Natural Remedies for Migraine Headaches
Because migraines can strike with alarming quickness, they often take people by surprise. What's worse, once a headache shows up, it can drag on for up to three or four days before disappearing in the same manner it appeared, leaving you drained and exhausted. Some people exhibit early warning signals such as a rainbow of colors, jumping vision or encroaching darkness on peripheral vision, but often no early tell-tale signs appear at all. Most people find that their migraines seem to follow a pattern, or occur after they have ingested a certain food or been exposed to certain smells or visual activity, such as flashing lights. The best way to combat a migraine caused by an environmental trigger or a food trigger, of course, is to avoid such triggers. Unfortunately, without extensive research you may never discover what the triggers are.
Tips for Stopping a Migraine in Its Tracks:
- Acupressure: squeeze on the fleshy web between the finger and thumb. Pressing on the base of the neck also releases endorphins, which sometimes can help alleviate the pain.
- Reflexology: massage the feet and hands, paying special attention to the toes and the tips of the fingers. Also massage the head, face and neck and stretch the neck muscles by leaning the head from side to side.
- Relaxation: learning to relax the entire body is one way of warding off a migraine. Deep breathing as well as warm baths and showers can help prevent migraines.
As with all methods of prevention, however, do not wait until you have a full-blown headache before implementing the above mentioned suggestions. The key is to act sooner rather than later. Once a headache is in full bloom it is often difficult to get rid of the pain.
Not everyone has the same migraine triggers, but certain items that are notorious for causing migraines include the following:
- Aspartame and other sugar substitutes: While aspartame causes a variety of negative reactions, headaches are the most common.
- Caffeine: Many foods and drinks have caffeine in them. Some of the most common are chocolate, coffee, certain soft drinks and/or medications that include caffeine.
- Food: Certain foods can set a migraine into motion. These foods are known as allergens, though true food allergies are actually rare. In more cases than not, you are not allergic to the food but rather are sensitive to the food. Foods that might fall into that category include chocolate, cheese, and foods that are fermented, aged, pickled, smoked or contain MSG (monosodium glutamate).
- Eye strain: Hunching over the computer for long hours, driving in rain with glaring headlights flashing in your face, blinking and/or defective fluorescent lights, stress and allergies can take a toll on your eyes.
- Alcoholic beverages: While all alcoholic beverages may have the potential to cause a migraine, red wine is notorious for causing hot flashes or facial flushes as well as migraines.
- Odors: While perfume might be a trigger for you, gasoline might be a trigger for someone else.
- Hormones: Women, especially, are hit hard by hormone-driven headaches.
Keep a Journal
Keeping a written journal is the best way to discover migraine triggers. Write down the time, the weather, what you ate, how much you ate and in what combinations, and also your current mood and feeling of well-being. If there are triggers setting off your migraines, you will eventually discover them. A journal is also a good way for your physician to track your migraines and anticipate upcoming triggers.