ALTERNATIVE

Options to replace—or improve—other treatments.

If migraine medication leaves you with side effects—or worrying about long-term use—you may be looking for a preventative strategy that will reduce your need for such potent drugs. There are many alternative treatments, natural and otherwise, that you might try.

Keep in mind that there is no actual cure for migraines, nor do researchers have a complete picture of exactly what causes them. There are complex neurochemical and vascular components, and sometimes even stress or hormones can play a part. If you find a natural or home remedy that you feel helps you control your condition, discuss it with your Migraine Relief Center physician so that we can make sure nothing you’re using conflicts with your existing treatment. We also need to maintain an overall picture of your entire treatment plan.

Tried and true

Regular exercise, taking vitamin B2 and getting Omega-3 fatty acids all help manage stress and promote healthy circulation. That can mean fewer migraines. Drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated never hurts, and caffeine can relieve headaches by constricting blood vessels in the brain.

Herbs and home remedies

Because few scientific studies have been done on these remedies, and because manufacturing is not regulated, there are no real guidelines for dosage. You should always check with your doctor or physician before trying new treatments for your migraines. That said, here are some common home remedies, and their intended purpose:

  • Essential & aromatic oils
    • If your migraines are triggered by scent, be cautious. Almost everyone can tolerate coconut, lemongrass and jasmine with no ill effects.
    • If you tend to have migraines when depressed, try citrus scents, such as orange blossom, mandarin and grapefruit.
    • If poor sleep triggers migraines, try chamomile, juniper or marjoram.
  • Fish oil – reduces inflammation.
  • Feverfew – said to prevent migraines; be aware of possible side effects such as nausea and slow blood clotting.
  • Butterbur – anti-inflammatory; only use products labeled “PA-free” to avoid harmful components.
  • Ginger – soothes nausea.
  • Magnesium – helps menstrual migraines.
  • CoEnzymeQ10 – relieves pain.
  • Belladonna – May be helpful if your migraines are triggered by sinus problems.
  • Iris versicolor (Northern Blue Flag) – Can help with associated migraine symptoms, such as vertigo and nausea. Follow with prescribed pain relievers.

Preventative options

  • Swedish massage – Targets superficial layer of muscles using long, flowing strokes.
  • Deep tissue massage – Designed to reach underlying layers, including fascia, the connective tissue joining muscles to bone and other muscles. Requires a clear knowledge of anatomy.
  • Sports massage – Like deep tissue, but targeting specific areas. May include heat and stretching.
  • Pre-Natal massage – Safe for mother and baby, relaxing and a great stress reliever.
  • Geriatric massage – Lighter strokes for soothing aches and promoting circulation.
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