Migraine headaches are no picnic. They aren’t just a “headache” but rather a debilitating pain that causes throbbing and pulsing sensations throughout your head. They typically strike one side of the hear or the other. Some people not only feel intense pain but also nausea, vomiting, and exaggerated sensitivity to sound and light.
When a migraine comes on it can last for hours to even days! At times, the pain can be so severe that it keeps the sufferer from their activities of daily living.
Many people know when a migraine is about to occur by certain telltale symptoms like seeing flashes of light, experiencing blind spots, or even having tingling on one side of their face or in an arm or leg.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the exact causes of migraines aren’t fully understood. However, we do know that genetics and environmental factors seem to be a part of the puzzle.
Migraines can be triggered by a number of factors which include but are not limited to hormonal changes, stress, and certain food additives.
Migraines sound absolutely horrible! I, myself, do not experience them, thankfully. However, my poor dad does. He is the type of guy who will just soldier on through the pain and continue to go to work and carry on his business but it’s a nightmare for him to say the least.
I’ve seen my dad experience blind spots and vomiting due to his migraines and it is heartbreaking. They just come on whenever they feel like it.
So, I decided I had to figure out a way to help him deal with these awful headaches and I’d like to help you, too.
Believe it or not, there are simply some people out there who do not respond to migraine medication, my dad being one of them. So, if your doctor can’t help you, what do you do?
There are safe alternatives that you can try, and we are going to discuss 20 of them.
Migraine Remedies and Relief Techniques
Consider the Foods You Are Eating
Many folks don’t realize this but the food we eat plays a major role in the types of pain we experience. Migraines are no exception. Pay attention to labels and avoid foods like:
- Lunch meats and hot dogs as they contain nitrates and nitrates can trigger migraines
- Chocolate – for some, this yummy treat has not-so-yummy side effects
- Processed foods
- Cheeses that contain tyramine
- Cultured dairy products
This is just a short list but will give you a start to further researching foods that can trigger a migraine.
Lavender Essential Oil
Known as one of the safest essential oils out there, lavender oil can help alleviate the symptoms of migraine by relaxing the sufferer. Lavender is very calming and simply sniffing the oil bottle a few times is enough to alleviate some of the pain associated with migraine. Applying a drop behind your ears and neck can also help with nausea.
When you feel a migraine coming on, or even when you are in the throes of one, try sipping on a cup of peppermint tea. The vapors can be very soothing to your senses. You can also try sucking on a peppermint candy. Peppermint essential oil can be helpful, but only sniff or diffuse this oil and do not apply it near your face, even with a carrier oil.
Willow bark is nature’s version of aspirin. In fact, the original formula for aspirin contained willow bark. Due to a compound is known as salicin, willow bark can relieve headache pain. You can sip on a willow bark root tea for immediate relief or ingest willow bark capsules when you feel a migraine coming on.
Sometimes, you simply need to sleep a migraine headache off. Turn the lights down, eliminate noise, and try to catch some zzz’s. Getting adequate sleep also helps prevent migraines from coming on in the first place.
Being dehydrated often brings on migraine headaches. You want to make sure you are drinking enough water to always keep your body hydrated. Water can help prevent and alleviate migraines.
Another herb known for its healing properties and ability to relieve pain, feverfew has been used to treat migraines for centuries. You can make yourself a tincture out of feverfew and use a few drops under the tongue as needed.
Related: Foraging and Using Chokecherry
This may not be a home remedy per se, but I feel compelled to mention it in this list. Many people. My dad included, have experienced migraine relief from chiropractic care. You can get an adjustment during a migraine for immediate relief as well as receive preventative adjustments.
Most Americans are deficient in magnesium. This can cause an array of health woes like constipation, anxiety, and migraines. Adding a magnesium supplement to your routine can help prevent migraines. Using magnesium when you have a migraine can help snuff it out.
One of the best ways to take magnesium is through a chelated supplement that contains both vitamin C and potassium. This combination will help your body absorb the nutrients better by making them more bioavailable.
The best time of day to take a magnesium supplement is right before bedtime, away from food and other vitamins/medications. This increases absorption and allows the magnesium to work while you sleep which is when your body does most of its healing. You can also consume more magnesium through your diet by eating:
- Sesame seeds
- Brazil nuts
- Peanut butter
Cold Packs and Hot Packs
Apply a cold pack to the back of your neck and a hot pack to your forehead and watch your migraine begin to melt away.
When you practice yoga, you are improving circulation and blood pressure. These things alone can help prevent and alleviate migraine headaches. Yoga is also highly relaxing.
Stepping outside and taking a few deep breaths of fresh air can help you feel better. This may not totally get rid of your migraine, but oxygen can help relieve your symptoms.
Green tea is packed with antioxidants that can help make a migraine go away. Some folks even drink up to 3 cups a day as a preventative measure with a lot of success.
Coffee contains caffeine and some people find that caffeine helps relieve their migraine pain. However, there is also a group of people who claim caffeine makes their headache pain worse. This remedy is very much a trial and error recommendation and varies from person to person.
Obviously, I don’t want you jumping around and working out when you are in the middle of a migraine attack because it can make your symptoms much worse. However, when you are feeling well, regular exercise can help prevent future migraine attacks.
You may have heard of vitamin B2 by the name of riboflavin. You can find this vitamin in foods like milk, cheese. Fish, and poultry. There are even riboflavin supplements that you can purchase. There have been some studies that have shown vitamin B12 to be helpful in migraine management.
Butterbur is another plant-based treatment that has been used to treat pain disorders. Some researchers have found that consuming a butterbur extract can reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines for some folks.
Grapes contain polyphenols, which are compounds known to alleviate pain. You don’t want to reach for a jug of grape juice that contains added sugar as sugar will further your pain. The best method to get a solid shot of grape juice is by putting a handful in a blender or food processor, strain out the pulp, and drink the juice.
This may come across as weird to some of you, but cabbage leaves can help take away your migraine. Wrap crushed leaves in a piece of cheesecloth and hold it to your forehead until the migraine subsides. Why does this work? Because cabbage contains a variety of compounds like sinigrin rapine, mustard oil, and magnesium. These compounds are anti-irritants and help increase blood flow to the afflicted area.
Peel a lemon and grind the peeling into a paste. You can do this in your food processor or blender. Apply the paste to your forehead and lay back and relax. Be careful that you do not experience any skin sensitivity to the lemon paste. If you do, immediately rinse your forehead with warm soap and water.
Many times, when you are suffering from a migraine, you feel nauseous. Research has shown that ginger can help ease nausea and pain due to migraine headaches better than some popular prescription medications. Enjoy a ginger root tea, adding a few fresh slices to a glass of water or lemonade, or consume a ginger supplement.
Biofeedback is a method that teaches you to control autonomic reactions to stress through relaxation techniques. This may be helpful for people who have migraines triggered by stressful situations or muscle tension.
Did you know that receiving a weekly massage can greatly decrease the frequency in which you get migraines? Massages also help promote better sleep patterns, which also decrease migraines from occurring. According to a 2006 study, migraine sufferers dramatically benefited from massage therapy. In addition, massages decrease the rate of the heart, anxiety, and cortisol levels.
I sincerely hope this list of natural remedies helps you win the battle against annoying migraine pain. Remember, prevention is the best way to free yourself from this painful affliction.