4 steps to curing a headache

Head pounding? Before you reach for the painkillers, try these three steps first. Simple solutions could save you from a world of hurt.

Step 1: Put down your smartphone.
A recent study found that people hold their mobiles way too close to their faces when texting or surfing online, which can strain the eyes. That, in turn, may lead to a headache.

If that doesn't work...

Step 2: Chug water.
Just being mildly dehydrated can cause severe headaches, per a 2012 study in The Journal of Nutrition. Drinking down a full eight ounces of H2O may quell throbbing in minutes. 

(RELATED: 10 Ways to Drink More Water)

If that doesn't work. . .

Step 3: Take a time-out.
Tightness across your temple could signal a tension headache caused by stress, says Women's Health advisor Dr. Keri Peterson, a physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Retreat to a quiet corner -- even a bathroom stall will do! -- and use your fingertips to massage your forehead in a circular motion. As you knead, take five slow, deep breaths; inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth. Pause, then repeat.

If that doesn't work...

Step 4: Head for the herbals.
Research in the journal Headache revealed that holding anti-inflammatory ginger-feverfew gel under your tongue for 60 seconds -- then swallowing -- can curb early headache pain. Feverfew capsules or ginger tea may also work. Still not better? Pop a couple of ibuprofen.

More: 6 Headache Triggers to Avoid