Migraines make up one of the most common global ailments with about 12% of adults dealing with this neurological condition. What are some facts about migraine occurrence?
- The number of women who get migraines outnumber men 3 to 1.
- When it comes to children with migraines, boys outnumber girls until puberty.
- Having a parent who gets migraines increases the risk by 50% (two migraine parents increase the chances of getting them by 75%).
- According to the Migraine Research Foundation, the most common cause of chronic migraines is medication overuse.
- One of the most common migraine symptoms is neck pain, which is experienced before or during a migraine (occurs for approximately 75% of migraines).
With these facts in mind, we’re going to look into some natural ways to find relief from migraines. Since migraines are as unique as the person who gets them, the same remedy may not work for everyone. Let’s see which of the following may be the best choice for you.
#1 Managing Triggers
This is the first form of preventative care that doctors lean toward. Basically, it involves keeping a migraine journal (there are plenty of apps you can use too), in order to figure out what triggers your migraines. Avoiding these triggers isn’t a migraine cure, but it may help you to experience fewer attacks. In fact, some of the natural remedies we will consider are based on common triggers.
#2 Adjust Your Sleep Schedule
If you are not getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night, this may be one of your primary triggers. As a result, you may immediately get fewer migraines just by developing a better sleep schedule. One key element is going to bed and waking up at the same times every day (even on the weekends) so that your body is used to sleeping on a regular schedule.
#3 Adjust Your Meal Schedule
Blood sugar fluctuations can also trigger migraines. Be sure not to miss meals as this can lead to a migraine. You may need to eat smaller meals on a more frequent schedule rather than just a couple of big meals per day.
#4 Adjust Your Caffeine Intake
“But I need my coffee!” you reply. Well, that’s a good indicator that you may have developed a dependency. Caffeine is definitely a drug, and withdrawal can trigger migraines. But rather than going cold turkey, it may be more effective to continue having limited amounts of caffeine daily. You won’t get the withdrawal migraine and a little caffeine can be good for blood flow, which is also an important factor when it comes to migraines.
#5 Stress Management Techniques
Stress is probably the number one migraine trigger. That means learning positive ways to reduce stress (keep in mind that negative stress relief methods like smoking and alcohol abuse can increase migraine occurrence). What are some positive ways to reduce stress:
- Take up a relaxing hobby
- Diffuse relaxing essential oils
- Take up stretching (i.e., Pilates)
- Meditate on positive things for a set time each day
- Exercise daily
#6 Use Ice Packs
Ice is a natural anti-inflammatory which means it can help with pain that is inflammation-related. Since many migraines include neck pain, an ice pack that wraps around the neck at the first sign of symptoms may help (especially if the first symptom is neck pain).
A number of herbal remedies have been presented for migraines. The condition may also be triggered by a deficiency of certain vitamins or minerals. A doctor can test you for such deficiencies. If you do research and choose supplements on your own, consult a doctor to ensure they won’t interfere with any medications you may be taking.
#8 Upper Cervical Chiropractic
Upper cervical chiropractic care has been shown to be effective for many patients who get headaches or migraines. Of course, this will be primarily effective if you have an upper cervical misalignment, so how can you know if this is the case? Don’t assume you are okay because you have had x-rays taken by a doctor or general chiropractor and they didn’t mention a problem. Upper cervical misalignments can cause issues even if the bones are off by hundredths of a degree. As a result, you should have an examination performed by an upper cervical chiropractor if you get migraines, especially if you experience neck pain or have a history of head or neck injuries. Repetitive motion injuries such as poor posture at a desk job or checking a smartphone dozens of times per day also put a person at risk for this misalignment.
What can an upper cervical misalignment cause that may lead to migraines? Here are a few possible complications:
- Affects brainstem function – The C1 (atlas) protects the brainstem. However, a misalignment may put pressure on this key central nervous system component.
- Affects blood flow to the brain – The cervical vertebrae have small loops of bone called vertebral foramen. These facilitate blood flow to the brain by providing safe passage for the vertebral arteries. A misalignment can affect this proper flow of blood.
- Affects cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) drainage – When CSF drainage is inhibited by a misalignment, this can lead to increased intracranial pressure and migraines.
If you are suffering from migraines, especially if you have a history of injury or neck pain, find an upper cervical practitioner near you to have a proper examination performed. It may set you on the path to fewer or less severe migraines. Some have even become completely migraine-free!