The throbbing pain of a migraine coupled with other potential symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, extreme light, sound, and smell sensitivity, and visual disturbances can be downright unbearable.
While there are many medications available to make migraines more tolerable, many migraine sufferers are looking for more natural, sustainable options for relief. Oftentimes, incorporating some of these self-help approaches and lifestyle changes can make a big difference in the quality of life for those living with migraines.
10 Ways to Naturally Reduce Migraine Symptoms
#1: Essential oils
Two essential oils that migraine sufferers may want to try are lavender and peppermint. Lavender is touted to help ease stress and anxiety, and one study noted that inhaling the scent of lavender essential oil helped to reduce the severity of some participants’ migraines. Peppermint oil has also been helpful in reducing migraine pain and symptoms and, when properly diluted, can be applied directly to the temples, neck, forehead, or other painful areas. Peppermint may also help with nausea.
Putting pressure on certain points throughout the body can help ease muscle tension and reduce pain. A popular acupressure point used by headache and migraine sufferers is located in the space between the base of the left thumb and pointer finger. The pressure should be firm but not painful. You can try squeezing this point and making small circles with your opposite hand for about 5 minutes.
Magnesium is a mineral that aids in many important bodily functions such as nerve transmission and blood sugar regulation. Taking a magnesium supplement has been shown to help with migraines and headaches, and that those who experience frequent migraines may actually have some level of magnesium deficiency.
Developing a regular sleep-wake cycle can prove to be very beneficial for migraine sufferers. For most people, aiming for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night is ideal. Getting too little or too much sleep can trigger more frequent and severe migraine episodes. As difficult as it might be, doing your best to go to sleep and wake up around the same times every day (yes, even on weekends) can help your body’s natural circadian rhythm and may reduce your chances of suffering from another terrible headache.
#5: Diet changes
When it comes to eating well to take care of migraines, there are certain things to add to your diet and certain things to try and avoid. Many migraine sufferers will benefit from keeping a food journal that tracks their episodes and can potentially highlight any dietary triggers.
Foods to limit or avoid:
- Aged cheese
- Fermented foods (I.e. sauerkraut, kombucha)
- Cured meats
- Smoked fish
- Wine and beer
- Food preservatives (I.e. nitrates, MSG, artificial sweeteners)
Nutrient-rich foods to add to your diet:
- Sweet potatoes
Yoga is a great tool that can aid in reducing muscular tension, relieving stress, increasing flexibility, and decreasing overall pain levels. The nice part about adding yoga into your wellness routine is that it can be done in a number of ways. You may attend classes at your local yoga studio or you can practice in the comfort of your own living room by using an instructional DVD or YouTube video. Some research has shown that a regular yoga practice may help reduce migraine frequency and intensity.
#7: Stress management
Stress is one of the most commonly reported migraine triggers. The truth is that everyone experiences stressors in life and learning to manage it can mean avoiding a vicious cycle that may make migraines worse. There are many outlets for coping with stress, and you might find some of the following tools to be useful:
- Taking a warm bath
#8: B vitamins
Taking a B vitamin supplement, which often includes all eight of the B-complex vitamins, can help protect your body from migraines. Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) might be especially relevant to migraine sufferers. Riboflavin is used within the mitochondria of your body’s cells to keep them healthy and producing the needed amount of energy for survival. Some research suggests that migraines might be triggered in part by reduced mitochondrial function and that supplementing with B-vitamins can help overcome this.
#9: Stay hydrated
Dehydration can be a huge migraine and headache trigger. Even minor levels of dehydration can become problematic. Making sure you’re drinking water throughout the day and maintaining a healthy diet is important to stay sufficiently hydrated. A good rule of thumb that many people follow to estimate how much water they should be drinking on a daily basis is half of your body weight in ounces. For example, a 160-pound adult should aim to drink about 80 ounces of water (about 10 cups) per day.
#10: Upper cervical chiropractic care
A migraine is not your average headache. Migraine episodes are considered to be neurologically based, meaning that they’re different from headaches that are caused by muscular tension or blood flow. Because of the nervous system involvement, upper cervical chiropractic care is an effective approach for migraine sufferers looking for natural, lasting relief. The upper neck plays a critical role in maintaining normal nervous system function. If you have a misalignment of the uppermost vertebra in the neck, the atlas, it can be having a negative impact on proper brain-body communication via the nervous system. This can be a major contributing factor in the development of migraines.
Experience Migraine Relief with Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care
Upper cervical chiropractors are experts in identifying and correcting these very particular misalignments that can be wreaking havoc on the nervous systems of migraine sufferers. Even if you’ve tried chiropractic care before with less than optimal results, the upper cervical approach can still help you with its methodical, precise, and gentle adjustments. The goals of upper cervical care include long-lasting outcomes and delivering as few adjustments as needed in order to accomplish the desired results. To learn more about this unique approach to migraine care, schedule a consultation with a practitioner near you.
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