As many as 39 million people suffer from migraines in the US, while the number rises to 1 billion worldwide. Migraines are among the top 20 most disabling medical conditions around the world. They are known for pulsating and throbbing head pain which often worsens when one moves. Migraines usually last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours. Symptoms vary from one person to another. Some people have what is called an aura. This is a warning sign made up of neurological symptoms occurring about an hour before the actual head pain begins. Some people have auras and never have head pain. With an aura, you may experience flashing light, blind spots, increasing sensitivity to light and noise, nausea and vomiting, and tingling in the arms, legs or face.
A couple of days before a migraine attack, you may notice food cravings, constipation, a stiff neck, irritability, and frequent yawning. Around 75 percent of people have a family history of migraines. A little-known fact is that migraines actually do cause changes in the brains of those who suffer from them. Migraines are often brought about due to triggers. It is often a combination of triggers that set them off. These may include the following:
- Smoking or second-hand smoke
- Irregular sleep
- Bright lights
- Low blood sugar
- Poor posture
- Strong odors
- Skipping meals
- Hormonal fluctuations
Home Remedies for Migraines
The following home remedies may help you to see fewer migraines with less severity. Always check with your doctor if you have any concerns about trying these.
Apple cider vinegar
ACV is a nutritional powerhouse which can help reduce migraines. It has additional health benefits such as:
- Regulating high blood pressure
- Helping with weight loss
- Aiding in detoxification
- Relieving constipation
- Reducing bone pain
To reap these benefits, add 1 tablespoon of ACV to a glass of water. Mix in a tablespoon of honey. Drink every day. If this seems like too much at first, begin with 1 teaspoon of ACV and gradually increase. If you are having a migraine or feel one about to begin, you can take 2 or 3 tablespoons.
Peppermint has anti-inflammatory properties that help calm the nerves. It also has a soothing effect and can help relieve spasms. In 2008, a study revealed this herb brings about a feeling associated with headache relief.
- Drink peppermint tea sweetened with honey.
- Massage peppermint oil on your temples or use a combination of peppermint and lavender. Leave on for at least 20 to 30 minutes. Do this a few times daily.
Having antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties, chamomile can be very soothing. Drinking chamomile tea on a regular basis can help reduce the frequency of migraines. If you are drinking this for migraines, you will want to get the German chamomile called Matricaria Recutita. Make sure the label indicates it is German chamomile.
- Steep up to three teaspoons of dried chamomile flowers in a cup of hot water for a few minutes. You may want to add lemon juice and honey. Strain and drink up to four times a day for migraine relief.
- You can also steep equal amounts of chamomile, meadowsweet, and horehound in a cup of hot water for five minutes or more. Strain and drink. Repeat as necessary.
This is a very popular home remedy for migraines and tension as well. Ice packs have a numbing quality that helps relieve pain.
- Put some ice cubes in a clean cloth or towel and place it on your temples, forehead, or the back of your neck for no longer than 15 minutes. Allow 30 minutes in between applications so as not to get frostbite.
- You can alternate cold compresses and hot compresses for around 15 minutes. You may get even better results with the addition of lavender or peppermint oil.
Cayenne stimulates circulation and improves blood flow. It also contains capsaicin, a natural painkiller.
- Mix ½ to 1 teaspoon of cayenne in a 1 cup of warm water.
- Add lemon juice and honey if desired to improve the taste.
- Drink as needed.
According to a study published in 2013, ginger may be effective in caring for migraines. It blocks chemicals (called prostaglandins) that promote muscle contractions and impact hormones that regulate inflammation in blood vessels in the brain. This is the same thing that non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs do, except ginger is natural and comes with no side effects.
- Chew on a piece of ginger root to help with migraines, relieve nausea, and increase digestion.
- Drink ginger tea a few times a day until you see migraine relief. Be sure to have some as soon as you notice symptoms appearing.
Professional Help for Migraines That Is Natural
One area of professional help for migraines that is seeing great success is that of upper cervical chiropractic care. We focus on helping to realign the upper bones of the neck. If the C1 or C2 vertebrae are out of alignment, they can be the underlying cause of migraines. They not only impact the proper function of the brainstem, but they can also hinder the proper amount of blood from getting to and leaving the brain, leading to migraines.
We do not have to pop the neck to get positive results. Rather, the method is gentle and specific for each individual patient. Once a misalignment is corrected, blood flow can resume and communication can be restored between the body and brain. This is often all that is needed to see an improvement in or the end to migraine pain.