- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Migraine Headaches: Quick Relief
I am a 30 year old mother of two and currently pregnant, in my first trimester, with baby number three. I started suffering from migraine headaches when I was 23 years old. Typically, my migraines seem directly linked to hormones and blood sugar. Under normal circumstances, popping an Excedrin migraine (or other over the counter aspirin/caffeine combination) and eating a meal did the trick.
Now that I'm pregnant, however, I've been on the hunt to find drug-free and possibly safer alternatives to getting some relief from the pain. I've been informally polling women (consequently, all mothers) to hear what sort of things they've tried. The following is a non-expert driven list of ideas, methods, tricks and tips for dealing with migraine headaches. As with any medical condition, everyone is encouraged to talk to a medical professional before trying anything new and of course advised to use common sense and precaution in all home remedies.
Prevention is the Best Medicine
- Know your triggers and avoid them. Many polled women kept food journals, sleep journals, and stress journals to find out which behaviors led most often to migraines. Some realized the dye in red foods (like spaghetti sauce) was directly linked to migraines, while others had to avoid dessert just before bed.
- Get enough sleep. Sleep regularly. This one seems like no-brainer. Sleep seems to be an all around good thing on the side of health benefits, from reducing stress to increasing immunity to improving performance to generally feeling better. Easier said than done, for most of us moms, however.
- Stay hydrated. Again, everyone knows about the recommended eight glasses of water a day, but how many of us actually manage to drink this much? My current solution has been to fill up two 32 oz Nalgene® bottles first thing in the morning and leave them in the fridge. By simply keeping track of how much water I've already had, I'm encouraged to finish my goal. Others suggested adding flavor or drinking on the hour as helpful. And everyone agreed that drinking that final cup right before bed always helps to wake up feeling more refreshed and reducing the risk of a morning headache.
- Increase vitamin-B and magnesium. If you are taking a multi-vitamin, likely you are already getting your Vitamin B. Magnesium is more often found in a calcium, vitamin D, zinc supplement. For whatever reason, these two came up the most often as effective in migraine prevention.
Relief While In the Throws of Throbbing Pain
- Dark, silent, cold room, no sound.
- Ice packs on the top of the head. Ice packs on the forehead. Ice packs at the back of the neck. (Ice may reduce inflammation and relieve pressure.)
- Touching or rubbing targeted "pressure points" for headaches. Points include the temples, the back of the neck at the base of the skull on either side of the spine, inside the webbing of your hands just between the thumb and forefinger, the inside of the eyebrows (just above the bridge of the nose), and the webbing between the big toe and the second toe.
- Heat around the neck or head. (Heat may help relax tight muscles and increase blood flow.)
- Drinking aloe vera juice. (Available at many whole food, health food, or alternative/homeopathic stores, or you can make your own.)
Some Non-Traditional Therapy
This final list is a quick one, and includes some non-traditional but often effective drug-free alternatives to migraine relief. The remedies below require a little more time and money, and may or may not be effective for everyone.
- Regular massage.
- Chiropractic care.
- Using an inversion table.
- Light, sound, or scent therapy.
Share Your Experience
As migraine headaches continue to be an ongoing issue, I'm always interested in hearing the stories and experiences of others. Please leave a comment below with further ideas or experience with any of the above that has worked or not worked for you!