Migraines – they can come along without warning (and in some cases, some other symptoms show up first), but either way, they can be painful and debilitating. While migraines can respond to over-the-counter or prescription drugs, there are other ways you can curb the ill effects of a migraine.
In fact, some home remedies have been shown to decrease the strength of a migraine, and you don’t need a prescription as you probably have most of the ingredients in your house already. In honor of National Migraine & Headache Awareness Month, here are seven drug-free remedies you can try yourself…
1. Lavender Oil
EveryDayHealth.com notes that lavender can be useful in the fight against migraine headaches. You can vaporize and inhale the oil, or apply directly to your skin. For the inhaling method, put 2 to 4-drops for every 2 to 3-cups of boiling water. Breathe deep!
Unlike some medicated oils and creams, you don’t need to dilute lavender oil to apply it to your skin (try the temples and the back of your neck), explains the source. Just don’t try to drink or eat the lavender oil, it adds.
2. Light Exercise
Sitting in one place watching TV while looking at your smartphone or sitting in the office chair for hours can put additional strain on your neck that can lead to some pretty bad headaches. “This position, with your head sticking out, puts an extra 20-30 pounds of pressure on your neck!” explains DrAxe.com.
It suggests taking a break at least once an hour, but don’t just sit there – get up and do some stretching, and roll your head in a circular motion. Learning some easy yoga poses (look up Downward Facing Dog and Child’s Pose) can also loosen your muscles that cause tension headaches while also improving flexibility and strength, it adds.
3. Ice/Heat Compresses
Top10HomeRemedies.com says that a simple ice pack can help you ward off a migraine headache, as it offers a “numbing effect that alleviates pain”. It says to wrap a few ice cubes in a clean towel and apply it to your temples, forehead or back of your beck for about 15-minutes at a time.
Another variation of this remedy is to alternate between warm and cold compresses every 15-minutes as needed, adds the source. “For better results, add lavender and/or peppermint essential oils to the water for the compress,” it adds.
4. Scalp Massage
Unlike some massages, you don’t need a therapist to apply pressure to your scalp – although having a partner to do it or a trained professional is always a benefit. “A massage therapist is the best source for a pampering scalp treatment, but did you know you and a partner can do it yourself at home?” asks Lifescript.com.
You’ll need essential oils for this one too – lavender is listed among them. You should also use “carrier oils” such as almond or coconut oil to dilute the essential oils before applying them, it adds. Apply the oils to the neck and shoulders for the aromatherapy benefits, and with your partner on their back, “Run the fingers of your other hand from the collar bone to the ear, starting with light pressure and gradually increasing pressure with each stroke,” continuing in the same way for the side of the neck and back, it adds. You can enhance the massage with circular motions of your fingertips at the base of the scalp near the hairline, it adds.
This is a plant that is taken orally as an additive to food or as freeze-dried capsules (the latter method is usually recommended, as the leaves don’t taste that appealing). WebMD notes the leaves have chemicals including parthenolide, which “decrease factors in the body that might cause migraine headaches”.
Feverfew is apparently also effective for… well, fevers and colds, as well as nausea, regulating menstrual periods, tinnitus, and even increased fertility, notes the source. It can also be applied to the gums to help cure toothaches, so all in all this is a good remedy to have around the house.
This is essential to your body for many functions, and many Americans get inadequate levels in their diet. “People who suffer from serious headaches, like migraines, often have low levels of magnesium,” explains DrAxe.com. If you’re diabetic or have heart disease, or are on blood pressure medications, you may be extra prone to having low magnesium.
Magnesium can help alleviate the associated “visual and sensory changes” that often come with migraines, and can also help block pain-transmitting chemicals in the brain, adds the source. It suggests taking 200 to 600-milligrams of magnesium a day as a supplement, or getting more naturally through beans, whole grains, nuts, and leafy greens.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar
This “nutritional powerhouse” is apparently effective for a lot of health woes such as high blood pressure, constipation and also migraines, according to Top10HomeRemedies.com. It suggests adding a tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and mixing in a tablespoon of honey. “Drink this daily to prevent as well as treat migraines,” suggests the site.
The vinegar may be a bit intense at first so if you’re not use to it, then the source suggests taking just 1-teaspoon in the glass of water and working your way up. Increase the amount when you have the telltale symptoms of a migraine approaching, or you’re already in the throes of a headache, it adds.