Aching, throbbing pain. Nausea. Dizziness. Hypersensitivity.
If you’ve ever experienced a migraine, you know how this all feels. And if you deal with chronic migraines like me, you know how debilitating these migraines can be in everyday life. You can go from feeling fine to being crippled over in what feels like a moment’s time.
Migraines regularly affect about 12 percent of the U.S. population, so they’re a larger problem than you might have suspected. Personally, chronic migraines have recently crept into my everyday health. They require me to step away from my normal routine altogether and wait for the pain to pass. Even when I take an over-the-counter medication, it can still be difficult to find true, effective migraine relief.
This isn’t to discount the importance of having pain relief in pill bottles, but there are many other ways we can manage this head-racking pain. Everyone responds to treatments differently, so why not have multiple options in your tool belt? Below are some more natural options to beat that migraine and get a “head” start on every day.
That’s right: there are several essential oils that have been shown to provide effective migraine relief. This is awesome now that it’s becoming increasingly easy to find therapeutic grade essential oils.
The two best ones for migraines are lavender and peppermint. Depending on what sensation and benefits you’re looking for, one will likely be preferred over the other. It’s all personal.
Lavender is all about the calm, known best as a mood stabilizer and sedative. Peppermint, on the other hand, leaves a long-lasting cooling effect on the skin. This sensation stimulates blood flow wherever its placed and soothes any muscle contractions.
If you’re using either one of these essential oils for effective migraine relief, take a few drops in your hands and rub it onto your neck, forehead, temples, and the back of your neck. If that’s too strong for you, simply dilute it with a carrier oil like almond, grape seed, or coconut oil.
Certain nutrients and minerals are also proven natural solutions to migraine pains. Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, and CoQ10, an Omega-3, have each been proven to provide effective migraine relief. Taking both of these supplements every day should help prevent or at least mediate the number and severity of your headaches.
Another important supplement that I take every day is magnesium. One study found that about 75 percent of Americans aren’t getting enough magnesium. That’s quite alarming considering it’s an essential mineral in our bodies that improves blood flow, brain health, and nerve function. Those low in magnesium are likely to suffer more migraines.
Consequently, studies found that regular magnesium intake can reduce the frequency of migraines by over 40 percent. Magnesium oxide is the usual go-to for effective migraine relief, and 400-500 mg is the recommended dosage. Take it at night, and also expect to find it easier to fall asleep and calm your mind.
Some of the oldest forms of effective migraine relief originate in natural herbs. One of those herbs is feverfew. People take feverfew by mouth to treat headaches, as well as fever, dizziness and nausea. The chemical in feverfew leaves called parthenolide is what decreases the likelihood and severity of migraine woes. Some find it better to take feverfew at the immediate onset of a headache, while others take it regularly to prevent headaches from happening. Do whatever works best for you.
Another herb to check out is butterbur. The only nontoxic way to take this is in a processed supplement. In the Middle Ages, butterbur was used for plague and fever, but recently, it has made a comeback for migraines. Based on two high-quality studies, butterbur extract can reduce the frequency of migraines.
meditation and massage.
These two methods of effective migraine relief are much more ambiguous in their proven benefits. However, both meditation and massage are well-known stress relievers, a common source of tension.
Meditation is best utilized for illnesses that are stress-triggered, like chronic migraines. In fact, a study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine found that Zen meditators generally experience less pain and can relieve pain during meditation. By focusing your attention on the present moment and relaxed, deep breathing, you can then ease restlessness and find a quiet space within yourself.
A much more expensive option is massage if you love a good spa visit. Massage can be effective for a variety of conditions, including headaches, insomnia, and anxiety, relieving muscle spasms, improving blood flow and circulation, relieving tension, and promoting relaxation. The most favorable massage routine seems to be for deep tissue work in between migraine attacks. However, for continual support, you’d have to regularly receive this therapy every few weeks.
prevent them altogether?
Wouldn’t it be nice to not need effective migraine relief because you don’t suffer from them in the first place? The clear answer is HECK YES.
We still don’t fully understand why migraines happen. Genetics and environmental factors likely play roles, but everyone’s experience is unique. That makes treating and preventing them that more difficult. Imbalances of the brain chemical serotonin may also be involved. Actual triggers could be anything from food, stress, medication, weather, sleep patterns, alcohol, hormones…need I digress?
To treat ourselves well, we must explore our options and potentially do some trial-and-error until we can manage our migraines. It’s not all rainbows and sunshine, but if you’re serious about finding relief, you’ve got to take some action.
Yes, often times we must turn into a cocoon and wait for the migraine attack to pass, but other times, we should find the persistence within ourselves to fight back. Because seriously, you can do it. You’re strong and capable enough.
What do you use for effective migraine relief? Have you tried any of these options? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie