Alternative Solutions for Headache Relief that Don’t Include Medications

By Annette GallagherApril 30, 2016No Comments

Are you getting tired of turning to the medicine cabinet every time you feel the familiar pains of a headache? Here at the Houston Headache Institute, we’re always working to help patients find treatments that work to relieve their pain with fewer unpleasant side effects.

Try one, or more, of these tested and reliable remedies for relieving headaches without turning to over-the-counter or prescription medication. They can also be used in conjunction with medication.


It might sound like a “far-out” treatment from the 1960s, but biofeedback is actually a well-respected and fully-tested technique for relaxing. We recommend it for patients who are experiencing primarily tension- or stress-related pain without other complications like sinus pain. You simply use a tracking device to monitor biological information like your heart rate, blood pressure, and even your thought patterns with the right equipment. Doing breathing and visualization exercises causes a noticeable change in the biofeedback readout, making it easier to stay focused on relaxing so that your head pain can go away on its own.

Yoga and Massage

We see plenty of patients here at the Houston Headache Institute with serious tension in their neck, back, and shoulders. This kind of muscle tension can leave you feeling like your headache is constant and never goes away. When it is bodily tension causing your headache, tackle it directly with a hands-on relaxation technique like massage. A few visits to the massage therapist may result in long-lasting relief thanks to a more flexible neck and upper back area.

Massage is great, but it can’t help when a headache strikes at 2am while you’re at home. Learning a few basic yoga moves is the best way to mimic the muscle relaxing effects of massage at home. Slow and gentle stretching encourages better blood flow to reduce pressure in your head.


While Chinese traditional medicine doctors have been touting the benefits of acupuncture for centuries, only recently has modern science backed up those claims through rigorous testing. Don’t let a fear of needles stop you from seeing an acupuncturist. The needles are barely inserted in the skin and virtually don’t hurt at all. If you really can’t get over the use of needles in the treatment room, there are multiple techniques that involve applying pressure to the surface of the skin instead of using metal to stimulate the nerves under the skin.


Sometimes it’s simply the conditions of your home or office that are triggering your headaches. An inexpensive humidifier or a basic saline spray may make an immediate difference in how much pain you’re experiencing. Many head pain issues come from sinus pain due to allergies or dry air.

Even if you don’t feel any pain in your sinuses and only think you’re dealing with a basic headache, give humidity a try just to see if it helps. Let your shower run on the hottest temperature until it steams up your bathroom to test out the humidity treatment before buying any special equipment.

Herbal Medicine

Finally, don’t forget about the herbal products that have been proven to relieve head pain. Peppermint oil, feverfew capsules, and ginger teas are all linked to reduced inflammation and pain during a tension headache, while butterbur extracts are effective for migraines in some patients.

Houston Headache Institute

You can try all these treatments on your own, but you’ll get better results from trying them in concert with our help. Schedule a visit to the Houston Headache Institute to start on your path to freedom from headaches.