11 Quick and effective home remedies for migraine headache

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A migraine headache is so much more than just a bad headache. It is a serious neurological disorder that leads to a throbbing pain that might severely affect your life. While symptoms and triggers of migraine headaches are subjective to people some common triggers include movements, bright light, and loud sounds. When it comes to symptoms of migraine, apart from headache, a migraine episode might also be accompanied by migraine symptoms like fatigue, nausea, visual disruptions, numbness, tingling, and irritability. Since migraine is a recurring type of headache, typically people dealing with migraine on a daily basis develop tips and tricks to calm their symptoms naturally. Ahead you will find a list of 11 home remedies for migraine headaches along with everything you must know about migraine. 

What is migraine?

Migraine is a type of severe recurring headache often accompanied by other symptoms. People who experience migraine headaches complain of moderate to severe pain better described as throbbing or pulsing. Typically, the pain is often limited to one side of the head along with other symptoms like nausea or weakness. It is often referred to as a neurological disease that is likely to worsen with extreme physical activity, bright lights, loud sounds, or even strong smells. A migraine headache might last a few hours to several days.

What is migraine?

Causes of migraine

Researchers claim that migraine is usually a genetic problem. However, apart from genetic causes, there are certain factors that trigger migraine. While causes of migraine might vary from person to person, a few common factors that might be a cause of migraine are, 

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Hormonal changes or imbalances
  • Bright or flashy lights
  • Loud noises
  • Strong smells
  • Certain medications
  • Excessive or insufficient sleep
  • Sudden environmental changes
  • Physical or mental overexertion 
  • Tobacco
  • Withdrawal (caffeine or alcohol)
  • Skipped meals

 

Apart from these common causes of migraine, there are certain food items that work to trigger or even worsen a migraine headache. These food items are subjective to people, however, some common migraine-trigger foods that you must avoid are: 

  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Aged cheeses
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Certains fruits or nuts
  • Fermented or pickled goods
  • Yeast
  • Processed meats

symptoms of migraine

Symptoms of migraine

When it comes to migraine symptoms, it is important to understand that there are four phases of a migraine episode. The tricky part is, it is not necessary that you experience all the phases every time you have a migraine headache. In fact, not everyone experiences all the phases. Nevertheless, these are the four phases of migraine to understand the symptoms of migraine. 

  • Prodrome stage: This stage begins perhaps a day or two before the migraine headache. It is characterized by subtle symptoms like constipation, unexplained changes in mood, certain food cravings, neck stiffness, frequent urination, or frequent or uncontrollable yawning. These symptoms can serve as a warning sign for a migraine headache. 
  • Aura: Again, not everyone experiences, every phase. However, for some, the prodrome stage is followed by the aura stage which is characterized by flashy or bright lights. Some people describe it as zig-zag lines. Some people also experience muscle weakness and others feel a need to be grabbed. This stage can occur before as well during a migraine. 
  • Attack: Typically, migraine attacks begin gradually and slowly become more severe. This phase is characterized by throbbing or pulsing pain on one side of the head. Surprisingly, a migraine attack can occur without a headache. Other symptoms of a migraine attack include heightened sensitivity to noise, and light, as well as odors along with nausea, vomiting, and pain on movement. Typically, migraine attacks occur in the morning however, for others they occur at predictable times, like before menstruation or with changed sleeping schedules on weekends. 
  • Postdrome: This stage occurs post a migraine attack. It is characterized by an extreme feeling of exhaustion, weakness, and confusion. The postdrome stage typically lasts a day.

Migraine treatment

When it comes to treatment, experts claim there are no permanent treatments for the disorder. However, treatment of migraine incorporates a wide set of actions all focused on relieving symptoms or preventing migraine attacks. If your pains are unbearable, it is wise to consult your healthcare professional for medications for migraine. The medicines to relieve symptoms of migraine include, triptan drugs, ergotamine drugs, and certain pain relievers. However, not everyone likes to depend on medications and pain relievers. If you are one of those who do not depend on medications or have very mild symptoms of migraine, you must go for natural ways to deal with migraine headaches. Read on for a list of 15 home remedies to manage migraine headaches naturally.

11 Effective home remedies to help you manage migraine headaches effectively

Note: Severe migraine attacks may require immediate treatment. Consult your healthcare provider for prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medication. 

1. Immediate pain relief from an ice pack

When it comes to quick home remedies for migraine headaches a simple ice pack goes a long way. Whether it’s your forehead, scalp, or even your neck an ice pack can deliver immediate pain relief. While the research regarding this isn’t pretty solid but experts claim it is perhaps due to a reduction in the flow of blood. If you do not have access to an ice pack you can use a frozen gel pack, or even a napkin or washcloth rinsed in cold water.

2. Find a quiet and dim room

Since bright lights and loud noises are one of the major triggers of migraine headaches, simply an escape from the triggers can make symptoms manageable. The goal is to find a spot far from the action. This can serve as one of the easiest preventions or home remedies for migraine headache relief.

A quiet dim room

3. Apply or inhale lavender oil

Applying or even inhaling lavender essential oil works wonders when it comes to dealing with migraine pain. You can directly use lavender oil or dilute it with carrier oil for application or inhalation purposes. It works best when applied in small amounts to your temples. Studies suggest that lavender therapy even works as a prophylactic therapy to prevent migraine attacks. 

Apply Lavender oil

4. Apply peppermint oil

When it comes to home remedies for migraine headache relief, peppermint oil is also very effective. Peppermint oil is a chemical called menthol that not only works to relieve pain but also works to prevent further migraine episodes. Studies show that peppermint oil has the power to relieve stress-related headaches as well. 

5. Ginger for nausea and pain

Ginger is another home remedy for relieving symptoms of migraine like nausea. Moreover, it also possesses pain-relieving elements. A 2020 study claims that ginger is beneficial to relieve the symptoms of migraine. 

Ginger

6. Yoga or breathing exercises

Another set of effective home remedies for migraine headache relief can be accessed with yoga, meditation, or breathing exercises. You might even consult an expert to help you naturally manage your pain with yoga. A study in 2015 revealed that yoga can not only be a quick fix it can be a long-term preventative measure or management tool to reduce the intensity, duration, and frequency of migraine attacks. The incorporation of yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises can even help in stress management and improve overall vascular health.

Yoga or breathing exercises

7. Incorporate magnesium into your diet

When it comes to migraine, there are a number of causes. However, one of the most common causes of migraine is magnesium deficiency. With a diet high in magnesium, you can not only treat migraine but prevent them for good. Studies have shown magnesium-rich diet even helps in the prevention of menstrual migraine or headaches related to hormonal imbalances. A magnesium-rich diet comprises green vegetables, whole grains, along with nuts. While natural magnesium might not immediately fix a migraine headache a magnesium supplement might. However, make sure you consult your healthcare provider before you incorporate any magnesium supplement into your diet. 

Incorporate a magnesium rich diet

While it is subjective for people, common food items rich in magnesium that might serve as migraine prevention tools are, 

  • almonds
  • sesame seeds
  • peanut butter
  • oatmeal
  • eggs
  • milk
  • sunflower seeds
  • Brazil nuts
  • cashews

8. Massage for migraine relief 

Another one of several tried and tested home remedies for migraine headache relief is massage. You can definitely try massaging your scalp or ask someone to massage the pain-inflicted area to immediately receive relief from migraine-related pain. Not only does massage relax your muscles, but it also serves to minimize migraine frequency. A head massage can ensure a healthy flow of serotonin in your brain. You can go for the oil of your choice, make sure you do not pick oils with a very strong odor to avoid any side effects. 

Massage for migraine relief

9. Incorporate stress management techniques of your choice 

Stress is one of the major triggers of migraine headaches. Perhaps that is why stress management techniques serve as effective home remedies for migraine headache relief. Here are some common stress management techniques that certainly work:

  • Mindfulness 
  • Bodyscan meditation
  • Music therapy or migraine relief music
  • Counseling or therapy
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Time management

10. Hydration

Another easy yet effective way to deal with migraine or any other headache is drinking water. Studies suggest dehydration is one of the most common migraine triggers. Not only a glass of water can fix your mild headache, but consistent hydration can also help you prevent migraine symptoms for good. However, people who have nausea along with migraines must drink water in small amounts to avoid vomiting. 

Hydration: 11 Quick and effective home remedies for migraine headache

11. Sleep

When it comes to home remedies for migraine headache relief, sleep has to be the most obvious and effective method of dealing with severe pain. Poor sleep quality is one of the major causes of migraine. That is why you must make sure you do everything you can to get a good night’s sleep. Avoid caffeine late in the day, avoid bright lights, and avoid screens and any other stimulating activity before you sleep. 

How to prevent and manage migraine symptoms? 

As they say, prevention is better than cure, with the right tools and techniques you can prevent any further migraine headaches or attacks. While triggers are subjective from person to person, here are certain easy yet effective ways to prevent migraine headaches that might work for all. 

Avoid food items that serve as triggers: Your daily diet plays a crucial role in preventing as well as triggering migraine attacks. With the incorporation of magnesium-rich food items and an overall balanced diet, you can definitely prevent migraine headaches. Also, here is a list of food items that serve as triggers for people dealing with migraine. 

  • Nitrate-rich food like hot dogs, bacon, deli meats, bacon, and sausage
  • Milk-based or highly processed chocolates
  • Cheese that contains tyramine, like blue, feta cheese, cheddar, and parmesan
  • Swiss alcohol, especially red wine
  • Food items that contain monosodium glutamate or MSG which is a common flavor enhancer
  • Freezing drinks or food like ice cream or iced beverages
  • Highly processed food
  • Pickled foods
  • Beans
  • Certain dried fruits
  • Certain dairy products, like buttermilk, sour cream, and yogurt
  • Caffeine, caffeine serves as both a cure and a trigger for different people. 

It is wise to read labels before you consume food or maintain a food journal to track what suits your body and what triggers pain to prevent any further episodes. 

Exercise and positive lifestyle changes

Exercise: While you shouldn’t exercise when you are having a migraine attack because movement might lead to worsening the condition, regular exercise can actually work to prevent migraine attacks. In fact, regular workouts can prevent any kind of headaches and serve as a pain management tool if administered correctly. Make sure the goal is not to strain your body but to create a healthy lifestyle. Daily workout releases endorphins, in your body that naturally fight pain. It even works to manage stress and improves the quality of sleep you sleep better.

Positive lifestyle changes: Along with that, any positive lifestyle changes like a balanced diet, and a healthy sleep schedule can contribute to the management of migraine symptoms. Also, systematic cutting of alcohol, smoking, and caffeine also plays a major role in the prevention of migraine. 



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