Headaches & Treatments

Non-Medication Headache Self-Care: Try These Techniques


For individuals dealing with headaches, can utilizing self-care techniques help ease symptoms?

Headaches Self Care

There are different self-pain-relieving approaches to ease headache-related pain that use non-medication options. While headache self-care pain-relieving techniques can help temporarily, they are recommended to help ease headache symptoms until professional treatment is available. Individuals are encouraged to try multiple strategies to find the right treatment regimen that works for them, which is usually a process of trial and error. Self-care headache relief maneuvers can include temple massages, breathing exercises, exercise, or applying a cold pack to the head.

Self-Care Relief

Commonly used for tension headaches or migraine, a few examples of self-care techniques include (Espí-López G. V. et al., 2016)

  • Massaging the temples, neck, or scalp with the hand, fingers, or a massage tool.
  • Applying a cold pack to the affected area.
  • Heat can be used on the affected area, like a headband or a hot shower.
  • Compression such as a handkerchief or belt wrapped tightly around the head or pressing firmly on the painful area.

Compression is more commonly utilized in migraineurs versus scalp massage in people with tension headaches. This is often due to the throbbing sensation caused by a migraine versus a tension headache, which feels like a tight grip or band around the head.

Individuals with cluster headaches are more likely to utilize unique approaches, such as covering one ear, rotating the head, shallow breathing, moving around, or closing the nostril on the same side as the head pain.

Other Complementary Options

Other complementary therapies for headache and migraine care include: (Millstine D. et al., 2017)

  • Trigger point release massage
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Aerobic exercise
  • Yoga
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Meditation
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Various scientific studies support the potential benefit of these complementary therapies. However, individuals should talk with a healthcare provider to choose the best strategy for their headache type and their unique needs/goals. Working with a chiropractic team can help expedite healing. Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Clinic works with primary healthcare providers and specialists to develop a customized treatment plan through an integrated approach to treating injuries and chronic pain syndromes, improving flexibility, mobility, and agility, relieving pain, and helping individuals return to normal activities. If other treatments are needed, Dr. Jimenez has teamed up with top surgeons, clinical specialists, medical researchers, and rehabilitation providers to provide the most effective treatments.

Tension Headaches and Chiropractic Care


Espí-López, G. V., Zurriaga-Llorens, R., Monzani, L., & Falla, D. (2016). The effect of manipulation plus massage therapy versus massage therapy alone in people with tension-type headache. A randomized controlled clinical trial. European journal of physical and rehabilitation medicine, 52(5), 606–617.

Millstine, D., Chen, C. Y., & Bauer, B. (2017). Complementary and integrative medicine in the management of headache. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 357, j1805. doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j1805

Post Disclaimer

Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "Non-Medication Headache Self-Care: Try These Techniques" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

Blog Information & Scope Discussions

Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and directly or indirectly support our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has reasonably attempted to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez, DC, or contact us at 915-850-0900.

We are here to help you and your family.


Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

Licensed as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in Texas & New Mexico*
Texas DC License # TX5807, New Mexico DC License # NM-DC2182

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Florida License RN License # RN9617241 (Control No. 3558029)
License Compact Status: Multi-State License: Authorized to Practice in 40 States*
Presently Matriculated: ICHS: MSN* FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner Program)

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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