(WellnessNova.com) - When you start to feel like any source of light is too bright and painful. When the throbbing begins and you just know you’re in for it. You know the headaches are about to ruin your day. That’s when it’s time to take action so as to not let it progress.
Even traditional doctors admit that one-third of sufferers don’t get any relief from western medications. These can also cause rebound headaches and make life even harder than it was before.
Many migraine sufferers have now turned to natural remedies to help reduce their symptoms. In fact, the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society includes drug-free ways to reduce and prevent the pain in their guidelines for treating migraines.
Here’s a list of natural treatments you can try:
First on the list is the oldest natural remedy in the book that most headache sufferes know. A study by the University of Maryland Medical Center found that 70% of the people who chewed a couple leaves a day were able to reduce their symptoms. According to Andrew Weil, it helps prevent the release of substances that dilate blood vessels in the head. He also recommends taking 100-150 mg daily as a supplement.
An antioxidant that helps increase blood flow to the brain and improves circulation. It also stabilizes blood sugar, which is important as low blood sugar can be an important trigger. Taking between 60 and 100mg daily has been found to reduce as much as 50% of symptoms in some patients.
A lot of people with migraine or cluster headaches are often deficient in magnesium. One small study has found that taking Magnesium daily can reduce headaches by as much as 42%. It is overall safe at around 200 mg daily. Stop taking or reduce if you start to experience diarrhea.
A vitamin B that can be effective, though only on a high dose. This option needs a physician’s prescription and following.
A lot of migraines are due to stress and/or anxiety. It can therefore be helpful to try the mind/body connection by practicing meditation.
The 2000 year-old medicine has been proven to have some benefits against migraines according to a study published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal. “Nearly 800 people showed that 11 acupuncture treatments over six weeks were at least as effective as the blood pressure drugs called beta-blockers — often used for migraine prevention — taken daily for six months”
Of course, while you’re having a headache, this option is not exactly the one you will want to go to. But apparently, if you are able to brave it, a Swedish study has found that putting your “sweat on” is just as effective as some migraine medications.
Some foods can be a trigger for headaches. Certain patients are simply intolerant or allergic. Try eliminating one food at a time for a couple weeks and see how the symptoms improve. Start with eliminating sugar as it is often found to be a migraine trigger (so are artificial sweeteners such as aspartame!), then move on to dairy, then gluten. Other foods that are found to be common triggers are chocolate, tomatoes, nuts, citrus fruits, caffeine, sulfites, additives, alcohol…
With any of these remedies, try each of them individually for 6 to 8 weeks and see how the symptoms progress. Work with a health professional such as a physician or a naturopath to help you track and figure out the best “cocktail” for your needs.