your headache symptoms so are best to be avoided.
It says to avoid:
- Drinking alcohol
- Skipping meals (even if you might not feel like eating anything)
- Sleeping more than you usually would – it can make the headache worse
- Straining your eyes for a long time – for example, by looking at a screen
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