Migraine is one of the most severe and painful types of headache. The intensity of the pain of migraine is so debilitating that people are unable to work or function normally during an attack.
Most of the people resort to over the counter or prescribed medicines to get relief from migraine. While you get plenty of medications to cure migraine, there are also a number of natural options to ease the pain.
Headaches are divided into two categories- headaches caused by muscle contraction and headaches caused due to vascular irregularities.
If the headache begins from the back of the neck and expands outward with a dull pain, then you might be suffering from tension headache. Tension headache is usually caused due to muscle contraction.
Migraine pain is caused due to vascular and nerve irregularities. The headache is accompanied by pain, flashes of light, tingling sensation and nausea. It usually starts with an excruciating pain on one side of the head and then begins to spread. Sometimes, the limb also becomes numb prior to an attack. The pain may last for a few hours or can sometimes make you suffer for up to 3 days.
Causes of migraine:
- Change in altitude
- Excessive caffeine intake
- Dry wind
- Hormonal fluctuation
- Intense emotions
- Irregular eating pattern
- Strong perfume
- Bright light
- Lifestyle changes
- Stress and tension
- Alcohol and drugs
- Drop in blood sugar levels
- Allergic reactions
- Nutritional deficiency
The symptoms of migraine vary from person to person. Some common symptoms include:
- Pain on one side of the head
- Cold hands and feet
- Sensitivity to the light
Over the counter medicines like ibuprofen and aspirin can treat migraine efficiently. However, they also have the potential of causing unwanted side effects. Fortunately, several home remedies can provide relief from this pain. Some most effective include:
1. Lavender oil:
Lavender oil is very useful for treating migraine pain. Take two to four drops of lavender oil in three cups of boiling water and inhale to treat headache. Alternatively, apply lavender oil to your scalp and temples and massage gently. Unlike other essential oil,s you do need to dilute lavender essential oil before applying. Lavender oil can be toxic if taken orally.
The soothing properties of peppermint oil can help alleviate migraine. It has vaso-constricting and vaso-dilating properties, which help to control blood flow in the body. Migraine is often caused due to poor blood flow in the brain. Peppermint oil opens up the sinuses so that more oxygen can get into the bloodstream. The scent of peppermint also has pain-reducing properties. Apply diluted peppermint oil to the forehead and temples to stop migraine pain. In addition to headache relieving properties, peppermint can also help relieve spasms and nausea.
3. Basil oil:
Basil is a strong-scented herb used usually as pizza topping. The oil derived from basil woks as a muscle relaxant, helping headache caused due to tension and tight muscles. Massage your scalp with basil oil mixed with olive oil, concentrating on the temples and forehead.
The most important thing to keep migraine at bay is by changing the dietary pattern. There are certain foods that can enhance the severity and frequency of migraine pain. These foods include chocolate, dairy, peanut butter, cheese, avocado, banana MSG and onion. Keep an account of these migraine-triggering foods to prevent a migraine attack.
Migraine is usually caused due to inflammation, which can be reduced greatly by consuming foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Flaxseeds are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which could treat migraine. Take 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed every day with milk to reduce the possibility of migraine.
Buckwheat is another useful ingredient for treating migraine. It contains rutin, a flavonoid that counteracts the damage to the brain cells. It also reduces inflammation of the brain nerves. Try to incorporate buckwheat into your daily diet to stop the recurrence of migraine attack.
5. Scalp massage:
Scalp massage is an effective way of alleviating migraine pain. Massaging the occipital nerve-, i.e. the area in the back of the head and at the base of the skull can reduce migraine pain.
Feverfew is one of the oldest natural remedies for migraine. Studies have demonstrated that people who take feverfew daily experience less migraine pain. The herb contains chemicals that may prevent migraines. Parthenolides in feverfew controls the expansion and contraction of the blood vessels in the head. The herb counteracts the brain’s order by causing the blood vessels to dilate. Thus, it enhances the tone of blood vessels, controlling migraine headache. Taking feverfew in combination with white willow can provide effects similar to aspirin.
7. Hot or cold compress:
A hot and cold compress to the neck and head can also provide some relief from migraine pain. Ice has a numbing effect on the nerves, which reduces the sensation of pain. Hot compress relaxes muscle tension, reducing the discomfort. A cabbage compress is very useful in alleviating migraine pain. Take some cabbage leaves in a thin cloth and compress your head and neck.
Migraine is also triggered by lack of sleep. Hence, establish regular sleeping hours. Wake up and sleep at the same time every day. Avoid taking short naps during the daytime as it can interfere with the night’s sleep. Do not indulge in heavy meals, alcohol, nicotine and caffeine before going to sleep.
Tension and migraine go hand in hand. It is quite difficult to avoid daily stress, but you can take measures to control it, which will in turn control migraine. Manage your work and home responsibilities wisely. Whenever, you feel overwhelmed by work, take a break. Deep breathing exercises will also help to focus and relax.
Butterbur herb provides impressive headache relieving properties. The chemicals present in butterbur relieve spasms and decrease inflammation, one of the major causes of migraine. Butterbur is quite toxic, hence should be used in the form of processed supplement. In a study, people who were given a butterbur extract twice daily for 12 weeks experience a reduced frequency of migraine by up to 60%. Take 100 milligrams of butterbur supplement daily every three hours to treat migraine.
Ginger is a traditional natural ingredient for treating several neurological problems, including headache. A study has found that ginger effectively reduced migraine pain when taken in combination with feverfew. Ginger is also useful for easing migraine related nausea.
Willow extract is often used in the aspirin, a famous pain reliever medicine. A study found that willow, combined with feverfew could significantly reduce the frequency, intensity and duration of migraine. Take 300 milligrams of willow twice daily for 12 weeks. Willow’s salicin extract can also reduce migraine duration when used topically on the head.
The use of valerian for headache can be traced to the time of Hippocrates. The sedative properties of valerian relax the over-contracted muscles and tension, which are associated with migraine pain. Valerian should be taken in the form of supplements, tea or tincture made from the dried root. Take 30 milligrams of valerian supplement daily 3 times a day to treat migraine.
14. Coriander seed:
Coriander seed is lauded for its ability to treat migraine related pain. Ayurveda uses coriander to relief sinus pressure and headache. Pour some hot water over fresh seeds and inhale the stem to get relief from the migraine pain. You can also chew coriander seeds or take it orally in the extract form to benefit from it.
Linden plant is believed to calm the nerves and ease anxiety and tension. Its sweat inducing and sedative properties helps to treat sinus and migraine headache. Steep a handful of linden leaves in 200 ml water and steep for 10 minutes. Leave aside to let it come at room temperature and drink. Drink this concoction three times a day for 6 weeks to see positive results.
16. Potato slices:
Potato slices have been used in the country folk medicine to calm migraine pain. Soak the slices in a thin cloth and wrap around the head. You can also rub the cloth directly on the temples to ease tension and pain.
17. Carrot and spinach:
Carrot and spinach juice can also help you relieve the excruciating migraine pain. Take ½ cup of carrot juice and ½ glass of spinach juice and mix well. Drink this juice 3 times a day to cure migraine.
- Turn off the lights whenever you experience a migraine attack. Migraine increases sensitivity to light and sound, so rest in the dark room.
- Exercise regularly and you will notice positive effects on your health. Our body releases certain chemical while working out, which block the pain signals to the brain. It also helps to alleviate anxiety and depression, which often make the migraine worse.
- Taking a long, hot shower can also help you get some relief from migraine pain. The more the hot water penetrates into the neck, the more pressure will be relieved.
- Several forms of headache are triggered by dehydration. So, drink plenty of water to stop migraine.