Chances are you’ve had a headache before and possibly even a migraine. While both can be debilitating it’s important to know the difference and that there are natural options available for treating them.
Migraine or Headache What’s the difference?
Migraines are different than headaches. Headaches cause pain and pressure and are generally located on both sides of your head. The forehead, temples and back of the neck are the most common areas for headaches to occur. Migraines are severe and typically come with symptoms in addition to pain. Typically migraine symptoms include:
- pain behind one ear or behind one eye;
- sensitivity to light or sound;
- vomiting and even temporary loss of vision.
How Common Are They?
Because many Migraines are misdiagnosed as tension headaches it’s difficult to tell how common they are but according to Medical News Today…
“…The prevalence of migraine headaches is high, affecting roughly 1 out of every 7 Americans annually, and has remained relatively stable over the last 8 years.Migraine and headache are leading causes of outpatient and ED visits and remains an important public health problem, particularly among women during their reproductive years.2 The National Headache Foundation states that health care providers have properly diagnosed fewer than half of all migraine sufferers.”
Source: Migraines: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments – Medical News Today
Natural Remedies for Migraine Headaches
For those who want to steer clear of medications there are several natural options that can help reduce and prevent Migraines.
Aerobic Exercise has been shown to help prevent migraines in part because exercise causes the brain to release endorphins (nature’s painkillers). Exercise can also improve your mood and reduce your perception of pain. Be cautious though, because for some, exercise can bring on migraines. If you’re having a migraine attack it’s not a good idea to start exercising.
Dehydration can cause and make migraines worse. Be sure to stay well hydrated by drinking enough water daily. How much water should you drink? Use this simple formula.
- Take your body weight in pounds (for example 200 lbs)
- Divide it in half (for example 100)
- And that’s how many ounces of water you should be consuming on a daily basis. (for example 100 ounces)
There are several herbs and vitamins that have been shown to help prevent or reduce the pain of migraines.
Supplementing B Vitamins has been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. In one study…
“Scientists recruited 52 people diagnosed with migraines. The participants were randomly assigned to receive either vitamin supplements or a placebo for six months. The supplements were associated with a reduction in the prevalence of migraine disability from 60 percent at the start of the study to 30 percent after 6 months. No reduction was observed in the placebo group.
Reductions in the frequency of the headache and the severity of the pain were also observed in people in the B vitamin group, while no such changes were observed in the placebo group.”
The herb Feverfew is a perennial plant belonging to the daisy family and seems to help prevent migraines. Migraine suffers have reported fewer migraine attacks after using feverfew and in many instances migraines have stopped altogether. While there have been studies done on the effect of feverfew on migraines it’s still unclear whether it’s an effective solution.
“A systematic review of feverfew for migraine prevention in 2004 found five randomised controlled trials with 343 patients .While three of the trials found that feverfew was effective, the two trials with the highest quality found no significant difference between feverfew and placebo. The review concluded that trial results were mixed and did not establish that feverfew is more effective than placebo for the prevention of migraine. The safety of this and other herbal products is unknown.”
If you suffer from headaches or migraines and feel that you’ve run out of options with conventional medicine there are natural alternatives that may offer relief and help prevent future attacks.
- H. (2016). Effective Treatment of Migraines with Acupuncture. Retrieved November 04, 2016, from http://tryacupuncture.org/effective-treatment-of-migraines-with-acupuncture/
- @. (n.d.). Exercise for migraine relief. Retrieved November 04, 2016, from https://migraine.com/complimentary-and-alternative-therapies/exercise/