Primary Headache

Supportive Management

  • Rest, relax, or sleep (as much as possible, in a dark room) until your headache subsides.
  • Apply cold pack or heating pack (whichever is more effective in relieving the pain in your case) in the painful area. Apply for 15 minutes at a time.
    • Home-made cold pack: wrap an ice pack or several ice cubes in a towel
    • Home-made heating pack: fill up a tightly-closed glass bottle with hot water and wrap it in a towel (make sure that the bottle does not touch the skin directly)
  • Massage your temples or the muscles at the back of your neck or shoulder by gently rubbing the painful area with your fingertips.
  • Perform relaxation exercises (e.g. deep breathing, music therapy, meditation).
    • Perform deep-breathing exercises.
      • Find a quiet and comfortable place where you can be alone with yourself.
      • Sit upright in bed or chair, and find a comfortable position.
      • Place one or both hands over the abdomen, just below the ribs.
      • Deeply breathe in through the nose, while keeping mouth closed. Breathe in for a count of four.
      • Feel the abdomen rise with each inhalation, and as far as possible.
      • Through a pursed-lip, breathe out. Breathe out for a count of seven.
      • Feel the abdomen sink with each exhalation.
      • Perform deep-breathing exercises for 5-10 minutes at a time, and as many times each day.
    • Engage in music therapy.
      • Choose a soothing, therapeutic song. Research findings indicate that music with slower tempo (60 beats per minute) induces a calming, relaxing effect. Sounds of nature (drops of rain, flowing waterfalls) are also relaxing. But the best relaxation music ultimately depends on each person’s preference – whichever music one finds relaxing (albeit upbeat or moderately loud) – may be used for music therapy.
      • Relax before and during the music therapy by performing deep breathing exercises (see instructions above).
      • Listen actively to the music. Feel the music. Focus your mind on the music, get lost in it – listen to every beat and every silence in between. Let the music’s mood influence yours.
    • Engage in meditation.


  • Avoid headache triggers. Avoid eating processed food and cured products (e.g. sausage, hot dogs, cold cuts, bacon) which contain nitrate and nitrite. Also avoid salty food, aged cheese (e.g. cheddar, swiss, and parmesan), red wine, chocolate, raisin, pickles, and olives.
  • Sleep for 7-8 hours every night in a dark room, as melatonin – a powerful anti-oxidant that promotes healing through boosting the immune function – are found to be produced in higher amounts when sleeping in darkness. If sleeping in a dark room is not possible, wear an eye patch instead.

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Herbal Medicine

  • Oregano
    • Pound some fresh leaves, extract the juice, and apply externally on painful area.
  • Yerba Buena
    • Pound some fresh leaves, extract the juice and apply externally on painful area.
  • Pandan Liniment
    • Pandan or pandang mabango can either be used. Crush the leaves of the plant and mix them with oil. Apply externally on painful area.
  • Luya
    • Roast or heat a slice of luya and apply externally on painful area.
  • Garlic
    • Crush a clove of garlic and apply on painful area.
  • Lagundi
    • Pound the lagundi leaves and apply on forehead.
  • Sambong
    • Crush sambong leaves and mix with coconut oil or cooking oil. Apply on forehead.


Other Complementary and Alternative Therapy

  • Acupressure
    • Acupressure is traditional healing art which uses the fingers, palms, elbows, or feet to apply pressure on the body’s healing points (acupoints) in order to restore the life force energy of the body, improve blood circulation, relieve muscle tension, and ultimately, to improve health.
    • Please visit the following link containing a video demonstration on alleviating headache using acupressure:
  • Acupuncture
    • This should be done under the guidance of a trained acupuncture practitioner. It gives headache relief by releasing the natural painkillers from the brain through the insertion of fine needles through the skin.