A migraine is no ordinary headache. It is a neurobiological disorder caused by disruption of the brain signals. Migraine headaches involve neurological and vascular changes in the brain, causing a wave of nerve cell activity and inflammation. All these leads to searing pain that lasts for 6 to 48 hours, accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. This condition affects men and women but people with a genetic predisposition are likely to experience frequent attacks.
Although you can always pop a pill to dull the pain, you can ease migraine pains by trying any of these all-natural remedies:
A Scalp Massage
A scalp massage helps ease migraine pains while alleviating stress that triggers an attack. Brazilian researchers found that massaging the greater occipital nerve reduces migraine pain effectively. The greater occipital nerve is located at the back of the head, at the base of the skull. Massaging the scalp also promotes deeper sleep so you wake up pain-free the next day. You can either give yourself a massage or have someone do it for you.
Feverfew is an herb specifically used to treat migraine headaches. This flowering plant became a popular migraine remedy after a landmark study by British researchers. According to the study, 70% of the participants suffered fewer migraine pains after taking feverfew regularly. Since this study was published, dozens of others followed with the same results. One study even noted that feverfew’s potency is similar to aspirin, especially when mixed with other medicinal herbs like white willow.
Most migraine sufferers are sensitive to scents but there are certain plant essences that soothe a throbbing temple. Such essences include peppermint, eucalyptus, and lavender essential oils.
Lavender oil is traditionally used to ease headaches and migraines. It promotes relaxation and induces deeper sleep. You can either inhale the aroma of lavender oil or apply it on the affected area. Peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils relieve migraines and tension headaches by boosting blood flow. These minty essential oils have vaso-constricting and vaso-dilating properties, opening the blood vessels to let fresh blood in to ensure the brain is getting enough oxygen.
Acupuncture helps relieve migraine pains as effectively as any painkiller but without side effects. And there are clinical studies that can back up this claim! A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that acupuncture reduces migraine pains among participants that suffer from monthly attacks. The treatment also reduces the frequency and intensity of migraines. The study involved tracking the progress of patients for four weeks.
Proper diet also plays a critical role in migraine prevention. Consuming foods high in vitamin B2 and omega-3 fatty acid help reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. If you are not getting enough of these nutrients from the food you eat, consider taking supplements instead. Taking CoQ10 supplements may also help prevent migraine attacks in a clinical study.
One of the most common triggers of a migraine is stress. When stress hormone cortisol surges in the body, the blood vessels start to compress, causing strain in the greater occipital nerve of the brain. Finding excellent ways to cope with stress is one way to stop migraine attacks before they start. Getting a deep tissue massage, practicing yoga and meditating are all great ways to calm the mind and reduce cortisol in the body.