How To Reduce The Symptoms Of Migraine Naturally

Migraines affect every 1 in 10 individuals. The prevalence was found to be higher in females and college and school-going students (1). Yes, migraine is indeed a common condition, and its symptoms are nothing short of a nightmare for those suffering from it.

Are you among those who get a headache from triggers like stress, skipping meals, or consuming alcohol? Do the symptoms become worse following strenuous activity, and are they accompanied by feelings of nausea and vomiting? Then, there is a high probability that you are experiencing a migraine. To know more about migraine as well as its treatment options, read on.

Table Of Contents

  • What Is A Migraine?
  • Types Of Migraines
  • Signs And Symptoms
  • What Causes A Migraine?
  • Migraine Vs. Headache
  • Diagnosis
  • Medical Treatments
  • Home Remedies To Reduce Migraine Symptoms
  • Diet Tips For Migraines
  • Prevention Tips

What Is A Migraine?

Migraines are recurring severe headaches that may be accompanied or preceded by sensory warning signs. The headache caused by a migraine can last for hours or even days. It is usually a result of sensory disturbances, and it often affects one part of the head.

Those in the age group of 15 to 55 years are more likely to develop migraines.

Migraines are of two types. This classification is based on whether an individual experiences any disturbances of the senses (auras) or not.

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Types Of Migraines

1. Migraine With Aura

In many individuals who suffer from migraines, auras or disturbances of the senses act as a warning sign of an impending headache.

The common effects of an aura are:

  • Confusion and difficulty in speaking
  • Perception of strange sparkling lights or zigzagging lines in the visual field around you
  • Blank patches or blind spots in the vision
  • A feeling of pins and needles in any arm or leg
  • Stiffness in the shoulders, legs, or neck
  • Sensing unpleasant smells

Here are some unusual symptoms associated with migraines that should not be ignored:

  • A severe headache that is unusual
  • Disturbances in vision, also known as an ocular or an ophthalmic migraine
  • Loss of sensations
  • Speech difficulty

2. Migraine Without Aura

Migraines that occur without any sensory disturbances or auras are accountable for 70-90% of the cases.

Depending on the trigger, migraines can be classified into many other types like:

  • Chronic Migraine – This type triggers a migraine headache for more than 15 days of the month.
  • Menstrual Migraine – The migraine attacks occur in a pattern, which is connected to the menstrual cycle.
  • Hemiplegic Migraine – This type causes temporary weakness in any one side of the body.
  • Abdominal Migraine – This migraine occurs due to the irregular functioning of the gut and abdomen. It is common in children below 14 years of age.
  • Migraine With Brainstem Aura – This is a rare type that causes neurological symptoms like affected speech.

Vestibular migraine and basilar migraine are other rarer types of migraine.

As you can see, not all migraines are the same. However, a few typical symptoms associated with migraines are discussed below.

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Signs And Symptoms

  • Moderate to severe headache that can occur on one side of your head
  • A severe throbbing pain
  • An increase in pain during any physical activity or strain
  • Inability to perform day to day chores
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • An increased sensitivity to sound and light that may act as triggers

A few other symptoms that may be associated with migraine include changes in temperature, sweating, diarrhea, and stomach ache.

While the exact cause of a migraine is not yet known, it is suspected to be caused by abnormal activity in the brain. A family history of the condition can make an individual highly sensitive to triggers. The common factors believed to trigger migraines are listed below.

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What Causes A Migraine?

  • Hormonal changes
  • Pregnancy
  • Emotional triggers like stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Physical causes like tiredness, lack of sleep, tension in the muscles, poor posture, and overexertion
  • Jet lag
  • Low blood sugar
  • Alcohol and caffeine
  • Irregular meals
  • Dehydration
  • Medications like sleeping pills, contraceptive pills, and hormone replacement therapy medications
  • Environmental triggers like flickering bright screens, strong scents, second-hand smoke, and loud noises

All these factors can increase your risk of developing a migraine.

People often confuse a migraine with a random headache. Hence, it is necessary to know the difference between the two.

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Migraine Vs. Headache

Headache

  • It may not occur in a recognizable pattern.
  • The pain associated with a non-migraine headache is usually chronic and steady.
  • It feels like a pressure or tightness in the head.
  • The symptoms do not change with physical activity.

Migraine

  • Most of the times, it occurs in a certain pattern.
  • It occurs far less frequently compared to other tension headaches.
  • It feels like a throbbing pain on the side of the head.
  • The symptoms tend to worsen with physical activity.

If you have developed a headache, and your symptoms are similar to that of a migraine, it is better to consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis.

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Diagnosis

Your doctor is likely to diagnose a migraine based on your medical history, symptoms, and a physical as well as a neurological exam.

However, if your symptoms are unusual or complex, your doctor may suggest the following tests to rule out other complications:

  • Blood test to test for problems with the blood vessels or to look for infections
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to look for tumors, strokes, or internal bleeding in the brain
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan to diagnose tumors or infections
  • Spinal tap or lumbar puncture if an infection, bleeding in the brain, or some other underlying medical condition is suspected

As of now, there is no cure for migraines. Medical treatments are usually aimed at managing the symptoms to prevent a full-blown migraine attack.

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Medical Treatments

The medical treatments for migraine can include:

  • Over-the-counter painkillers like Naproxen and Ibuprofen
  • Metoclopramide to manage symptoms of nausea and vomiting
  • Administration of Botulinum toxin
  • Surgical decompression

The last two surgical options are sought only when the first line treatments aimed at relieving the symptoms of migraine do not work.

The following are some natural alternatives that can assist in reducing the severity of symptoms of a migraine attack.

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Home Remedies To Reduce Migraine Symptoms

  1. Essential Oil
  2. Cold (Or Hot) Compress
  3. Massage
  4. Vitamins
  5. Ginger
  6. Green Tea
  7. Omega-3
  8. Acupressure

Natural Remedies To Reduce Migraine Symptoms

1. Essential Oils

a. Lavender Oil

Lavender Oil

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You Will Need
  • 3 drops of lavender oil
  • A diffuser
  • Water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add three drops of lavender oil to a diffuser filled with water.
  2. Switch the diffuser on and inhale the diffused aroma.
  3. You can also mix a drop of lavender oil with any carrier oil and apply it to your temples.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this 1 to 2 times daily.

Why This Works

Lavender oil possesses anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that can help in relieving a migraine headache (2). It can also help reduce stress and anxiety, two of the common triggers of migraine attacks.

b. Chamomile Oil

Chamomile Oil

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You Will Need
  • 3 drops of chamomile oil
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil or any other carrier oil
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix three drops of chamomile oil in a teaspoon of coconut oil.
  2. Mix well and apply it to your temples.
  3. Alternatively, you can also inhale the aroma of the chamomile oil using a diffuser.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this 2 to 3 times daily until you notice an improvement in your headache.

Why This Works

The potential anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties of chamomile oil can be used to alleviate the symptoms of a migraine (3).

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2. Cold (Or Hot) Compress

Cold (Or Hot) Compress

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You Will Need

An ice pack or compress

What You Have To Do
  1. Place an ice pack or compress on the side of your head that is aching.
  2. Hold it there for 15-20 minutes.
  3. You can also place the cold compress on the neck for better effectiveness.
  4. Alternatively, you can apply a hot compress or even alternate between heat and cold therapies.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this 1 to 2 times daily.

Why This Works

Cold and hot compresses have been used to treat various kinds of aches for years now. The anti-inflammatory, numbing, and pain-relieving nature of cold and hot compresses can work wonders for migraine headaches (4).

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3. Massage

Massage

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Massage therapy has been found to be effective for those suffering from migraines. However, it is important that you get the massage done by a professional. Neck, spinal, and upper thoracic massage can work wonders in reducing the pain associated with migraines (5).

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4. Vitamins

Vitamins

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Depending on the type of migraine you are suffering from, consuming certain vitamins can also help in reducing the symptoms.

While vitamin B complex can help in alleviating the symptoms of migraine with aura, vitamins E and C can be effective in the treating menstrual migraine that is associated with increased prostaglandin levels (6).

Increase the intake of foods rich in these vitamins to deal with the condition. Vitamin B complex-rich foods are fish, eggs, poultry, milk, and cheese. Vitamin E-rich foods include nuts, sunflower seeds, and vegetable oils, and vitamin C-rich foods mainly include citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables. Consult a doctor if you are planning to take additional supplements for these vitamins.

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5. Ginger

Ginger

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You Will Need
  • 1-2 inches of sliced ginger
  • 1 cup of hot water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add an inch or two of ginger to a cup of hot water.
  2. Steep for 5 to 10 minutes and strain.
  3. Drink the warm ginger tea.
  4. Alternatively, you can also chew on some ginger if you can handle its strong flavor.
How Often You Should Do This

You can drink ginger tea 2 to 3 times daily.

Why This Works

Ginger possesses impressive anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Its oral intake can help exert an abortive effect on migraine headaches without the side effects that are commonly associated with other medicinal drugs (7).

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6. Green Tea

Green Tea

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You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of green tea
  • 1 cup of hot water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a teaspoon of green tea to a cup of hot water.
  2. Steep for 5 to 7 minutes and strain.
  3. Drink the warm tea.
How Often You Should Do This

You can drink green tea twice daily.

Why This Works

Green tea has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties (8). These properties can help in alleviating the symptoms of migraines.

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7. Omega-3

 Omega-3

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You Will Need

250-500 mg omega-3

What You Have To Do
  1. Consume 250-500 mg omega-3-rich foods daily.
  2. They include fatty fish, soya, chia seeds, flaxseed, and walnuts.
  3. You can also take additional supplements for this nutrient after consulting your doctor.
How Often You Should Do This

Include small amounts of omega-3 rich foods in your daily diet.

Why This Works

Inflammation is one of the major causes of migraine. The anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 help in this regard. Hence, intake of omega-3 is a significant alternative therapy when it comes to treating migraine headaches (9).

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8. Acupressure

Acupressure

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Acupressure is an alternative medicine technique, and its principle is similar to that of acupuncture. It aims at triggering certain pressure points in the body to help reduce pain and stress. Acupressure is usually carried out by those certified for it. It can also work well in relieving a few symptoms associated with migraines, like nausea (10), (11).

These remedies will surely lessen the severity of the symptoms. You can also make a few changes to your diet that will assist in your recovery from a migraine.

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Diet Tips For Migraines

Consume fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean meat. Omega-3 rich foods like salmon, flaxseed, olive oil, and walnuts can also help reduce inflammation within the body.

Processed foods have been strongly linked to a migraine – hence, it is better to avoid them.

Dehydration is another common trigger of migraines. So, it is also important to keep yourself well hydrated.

A few healthy foods have also been associated with migraines. Hence, limit your consumption of these foods:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Cultured dairy products

Caffeine has pain-relieving properties. If consumed in moderation, it can help those experiencing a mild migraine headache. However, if one goes overboard with their caffeine consumption, there is an increased risk of caffeine withdrawal symptoms, which include anxiety and headache. So, either avoid or limit your caffeine intake.

Listed below are some prevention tips that can help in managing the symptoms of migraines.

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Prevention Tips

  • Exercise regularly or practice yoga to manage your stress.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Get enough rest and don’t overexert yourself.
  • Sleep well.
  • Keep your weight and stress levels under control.

Migraines are far worse than tension headaches, and only those suffering from them know how painful they can be. The remedies and tips discussed in this article can help in managing your symptoms and prevent a full-blown migraine attack.

What do you do to deal with a migraine? Do you have any go-to home remedies? Share them with us in the comments section below.

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Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

When to see a doctor for a migraine?

Seek medical attention right away if you experience:
• Weakness or dizziness
• Confusion
• Trouble with speech
• Vision problems
• Headaches that keep waking you up in the middle of the night
• Three or more headaches every week
• Headaches that get worse every passing day
• Requirement to take painkillers almost every day

How long can a migraine last?

Migraine headaches are usually known to last anywhere between 4-72 hours, and their occurrence may vary from several times a week to just once every year.

References

  1. “A migraine affects 1 in 10 people worldwide featuring recent rise: A systematic review and meta-analysis of community-based studies involving 6 million participants” Journal of the Neurological Sciences, US National Library of Medicine
  2. “Lavender essential oil in the treatment of a migraine headache: a placebo-controlled clinical trial” European Neurology, US National Library of Medicine
  3. “Potential effect and mechanism of action of topical chamomile (Matricaria chammomila L.) oil on migraine headache: A medical hypothesis” Medical Hypotheses, US National Library of Medicine
  4. “Cold Therapy in Migraine Patients: Open-label, Non-controlled, Pilot Study” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, US National Library of Medicine
  5. “Reduction of Current Migraine Headache Pain Following Neck Massage and Spinal Manipulation” International Journal Of Therapeutic Massage and Spinal Manipulation, US National Library of Medicine
  6. “Vitamin Supplementation as Possible Prophylactic Treatment against a Migraine with an Aura and Menstrual Migraine” BioMed Research International, US National Library of Medicine
  7. “Ginger (Zingiber officinale) in migraine headache” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, US National Library of Medicine
  8. “Evaluation of the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of green tea (Camellia sinensis) in mice” Acta Cirúrgica Brasileira, US National Library of Medicine
  9. “Molecular mechanisms of omega-3 fatty acids in the migraine headache” Iranian Journal of Neurology, US National Library of Medicine
  10. “Acupressure in the control of migraine-associated nausea” Neurological Sciences, US National Library of Medicine
  11. “Effect of acupressure and trigger points in treating headache: a randomized controlled trial” American Journal of Chinese Medicine, US National Library of Medicine

The post How To Reduce The Symptoms Of Migraine Naturally appeared first on STYLECRAZE.

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