I've been getting migraines since the 10th grade. Anyone who has ever had one knows that it's nothing like a regular headache - nausea, aversion to light and noise and throbbing, stabbing pain are symptoms unique to migraine headaches.
In the 11th grade I went through a whole batch of tests - MRI's, CT scans, the works. From these I realised that there were no other causes for my headaches except stress, certain foods, and temperature fluctuations.
It becomes frustrating dealing with migraines on a regular basis. You also get tired of the painkillers that knock you out and do God-knows-what to you liver and kidneys. So after high school, I spent three years studying holistic medicine, especially reflexology. Any kind of medicine that does not include needles or pills is my kinda medicine.
They don't get rid of the pain, but do help ease it for short periods of time. Migraines have played such a big part of my life that I chose it as my dissertation topic for my Anatomy and Physiology class. I thought I'd share...
Here are some natural remedies:
Aromatherapy: Peppermint, eucalyptus and lavender. (Peppermint gel works the best for me.)These can be inhaled, but are best when they're used for massage.
Reflexology: The best thing is to have regular reflexology treatments to detox and balance the body, and a qualified reflexologist will be able to tell you where there are blockages in your body and then adjust your treatments according to your ailments.
One of the great things about reflexology, or acupressure, is that you can do it yourself. Simply walking barefoot is a reflexology treatment in itself -the more varied the surfaces you walk on, the better the treatment!
For migraines and headaches specifically, the big toe (or thumb) is the area that should be treated. It represents the head and neck. So you can just massage or add pressure to these points, so that they are stimulated.
Homeopathic: Sadly, I didn't study homeopathy, but I am taking some homeopathic medication for my headaches. I really couldn't tell you what's in the stuff, but it doesn't taste bad, and it works! Good enough for me!
The most important part of migraine treatment is prevention.
- If you know what your triggers are - the most popular being the 4 C's: caffeine, chocolate, cheese and citrus - then avoid them. Other triggers include yeast and MSG.
- Exercise: Its probably the last thing you want to do when you're in the throes of a migraine. Some people claim that easing into some mild exercise (a walk or some stretches) helps ease the pain. Endorphins produced during activity are the body's natural painkillers. And it also goes along way toward prevention.
- Daily doses of feverfew, a herb that is part of the daisy family, has also been found to help prevent migraines.
- If stress is a trigger, then Biofeedback, a relaxation technique used for muscle tension can help. Yoga, or any method of de-stressing that works for you, is also good.
- Vitamins: Riboflavin, magnesium, Q10
- Diet: The following foods have headache fighting properties:
- Cayenne pepper, Ginger
- Foods rich in calcium: Spinach broccoli and kale
- Foods high in Magnesium: Spinach, pumpkin and squash seeds, okra, whole grain cereal etc.
That's all I can think of right now. And if all else fails, you can do what the Ancient Egyptians did!
P.S. I came across the painting at the top of this post when I googled migraines. Hoping to find something more medical looking, I came across this painting, and was struck by how eloquently it captured the essence of having a migraine. Which is why I used it. What I didn't know was that it was actually painted by a devotee, Jayadeva das. Thank you for allowing me to use it, prabu!