Many of us look to medications to help with migraine pain, but it’s no secret that medication can also be expensive, with bottles averaging at $60-$80 per bottle with co-pay. Without insurance, the costs can be hundreds of dollars, and in this day and age, this price tag can be burdensome.
While many underestimate the effectiveness of home remedies, they can be quite effective in migraine care, especially when appropriately combined with medications. Let’s take a look at 8 natural remedies for at-home migraine relief.
Dating back to ancient Chinese medicine, the practice involves the stimulation of certain points on the body for pain relief. Unlike acupuncture, acupressure can be performed with fingers, and can be mastered at home, by anyone.
The most common acupressure points for migraine relief are LI4, Union in the Valley, GB20, Gates of Consciousness, and GB21, Jian Jing.
Located between the thumb and first (pointer) finger, once the fleshy spot has been located, massage with gentle to moderate pressure for 5 minutes. LI4 is often known for migraine relief, as well as pain relief in the neck, shoulders, and face, and reduced stress and anxiety
While interlocking your hands, take your thumbs and place them just below the skull. Feel around the area for depressions between the major neck muscles, and once found, apply firm pressure for 4-5 seconds, then follow with 1-2 minutes of moderate massaging. GB20 is often noted as the best way to reduce migraine pain, as well as neck and shoulder pain.
Noted to reduce headache pain, neck stiffness, and shoulder pain, GB21 sits halfway between the base of the neck and the shoulder joint. When the pressure point has been found, pinch and apply direct pressure for 4-5 seconds, followed by 1-2 minutes of light massaging.
2. Essential oils
Associated with anti-nausea, anti-inflammatory, and pain relieving properties, peppermint oil is a fan-favorite when it comes to natural migraine remedies. A 2007 study comparing peppermint oil to Tylenol showed no significant difference in effectiveness between peppermint and acetaminophen.
Peppermint oil can be diffused into the air, applied to the skin, and dropped into the bath. When applying it to the skin, due to its high menthol content, it can be extremely damaging. Dilute your oil with sweet almond oil, coconut oil, or mineral oil.
An equally popular migraine pain reliever is lavender oil. Often associated with stress reduction, a major migraine trigger, a 2012 study found that just after 15 minutes of inhaling lavender oil, test participants found a significant reduction in pain.
Click here to read more about the benefits of lavender oil in migraine care.
Just like the famous tea, chamomile oil is known to reduce anxiety and depression, and contains anti-inflammatory properties that have been proven to reduce migraines and headaches.
Like the other essential oils, chamomile oil can be diffused, or dropped into a bath, for instant reduction in head pain and stress.
3. Try ginger
A study published in 2014 found that 250 mg of ginger was similarly effective in stopping migraines in 100 patients as Sumatriptan, a leading migraine medication. In addition, in 2016, researchers found that ginger significantly reduces a peptide called CGRP, which is often associated with triggering migraines.
Ginger can come in many forms:
Ground ginger root
Which form of ginger you ultimately decide is upon preference, or can be determined by symptoms. If you migraines tend to include nausea, perhaps rubbing ginger essential oils on your temples would be a better option compared to a capsule, etc.
Ginger is most often known for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, in addition to increasing serotonin levels, a neurotransmitter associated with migraines. Increased levels of serotonin is often noted to reduce migraine pain.
Regular exercise, while also being extremely beneficial to your overall health, can help significantly in the reduction of migraines.
Exercise can reduce stress, help with relaxation, and balance neurochemicals that may otherwise trigger a migraine. According to BerkeleyWellness, “regular aerobic exercise may help tame the headaches by reducing stress and improving sleep (both known migraine triggers); releasing endorphins (neurotransmitters that act as natural painkillers and mood enhancers); and helping to control weight (there is a well-established link between obesity and migraine headaches)”
Trying to create a regular exercise schedule can intimidate those who suffer from migraine, since the sweat and pounding of the heart seem counterintuitive, yoga can be a great catalyst into a healthy lifestyle.
Known for its anti-anxiety properties and stress reduction, roughly 10% of individuals who suffer from migraine claim to practice yoga regularly. Dating back to ancient India, yoga is the practice of the body and mind, focusing on breathing techniques, posture, and meditation.
Individuals who suffer from migraine are recommended to practice yoga therapy 30 minutes a day, 5-6 days a week, for significant improvement in migraine pain and frequency.
Yoga poses that are linked to headache relief include: Cat Pose, Modified Eagle Pose, Big Toe Pose, Dolphin Pose, Downward Facing Dog, Fire Log Pose, and Plow Pose.
6. Add magnesium to your diet
Among the several vitamins and minerals the body relies on to function properly, magnesium is often regarded as one of the most important. Low levels of magnesium can result in muscle cramps, nausea, low appetite, fatigue, and you guessed it, Migraine.
A study found that 41% of participants experienced a drop in the frequency of their migraines after regularly taking magnesium supplements.
Speak to your doctor, or visit us at Buoyant, to see if magnesium supplements would be beneficial to you. Ingesting additional magnesium when your body is not experiencing deficiency can have negative side effects.
Temperature therapy is among the most popular natural remedies for migraine. Try this remedy by applying hot or cold compresses to your neck.
The cooling sensation of cold compresses, ice packs, will numb the areas to which it is applied, dulling the pain sensation. A hot compress, hot packs and heating pads, will relax tense muscles. Hot showers or baths are also known to have the same effect as the hot compresses listed above.
Seeming like the most redundant advice many of us have grown up hearing, a good night’s sleep can actually significantly benefit our bodies.
Adults are recommended to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Additionally, a major component of living with migraine is maintaining a steady sleep schedule, as inconsistencies in sleep patterns, including oversleeping or naps, may trigger migraines.
Many migraine sufferers feel helpless when it comes to finding a solution, whether it’s due to expensive medications or disappointment in prior treatments. Natural remedies are known to significantly reduce migraines, as well as promote healthier lifestyles. Though many tend to underestimate the power of getting a good night’s sleep, regular exercise, or even practicing acupressure and yoga, these at-home remedies have been proven to reduce migraine pain and frequency.
Talk to us at Buoyant to see which natural remedies and lifestyle choices would work best for you.