Migraines can happen to anyone, and there ins’t always time to head to the doctor for a prescription. There are also some of us who just don’t want to take any liver-damaging drugs. While holistic healers and naturalists have been touting the usage of herbal and natural remedies for years, some in the scientific community are now following suit. Below are some tried and true migraine remedies that are recommended by holistic and medical experts.
Look for Triggers
Some migraines are triggered by… something. Keep a calendar, journal, or note on your fridge to track when you have a migraine, as well as what you are and what happened that day. There may be a connection.
Women can experience a migraine right before their period, thanks to their hormonal imbalance. Low-estrogen contraception pills can help combat this issue.
Avoid alcohol that gives you a headache within 8 hours of consumption. “The good news is that this cause tends to be very specific,” says Andrew Michael Blumenfeld, MD, director of the Headache Center of Southern California. “People may do fine with vodka rather than beer, for instance.”
Missing meals can cause you to have a blood sugar drop, which can cause a migraine. Eating regular meals and snacks every 3-5 hours can keep your blood sugar in check – keeping you headache-free, hopefully.
Avoid or Limit Caffeine
If you regularly consume large amounts of caffeine, you set yourself up for withdrawal headaches, which can stimulate your brain’s migraine center and turn into migraines. Limit intake to 200 mg a day – that’s roughly one 8-ounce cup of coffee. While your withdrawals may stink, you will be grateful for the relief later.
Get to Sleep!
A lack of sleep – at least in animal studies – has been shown to increase migraine issues. A 2010 study found that sleep-deprived rats experienced changes in key migraine-related proteins. Consistency of when you go to bed and wake up also matters, so try to stay on a schedule.
Use an Ice Pack
Always opt for cold rather than heat to stop migraine pain. “Ice is an anti-inflammatory,” says Carolyn Bernstein, MD, clinical director of Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians Comprehensive Headache Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. This makes it perfect for headaches and migraines – but don’t leave the ice pack on for too long. Leave it on for twenty minutes, and take it off for twenty minutes. Repeat as needed for relief.
Practice Relaxing Techniques
Start small, and make big gains when it comes to these relaxing techniques. Massage can ease neck and shoulder spasms, while tai chi increases body awareness, making it easier to detect and treat an oncoming headache. Yoga that focuses on mindfulness, such as restorative yoga, may also help.