5 natural remedies for migraines

November 4, 2015

Don't let a migraine get the best of you. Fight back with these natural remedies and get the relief you deserve!

5 natural remedies for migraines

1. Eliminate triggers

Medications aren't your only defence. When a migraine strikes, lie down in a dark room. Place an ice pack or gel pack wherever the pain is. A headband — either elastic or gel-filled (and cooled) — can also offer relief. In addition, other lifestyle measures can minimize your attacks. The key is to identify and eliminate your triggers. Here’s how:

  • Watch your diet: Many foods have been linked to migraines. Among the likely suspects are foods with nitrates (bacon, corned beef, ham, hot dogs, lunch meats and sausage); the chemical MSG (monosodium glutamate); aged cheeses (cheddar, Swiss, Stilton, brie); chocolate; nuts; peanut butter; sour cream; caffeinated beverages; aspartame (artificial sweetener) and alcohol.
  • Eat regularly: Skipping meals is a common migraine trigger.
  • Get a good night’s sleep: Too much or too little sleep can cause a migraine. Your best bet is to establish a consistent sleep pattern of seven to nine hours nightly. Keep in mind that changes to this pattern, including jet lag, can also trigger a migraine.
  • Exercise smart: Always warm up properly and ease into your workout, since aerobic exercise can sometimes make migraines worse.
  • Relax: Stress can be a trigger, so take time each day to sit quietly and relax your muscles. Learn to let go of things you can't control.

2. The herb feverfew

  • One of the oldest non-drug approaches is the herb feverfew, long recommended by herbalists to prevent migraines.
  • Fresh feverfew leaves are very bitter, so you might want to try standardized capsules or a tea. Just don't use feverfew if you're pregnant, or if you're taking aspirin.

3. Get more vitamin B2 (riboflavin)

  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) may help by boosting your brain’s energy reserves.
  • Good food sources include mushrooms, poultry and quinoa. It can also be taken in supplement form.

4. Try biofeedback

  • Biofeedback hooks you up to a small machine that allows you to monitor your ability to regulate muscle tension and skin temperature, among other things.
  • The relaxation techniques you learn can then be applied without the machine. Some people learn to raise their hand temperature, which draws blood away from the constricted vessels in the head that cause migraine pain.
  • Those using biofeedback techniques report reduced frequency, severity and duration of attacks.

5. Visit a chiropractor

  • A session with a chiropractor, who uses massage, spinal manipulation and adjustments to joints and soft tissues, can also provide relief for certain people.
  • In addition, proponents of acupuncture say this ancient Chinese technique can help to relieve migraine pain by balancing serotonin levels and relaxing tense muscles.
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