How to Get Rid of a Migraine Headache With Nausea Fast

Ow! The pain! I've had migraines for over thirty years. They can be intensely painful and come with nausea and even vomiting. This is what I do to make my nauseating migraine headaches better fast. I don't use prescription drugs, and I don't use feverfew or other exotic treatments that are supposed to help. My treatment for migraines is a mix of natural and over-the-counter therapies.

Migraines most often affect just one side of the head and may be accompanied by dizziness, a feeling of being hot, nausea, a sensitivity to light or sound (but usually not both), and visual disturbances. Treat your migraine as soon as you feel the onset of pain or, if you get one (and most people don't) the aura. That bears repeating--treat it as early as possible for fast treatment. Don't wait until it gets bad. It'll take longer to get rid of if you do.

Use Wisdom When You Treat Your Migraine

If you haven't seen a doctor about your migraines before, do so, to make sure it's "just a migraine" or that the migraine isn't part of a bigger issue. Don't try these on children, and don't do any of these suggestions if you're allergic to/intolerant of any of it, or if you have a condition where hot baths are contra-indicated. Be safe and use regular precautions. I'm not a doctor, and this is not medical advice.

Steps to Get Rid of Migraine Pain Associated With Nausea

Use ginger infusion for the nausea associated with migraines. Slice a chunk of fresh ginger root and simmer it in a small pot of water for 10 minutes. Drink the ginger tea slowly. If you have only dried ginger, put 1/4 teaspoon into a full glass of water and mix it well--very well, to protect your esophagus. Drink it slowly.

Nausea with a migraine headache may be a sign your migraine is food-related--at least, that's been the case with my migraines (migraines without nausea had no food trigger, migraines with nausea were associated with eating trigger foods). Look online through lists of foods that can trigger migraines--a short list is peanuts, tomato, cheese, coffee, chocolate, bananas, foods with MSG, red wine, processed meats. Avoid those foods during a migraine. If you do eat them at other times, watch for early signs of a migraine in 1 to 24 hours.

If you're sure it was a migraine vs. another type of severe headache, put an ice pack on the side of the head that hurts--or use ice wrapped up in a wet cotton cloth. Ice should ease some of the pain immediately. Don't use heat on your shoulders or head in a migraine. EDIT: I've since learned that some people are helped by heat when they have a migraine. And even I am helped somewhat by wet heat on my shoulders during some of my migraines - usually ones that are not food related, but caused by hormones, mold, etc.

Feverfew to Cure Migraines--Myth or Fact?

Have you ever heard of feverfew as a migraine treatment? It may or may not be effective to help migraines. When used, it is used to prevent migraine pain. But, while taking feverfew may help prevent migraine, it isn't usually a treatment for when you have one.

As soon as possible when you feel the pain or the aura if you get one, take a hot bath, submerging your legs and hands, but don't let yourself get heated/wet much above the elbows. Migraines are vascular headaches--the idea is to get all the blood flowing away from the head and shoulders down to the limbs again. Sometimes using an exercise bike GENTLY and EARLY ON in the migraine can accomplish the same thing--keep your upper body still and only move your legs.

Take ibuprofen or a different NSAID in normal dosage, more only if your doctor prescribes more, the earlier in the migraine the better. The anti-inflammatory properties can help quite a lot.

As a last resort, drink a cup of hot black coffee. Coffee can cause migraines, but can also ease them. The caffeine is what does the trick, but this doesn't work with chocolate, as far as I've been able to gather, perhaps because it's not the same form of caffeine, or perhaps because the sugar, milk, or chocolate itself be migraine triggers, themselves. Caffeinated tea may not work, either.

Try not to lie down flat at any point during the migraine. Sit down or lie on an inclined chair such as a recliner. Flatly horizontal means more blood rushing to your head--a bad thing. Some migraines are not hurt by lying flat - you can usually tell by whether or not you feel better when you lie down. Also, if you're a side-sleeper, you may find that it's more comfortable to lie on the side that's NOT hurting than on the side that is.

So that's my routine: I take ibuprofen and drink a hot cup of coffee. If I have nausea I drink ginger tea and avoid trigger foods and any food with too much fat, salt, and sugar. Then I run a hot sitz bath and sit in it for about half an hour with an ice-pack wrapped around my neck. Then I sit in a recliner holding an ice pack to my face. And try to fall asleep. It works most of the time.

Good luck--don't forget to check with your doctor--and let me know if this works for you!

UPDATE October, 2011: Note that there have been changes to my migraines and my personal treatment. See my comments below.

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Comments 11 comments

Janet 6 years ago

Thank you for this very helpful article. There is not enough information out there on how to manage nausea and vomiting associated with migraines. It is truly awful. Zofran seems to help somewhat. Nothing stops it entirely. Sleep is good. Gatorade helps.


Enrique Martin profile image

Enrique Martin 6 years ago

My wife constantly suffers from migraines. This article was very useful... Thanks,


S hutchins 5 years ago

Thank you, I will try this tonight as my head has Been swimming for five days now and had nausea today :(


Sherri L Souzen profile image

Sherri L Souzen 5 years ago Author

Hi, all. I wrote this article about two years ago. In the last couple of months, I've noticed a major change to the frequency of my migraines. After I cut out most of my dietary MSG, most of my migraines - not all, but most - just disappeared.

Whereas I was getting one almost every day for over a year and popping ibuprofen almost daily, now I'm getting maybe one or two a month.

I've suspected for a long time that many of my migraines were food related. I've thought it was dairy, peanuts, and nitrates causing them. Now, I'm learning that although I seem to have an issue with some other categories of foods, sources of MSG - or rather, free glutamines (sometimes called free glutamates) - are the primary trigger. Free glutamates are not just in Kentucky Fried Chicken and Chinese food. They're in almost all packaged and restaurant foods we eat. In the last couple of months, my diet has changed radically. It takes more time to prepare the food, but I feel so, so much better.

I'm still in the discovery phase, so there's a lot that I'm not sure of yet. But I do know that certain other symptoms have virtually disappeared as well - fatigue, heart palpitations, insomnia, dizziness, sinus congestion, high blood pressure (well, it's down a lot, anyway) and more I can't even think of right now. This has already changed my life. I'm so excited, because no other dietary change in my life - and there have been many, believe me: my friends never knew what food I was currently "off" when we went out to eat on any given day! - has given me so much hope for being well on a day-to-day basis.

The MSG-type migraines are not entirely stoppable. Free glutamines are in practically all our food - the important thing is the proportions; the more processed it is, the more "out of whack" my body seems to get. So when I go a little overboard with some source of it and get a migraine, I have a new routine. I take ibuprofen as soon as possible and take hot baths as necessary. I also do something fairly unappetizing, but effective - eat steamed rice and spinach (high in magnesium) flavored with a little olive oil and turmeric, ginger root, and cinnamon. It tastes pretty bitter, but seems to have anti-inflammatory action and takes the "nauseous" edge off the pain. (Often when I have a migraine, the thought of food makes me nauseated. That's a sign for me that food is the cause, but it also leaves me helpless to know what to eat. Now I can eat something that actually HELPS me feel better...!)


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

Dear Sherri, GREAT read. Loved it. Very informative to us who suffer from miagranes. They are like monsters. Voted up, useful, interesting and awesome. You are a great talent, Sherri. I mean that. I am now a fan and follower, with your approval. Sincerely, Kenneth Avery, from a rural town, Hamilton, in northwest Alabama that reminds you of Mayberry, the town on the Andy Griffith Show. Peace to YOU! (((kenneth)))


trisha 4 years ago

Very interesting reading but none of that works for me, can't drink coffee, and tried everything in the book to help. Even been to the er a few times hat a cat scan and found nothing. I just want the pain to stop


Sherri L Souzen profile image

Sherri L Souzen 4 years ago Author

Trisha,

Have you any sense of what causes your migraines?


Starmom41 4 years ago

Sherri: I noticed this hub was from a long time ago, but it's very interesting and informative.

I hope you don't mind if I add input: hypoglycemia is one possible cause of migraines. I had frequent, horrible migraines for many years, until it was found hypoglycemia was the cause. As long as I eat on a regular schedule, and drink 3-4 cups of coffee each day, I don't have them anymore.


cardinalrd 3 years ago

nitrogen from the peanuts can actually help to relieve a headache.


mimilka profile image

mimilka 2 years ago

As far as I know MSG is toxic for humans and can cause allergies and migraines. However most people have no idea about it and they put it to all possible things to eat. I saw in Vietnam the main food in the shops was rice, oil and .... huge, really huge bags of mono-sodium-glutamate. They put it into everything. And they wonder why so many children vomit and have health problems. This could be the reason. Maybe our body cannot digest it and we get health problems, including severe headaches.

I can tell you a strange thing that I did when I had a migraine. A friend asked me to go together to sauna. However at this time I was just about to die from migraine headache. I had nothing to loose. I thought it should get worst when we get to a hot place with a headache. But you know what happened? I started talking to my friend and after some time I realised that just after we entered the sauna my migraine dissapeared, it was like magic. I was sitting there and thinking that it was impossible. It is recommended to put ice on the head and I did something oposite. Hmm I don't know if I have unusual migraine or maybe it works for the others, but I don't think it was even 5 minutes in the sauna all my pain was gone.


emarie1208 11 months ago

Love this article it helped me figure out why im constantly getting these migraines, i noticed when i cool pork meat it tends to trigger it the worse, also i get blurred vision and learned thats the start of the migraine. Thank you so much it has helped me.

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