7 drug-free treatments for migraine relief

October 5, 2015

Migraines got you down? Try these seven homemade remedies to help find relief.

7 drug-free treatments for migraine relief

1. Switch to a very low-fat diet

  • When 54 people prone to migraines followed an extremely low fat diet (they got just 10 to 15 percent of their calories from fat each day) for 12 weeks, 94 percent reported having at least 40 percent fewer headaches
  • When they did get migraines, pain was 66 percent less severe and the headaches were about 70 percent shorter

2. Try butterbur

  • One expert calls butterbur-based remedies "the best safety-tested herbal to date for the treatment of headache."
  • In a study of 245 people, 68 percent of those who took a butterbur product called Petadolex saw the number of migraines they experienced drop by at least 50 percent — a better result than for some first-line migraine-prevention drugs

3. Go for acupuncture

A review of 13 studies concluded it's too soon to tell whether acupuncture can prevent or ease head pain.

But one study of 401 headache sufferers, most of whom got migraines, found that those who received 12 acupuncture treatments over three months used 15 percent less pain medication than those who didn't get acupuncture.

4. Take vitamin B2 (riboflavin)

  • When 55 people in a study took this vitamin every day for three months, 60 percent had half their usual number of migraines
  • The volunteers took 400 milligrams per day, 300 times more than the recommended daily amount of 1.5 milligrams
  • Longer studies are needed to be sure these amounts are safe

5. Give feverfew a shot

This popular herb offers only "mild and transient" benefits, say researchers who reviewed five well-designed studies of the effects of feverfew on migraines.

6. Get more magnesium

Low brain levels of this mineral have been found in at least eight studies involving people who get frequent migraines. Yet when researchers have given magnesium to migraine-prone volunteers, the results have been mixed — perhaps because supplements won't help people whose magnesium levels are normal.

7. Homeopathy can't hurt (but it may not help)

In a well-designed study of 63 people, researchers found no significant difference in migraine occurrence after three months of either individually tailored homeopathic remedies or a placebo.

Migraines can be a pain. Often a debilitating pain. While consulting with a doctor for treatment is important, these homemade remedies may offer you drug-free alternatives to help find some much-needed relief.

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