7 Effective Natural Remedies To Treat Migraine At Home
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7 Migraine Home Remedies
Drink ginger tea or chew a piece of ginger at the onset of a migraine. Fish oil too can help with its anti-inflammatory benefits. Apply chamomile oil (diluted with sesame oil) or peppermint oil (diluted with alcohol) on the forehead. Put a cold compress on the affected area for 15 mins; then keep it off for 15 mins before using it again. Get a head massage or try Ayurvedic techniques like shirodhara. Meditation and deep breathing exercises can also help.
If you’re one of the 29.5 million Americans who suffer from migraines, you know how bad these throbbing headaches can get.1 You might experience nausea, vomiting, and an increased sensitivity to sound and light if you have this condition. Some people see flashing lights or spots as well before they get a migraine – this is the migraine aura.
The current theory on migraine suggests that a migraine begins with cortical spreading depression (CSD), an abnormal wave of electrical impulses in the brain. As this wave passes, it brings on the migraine aura. CSD also dilates the blood vessels and makes the pain receptors on the trigeminal nerve (responsible for sensation on the face) over-sensitive. These explain the throbbing headache and the sensitivity to light and sound, respectively. Your genes may play a part too.
A variety of factors known as “triggers” can set off the cortical spreading depression and thereby, a migraine. Common triggers include weather change, hormonal change, certain foods, stress, environmental factors like strong smells, loud noises, and bright lights.2
Tackle Your Migraine Naturally
Your doctor may advise painkillers, anti-nausea medication, or medicines that can help contract the blood vessels around the brain, thus countering the swelling of blood vessels. However, these medications are not without side effects. And taking painkillers frequently can actually make migraines worse as your body gets used to these medicines.3 But there are ways to prevent and manage your migraines.
First, Identify And Handle Your Triggers
Keep a headache diary which records when you get migraines, how long they last, what you ate for 24 hours before you got the migraine, how much sleep you got, and where you were and what you were doing when the migraine started. This will help you identify the common migraine triggers and you can then tackle them.
Ideally, you should avoid triggers if possible, but you can also work around them. For instance, wearing sunglasses that are tinted green or blue can be helpful if you find that sunlight triggers your migraines. Once you already have an attack under way, try the following migraine home remedies:
Home Remedies For Migraine
1. Use Hot Or Cold Packs
Both heat and ice can be used to reduce pain in headaches. Usually people with migraine find that cold packs work better for them, while those who suffer from tension headaches seem to prefer heating pads. But there’s no hard and fast rule, you can check out what works best for you.
Heating pads should be applied on the back of your head and your neck, while cold packs should be applied on your temples and forehead. And remember to alternate your cold pack on and off – keep it on for 15 minutes and leave it off for 15 minutes. Also make sure that your heating pad’s not too hot or it can cause muscle spasms or burns.4
2. Get A Massage
Getting a relaxing massage may help you deal with migraines. One study found that people who got massages had fewer migraines and ]better sleep quality compared to the control group which didn’t get massages. Massages were also found to help with stress. During the massage session, participants experienced a lowering of anxiety, heart rate, and the levels of the stress hormone cortisol.5 This is particularly important as stress is a known trigger for migraines.
3. Try Herbal Remedies To Deal With Migraine
From soothing lavender to fiery cayenne peppers, many plants can help you deal with a migraine.
Peppermint has been traditionally used for migraines and other headaches for ages. Though we don’t yet understand exactly how peppermint works, it is thought that it can relax muscles around the skull when it’s applied to the skin. It’s also possible that its characteristic aroma may relax the nervous system.
Dilute peppermint oil with a bit of alcohol and apply on your head as soon as a migraine starts.
One study found that when menthol, a component of peppermint, was applied to the forehead, it gave relief from pain and also alleviated nausea and vomiting in people suffering from migraines.6
According to experts, it’s best to dilute peppermint oil with alcohol if you want to use it to treat migraines as pure peppermint oil doesn’t penetrate skin as effectively. It’s also best to use it as soon as a migraine starts as it might not be strong enough to help once the pain gets really bad.7
Polyphenols and flavonoids found in chamomile essential oil are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Traditional Persian Medicine describes a formulation where chamomile extracts are boiled in sesame oil and applied topically for pain relief. This formulation has the added benefit of sesamine, an anti-inflammatory component found in sesame oil.8
Apply chamomile essential oil or drink chamomile tea.
You can also try some chamomile tea the next time you feel a migraine creeping up on you.9
According to research, applying capsaicin, which is an active ingredient found in cayenne pepper, inside the nose can work as a treatment for migraine. However, since this can cause a burning sensation, it is best to check with a doctor before use.
If you thought ginger’s only good for spicing up your food, think again. According to a study, ginger powder can decrease the severity of a migraine attack within 2 hours of use. Its effectiveness is comparable to that of sumatriptan, a medication used for treating migraines.
It is recommended that you take 500 mg of ginger at the onset of a migraine. Repeat every 4 hours with a maximum limit of up to 1.5–2 g of ginger per day for 3–4 days to tackle a migraine.10
Lavender essential oil has been used as a mood stabilizer, a sedative, and a pain-relieving agent. One study found that when people suffering from migraine headaches inhaled the aroma of lavender essential oil for 15 minutes, their headache severity was reduced.11 Essential oil diluted with a vegetable oil can also be rubbed on the forehead and temples for relief from pain.12
Don’t have feverfew if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Feverfew leaves are a popular remedy for migraines. A large leaf or 3 smaller ones (about 4 cm long) taken every day can be helpful. Chop them up and add to a salad or have the leaves by themselves. They do taste bitter, so you may like to take them with a little sugar or honey. You can also steep the leaves to make a feverfew tea. However, do keep in mind that feverfew can cause mouth ulcers and skin irritations in some people. It’s also not advised during pregnancy and lactation.13
Basil oil is used in aromatherapy to relieve migraines. Take a drop onto one of your middle fingers and rub both middle fingers together to transfer the oil to your other hand. Now massage the oil neat on your temples and the base of your skull to treat a migraine.14
4. Try Ayurveda
According to the dosha theory of body types, people with vata and pitta doshas are more prone toward migraine. The symptoms and treatments also vary depending on the dosha dominance. Nasya, shirodhara, jala neti, paranayama, and yoga nidra are some of the common Ayurvedic remedies for migraine.
5. Try Fish Oil
Fish oil containing omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA has been found to reduce the symptoms of a migraine headache. It is thought that fish oil works by affecting prostaglandins, which are hormone-like substances that play a significant role in inflammation.
6. Get A Shot Of Caffeine
For some people, having a caffeinated drink like coffee or tea can ease a migraine. This could be because caffeine can narrow your blood vessels and counter the dilation of blood vessels which leads to the throbbing pain typical in migraines. However, do keep in mind that caffeine is a known trigger for migraines too. So make sure it isn’t your migraine trigger.
7. Try Relaxation Therapies
Relaxing your muscles and easing tension can help relieve headaches. Many techniques can help you do this. Check them out and choose what works best for you, but remember that these therapies work when you practice them consistently, preferably daily. Some options that you can try are:
- Breathing exercises: Take deep, long, slow breaths where you expand your abdomen rather than your chest can be useful in calming your mind. This method helps you disengage from distracting sensations and thoughts and may ease headaches. But you might want to try another technique if you have breathing difficulties.
- Meditation: Sit comfortably with your mind aware of the present moment. You could train your mind to focus on something specific like your breath or a flame or by passively observing the thoughts and emotions passing through your mind without judgement. This can help deal with stress as well as pain.15
- Visualization: Conjuring up soothing places, experiences, or scenes in your mind can help you relax as well as focus your mind. Make sure you visualize imagery that has personal significance for you.16
References [ + ]
|1, 2.||↑||Migraine. National Institutes of Health.|
|3.||↑||Migraine – Treatment. National Health Service.|
|4.||↑||Hot and Cold Packs/Showers. National Headache Foundation.|
|5.||↑||Lawler, Sheleigh P., and Linda D. Cameron. “A randomized, controlled trial of massage therapy as a treatment for migraine.” Annals of Behavioral Medicine 32, no. 1 (2006): 50-59.|
|6.||↑||Borhani Haghighi, A., S. Motazedian, R. Rezaii, F. Mohammadi, L. Salarian, M. Pourmokhtari, S. Khodaei, M. Vossoughi, and R. Miri. “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, no. 4 (2010): 451-456.|
|7.||↑||Can Mint Make Migraines Less Miserable?. The Wall Street Journal.|
|8.||↑||Zargaran, Arman, Afshin Borhani-Haghighi, Pouya Faridi, Saeid Daneshamouz, Gholamreza Kordafshari, and Abdolali Mohagheghzadeh. “Potential effect and mechanism of action of topical chamomile (Matricaria chammomila L.) oil on migraine headache: A medical hypothesis.” Medical hypotheses 83, no. 5 (2014): 566-569.|
|9, 12.||↑||Chhater, Singh, A. K. Jain, Agarwal Kshitij, and Verma Santosh. “NATURAL THERAPY OF MIGRAINE.”|
|10.||↑||Maghbooli, Mehdi, Farhad Golipour, Alireza Moghimi Esfandabadi, and Mehran Yousefi. “Comparison between the efficacy of ginger and sumatriptan in the ablative treatment of the common migraine.” Phytotherapy Research 28, no. 3 (2014): 412-415.|
|11.||↑||Sasannejad, Payam, Morteza Saeedi, Ali Shoeibi, Ali Gorji, Maryam Abbasi, and Mohsen Foroughipour. “Lavender essential oil in the treatment of migraine headache: a placebo-controlled clinical trial.” European neurology 67, no. 5 (2012): 288-291.|
|13.||↑||Feverfew. The Migraine Trust.|
|14.||↑||]Downes, Karen, and Judith White. Aromatherapy for Men: A Scentual Grooming and Lifestyle Guide for Every Male Using Essential Oils. Balboa Press, 2011.|
|15.||↑||Zeidan, Fetal, J. A. Grant, C. A. Brown, J. G. McHaffie, and R. C. Coghill. “Mindfulness meditation-related pain relief: evidence for unique brain mechanisms in the regulation of pain.” Neuroscience letters 520, no. 2 (2012): 165-173.|
|16.||↑||Alternative Therapies For Headache Treatment. The National Headache Foundation.[ref] [ref]Six relaxation techniques to reduce stress. Harvard Health Publications.|
Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.