A migraine is defined as a neurobiological disorder that may cause moderate to severe pain, typically on one side of the head. In some cases the pain may become intense and throbbing, and may last from a few hours to even days. A migraine attack is often followed by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and extreme sensitivity to light, sound or smell. A third of the people who suffer from this condition may experience an aura characterized by visual disturbances such as light flashes, blind spots etc that indicate that the person is about to get a migraine attack.
Several medications are available that may help reduce the severity and frequency of migraines. Some common treatments include surgery – arterial / muscle, stimulation of occipital nerver, Botox, use of beta-blockers or anti-depressants. But none are without any side effects and may carry risk hypotension, heart attacks, insomnia and nausea. Fortunately there are numerous easy home remedies that can bring relief to this condition. This article explains a few of these natural remedies:
- Yoga and Migraine
Yoga has been practices since ancient times to promote holistic and healthy living. These simple combinations of postures and breathing technique can offer side effect free way to fight migraine. Practising yoga regularly can reduce the frequency of migraine attacks and may even stop them permanently. Some of relevant postures for fighting migraine include – Hastapadasana (Standing Forward bend), Setu Bandhasana (Bridge pose), Shishuasana (Child pose), Marjariasana (Cat stretch), Paschimottanasana (Two-legged Forward bend), Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog pose), Padmasana (Lotus pose) and Shavasana (Corpse pose).
- Meditation for Migraine
Stress has been found the major cause of migraine trigger; around 4 reasons in every 5 migraine reports was stress triggered. Meditation helps in reducing physical and mental stress. It helps in pacifying nerves and found to provide instant relief over migraine. It also helps in regulating hormones in body, whose imbalance may trigger migraine, particularly in women. Regular practice of meditation should be helpful over migraine. Learn to relax – medication will help.
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- Sleep well
Sleeping in dark room is often comforting. Lack of sleep may trigger migraine. Allow your body a dose of 7-8 hrs of sleep daily.
- Work – Life balance
Migraine may just your body reaction to work stress. Take regular breaks from work, enjoy some recreational activities or holidays.
- Drinking water
Heat, rising temperature may lead to migraine. Keep your body hydrated with lots of regular supply of water. Research suggests that dehydration can increase the risk of migraines. Water has amazing healing power, don’t underestimate that.
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- Head massage
Head massage is an effective way to reduce pain caused by migraines. Research indicates that massaging the occipital nerve at the base of the skull is beneficial in reducing migraine pain. Massage helps in relaxing tense muscles, improving blood flow and relieving muscle spasms. This helps in relieving headaches caused by tension and vascular problems. Acupressure may also be helpful in treating migraine. See a trained acupressure therapist for instructions on procedures to do at home.
- Lavender oil
Lavender essential oil is used in aromatherapy for the treatment of many ailments, including migraines. Studies indicate that inhaling the vapor of lavender oil is effective in reducing the severity and frequency of the pain. This oil has the capacity to lower pain by calming the nerves and dilating the blood vessels. Lavender oil can be inhaled or applied topically but should not be taken orally.
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- Peppermint oil
Peppermint is a herb often used in toothpastes and chewing gum. The essential oil extracted from this herb is a great natural remedy for migraines and headaches. It produces a relaxing and numbing effects that helps migraine sufferers to get relief from the pain. The vasodilating and vasoconstricting properties of peppermint oil helps in maintaining proper blood flow through all parts of the body. This oil is a great remedy for curing migraines that are often caused by poor blood circulation. To get relief from migraines, just apply some peppermint oil on the forehead and take rest.
Basil is another aromatic herb that is widely popular for its culinary uses and medicinal properties. The leaves and stem of this herb have amazing analgesic and calming effects and hence is a great remedy for migraines. One of the ways by which basil reduces headaches is by reducing the level of stress hormones called cortisol. It is also a muscle relaxant and hence is particularly good for migraines caused by tensed nerves and muscles. Basil has anti-emetic properties that help in preventing associated symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. Basil can be used in several ways to get pain relief. You can chew fresh basil leaves or apply basil oil on the forehead. You can also prepare basil tea by boiling basil leaves in water for about 10 minutes. Strain the tea and drink it to get relief from headache, nausea and vomiting.
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Ginger, a wonderful aromatic spice used widely in cooking is also used as a remedy for numerous ailments such as vomiting, nausea, stomach problems and headaches, including migraine. In addition to having anti-inflammatory properties, ginger also blocks prostiglandins – the chemical messengers that are responsible for stimulating muscle contractions and for causing swelling in the brain. Drinking ginger tea at the onset of a migraine attack is effective in reducing the pain and preventing it from getting worse. To make ginger tea, boil some water and add sliced ginger root to it. Cover and simmer for about half an hour. Strain the tea and drink whenever you have headache. Ginger tea is a safe herbal remedy that can be taken 3 or 4 times a day.
Feverfew is a herbal remedy for treating fever and headaches. Research indicates that the daily usage of this herb is effective in reducing migraine pain. Feverfew contains an active compound known as parthenolides that regulates the expansion and contraction of blood vessels. It also improves the blood flow, which in turn helps in relieving migraine pain. Feverfew also inhibits the action of prostaglandins that are responsible for causing pain and inflammation. The best way to reap the benefits of this herb is to chew a few fresh leaves. You can also make a herbal tea by steeping dried feverfew in hot water for about half an hour. Strain the tea and drink it to get relief from the pain. Drinking this tea regularly helps in preventing recurrence of migraine.
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- White willow bark
White willow bark, also known as nature’s aspirin has been used for a long time for the treatment of pain and inflammation. It contains a chemical known as salicin that comprises of active ingredients similar to those found in aspirin. White willow bark also contains flavonoids that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These active ingredients found in this plant makes it an effective anti-inflammatory and analgesic agent. Unlike the other commonly used pain killers, white willow bark does not cause any gastrointestinal problems or other side effects. Although it may not provide instant relief, the pain killing effects that it provides is long lasting.
The extract obtained from the butterbur plant (Petasites hybridus) has been used for a long time for the treatment of migraine. According to researchers, the extract relieves migraine headaches by reducing inflammation and pain and also by lowering the pressure on the blood vessels. Another group of scientists suggest that butterbur may reduce the pain by acting on the calcium channels that are found to play a role in causing migraine. This herb contains compounds such as petasin, oxopetasin and isopetasin that have anti-inflammatory and spasmolytic properties and help in reducing the severity and frequency of migraine headaches. These compounds also relaxes the muscles of the blood vessels and ensure increased blood circulation. In addition to the extract, butterbur supplements are also available in the market.
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Rosemary is another age-old natural remedy for migraine and its symptoms. Rosemary acts as a vasodilator and inhaling its aroma of rosemary dilates the vessels and improves the flow of blood. This causes a reduction in pressure, which in turn reduces the pain associated with migraines. Rosemary oil contains active ingredients that have analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. The oil helps in calming and soothing the mind and in relieving headaches. To get relief from headache, add a few drops of rosemary oil to boiling water and then inhale the steam. An alternative method is to massage your forehead with rosemary oil. Drinking rosemary tea is another way of addressing the problem of migraine.
- Chamomile tea
Chamomile is a herb belonging to the daisy family that has several medicinal properties. It has been used for treating various nervous disorders like stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia. The essential obtained from chamomile contains an active ingredient known as bisabolol that is found to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-irritant properties. Chamomile offers a calming and soothing effect on the nervous system and is a great remedy for reducing the pain and inflammation associated with migraine. Drink chamomile tea when you start experiencing the symptoms of migraine. To make chamomile tea, add the herb to boiling water and then steep for about half an hour. Add honey to improve the taste and drink the tea 3 or 4 times a day.
- Essential oil compress
Essential oils such as lavender oil, eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil etc have been found to be very beneficial in treating migraines. Applying a compress of a combination of these oils is an effective remedy for relieving the symptoms of migraines such as headaches. These oil reduce muscle spasms and offers a relaxing effect on the nervous system. To make the compress add two or three drops of the above mentioned oils in water. Soak a washcloth in this liquid, squeeze out the excess water and apply the cloth on the forehead. Repeat this procedure a few times to get relief from migraine.
The use of lemons is a traditional remedy for migraines. Warm lemon water has the ability to reduce inflammation of the blood vessels and improve blood circulation, which in turn helps in reducing headaches and migraine. Lemon peel also has anti-inflammatory properties and when applied on the forehead brings fast relief from migraine.
- Himalayan salt
The use of good quality salt such as Himalayan salt is a safe and natural remedy for migraine. Himalayan salt is rich in minerals, electrolytes and other nutrients, which helps strengthen your immune system, maintain alkaline and electrolyte balance in your body and increase your energy levels. It also increases the levels of serotonin in the blood, which helps reduce migraine. To a glass of lemon juice, add a teaspoon of Himalayan salt and drink it. This remedy is found to be very effective in giving faster results.
Millions of people around the world suffer from migraines that can sometimes cause debilitating effects. Excess use of analgesics can sometimes cause a negative impact on your health. When painkillers seem ineffective, many individuals turn to natural home remedies that can bring some relief from the throbbing pain and other discomforts associated with migraine.