Originally published May 6 2012
Natural remedies for migraine headaches
by Willow Tohi
(NaturalNews) More than thirty million people in the U.S. suffer from migraine headaches. That means that there is a migraine sufferer in twenty five percent of households, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders. Traditionally, sufferers use prescription drugs - 2.5 times more than the amount non-sufferers use - to help them get through it. However, even with the prescriptions, most experience an inability to function normally while having a migraine. The American Academy of Neurology says migraines range in severity and often come with a variety of symptoms from pulsating and throbbing pain, to light and sound sensitivity, to nausea and vomiting. There are a variety of triggers, including:
- Fluorescent lights
- Smoking or alcohol abuse
- High blood pressure or hypoglycemia
- Vitamin B or D deficiency or mineral imbalances
- Reaction to food additives such as MSG, sugar, colorings, or preservatives
- Oral contraceptives or prescription medication
- Food allergies or intolerances
Rather than treating migraine pain with drugs that have potentially serious side effects, consider that these headaches are likely a symptom that the body is out of balance.
Natural treatmentsThere are lots of ways to treat a migraine headache with natural remedies that have a better success rate and far fewer health risks than prescriptions, including herbs, supplements, acupuncture, acupressure, reflexology, and aromatherapy.
Herbs- Feverfew is effective at preventing migraines, but not stopping them once they've begun. The plant's active ingredient, parthenolide, inhibits the chemicals in the brain that cause the blood vessels to dilate. Another preventative with a lot of recent success in blind trials is butterbur extract. Used medicinally since the middle ages, butterbur extract can be taken daily as a preventative to reduce the number and severity of attacks. It is available commercially in capsules, powder, tincture, or other forms and is thought to have both antispasmodic effects and anti-inflammatory properties. It should be taken for 2 to 3 months until the migraine sufferer experiences a period "free of migraines."
Self help techniques - There are several things a migraine sufferer can do after the onset of a migraine to help ease the pain. Hydrotherapy is easy, and it works. Contrast showers help with many ailments. Stand in water as hot as you can stand for two minutes (this increases blood flow to the skin), then as cold as you can stand for two minutes (this sends blood to the core of the body). Alternate back and forth for 20 minutes to increase blood flow and circulation, bringing nutrients to organs and carrying away toxins. Another way to use water to help with a headache is to put your feet in very cold water and a hot rag on the back of your neck. This helps bring the blood down out of your head, by sending it to your feet.
Working acupressure points such as pinching the soft tissue between your thumb and forefinger can help alleviate pain as well. Another technique is to put your thumb in your mouth on the same side as the migraine pain, reaching up to find the cheekbone. Press that bone up and out. Repeat on the other side. Then place both thumbs on the upper palate (inside the mouth) and press the sides out. Several repetitions may be necessary. Relax and breath deep. Slowly inhale and exhale all the way out.
Last but probably most important, make the necessary diet corrections. There is no substitute for water. When you are thirsty, it is not for coffee or soda, but water and only water. When you drink anything else, you need more water to flush that out. Drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day. Eating more vegetables and juicing are the best ways to correct nutritional deficiencies and correct your body's pH. Supplements help.
Aromatherapy - Peppermint and lavender are used most often, but rosemary, eucalyptus, sandalwood, and basil often work well also.
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