Migraine headaches are recurring, serious headaches that cause significant pain and can last for days. Vomiting, nausea and sensitivity to sound and light complicate the suffering caused by these headaches. While there is no cure for migraines, you can use natural ways to minimize their effects.
Migraines can be prevented using a variety of natural remedies
Food & Drink
Certain foods may trigger migraines, so it’s important to keep a diary of what you ate prior to a migraine to minimize headache triggers. According to the Mayo Clinic, some vitamins, minerals and herbs can help prevent or minimize the symptoms of migraines. Riboflavin (Vitamin B-2) and magnesium sulfate can also help prevent attacks or minimize their severity, so look for foods either fortified with riboflavin, or rich in magnesium (black beans, broccoli, peanuts, halibut, okra, oysters, scallops, spinach, tofu and whole grains).
Foods that might trigger and exacerbate migraines include aged cheeses, excess caffeine, chocolate, beer, red wine and alcohol, sodium and MSG, found in many Asian foods. Long periods between meals can also trigger migraines.
A variety of natural herbs, flowers and other compounds recommended for treating migraines include the following: argentum nitricum, belladonna, butterbur, cimicifuga, cocculus, feverfew, gelsemium, iris versicolor, melilotus alba, natrum muriaticum, nux vomica, sanguinaria, silicea and spigelia.
The Mayo Clinic also recommends regular aerobic exercise to help prevent migraines. Exercise releases endorphins, a natural painkiller produced by the body. A sudden increase in your metabolism can trigger a migraine, so start slowly with a warmup and gradual rise in your heart rate. In addition to lowering tension in the body, aerobic exercise burns fat and helps you lose weight, which may be a factor in migraines.
Massage and muscle relaxation exercises may help reduce the frequency of migraines. Whether you use a formal form of yoga or massage, or relax with music, reading, gardening or a bath, reducing physical and emotional stress can help treat migraines.
Too much or too little sleep can have a negative effect on migraines. Even if you can’t sleep, resting in a dark, quiet room provides muscle relaxation and a reduced heart rate, both of which are important to reducing stress (which can trigger and magnify the effects of migraines). Sticking to regular sleep patterns, with six- to eight-hour sleep periods, can help reduce the onset and severity of migraines. Sleeping too much can make you groggy and more susceptible to headaches.
Pleasant smells can trigger positive thoughts and emotions and reduce stress. Homeopaths often prescribe aromatherapy to prevent and treat migraines. You can introduce aromas using candles, soaps or oils used during a massage. Scented products not made specifically for aromatherapy may contain other chemical ingredients or fillers which can cause problems, so look for products with pure ingredients.