Home Remedies For Migraine
Devender Jadoun

November 11, 2019

What are migraines?

Are you constantly being subjected to migraine headaches? Do migraine problems affect your daily life? Migraines can be acute, frequent, or throbbing and can cause pain in the eyes, face, and neck followed by nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and dizziness.  A lot of people suffering from migraines depend upon medication and supplements to find relief from their migraine condition.

However, it may be surprising to know a better diet and certain home remedies for migraine headaches can help prevent the frequency and duration of migraine attacks. Migraine is one of the most frequent conditions in the world, according to the Migraine Research Foundation. Migraines can run in households with children and adults alike.

Migraine symptoms

In the United States, the Migraine Research Foundation estimate that nearly 12 percent of individuals suffer from migraine headaches and majority of them are women.

Migraine headaches aren't merely a severe headache. Migraines are part of a neurological illness and often have other symptoms, such as sensitivity to noise, light, or odor, vomiting, nausea, visual changes, tingling or numbness in the feet or hands Migraines can be debilitating and a chronic condition that may affect daily life for some people.There are lots of different medications used to treat and prevent migraines. But some also prefer to use natural remedies as options or to supplement medical treatment.

Home remedies for migraine headaches relief

It is a known fact that good and healthy nutrition may keep you away from any disease ailment. Similarly, certain home remedies when taken in a good amount can help prevent migraine attacks. Nowadays, most of the doctors and physicians also recommend eating a regular amount of right fruits, vegetables, grains and minerals accompanied by a 30 minutes exercise every day. Well, this is a great solution to fight all the ailments of your body. But everyone misses having the right nutrition due to the busy and hectic schedule. Some of the home remedies that can help prevent migraine attacks are listed below:


1) Avoid foods that can trigger migraine headaches

People suffering from migraines may notice certain foods that can trigger a migraine attack. Being aware of the food, or changing your diet or eating patterns may help avoid those triggers to migraines. Some common foods that must be avoided by a migraine sufferer include processed foods, red wine, aged cheese, alcohol, chocolate, caffeinated beverages. Additionally, some potential migraine triggers may also involve bright lights, staying at a high altitude, climatic changes, extreme cold or hot and strong odors that must be avoided.    

 

2) Essential oils

Essential oil like lavender oil is known to provide relief from migraine by producing analgesic effects.  It also prevents the spreading of headaches from primary location thereby reducing the severity of lavender oil. Inhalation of lavender oil has long been used as an anxiolytic drug, a mood stabilizer, a sedative, spasmolytic, antihypertensive, antimicrobial, analgesic agent as well as a wound-healing accelerator.


3) Ginger 

Research studies have shown ginger to be an effective treatment in curbing migraine. The main symptoms of migraine which include nausea and vomiting are taken care of by just consuming half a teaspoon of ginger powder.  Ginger not only aids in digestion but also modulates the immune system and has anti-inflammatory properties.


4. Probiotics in Migraine

Consuming probiotics have shown beneficial effects in reducing the frequency and severity of migraine headache attacks. Probiotics can help modulate the gut-brain axis and thereby decrease the intestinal permeability.  It can have positive effects on strengthening the gut and brain by improving gut microbiota and reducing inflammation.

See: Functional Medicine for Migraine


5. Polyunsaturated fatty acids

The long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) constitute to be the main fatty acids in the brain and nerve system.    A large number of studies have demonstrated the effects of nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids to have beneficial effects in providing relief from migraine headaches. Flax seeds, fish oil are known to be rich in omega-3 fatty acids that are able to inhibit the production of inflammatory proteins in migraine conditions and bring symptomatic relief. 


6. Manage stress

Stress and other emotions like sleep issues are a common trigger for migraine, in fact, migraine pain can worsen the stress. So it’s important to combat your stress levels and keep yourself calm by performing activities that interest you, doing exercise, or meditation may also help to prevent future migraines.


7. Herbal supplements

Butterbur and feverfew are used as herbal supplements in reducing migraine pain and frequency.

Butterbur extract- The pathophysiology behind migraine involves an inflammatory cascade of leukotrienes and other inflammatory mediators. Butterbur extract seems to reduce the number of migraine headaches by exerting anti-inflammatory properties including anti leukotriene activity.  In vitro studies have also by its effect on calcium channels, which results in vascular smooth muscle relaxation.

Feverfew- feverfew is widely used in treating various ailments like migraine headaches, fevers,  stomach aches, rheumatoid arthritis, toothaches, and infertility. It acts as an analgesic in treating migraine whereby it inhibits prostaglandin synthesis, and also decrease vascular smooth muscle spasm, and blockage of platelet granule secretion.

See: Ayurveda for Migraine

8. Stay hydrated

Drinking at least 2-3 liters of water a day can flush out those harmful toxins from the body which is a well-known migraine and headache trigger. Also, it takes minor dehydration to bring on a headache. Drinking enough water throughout the day, along with maintaining a healthy diet can keep you hydrated and away from migraine triggers.


9. Cool It Down

Applying an ice pack on your forehead, scalp, or neck can reduce the blood flow and decrease the accumulation of inflammatory mediators to the site. One can apply a frozen gel pack or even applying a cloth rinsed in cold water can help.


10. Yoga for migraine poses

Yoga helps in calming the mind and relaxing the blood vessels. The Brahmri Pranayyam or the Honey Bee Pose is among the best asanas to treat a headache. It's fundamentally a breathing technique where the humming noise vibrations tend to soothe the nerves around the brain and forehead. It's a really easy pose where you put your index fingers in both your ears. Place your palms on the cartilage. Breathe in, breathe out, gently press on the cartilage and produce a humming sound like a bee. You can try to produce a high-pitched noise and repeat this routine about 4 times.

See: Yoga for Migraine

11. Sleep Well

Maintaining a regular sleep and wake cycle can help stave off migraines. Excessive or very little sleep can trigger migraine headaches, sleeping for at least 7 to 8 hours at night may increase the threshold for pain. 

Studies in home remedies for migraine pain relief

1. One study looked at use of lavender “The lavender essential oil in the treatment of migraine headache” which was a placebo-controlled clinical trial.[1].

The study was carried out in forty-seven patients with a definite diagnosis of migraine headaches. They were divided into cases and controls. The case group was asked to inhale lavender essential oil for 15 min, whereas the control group was inhaling liquid paraffin for the same time period. The treatment continued for two hours where the patients were asked to record their headache severity and associated symptoms in 30-min intervals. 

The results showed a significant difference between the controls and cases where the patients in the case group (inhaling lavender oil) reported decreased headache severity and headache attacks. Thus, the study suggests that inhalation of lavender essential oil may be an effective and safe treatment modality in the acute management of migraine headaches.


2. Another study entitled “Petasites hybridus root (butterbur) is an effective preventive treatment for migraine” was done over 16 weeks.[3].

245 patients with migraine were included in the study who were randomized to receive Petasites extract 75 mg bid (n=77), Petasites extract 50 mg (n= 79) bid, or placebo (n=77) treatment. The study aimed to determine the comparative efficacy of two different doses of Petasites extracts in treating migraines. The treatment was administered as a single capsule and given twice-a-day for a total of 16 weeks.

The main outcome measure was the decrease in migraine attack frequency per month calculated as a percentage change from baseline over a 4-month treatment period. The study concluded that Petasites extract 75 mg is well tolerated as a preventive therapy for migraine.


Summary

There are various home remedies that have been found to produce a significant positive effect in controlling migraine headache attacks and inhibiting migraine triggers.in addition to its analgesic effects, even though various home remedies may prove to be useful for the reduction of symptoms that are usually associated with migraine headaches.  However, certain home remedies may also increase the risk of headache recurrence. In such cases, one should take necessary precautions from their doctor and understand both the efficacy and side effects of the treatment.

References

1. Sasannejad, Payam & Saeedi, Morteza & Shoeibi, Ali & Gorji, Ali & Abbasi, Maryam & Foroughipour, Mohsen. (2012). Lavender Essential Oil in the Treatment of Migraine Headache: A Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. European neurology. 67. 288-91. 10.1159/000335249. 

2. Maghbooli, Mehdi & Farhad, Golipour & Alireza, Moghimi & Mehran, Yousefi. (2014). Comparison Between the Efficacy of Ginger and Sumatriptan in the Ablative Treatment of the Common Migraine. Phytotherapy research : PTR. 28. 10.1002/ptr.4996. 

3. Lipton, Richard & Göbel, Hartmut & Einhäupl, K & Wilks, Kerri & Mauskop, Alexander. (2004). Petasites hybridus root (butterbur) is an effective preventive treatment for migraine. Neurology. 63. 2240-4. 10.1212/01.WNL.0000147290.68260.11. 

4. Pareek, Anil & Suthar, Manish & Rathore, Garvendra & Bansal, Vijay. (2011). Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium L.): A systematic review. Pharmacognosy reviews. 5. 103-10. 10.4103/0973-7847.79105. 

5. Dai, Yu-Jie & Wang, Hai-Yan & Wang, Xi-Jian & Kaye, Alan & Sun, Yong-Hai. (2017). Potential Beneficial Effects of Probiotics on Human Migraine Headache: A Literature Review. Pain physician. 20. E251-E255. 

6. Soveyd, Neda & Abdolahi, Mina & Bitarafan, Sama & Tafakhori, Abbas & Sarraf, Payam & Togha, Mansoureh & Okhovat, Ali Asghar & Hatami, Mahsa & Sedighiyan, Mohsen & Djalali, Mahmoud & Honarvar, Niyaz. (2017). Molecular mechanisms of omega-3 fatty acids in the migraine headache. Iranian journal of neurology. 16. 210-217.

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