With two teenage daughters, I hear the words “I have a headache” a lot (and not just from my husband!). Whether it’s from eye strain on devices, the stress of tests, not enough sleep, or hormonal issues, they seem to get headaches more now than they did when they were kids. Rather than just pumping them full of more and more Advil or Tylenol, I’ve started investigating other remedies that will work either by themselves on in conjunction with the medicine depending on how bad the headaches are.
Cool Cloth: This is the most old school of the remedies but it is amazing how often it works. In some cases, I think it is because the kids are actually a bit overheated or overstimulated. Forcing them to lay down for a bit with a cool cloth on the forehead gets them away from their computer or textbook and forces relaxation. If the problem is eye strain, try spreading the cloth down further over the eyes as well. It won’t help on the most stubborn of headaches, but it is the least medicinal option.
Caffeine: You may have heard of over the counter headache relievers that include caffeine in them, and there is a good reason for that. Caffeine supposedly reduces certain types of inflammation and can boost the effectiveness of some medicines. My kids don’t drink coffee or a lot of pop, so when they do have any caffeine, it hits them quickly. When my daughter was studying late for finals it seemed like the headaches were worse with a lack of sleep. I made an exception to my normal Coke rules and let her drink one in the morning. It’s not a long-term solution but it can definitely help for the occasional headache that needs fast attention before an important test.
Peppermint oil: This is the most important tip of all. Whether your teen’s headache is just starting or has turned into a full-blown migraine, I suggest you try peppermint oil. I consider it so important that I now keep a bottle in my medicine kit and never travel without one. While I’m not into a lot of oils and natural remedies, this is the one that I swear by. Just a couple of drops of oil used by itself or in conjunction with some of the other remedies (depending upon the severity of the headache) can be a lifesaver.
Finding and Using Peppermint Oil for Headaches
What do you do with it? I always do two things. First, I dab a little bit onto each temple and across the forehead. Be careful of this because you don’t want to rub it down into your eyes. So keep it high up and rub it in until you don’t feel it. Second, I put a drop in each of my palms and rub them together. I then cup my hands over my nose and mouth and breath in slowly until I can’t smell the peppermint anymore. It may take doing this for 10-15 minutes and even using a few more drops if the headache is really stubborn.
Where can you get it? This is tricky because oils are starting to be sold all over the place at very different prices and in many different ways. The fastest way is probably to order from Amazon (especially if you have Amazon Prime). A quick Amazon search will show a variety of options starting at around $6. You’ll see things like “pure” and “therapeutic grade” and “pharmaceutical grade.” The good thing about using peppermint in this way is that you aren’t ingesting it like you would if you were making tea or mixing it with your water. So you don’t have to be quite so worried about the grade of the oil.
Another option that is even safer is to buy through a company that specializes in oils. I’m not into the home sales ones just because I don’t use enough to buy into the company myself (although I can see why a lot of people do). One of the online places I buy my oils is Plant Therapy. You can find a whole range there, including peppermint, and you can even get it in a roller. They also make a Tension Relief Synergy blend that has a few other oils mixed in with it and can be used specifically for headaches.