If you do not suffer from migraines, there’s a good chance you know someone who does.
It is estimated that about 6% of men and 18% of women suffer from migraine headaches during any given year. Over 33 million Americans have least one migraine headache a year and 25% of them have at least one attack each week. One in four families has at least one person with migraine headaches in the household. They can be extremely debilitating and often the medications used to manage them can cause other problems, like ulcers.
Before you consider natural remedies or medication, the first step is to try to figure out the root cause.
There are numerous triggers and what is a trigger for one person may not be for another, so you have to discover your specific triggers. This is where keeping a migraine diary is very helpful as you can track how foods and other potential triggers affect you.
The most common food triggers are wheat, gluten, dairy, cane sugar, yeast, corn, citrus, eggs, artificial additives, and preservatives, cured or processed meats, alcohol, particularly red wine and beer, aspartame, caffeine, and MSG. Skipping meals and fasting can also trigger them in some people.
Bright lights, fluorescent lights (particularly blue light which is emitted by electronics and smartphones), loud noises, and strong smells are common triggers as well. Stress can exacerbate any problem and migraines are no exception so finding effective ways to manage stress will be very helpful.
There are nutritional deficiencies that can also contribute to migraines, particularly vitamin D3, magnesium, B vitamins, particularly riboflavin (B2) and CoQ10.
In fact, in a study of over 7,400 people, as many as 51% of participants had deficiencies in specific vitamins.
Here are 5 Natural Remedies to Stop Migraines:
Although it isn’t a “remedy” specifically, my first suggestion is to do an elimination diet. Choose several foods to eliminate for 3 weeks from those listed in the common triggers. Pay attention to any changes you experience while eliminating them. Then add them back one at a time slowly, waiting several days between adding back each, and note how you feel. Your body will tell you if a particular food or additive is a trigger for you.
Along with eliminating the triggers, focus your meals on clean, high-quality real foods to easily eliminate any chemical additives so prevalent in processed, packaged foods. Including foods rich in magnesium, riboflavin, and CoQ10 in your daily meals is the best way to get those nutrients although supplementing is also effective. Choose organic, grass fed to reduce exposure to toxins and additional stressors. Include dark leafy greens, avocados, wild salmon, nuts, seeds, bananas, spinach, mushrooms, asparagus, almonds, grass-fed beef, pasture raised chicken, broccoli, cauliflower, sesame seeds, beans, squash.
Often, simply drinking enough water can be the answer. My basic recommendation for everyone is one-half your body weight in ounces and ¼ tsp. of natural, unprocessed salt for every 32 oz. you drink. The salt provides alkalizing minerals and helps the water hydrate you properly.
Supplementing with specific vitamins and minerals have shown great promise. Since magnesium is especially important for migraine sufferers, is safe and most people are deficient in it, I would recommend supplementing with magnesium. Magnesium Threonate has better absorbability compared to other forms and crosses the blood-brain barrier more easily, so it seems to be the best form. According to studies, boosting magnesium intake combined with CoQ10 seemed to bring the best results.
Riboflavin, vitamin B2, is among the best studied and most promising natural remedies. It is crucial to mitochondrial energy production. Researchers have discovered that patients who suffer from migraines have depleted mitochondrial energy reserves between attacks. Riboflavin helps increase that energy production and has been shown to be effective as migraine-preventive therapy. According to research, supplementing with 400 mg riboflavin daily reduced headache frequency by 50% at three months. That improvement persisted at six months.
There are several essential oils that research has proven are safe and effective for treatment of migraine headaches. Those include lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus and rosemary oils. You can simply put a few drops in the palms of your hands and gently inhale the scent or rub a few drops on your temples and neck to help relieve the headache pain or use a diffuser.
Three herbs well-known for preventing and reducing migraines are feverfew, butterbur, and ginger. Always be cautious when using herbs to be sure they are pure and high quality from a source you trust.
Feverfew is believed to help migraine sufferers because of a substance called parthenolide, which helps relieve smooth muscle spasms. It helps stop the brain’s blood vessels from contracting and prevents inflammation. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking blood-thinners or allergic to members of the daisy family, you should not take Feverfew. It should not be given to children under 2 years of age. Taking 100–300 milligrams of feverfew up to four times daily, standardized to contain 0.2 percent to 0.4 percent parthenolides is what is recommended. Do not abruptly stop taking it as stopping too quickly can cause rebound headaches.
Petasin and isopetasin in Butterbur work to reduce spasms and inflammation, which is believed to help prevent and reduce migraines. In fact, a 4-month study done at Albert Einstein College of Medicine showed 75 milligrams of butterbur twice a day reduced the frequency of migraine attacks by 48%.
Ginger combats inflammation, nausea, and pain so is ideal for combating the many manifestations of a migraine, from head pain to vomiting. It is effective in relieving acute symptoms as well as being a preventive therapy with no side effects.
Do you have any natural remedies that you use to stop migraines that were not mentioned above? If so, please share them with us in the comments section below!