Over 36 million people in the US alone suffer from migraine headaches. A migraine is more than just a normal headache. Aside from an intense, throbbing, pulsing pain, there may also be nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, and sensitivity to light, sounds, and smells, making most migraine sufferers unable to go to work or come out of their bed when an attack strikes.
For many, migraine relief comes in the form of over-the-counter prescribed medication. But more and more people are finding relief in natural treatments to ease the pain. Even the American Academy of Neurology and the Headache Society highlighted the effectiveness of drug-free ways to prevent and relieve migraine attacks.
Here are the 10 best natural tips and treatments to soothe and relieve migraine:
1. Watch Your Diet and Drink Enough Water
Some foods or drinks are known to trigger migraine attacks. Avoid or limit those into your diet to prevent future outbreaks. Especially wheat, dairy, sugar, artificial preservatives or chemical additives, processed foods, soda’s, alcohol, aspartame, caffeine, and monosodium glutamate (MSG) are common culprits.
Dehydration is another cause known to trigger migraine attacks. Make sure to drink plenty of water instead of coffee or soda’s.
2. Healing Herbs
Some of these herbs are very effective to prevent migraine attacks when taken regularly or may help you to relieve and ease the pain:
- Feverfew: effective in preventing migraine attacks. It inhibits chemicals in the brain which cause dilatation of blood vessels.
- Butterbur: effective to reduce the number and severity of attacks. It relieves spasms and works as an anti-inflammatory.
- Chasteberry: works wonders in treating menstrual-induced migraine attacks.
- Willow extract: great pain reliever, fever reducer, and natural anti-inflammatory remedy. When combined with feverfew it can significantly reduce the frequency, duration and intensity of a migraine attack.
- Ginger: works wonders for an upset stomach. Ginger can ease migraine-related nausea and works as a natural painkiller. For a better effect, combine with feverfew.
If you are interested in herbal remedies, you can find more useful information in the e-book Herbal Remedies Guide. This guide will teach you how to treat common ailments using herbs.
Research suggest that people who suffer migraine attacks are often deficient in magnesium. Add more magnesium-rich foods to your diet, like spinach, okra, broccoli, Brazil nuts, almonds, basil, and cacao. Or take an Epsom salt bath to replenish your magnesium levels.
4. Omega 3s
Inflammation of the tissue surrounding the brain is often the culprit of many migraine attacks and headaches. A dose of healthy omega 3 fatty acids can fight the inflammation. You may also be interested to read the article about the amazing health benefits of omega-3 fish oil.
5. Reduce Stress Levels and Exercise Regularly
Stress may trigger migraine attacks as well. People who suffer from migraine attacks report less strikes when committing to a daily meditation session, breathing exercises, or having a relaxing massage once in a while.
Getting enough exercise is also known to reduce attacks as it release endorphin’s which helps in controlling and reducing migraine attacks. Although it’s unlikely to hit the gym when you’re in much pain, some people can avoid a severe outbreak when going for a walk or run when they feel an attack coming.
Acupuncture is not for everybody, but the needles may trigger pain relieving chemicals in your body and help you to ease migraine or reduce their frequency.
You could stimulate your own pressure points to help your body release more endorphin’s. Put pressure on the nerve just under your eyebrow. This will stimulate your pituitary gland to release painkilling endorphin’s.
Caffeine is a sword with two edges. When you drink a lot of coffee it may trigger migraine outbreaks, but in small doses coffee or caffeinated teas can help to reduce the pain.
8. Cayenne pepper
When cayenne pepper hits your stomach your brain starts to release endorphin’s, our body’s natural painkillers. If you can bear the taste, add 1 to 3 teaspoons of cayenne pepper in a glass of water (8 ounces) to find instant relief. As an alternative you can swallow a dollop wasabi paste.
9. Hot and Cold Hydrotherapy
Alternate a hot shower with a cold to alleviate pain. Begin with water as hot as you can stand, after 2 minutes switch to water as cold as you can stand. Repeat for 20 minutes to increase blood circulation and pull the pressure out of your head.
Another way is to to use foot soak. Some references recommend to put your feet in hot water that will help you to carry blood from your head to your feet, whereas I’ve also found conflicting recommendations for cold water foot bath, or alternating between the two. I guess you will need to experiment and find what works best for you to relieve headaches and migraine.
10. Aromatherapy to Ease Migraine
Some essential oils, such as peppermint, lavender, basil, sandalwood, rosemary, eucalyptus or green apple scent, work wonder to ease headaches and migraines.
There are many aroma therapeutic options for you to try:
- Relaxing full body massage
- Facial steam with one of the essential oils
- Massage your temples for quick relieve
- Relaxing bath
- Room diffusers
- Or making an aroma therapeutic perfume
If you apply essential oils topically for a quick relieve, make sure to dilute the essential oils in a base or carrier oil like sweet almond, jojoba, or grapeseed oil. If you are interested to learn more about essential oils you can find useful information in the e-book Magical Aromatherapy. This e-book will help you to discover the power of essential oils and the most effective ways to use them.
Another, more expensive, way to treat migraine or cluster headaches, is a normobaric or hyperbaric oxygen treatment. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized room. The therapy is better known as the treatment for decompression sickness for scuba divers. Normobaric oxygen therapy is a cheaper version of the hyperbaric therapy and is easier to apply as it involves breathing pure oxygen at room pressure. Although most people seek guidance from a specialist, normobaric therapy can be done at home if you have the special oxygen tank and mask. Both improve circulation and oxygen supply to the entire body, especially to the brain.