Migraines are a type of headache that can be disabling. Researchers are uncertain of the actual cause of migraines but they do know that more women than men suffer from migraines and that the average migraine headache can last anywhere from 4 hours to 72 hours. Some people may get migraines as often as three or four times per week while others may only have a migraine once in their lifetime.
For those who have frequent migraines, an “aura” isn’t unusual. The “aura” is a sensory disturbance. This may or may not include such visual hallucinations as flashing lights, a sensation of tingling in the face or hands, a sensation of floating in the clouds or atmosphere, blind spots, nausea, vomiting, visual disturbances, sensitivity to sounds and light, and occasionally auditory hallucinations.
These “auras” may accompany every migraine or they may not accompany the migraine at all. This aura may occur as long as an hour prior to the actual onset of the migraine.
It may subside once the actual migraine sets in or it may continue on for several hours depending on the particular type of migraine and the person who is suffering from the migraine.
Some people will have the aura without any pain and others will have severe pain without any migraine aura. It all depends on the root cause of the migraine and their particular type of migraine that the person is having at any given time.
According to researchers, the auras are rather like an electrical pulse that short circuits across the brain. It then takes over the signals that the brain sends to the body and causes the hallucinations. It’s important to understand that migraines have many triggers.
Bright lights, specific smells (heavy scented perfumes, or flowers) may all cause a migraine in some people. Other triggers may include specific foods, alcohol, changes in the weather, stress, lack of adequate sleep, menstrual cycle, change of life, and environmental triggers such as pollution or high pollen counts.
Here are some all natural home remedies to help ease your pain and symptoms if you are one of the many who suffer from migraines.
- Rest: Start by getting some rest. If possible, go in a dark room and lie down for a while, and see if this doesn’t help to ease the symptoms. This is especially true of a “light sensitive” migraine. Some people find that they actually feel worse if they lie down so they opt for a recliner or a rocking chair. Choose whatever works best for you and your particular needs.
- Massage: If you can’t go in for a professional massage, at least take some time and rub your temples and the back of your neck in some circular motion. This can encourage blood flow to the areas of your head that are in pain and help to ease the pain.
- Heat: Apply a warm rice sock to the back of your neck. If you don’t have one, grab a clean tube sock and pour in 1 to 2 cups of rice and tie a knot in the sock. Put this in the microwave for 2 minutes and then apply it to the back of your neck. You can also add some essential oil to your rice and allow the aroma to permeate your senses while you’re using it.
- Cold: For some, a cold pack on the back of the neck will do the trick. This helps to constrict the vessels in the back of the neck and can also help to soothe and ease the pain.
- Reduce Stress: If you are in a stressful situation try to take some time away from the situation. Go for a walk, avoid over stimulation and ask your husband/wife or partner or a friend for some help with the daily routine for the afternoon or evening. Do something for yourself and just take a break from the stress.
- Fatigue: Maybe you’ve been overdoing it and need to relax some more. If you’re just starting back to work or if you’re recovering from an illness, surgery or the birth of a new child you may find that you’re more fatigued than you realize. Get some more rest and try to let others help you more until you’ve fully recovered and feel like you’re back in the swing of things.
- Hormonal Changes: Women have a great deal of hormones that flow through their bodies. Depending on the time of the month these hormones will ebb and flow and it may be that a hot soak in the bath or a hot steamy shower will ease some of the symptoms.
- Insomnia: Most people don’t get adequate sleep. If you’re not getting a full 8 hours of rest each night, this may be part of the problem. Find ways to reduce stress before bed and journal your stress so that you can get the rest you need. If you find that you’re waking up with too many thoughts swirling through your head get up and write them down, then you can deal with them later. Recite a favorite nursery rhyme or scripture over and over to fill your head with something other than what you’re stressing over until you fall asleep.
- Soak Your Feet: While this may sound odd, a hot foot soak may help ease the symptoms. Grab a large basin and fill it with some hot water and your favorite essential oil. You may also wish to add in some Epsom salts and simply soak your feet for 20 to 30 minutes or until your symptoms ease.
- Magnesium: Epsom salts are made up of magnesium. Add some to a hot bath and have a long soak. Take magnesium capsules or tablets and increase the levels in your body. Magnesium will also help with insomnia. Just keep in mind that if you’re using excessive doses of magnesium you may find that you have diarrhea the next day.
- Avoid Smoking: Statistics show that smoking may lead to more migraines. This may be due to the effects of the nicotine on the body.
- Limit Alcohol: While a little bit of alcohol may alleviate some of the symptoms, too much may trigger a migraine. This is especially true of red wines and burgundy’s.
- Avoid Bright Lighting: Lower the level of lighting in your home or office and see if that helps. Sometimes the wrong lighting can trigger migraines. Many find relief from migraines by going to a darkened room and simply relaxing.
- Avoid Gum Chewing: Oddly, the act of chewing can trigger a migraine in some people so don’t chew gum and if you’re struggling with a migraine choose softer foods that are easier to eat.
- Hydrate: Drink more water. Many people don’t drink enough water and what turns into a migraine all stems from dehydration. You should be drinking at least 6 to 8 glasses of water per day. If your urine isn’t pale or clear, you may not be hydrated enough.
- Drink Almond Milk: Almond milk is high in magnesium and may help to ease the symptoms.
- Eat Almonds: Just as almond milk is high in magnesium, so are almonds.
- Tea: Sip some chamomile tea, fever few tea, lemon tea, peppermint tea, ginger ale or ginger tea, or hot water with some cayenne pepper in the water. All of these have shown some promise in easing the symptoms of migraines in many people. Try different temperatures of your tea. For some, hot tea works best, others swear by a more luke warm tea or even iced tea.
- Caffeine: For some, caffeine can trigger a migraine, for others, it may help to ease the symptoms of a migraine. You can try a hot mug of coffee or some black tea to help ease the symptoms.
- Dark Chocolate: Chocolate also contains caffeine and dark chocolate may help to ease your symptoms. Nibble on a square or two of dark chocolate and see if your symptoms don’t subside.
- Wear A Headband: While this may sound strange, it may apply pressure to the right areas of the head and help to ease symptoms. Many have tried this with great success.
- Fish Oil: Add some fish oil to the diet. Fish oil can help to reduce inflammation and ease the blood vessels in your head so that you don’t have any pain. You can find fish oil capsules wherever you buy vitamins.
- Ointments: There are many ointments on the market today that are made up of essential oils. Try one with your favorite scents in it and gently massage it into the temples and the back of the neck. Most people find relief with lavender, lemon, eucalyptus, basil, and peppermint ointments.
- Eat Some Candied Ginger: Try some candied ginger or take some ginger capsules. Ginger helps to ease pain and reduce inflammation and it also helps with the digestive system so it may also help with the nausea. You can also add some grated ginger or powdered ginger to your foods when you’re cooking.
- Ginger Ale: Drink some ginger ale that is ice cold or room temperature. Make sure that you’re choosing a real ginger and not an artificial ginger for best results. Not all brands of ginger ale are the same so take a few moments to ensure that you’re getting what you think you’re getting.
- B Vitamins: Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin, B6 works wonders as a migraine prevention. It may work as a diuretic on some people so you may need to plan to be near a bathroom more frequently. If the urine is dark you may need to adjust the dosage and hydrate with more water. The urine should always be pale and if it’s not, you are likely dehydrated.
- CoQ10: This is an expensive supplement but some have found relief from migraines by taking up to 300 milligrams per day. This is also available in the vitamin section of your local grocer or pharmacy.
- Butterbur: This herbal remedy is derived from a plant that is grown in Germany. According to studies it works well on asthma and migraines. It is also helpful for gastric indigestion. Many swear by it as their go to relief for migraines.
- Tart Cherries: Cherries work to reduce inflammation and ease pain. Ideal for treating migraines, arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Drink tart cherry juice and eat more cherries for relief. You can find tart cherry juice in the juice section of your local grocery store.
- Salmon: Full of omega 3s and other healthy fatty acids this can help to ease your pain and inflammation. Consider adding more salmon to your diet on a weekly basis to see if that doesn’t help ease the symptoms.
- Whole Grains: Eat more whole grains. Whole grains such as oatmeal and millet are full of B vitamins, magnesium and both work well to help ease headaches.
- Spinach: This super food works well to keep your skin healthy and improve your headaches. It’s full of B2 which helps to ease pain and inflammation.
- Spicy Foods: Eat more spicy foods such as salsa, hot peppers and other foods that have a high content of peppers. This helps to open up the blood vessels and give more blood flow to the brain and surrounding areas.
- Eat Corn: Corn is rich in B3 and helps to support healthy blood vessels and soothe and calm the nerves.
- Eat Beans: Add more beans to the diet. Beans are also full of healthy vitamins that may help to eases symptoms.
- Eat Tomatoes: Tomatoes are high in lycopene and can help to improve the blood flow. Ideal as an antioxidant and for heart health.
- Eat Bananas: Full of potassium and other B vitamins bananas are ideal to help ease headaches and increase the serotonin levels in the brain.
- Eat Watermelon: Watermelon is full of water and this can help to prevent dehydration. Watermelon also helps to reduce inflammation.
- Flax Seeds: Flax seeds offer a myriad of health benefits and plenty of omega 3s. You can add flax seeds to your baked goods and smoothies.
- Acupressure: There are many great pressure points on the body that help to reduce pain and inflammation. For migraines you may find relief by gently pinching between your thumb and forefinger on that flap of skin there. You may also find some relief by pressing behind your ear on the side of your head that is most affected by the migraine pain.
- Take A Yoga Class: Yoga stresses proper breathing techniques and meditation. Both of which can help to ease symptoms. You can reduce anxiety and improve your overall health by learning some yoga techniques. When you feel symptoms beginning to appear you may then try some yoga moves to help eases your symptoms.
- Learn Biofeedback: This is a relaxation method that will teach you to be more aware of your reaction to stress. It may help you to reduce how things affect you and find new ways to deal with it.
- Deep Breathing And Meditation: If you feel a migraine coming on take a moment to sit back and try some deep breathing techniques. Breathe in for the count of 6 and then hold your breath for the count of 3 and then slowly let your breath out for the count of 6. Take some time and do some meditation and allow your mind to rest for a few minutes before continuing a busy day.
- Tragus Piercing: Many have found relief by getting a “tragus” piercing. This is a kind of ear piercing that pierces the cartilage that is covering your ear canal. It uses a hoop or a stud earring to put continual pressure on the area.
- Daith Piercing: Another method of ear piercing in the daith cartilage that can ease the symptoms of a migraine. Opinions vary on this but if it works it’s well worth it.
- Learn Your Triggers: There are different migraine triggers for different people. For some, it may be a particular food. Here are some of the more common foods that can trigger migraines:
- Artificial sweeteners
- Hot dogs
- Luncheon meats
- Lack of caffeine
- Wheat products
- Gluten products
- Dairy products
- Pickled foods
- Dried fruits
- Sour cream
If you’re unsure of whether or not particular foods may cause migraines for you, keep a food journal for one month. Each day write down everything that you eat. Make sure to note snacks, beverages, how many cups of coffee and so on. Be very detailed.
Using a calendar, track your migraines and check back to see what foods you ate just prior to having a migraine. If you see a pattern, you may wish to consider eliminating any foods that you were eating just prior to having migraines.
After 2 weeks without these particular foods gradually reintroduce them into your diet and see if you again have migraines. If you do have a migraine after you reintroduce a particular food to your diet, eliminate these foods permanently from your diet and you should see some relief from your migraines.
- Environmental: There are many potential environmental triggers. These can be pollution, specific scents from a flower garden, perfumes, heavy fragrances from detergents and fabric softeners or chemical cleaners and more. Try choosing unscented personal care products and detergents as well as fabric softeners. If you’re living in an area that has heavy pollution, use an indoor air cleaner and avoid going out when the pollution is at its heaviest. Be mindful of who you’re standing next to in public areas and move to another area if you’re standing next to someone who uses strong fragrances or detergents.
- High Pollen: Different seasons have different levels of pollen. During peak pollen seasons many find that they suffer from more migraines. If this is you, take the proper allergy medication and avoid exposing yourself to the higher pollen count by staying indoors or using air cleaners indoors. Remove any plants from your yard that may trigger migraines. For some these may be such plants as lavender or rose and for others it may be a particular type of tree.
- Stretch: Many people sit at a desk all day long and then when they get home they are finishing up paper work. Get up and stretch now and again making sure to rotate the neck and reach the arms above the head and behind the back. This can increase blood flow to the head and neck areas and help to ease migraine symptoms in some people.
- Cold Air: This one works best during the colder fall days and winter days. If you feel a migraine coming on step outside in the cold air without your coat on for a few minutes. Often this is enough to ease migraine symptoms and provide relief.
Learning and understanding what triggers your migraine symptoms can go far in helping you to ease your symptoms or avoid them all together. Some people will go through times of great stress and have a lot of migraines during that time. As the stress eases so do their migraines.
You can also use over the counter medications that help to relieve inflammation such as ibuprofen. Make sure to drink a lot of water with these to help flush them out of your body as quickly as possible. The hydration will help to ease the migraine symptoms as well.