Migraine headaches are more than “just a headache.” The pain from a migraine can be nearly incapacitating. Natural remedies for migraine headaches include ice packs and cayenne pepper to eliminate the immediate pain and multiple strategies to prevent migraine headaches in the future.
What Are The Symptoms of a Migraine?
- Severe pain in the head, one or both sides
- Pain the neck
- Throbbing pain in the head
- Sensitivity to light, sound, or touch
- Visual disturbances (flashes, zigzags)
- Migraine Aura
What is a Migraine Aura?
Visual disturbances may proceed the actual pain in the head. Flashes of light, zigzag disturbances etc. This is called a migraine aura. It is possible to have a migraine without any noticeable aura. It is also possible to have a migraine aura without any pain.
Anyone who experiences visual disturbances or intense head pain for the first time should seek medical attention. While these are common migraine symptoms, they can be signs of something even more serious than a migraine.
Try one or more of the following natural remedies to relieve a migraine, knowing that it could take several hours for a migraine to completely abate.
Drink a glass of water with a pinch of sea salt and ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper to ensure that the body is hydrated and can restore needed electrolytes. Coconut water is another way to restore electrolytes and hydrate the body.
Apple Cider Vinegar
2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar is a glass of water is yet a third way to hydrate the body and provide micronutrients. Apple cider vinegar, though acidic, helps the body towards better pH balance through its overall alkalizing effect. Acidic bodies suffer more pain, which is why alkalizing will often help with a migraine (and so many other health problems!)
Apply a drop of lavender and/or peppermint essential oil to the temples and base of the neck, being careful to avoid the eyes and mouth. Wash hands to avoid getting the oils where you do not wish to have them.
Basil essential oils relieves some migraines. Drop a drop of basil essential oil onto a cotton ball, hold it 6 inches from the face and slowly inhale and exhale for 5-10 minutes.
Epsom Salt Bath
Take a warm bath with Epsom Salt. The body absorbs the magnesium, which is relaxing.
Rest in a room with low or no lights.
Use an ice pack on the back of the neck.
Breathe into a Brown Paper Bag
If the migraine is caused by an imbalance in the gas exchanges in the body, a migraine can result. Breathing into a brown paper back will increase the CO2 levels in the body. This will help a migraine that is aggravated by low CO2 levels. Breathe in and out slowly. A drop of basil or peppermint essential oil in the bottom of the bag will allow the body to benefit from both remedies at once.
Home Remedies to Prevent Migraines
Butterbur, an herb, has been studied and found to be useful in migraine prevention.2 Only 75 mg of butterbur extract, taken twice daily was needed to see measurable results in migraine reduction.
Feverfew is an herb that, taken daily, can prevent migraines for some who suffer with them.3 It does not take a lot of feverfew; a capsule daily can often be adequate to prevent migraines.
One of the useful properties of cayenne pepper is its ability to dialate the blood vessels. Cayenne’s affect on platelets in the blood may also contribute to its usefulness in treatment migraines.4
Cayenne is commonly taken in capsules, used in food preparation or, to get some cayenne to the system quickly, taken in water or juice. Using a straw when taken cayenne in a beverage helps to reduce the spicy effect to the mouth. ¼ – ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper is typically taken when it is used as a natural remedy.
Mullein is a common herb commonly found growing along roadsides. The dried leaves have wonderful healing properties and can be used as a mild pain reliever and relaxant.
Nettle leaf is highly nutritive and a blood purifier. Migraines that are associated with chronic health conditions or poor health may benefit by the addition of nettle to the daily routine in the form of capsules or a strong tea.
A good diet goes a long way to maintain and improve overall health. A variety of whole foods with moderation in processed or sweet foods is important.
Keeping a food diary for a few weeks can help to figure out possible migraine triggers. Some foods tend to be especially aggravating for migraine sufferers. MSG, aspartame, aged cheese, food additives and wine are common triggers.
While hormonal changes are certainly facts of life, the difficulties that accompany them can be reduced by providing the body with excellent nutrition, balanced amounts of sleep and using natural remedies to keep hormones working as smoothly as possible, especially during seasons of change.
What Causes a Migraine Headache?
For those who regularly suffer with migraines, triggers can often be identified. Finding and avoiding triggers is obviously ideal.
Dietary considerations are important for overall health and for acute issues like migraine attacks. A diet low in nutrients leaves the body without necessary building bloods for good health. Nutritional deficiencies, like magnesium deficiency, can play a part in migraine attacks.
Some specific foods may be a trigger of migraine headaches. Possible food include:
- Aged cheese
- Cold foods
- Additives in food
Even mild dehydration can cause significant health problems, including migraine headaches. When a migraine is coming on, the first question to ask should be, “Have I been consuming adequate quality liquids?” Quality liquids would include water, herbal teas and fresh juices. Soda, coffee and energy drinks are not quality liquids and may actually initiate a migraine.
If chronic dehydration is a problem, migraine sufferers need to find a way to keep well hydrated to prevent migraines and other health problems.
Hormone fluctuation is certainly part of life. Puberty, menstrual cycles, pregnancy, birth, lactation and menopause cause hormonal changes that can trigger headaches.
Migraines are believed to be affected by the narrowing of blood vessels, which can be triggered by changes in estrogen and serotonin.1
All sorts of chemicals can trigger a migraine. Cleaning products, building materials, scented health and beauty products and even popular essential oils can trigger migraines. Depending on the work, home or school environment, these triggers may be unavoidable.
Open windows, air purifiers, fragrance free products, and natural cleaning products like vinegar can help reduce the chemical assault to the system.
Medication Side Effects
Migraines can be a result of a prescription medication side effect. Birth control pills, hormone therapy, and some pain medications can cause migraines. Over the counter headache relieving medications may cause a migraine.
Erratic or Inadequate Sleep
Lack of sleep is stressful to the body and may trigger a headache. Lack of sleep or irregular sleep patterns interrupt the body’s normal rhythms, which can cascade into a number of health problems, including migraines. Sometimes sleeping too much can trigger a headache.
Barometric pressure changes, especially changes to low pressure, can affect the body. Sensitive people may notice increased joint pain, sinus or ear pressure, and headaches, including migraine headaches.
Certain lights can trigger migraines for some. This can include the glint of sunlight from a dew drop, flashing lights on a screen, or fluorescent lighting. While some of these situations may be inevitable, being aware of the difficulty can be helpful in preventing some migraines.
Sometimes travel situations can trigger migraines. Driving at night with bright headlights shining into the face may be a trigger. The air in a car or plane can be quite dry. During travel, dehydration can be more common, especially if fluids are limited to reduce the need for rest stops.
Stressful driving situations, including traffic or bad weather may trigger a migraine.
In addition to travel stress, every day stress is a common migraine trigger. Stress is often combined with other triggers, including a poor diet and inadequate sleep, which can increase the likelihood of a migraine.
Sadly for some, movie watching can trigger migraines. More intense movies in theaters with plenty of sounds and light or 3D movies may be especially problematic.
Even when migraine triggers are identified, it is not always possible to avoid them. Having a plan before a migraine attacks can make it easier to employ remedies to relieve the migraine. Once a migraine is underway it can be difficult to think of and execute a course of action.
Please continue reading to see how our readers have successfully treated acute migraines and also reduced the severity and frequency of chronic migraines. Do you have a natural remedy for migraine headaches? Please send us some feedback!
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