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12 Natural Ways To Treat Migraine Headache

With the present scenario of a stressful life, we tend to get headaches due to tension and pressure looming over our heads. A headache is also an indicator that your body is missing something; it may be a nutrient deficiency, lack of water among others. One of these types of headaches is a migraine headache. In this article, we will be discussing how to manage migraines naturally.

Migraine is the most common neurological disorder in the world. According to an urban community-based study in Eastern India, about 14.12% of people aged between 20 and 50 years suffer from migraine [1] . Another study showed the prevalence of migraine was 25.2% in Karnataka, India [2] . Migraine is more prevalent in females aged above 20 years.

Migraine headaches can last from a few hours to a few days and usually occur once or maybe more than once a month. With migraines, people suffer from other symptoms too, like sensitivity to light, nausea or vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, and an upset stomach.

There are ways to reduce migraine naturally, however, if it's severe, consult a doctor.

Headaches: Causes, Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Natural Ways To Treat Migraine Headache

1. Hydration

When your body is dehydrated, it can also trigger a migraine [3] . Not drinking enough water, having too much coffee, sugary drinks, and alcohol consumption can certainly leave your body dehydrated. You can keep your body hydrated by having plenty of fruits and vegetables like cucumbers, celery, radishes, cabbage, zucchini, cauliflower, spinach, watermelon, etc.

Don't Like Drinking Water? Here Are Other Ways To Stay Hydrated

2. Magnesium

Low levels of magnesium in the body can cause migraine headaches as well. And studies have suggested that magnesium may reduce the frequency of migraine attacks in people [4] . Eat foods rich in magnesium like almonds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, cashew nuts, peanut butter, eggs, etc.

3. Gluten-free diet

People who are sensitive to gluten can suffer from a migraine headache if they consume it. Cutting back gluten from your diet for three weeks can help reduce migraine attacks. According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, people who had migraine headaches reduced gluten from their diet and there was a reduction in symptoms after giving up gluten.

4. B complex vitamins

B vitamins are involved in the regulation of neurotransmitters such as serotonin which is lower in people suffering from migraine. B complex vitamin is a group of vitamins which include thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B12, folate, biotin, vitamin B6, and pantothenic acid [5] , [6] .

5. Herbs

Feverfew and butterbur are naturally tension-easing herbs. Research has shown that consuming feverfew reduces the frequency of migraine and its symptoms like pain, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light [7] . On the other hand, butterbur is a herb that reduces the inflammatory effect of chemicals that cause migraine headaches [8] .

6. Lavender essential oil

Lavender essential oil is a mood stabilizer and a sedative and it is safe for migraine headaches. According to a study, inhaling lavender oil during a migraine attack for 15 minutes helped to reduce migraine [9] . You can either apply lavender oil on the temples or you can inhale it.

7. Peppermint essential oil

Peppermint oil contains menthol which leaves a long-lasting cooling effect on the skin and stimulates a significant increase in blood flow to the forehead. A study showed the effectiveness of menthol in peppermint oil for treating migraine [10] .

8. Chilli pepper

Do you know that chilli pepper can stimulate your body's blood circulation and it's a good home remedy for reducing migraine? It is because of the capsaicin present in chilli pepper that lowers pain and inflammation associated with migraine [11] . Though chilli pepper is mostly used as a spice, it can do more than just flavouring food.

9. Ginger

Ginger contains an active compound called gingerol which has a similar structure to capsaicin. And capsaicin has a positive effect in decreasing the severity and duration of migraine. According to a study, ginger powder has a long-lasting effect on migraine [12] .

10. Yoga or stretching exercises

Research study shows that yoga lowers the frequency, duration, and intensity of migraine by improving blood flow and reducing muscle tension [13] .

Stretching exercises will also bring relief from migraine headaches. Take a break every 30-60 minutes and stretch and move your head in the clockwise and anti-clockwise direction.

11. Acupuncture

Acupuncture therapy is effective for people with migraine headaches and other conditions [14] . Acupuncture involves the use of fingers and hands in applying pressure on the specific points of the body to get relief from migraine.

12. Hot or cold compress

Both hot and cold compress could work wonders for migraine headaches. While some people may prefer hot compress and some may prefer cold compress. A hot water bath can also help treat a migraine headache naturally.

Tips To Avoid Migraine Headache

  • Avoid common food triggers like alcohol, chocolate, red wine, processed foods, foods with MSG, beans, pickled foods, and caffeinated beverages.
  • Don't eat cold foods like iced drinks and ice cream.
  • Nitrates rich foods like bacon, sausages, hot dogs, and deli meats should be avoided.
  • Quit eating blue cheese, feta cheese, Parmesan cheese and Swiss cheese as they contain a compound tyramine which can trigger migraine.
  • Avoid consuming dairy products like sour cream, buttermilk, and yogurt.
View Article References
  1. [1] Ray, B. K., Paul, N., Hazra, A., Das, S., Ghosal, M. K., Misra, A. K., ... & Das, S. K. (2017). Prevalence, burden, and risk factors of migraine: A community-based study from Eastern India.Neurology India,65(6), 1280.
  2. [2] Kulkarni, G., Rao, G., Gururaj, G., Subbakrishna, D. K., Steiner, T., & Stovner, L. J. (2014, December). EHMTI-0333. The prevalence and burden of migraine in india: results of a population-based study in Karnataka state. InThe journal of headache and pain(Vol. 15, No. 1, p. B18).
  3. [3] Spigt, M., Weerkamp, N., Troost, J., van Schayck, C. P., & Knottnerus, J. A. (2011). A randomized trial on the effects of regular water intake in patients with recurrent headaches.Family practice,29(4), 370-375.
  4. [4] Mauskop, A., & Altura, B. M. (1998). Role of magnesium in the pathogenesis and treatment of migraines.Clinical Neuroscience,5(1), 24-27.
  5. [5] Faraji, H., Paknahad, Z., & Chitsaz, A. (2018). Dietary Intake of Thiamine in Migraine Patients and Healthy Subjects: a Case-Control Study.Clinical nutrition research,7(1), 40–47.
  6. [6] Sherwood, M., & Goldman, R. D. (2014). Effectiveness of riboflavin in pediatric migraine prevention.Canadian family physician Medecin de famille canadien,60(3), 244–246.
  7. [7] Pittler, M. H., & Ernst, E. (2004). Feverfew for preventing migraine.Cochrane database of systematic reviews, (1).
  8. [8] Lipton, R. B., Göbel, H., Einhäupl, K. M., Wilks, K., & Mauskop, A. (2004). Petasites hybridus root (butterbur) is an effective preventive treatment for migraine.Neurology,63(12), 2240-2244.
  9. [9] Sasannejad, P., Saeedi, M., Shoeibi, A., Gorji, A., Abbasi, M., & Foroughipour, M. (2012). Lavender essential oil in the treatment of migraine headache: a placebo-controlled clinical trial.European neurology,67(5), 288-291.
  10. [10] Borhani Haghighi, A., Motazedian, S., Rezaii, R., Mohammadi, F., Salarian, L., Pourmokhtari, M., ... & Miri, R. (2010). Cutaneous application of menthol 10% solution as an abortive treatment of migraine without aura: a randomised, double‐blind, placebo‐controlled, crossed‐over study.International journal of clinical practice,64(4), 451-456.
  11. [11] Fusco, B. M., Barzoi, G., & Agro, F. (2003). Repeated intranasal capsaicin applications to treat chronic migraine.British journal of anaesthesia,90(6), 812-812.
  12. [12] Maghbooli, M., Golipour, F., Moghimi Esfandabadi, A., & Yousefi, M. (2014). Comparison between the efficacy of ginger and sumatriptan in the ablative treatment of the common migraine.Phytotherapy research,28(3), 412-415.
  13. [13] Boroujeni, M. Z., Marandi, S. M., Esfarjani, F., Sattar, M., Shaygannejad, V., & Javanmard, S. H. (2015). Yoga intervention on blood NO in female migraineurs.Advanced biomedical research,4, 259.
  14. [14] Chen, Y. W., & Wang, H. H. (2014). The effectiveness of acupressure on relieving pain: a systematic review.Pain Management Nursing,15(2), 539-550.
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