Migraines – Soothing Alternatives to Medication

Migraines can be a debilitating part of any person’s life. If you find yourself reliant on medication that you’d rather be rid of, consider treating your migraines naturally. This may require some patience on your part since it can be a trial and error process. What eliminates migraines for one person may cause them for another. Don’t give up! The reward is worth the effort — a no-med solution to pain.

Migraines - Soothing Alternatives to MedicationWhat To Do

Herbs are a great way to soothe or reduce the frequency of migraines. A word of caution: check with your physician before using any of these to ensure that they won’t interact with any of your medications. Some herbal remedies include:

  • Aloe vera, rose petals, or mint – Crush any of these into a paste or juice, and apply to forehead, temples and neck.
  • Ginger root tea – Simmer a couple of medallions of ginger in two cups of water, and drink up! Ginger is a great anti-inflammatory which should calm the pain.
  • Feverfew – Taken in freeze-dried capsule form, this herb has been reported in many cases to reduce the frequency of migraines.
  • Willowbark – One cup of this tea per day, used instead of aspirin, can help migraine sufferers.

Essential Oils can be a great way to help calm the storm in your head. Mix just a couple of drops of the essential oil with a teaspoon of oil or vodka and apply to your forehead, temples and/or the back of your neck. Some tried and true essential oils include:

  • Peppermint
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Eucalyptus

Drink more water. Migraine headaches are your body’s way of telling you that it’s missing something. Dehydration is a common problem and often results in headaches. A good baseline is to figure half of your weight, and drink that much water in ounces per day.

What To Avoid

For long-term relief from migraines, you might benefit from a food-elimination diet. There are many foods that are commonly known as triggers, but this varies on a case-by-case basis. By keeping a detailed food journal, you may be able to discern what your triggers are, and know what to stay away from. Even noting such things as stress or sleeping habits may provide you with a window into the cause of your migraines.

Here are some common culprits that you may want to decrease or eliminate :

CaffeineHold the phone! No coffee?! Let’s not be too hasty. Caffeine in small amounts can be a great way to manage pain. Yet, in larger quantities, this widely proclaimed elixir can be a trigger for migraines. One to two cups of coffee is generally a safe amount. If you find your migraines persisting however, you may want to try eliminating it completely.

Alcohol – While the most popular culprit is red wine, there are other types of alcohol that can cause migraines. If you suspect this to be the cause, investigate by trial and error to see which kind of alcohol may affect you.

Tannins – A bitter plant compound that is most often found in coffee, tea, chocolate and red wine.

Tyramine – A naturally occurring compound in plants and animal. When fermented or left too long (possibly decayed to a degree), this compound can appear in larger amounts. Foods containing tyramine include pickled products, aged cheese, red wine, beer, avocado, overripe bananas, and pork.

Food Additives – This list includes:

  • Aspartame – An artificial sweetener found in Nutra-Sweet and Equal.
  • Nitrates / Nitrites – Used to preserve color, enhance flavor, and protect against dangerous bacterial growth, these are often found in hot dogs, bacon, ham, and cured meats.
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG) – A flavor enhancer that is often added to Chinese food, frozen meals, canned foods, and processed foods.

Now That You Have the Tools. . .

Hopefully this leaves you feeling empowered. Take your health into your own hands and see what works for you.  These suggestions may help to prevent migraines, or soothe your pain when you do get one. Build yourself a new, pain-free you.

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