10 Home Remedies For Migraine Headaches

By Tiffany Tseng. May 7th 2016

Are migraine problems a regular occurrence? Here are 10 home remedies you can try to help relieve the pain and symptoms of migraine headaches. If problems persist, be sure to seek medical attention as these remedies are not meant to substitute medication or professional treatment.

1. Darkness

The first thing you may want to employ is to turn off all the lights in the room, draw the curtains, and possibly wear an eye mask to decrease light stimulation. For many people, migraine attacks are brought on by piercing, blinding light or continuously flashing lights. Darkness may provide immediate, albeit mild, relief from pain.

2. Silence

The second thing you may want to do is to turn off all auditory stimulation and sounds. Ear plugs can be very useful in this situation. Just like piercing light, loud noises is one of the most common triggers for migraine headaches.

3. Ice

Wrapping the affected skull with ice wraps (commonly sold in pharmacies) or homemade cold wraps will drastically decrease the throbbing and pain of a migraine. The same effects can also be achieved by wrapping some ice and placing it behind the head and neck while adding pressure to the throbbing site.

4. Over-the-counter Medication

Many types of OTC pain relievers have shown to be extremely effective for migraine relief. Common household pain relievers and NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help relieve mild migraines. Other combination drugs targeted at migraine symptom relief can also include concoctions of caffeine, anti-nausea medications, or steroid derivatives. However, be sure to follow all instructions for OTC medications, as an excess intake can cause other medical complications.

5. Sleep

Like the old saying, some people like to manage migraine episodes by "sleeping it off." While it is obviously impossible to do so during the attack itself, it would help to relax and try to fall asleep once the pain is somewhat managed. Most likely, the affected individual is already curled up in bed, in a dark room, with minimal sensory stimulations, which is a perfect environment to drift off to sleep. When you wake up, you will feel as good as new; just be sure not to oversleep.

Irregular sleep cycles, such as ones caused by jet lag, oversleeping, too little sleep, or frequent napping, are also major culprits of migraine attacks. While the average person needs 8 hours of sleep, some people may find they function the best on 6 hours or less; each individual may vary, especially with the onset of age. Hence, it may be a good idea to find out your optimal hours of sleep, figure out a sleep schedule, and stick to it.

6. Massages

If you have ever had a headache or migraine before, you would know that usually the first thing you do is massage the affected area of the skull for immediate relief. It would be helpful if someone other than the affected individual massages the throbbing location while the person tries to relax. Sometimes, deep massages along the neck and shoulders, in addition to a head massage, can further alleviate the discomfort of a migraine headache.

7. Relax

An accumulation of anxiety and stress is not only a contributing factor to many health concerns, but can also serve as a migraine trigger. Find ways to incorporate small, de-stressing methods throughout your life, such as exercising, stretching, laughing with some friends, or even watching a few minutes of your favorite video clip. During the migraine attack, it would also be wise to take deep breaths and try to relax.

8. Diet

It is known that harsh foods, such as processed and packaged foods, can serve as migraine initiators. Foods that are overly salty, contain artificial sweeteners, have too much caffeine or preservatives also have the same effect. Alcoholic drinks, such as beer and wine, can also serve as migraine triggers. While it may be difficult to go cold turkey on your favorite fast food joint, it will be better to consume these foods in moderation; after all, a horrible migraine may not be worth that supersized bag of chips.

9. Keep a Record

Did you just have a migraine attack yesterday? If so, be sure to record it as soon as possible, as well as what you were doing a few hours beforehand. By keeping a detailed record of each migraine episode, it can help with identifying stimulants, events, or habits that produces the attack. Then, you may be able to avoid future migraine episodes altogether by avoiding those triggers. If your attacks are severe with a high recurrence rate, the record will also help your healthcare provider determine the most effective way to help you manage your migraine headaches.

10. Lifestyle

To sum everything up, a healthy lifestyle and sleep schedule would be the best preventative method against migraine attacks. Not only will your immune system become stronger, your body will also be more prepared against future migraine episodes. Exercising is also important to keep a healthy lifestyle, and has been shown to decrease the frequency of migraines due to its relaxing aftereffect. Along with a healthy diet and regular sleeping schedule, you will be on your way to a migraine-free future.


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