10 Lesser-known Natural Treatments for Migraines

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Ugh migraines! They are debilitating, isolating, and extremely difficult to heal!

Over the years, many treatments have been developed to treat migraines, the most commonly used are triptan medications.  Triptans, while commonly prescribed, can also cause unpleasant side effects like dizziness, dry mouth, sleepiness, nausea and more. They can also cause dependency and lead to rebound headaches. While these might be effective at temporarily relieving your migraines, they do not treat the underlying causes. Thus the migraines continue to reoccur. 

Because of triptans’ limited effectiveness and the unpleasant side effects they cause, many people are turning to alternative treatments for natural migraine relief. Hydration, Electrolytes, Feverfew, Peppermint, Functional Medicine, Craniocervical Chiropractic, Neurofeedback, and Neuromuscular Dentistry can be effective solutions for your migraines…and may not be mentioned by your doctor.

1 Stay Hydrated: Dehydration leads to a loss of electrolytesthat can cause nerves in the brain to produce pain signals. To reduce the chances of this occurring, be sure to drink water regularly throughout the day. 

2 Supplement with Magnesium and Potassium: These supplements can reduce the tendency for the muscles in the neck and arteries to contract decreasing the chance of migraines occurring.

3 Feverfew: The feverfew plant has been used as a natural remedy for migraines for many years. It’s ability to treat migraine headachesmay be because it is rich in a substance known as parthenolide which works to reduce inflammation by stopping the aggregation of platelets. 

4 Peppermint Oil: Peppermint oil may be mildly effective as a natural remedy for migraines. It contains menthol which can help muscles relax and ease pain. It is thought that applying diluted peppermint oil directly to the temples can be effective in reducing migraine pain.

5 Avoid Nitrates and Caffeine: When thinking of a healthy diet that will decrease migraines naturally, nitrates and caffeine should be avoided. Excessive amounts of caffeine can lead to dehydration and cause blood vessels to constrict increasing the chance of migraines occurring. Nitrates, which can be found in certain processed foods, are known to cause vasodilation of the blood vessels with can also lead to a migraine.

6 Functional Medicine: Functional medicine is a type of alternative medicine that focuses on the root cause of the condition, in this case, the migraine. Biochemical testing can be used to determine whether hormonal or nutritional imbalances are to blame for the onset of headaches. 

7 Craniocervical Chiropractic: This is a form of chiropractic therapythat aligns the top two vertebrae at the base of the head to allow better function to the muscle and vessels that travel in and out of the head to reduce the occurrence of migraines. 

8 High Level Neurofeedback: Not all neurofeedback is created equal, but high level qEEG based neurofeedback can identify areas of the brain that are related to increased migraine symptoms. Once these areas are identified, actions can be taken to make migraines less likely. (Learn more here)

9 Quality Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture:  Acupuncture is a form of traditional Oriental medicine commonly used for pain relief. It is shown to be effective for treating migraines when used in conjunction with Chinese herbs and a healthy diet. 

10 Neuromuscular Dentistry:Some migraines can be caused by problems in the teeth and jaw. This is due to the cervicotrigeminal nuclei getting overstimulated when there is a considerable overbite or underbite. Neuromuscular dentistry tends to be expensive so those looking for natural treatments to cure migraines may want to explore other options first.

If you're suffering with migraines, don't think you've exhausted all your options. There are lesser known natural therapies which have shown to be clinically effective for different subtypes of migraines. While there may not be an abundance of placebo-controlled, double-blind studies, it is important to understand that these types of studies may artificially exclude many promising therapies because of their high-cost and limited applications.

Start with natural home remedies, and if you need more support find a trusted health professional that will provide you with a customized approach to help you get the breakthrough you need!  

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

References:

O’Connor, Anahad (2011, August 15) Really? The Claim: To Prevent Migraines, Drink More Water. Retrieved from 2011/08/15/really-the-claim-to-prevent-migraines-drink-more-water/

Downward, Emily Feverfew.Retrieved fromhttps://migraine.com/migraine-treatment/natural-remedies/feverfew/

Neurofeedback. Retrieved from http://peakbraininstitute.com/brain-training/neurofeedback/

Payant, Misha Josef (2014, January 1) A Single Case Study: Treating Migraine Headache with Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs and Diet. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3921614/

How Dental Problems Can Trigger Migraines.Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/migraine-dental-problems#1