Living With Migraines

Home Remedies for Migraine

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Home Remedies for Migraine

Do you have a home remedies kit for migraines? Here's why you need one.

Migraines strike at the worst times. Maybe you’ve been looking forward to a night out, or have a big exam to study for.

It’s hard to make plans and be productive when everything could be derailed due to a migraine.

What can you do about it?

At Mable we provide personalized migraine prevention and treatment based on your DNA.

Explore these home remedies for migraines alongside your migraine treatment so you don’t have to miss that event you’ve been looking forward to.

Home remedies should be used to accompany, not replace, proper medical treatment.

What is Migraine?

According to the American Migraine Foundation, Migraine is a debilitating condition that affects at least 39 million people in the United States.

It is a poorly understood condition. In most cases the cause is unknown and there is no gold-standard treatment.

What we do know is that genetics play a key role.

Migraine symptoms include but are not limited to …

  • Throbbing or dull pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Hypersensitivity of the senses
  • Lightheadedness or vertigo
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Aura (vision disturbances such as bright lights, blurred vision, dark spots and tingling in your extremities) 

There are different types of migraine experiences and everyone with migraines can have a different combination of symptoms, so personalized care is essential.

Home Remedies

Food and Drink 

In a recent study, 37.3% of migraine patients reported dietary triggers. While the phrase “you are what you eat” might be an exaggeration, your diet does affect migraines. 

These foods and drinks can work with your treatment plan as possible home remedies for migraines.

Hydration is key to migraine management. It’s estimated that 75% of adults in the United States are dehydrated. Don’t add to that statistic! It’s easy to forget to drink. It’s not so easy to deal with the consequences. In a recent study 34 out of 95 people reported dehydration to be a migraine trigger.

If you’re feeling nauseous it can help to chill water with ice and sip slowly. 

Caffeine is a bit hit or miss. Roughly 20% find it triggers migraines. Yet many report symptom relief from caffeine during a migraine. A personalized decision should be made regarding caffeine. 

Be aware of how much you are consuming. More than 200mg daily can put you at risk of more migraines.

Feverfew and Ginger have been proven to reduce pain, nausea, and vomiting during migraines. 60 subjects were treated over one month with either a mix of feverfew and ginger or a placebo. At 2 hours, 32% of the group using feverfew and ginger were pain-free. Only 16% of the placebo group had symptom relief. 

Additionally, feverfew can reduce hypersensitivity. Another common migraine symptom.

You can buy both as capsules. It’s recommended that you consult your doctor before starting any new supplements.

Relaxation and Meditation

Stress is a trigger for 50 - 80% of people living with Migraine. Here are some relaxation methods to help you manage your stress during a migraine.

Yoga promotes relaxation through breathing exercises, meditation, and stretches. Studies have shown that yoga can lower heart rate, blood pressure and increase oxygen flow to the brain.

The best exercises for migraine relief according to The Mind Body Green Movement are …

  • Child’s pose.
  • Cat and cow pose.
  • Seated forward fold.
  • Ragdoll pose.
  • Downward dog.
  • Legs up the wall.
  • Bridge pose.
  • Savasana.

Sleep can knock back a migraine for good, according to The Migraine Trust.

Research is vague on why this is. Hormones, such as melatonin, may play a role.

It can be hard to fall asleep when your head is pounding. Here are some tips to make that happen …

  • Make sure the room is dark. Black-out curtains are a great investment.
  • Avoid electronic screens such as mobile phones.
  • Drink a warm drink. Some find warm milk and honey to be soothing.
  • You might also try yoga, or essential oils to promote relaxation before going to bed.

Sleep disorders are a comorbidity to migraine. If you often struggle with sleep and migraines, it might be time to talk to your doctor.

Essential Oils for Migraines

Essential oils have been known to calm and soothe the mind and body.

Lavender oil can have relaxing and stabilizing properties. This is because of the calming and suppressing effect it has on the central nervous system. Migraine symptoms can be eased by 2 - 3 drops of lavender essential oil rubbed on the upper lip.

Peppermint oil applied to the skin has a long-lasting cooling effect and can relax tense muscles. Peppermint oil can improve cognitive function and have a relaxing effect on both mind and muscle. This can be beneficial for both migraines and tension headaches.

Ginger is a well-known remedy for nausea, a common migraine symptom. It’s believed to speed up digestion and protect your gut. Ginger gel or oil applied to your temples can have a repelling effect on nausea and pain due to migraines.

Heat Therapy at Home

Hot or cold compression applied to the neck or head serves as another migraine home remedy. 

The choice between hot and cold is a personal migraine choice. Some find heat more helpful. Others lean towards the cold. 

Cold packs decrease blood flow to the brain. This causes a numbing effect to reduce pain.

Heat packs increase blood flow to the brain. This promotes relaxation of tense muscles to reduce pain.

In summer, migraines can be more frequent due to the heat. Or rather, dehydration from the heat. When you have a migraine on a hot day, a cold pack and a drink of cold water could be just what you need.

Acupressure for Migraines

Acupressure involves pressure applied to certain points in the body. As pressure is applied muscular tension and endorphins are released. This can reduce symptoms such as pain and nausea during a migraine.

Although there is currently not enough research to confidently support acupressure, it is worth trying. In a recent study, 50% reported relief from nausea after 60 minutes of PC6 acupressure.

LI-4, or Hegu is the pressure point for pain. It’s between your index finger and the base of your thumb. To find this pressure point, think of your index finger and thumb as an angle. The point is where the two lines would meet. Press firmly (but not so firmly it hurts!) with your thumb and forefinger. Hold for roughly five minutes. Repeat this process on the other hand.

P-6 (PC6), or Neiguan is the pressure point for nausea. It’s near your wrist on your inner arm. To find this pressure point place three fingers across the opposite inner wrist. The point is just below your lowest finger, between two large tendons. Press firmly with your thumb or forefinger. Hold for up to five minutes. Repeat this process on the other wrist.

It’s recommended that you consult your doctor before trying any alternative therapies.

Tips and Tricks for the Senses

Hypersensitivity is a common migraine trigger and symptom. Here’s what you can do about it.

  • Sunglasses provide great protection against light sensitivity during a migraine.
  • Earplugs are beneficial for sound sensitivity.
  • Airflow, such as an open window, can help reduce strong scents.

The Bottom Line

Migraine days affect everyone differently. The best thing to do is to find out what works best for you.

Here’s how you can do this:

  • Keep a symptom journal to identify triggers. Now you know what to avoid!
  • Experiment with these home remedies alongside your migraine treatment. Not all of them will work for you so find the ones that will.
  • Learn about migraines. Research, read our blog and find out everything you can to manage your migraine.
  • Take our quiz to see if DNA-guided care with Mable is a good fit for you.

Paired with personalized migraine treatment, these home remedies for migraines can help you take back your weekend plans.

Sources
  1. American Migraine Foundation. “What is Migraine”. https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/what-is-migraine/
  2. Mei-Ling Sharon Tai, Jun Fai Yap, Cheng Beh Goh. “Dietary Trigger Factors of Migraine and Tension-Type Headache in a South East Asian Country”. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6029602/ 
  3. Kory Taylor, Elizabeth B. Jones. “Adult Dehydration”. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32310416/
  4. Mei-Ling Sharon Tai, Jun Fai Yap, Cheng Beh Goh. “Dietary Trigger Factors of Migraine and Tension-Type Headache in a South East Asian Country”.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6029602/ 
  5. Magdalena Nowaczewska, Michał Wiciński, Wojciech Kaźmierczak. “The Ambiguous Role of Caffeine in Migraine Headache: From Trigger to Treatment”. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32731623/
  6. Roger K Cady 1, Jerome Goldstein, Robert Nett, Russell Mitchell, M E Beach, Rebecca Browning. “A Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study of Sublingual Feverfew and Ginger (LipiGesic™ M) in the Treatment of Migraine”. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21631494/
  7. Anil Pareek, Manish Suthar, Garvendra S. Rathore, Vijay Bansal. “Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium L.): A Systematic Review”. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3210009/
  8. F Radat. “Stress and migraine”. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23608071/ 
  9. Catherine Woodyard. “Exploring the Therapeutic Effects of Yoga and its Ability to Increase Quality of Life” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3193654/
  10. The Mind Body Green Movement: “Yoga For Migraines: 8 Poses That Can Help Relieve Your Pain.” https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-7256/10-yoga-poses-to-heal-migraines.html 
  11. The Migraine Trust. “Migraine and Sleep”. https://migrainetrust.org/live-with-migraine/self-management/migraine-and-sleep/
  12. J J Gagnier. “The Therapeutic Potential of Melatonin in Migraines and Other Headache Types”. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11578254/ 
  13. European Headache Federation School of Advanced Studies (EHF - SAS). “Migraine and Sleep Disorders: A Systematic Review”. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33109076/ 
  14. Peir Hossein Koulivand, Maryam Khaleghi Ghadiri, Ali Gorji. “Lavender and the Nervous System”. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612440/ 
  15. H Göbel, G Schmidt, M Dworschak, H Stolze, D Heuss. “Essential Plant Oils and Headache Mechanisms”. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23196150/
  16. Liyan Chen, Zhiyou Cai. “The Efficacy of Ginger for the Treatment of Migraine: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Studies”. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33293189/
  17. Piyush Mehta, Vishwas Dhapte, Shivajirao Kadam, Vividha Dhapte. “Contemporary Acupressure Therapy: Adroit Cure for Painless Recovery of Therapeutic Ailments”. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28417094/ 
  18. Lisa Li-Chen Hsieh, Horng-Huei Liou, Liang-Huei Lee, Tony Hsiu-Hsi Chen, Amy Ming-Fang Yen. “Effect of Acupressure and Trigger Points in Treating Headache: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20128040/
  19. Kenji Kawakita, Kaoru Okada. “Acupuncture Therapy: Mechanism of Action, Efficacy, and Safety: A Potential Intervention for Psychogenic Disorders?” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3996195/ 
  20. Gianni Allais, Sara Rolando, Ilaria Castagnoli Gabellari, Chiara Burzio, Gisella Airola, Paola Borgogno, Paola Schiapparelli, Rita Allais, Chiara Benedetto. “Acupressure in the Control of Migraine-Associated Nausea”. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22644205/
  21. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “Acupressure for Pain and Headaches”. https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/patient-education/acupressure-pain-and-headaches
  22. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “Acupressure for Nausea and Vomiting”. https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/patient-education/acupressure-nausea-and-vomiting

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Updated on
September 23, 2022
An image oh a happy migraine-free family.

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