5 Natural Ways to Deal With Migraines

Here are some do-it-yourself methods for coping with migraines at home or at work.

5 Natural Ways to Deal With Migraines

By Charlotte Falkner Published at July 5, 2016 Views 4,263 Comments 1 Likes 1

Prescription medication for migraines can work wonders, but what do you do when you get a migraine and don’t have access to your medicine? Or, worse, what do you do if your medicine stops being effective? In a Health.com article, Sheena Aurora, MD, of Stanford's headache program says, “preventive medications help 50 percent of patients by about 50 percent.”

And medicine is not always the best answer, as Aurora finds. “Even if the drugs work like magic, overuse of certain pills (particularly barbiturates, triptans, and opiates) can cause rebound headaches.” Most experienced migraine sufferers have a few tried-and-true medicines to take in emergencies, but here are a few natural methods you can try that may help relieve your migraine pain as well.

1. Teach yourself how to really relax

Without a doubt, the most helpful natural way to deal with migraine headaches is to master the art of relaxation and stress reduction. Being stressed for extended periods of time can set off almost every migraine trigger—it increases blood pressure, exacerbates neck, head, and shoulder tension, reduces oxygen, causes poor sleep, and can result in uncontrolled emotions. WebMD has a great set of relaxation exercises you can do anywhere. Making relaxation techniques a regular part of your schedule, even when you do not have a migraine, may not only reduce severity of your migraines, but also make it easier for you to recognize the signs of stress that can cause migraines in the first place.

2. Go for a walk

When you have a migraine, going for a constitutional is probably the last thing you feel like doing, but there is a good chance it will help you. Studies reported on Health.com reveal that migraine sufferers who performed even light exercise “improved their quality of life and reduced the number of migraines they had, as well as the intensity of the pain.” Especially if you sit at a desk for many hours in the day, walking may help improve your posture and give your body a break from computer eyestrain.

3. Keep your cool

One of the easiest and fastest remedies for migraines is to seek out the coldest place you can tolerate, close your eyes, and attempt to sleep. Barring a cold room, ice packs placed on your neck, temples, and wrists can help relieve your pain. According to an article on Excedrin.com, “cold therapy as a migraine relief measure was first documented as early as 1849,” and, “even go-to sources for migraine advice such as the National Headache Foundation and … Mayo Clinic include cold compresses and ice packs among their recommendations to ease migraine symptoms.” If you are unable to leave your desk, try to avoid sitting or standing in direct sunlight, if possible.

4. Learn migraine massage techniques

Many migraine headaches are linked to musculoskeletal tension and stress. The Massage Envy website states that, “massage therapy recipients [in a research study] exhibited fewer migraines and better sleep quality during the weeks they received massage.” While a professional masseuse or myofascial specialist can work wonders, they can be expensive and time-consuming. Luckily, there are many self-massages you can do at home or even at your office desk. Learning how to perform neck, shoulder, scalp, and foot (reflexology) massages can reduce migraine pain when it strikes. If you don’t know these techniques, search for online instructional videos to help you zero in on your trigger points.

5. Evaluate and adjust your diet

Most migraineurs know that certain foods and drinks could trigger your headaches. For example, fermented or pickled foods, red wine, dairy, caffeine, chocolate, and even certain fruits and meats may be among the migraine culprits to avoid. If you haven’t evaluated your diet recently, or never have, spend a few moments honestly reviewing what you are consuming. Using a migraine journal for as little as a week can help. And, don’t forget that migraine triggers are likely to change over time as your body ages, i.e., you may not have the same triggers you had a few years ago. A list of the most common triggers can be found on HealthCentral.com.

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all natural remedy for migraine pain. What works for one person may have no effect on another, and what works for you one time may not work the next time. Research and experiment with your do-it-yourself solutions and you can find the combination(s) that work best for you. Above all, be patient with yourself!

What are your favorite do-it-yourself migraine remedies?

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