MIGRAINE HEADACHES RELIEF E
THE THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW.
NATURAL WAYS TO RELIEVE
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A migraine is typically a throbbing or pulsing headache, often focused on one-side of the
head, and associated with nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, as well as certain smells.
Twenty-Four million people in the United States alone suffer from migraines. A
migraine is typically a throbbing or pulsing headache, often focused on one-side of the
head, and associated with nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, as well as certain smells.
Attacks are typically recurring, and can be less severe as the migraine sufferer ages.
Migraines can occur at any age, but typically begin between the ages of 10 and 40.
While some people experience several migraines a month, a select few only have a few
migraines throughout their lifetime. Nearly 75% of migraine sufferers are women.
Though migraines can happen at any time, some women experience migraines just prior
to or during menstruation. These migraines, called menstrual migraines, are related to
hormonal changes and often do not occur during pregnancy. Meanwhile, some women
only develop migraines for the first time during pregnancy, or even after menopause.
The actual cause of a migraine is unknown. It is believed, however, that the condition
results from a series of reactions in the central nervous system, usually caused by changes
in the body or in the environment. Migraines often appear to be inherited, as there is
often a family history of the condition. These migraine sufferers may inherit the
sensitivity to triggers that produce inflammation in blood vessels and nerves around the
brain, which cause pain.
The signs and symptoms of migraine pain are often intense and severe, described by
throbbing or pulsating pain that only gets intensified by routine physical activity,
coughing, straining, or even moving the head. These headaches can often gets so severe
that they interfere with the day-to-day activity of a person. Sleeping migraine sufferers
can be awakened by the attack, which can also cause a numbing sensation in hands and
lips, as well as interfere with eyesight and vision for the duration of the attack. Migraines
can be so debilitating - causing sufferers to feel tired and weak even long after the
migraine has passed.
Migraines typically begin in a specific area, usually on one side of the head, and can
spread and build in intensity over a course of a few hours, then gradually subside. They
can last an entire day, or in some extremely severe cases, several days.
The problem with migraine symptoms is that they are as varied as the individual sufferer.
The strange sensations, such as tingling or the feeling of numbness, are known as auras,
and can start anywhere from ten to thirty minutes before the migraine pain actually sets
Migraine treatment is possible. Knowing what triggers your migraines and avoiding
them is one of the best ways to avoid a migraine. Treating acute attacks as they appear is
crucial. Talking to your doctor, who may prescribe regular use of a preventative
medication can also be the way to go. Over the counter treatments for migraines can be
helpful, as well as resting or sleeping in a completely dark and quiet place.
Migraine Headache Pain Relief Management
Although unpleasant, headache pain is basically regarded as a normal part of a person’s
daily life. Since headache pain is among the top reasons for medical appointments to
doctors and physicians today, it only proves that there is really nothing more typical on
this type of illness.
The major causes of headache pain vary from the different cases of headache. Among the
top factors that trigger headache pain are viruses, bio-chemicals, hormones, and bacteria.
Genetics also has something to do with a person’s susceptibility to headache pains.
People with low levels of serotonin are more likely to suffer from headache. Serotonin is
the neuro-chemical that protects an individual from pain.
Determining different types of headache pain
While irritating and unpleasant pain is inevitable in all types of headache, it actually
comes in different forms. It is really important for one to know the various types of
headache pain in order to have proper diagnosis and application of headache pain relief
1. Migraine headache pain
This type of pain occurs on the one side of the head. The pain can become severe to
the point that it can interfere with a person’s daily productivity.
2. Cluster headache pain
This type of headache pain is severe and sudden. Although a cluster headache has a
shorter duration compared to other types of headache, it can trigger up to six times in one
3. Sinus headache pain
An infection, swelling, and irritation of the sinuses can spark a sinus headache pain.
This type of headache pain is oftentimes mistaken with tension and migraine pains.
4. Rebound migraine headache pain
A rebound migraine headache pain is oftentimes caused by over-consumption of
migraine headache medications. Instead of diminishing the pain, pain reliever drugs can
ultimately cause headache pains when abused.
Migraine Headaches - Is Relief Without Drugs Possible?
Tired of taking potentially harmful drugs for your migraine headaches? Wanting to
discover a cheap and natural solution to your pain? There are many different migraine
headache treatments available today that are both safe and effective.
Natural treatment methods for migraine headaches are usually harmless and also cheaper
than traditional pain medications. Sure, it's possible you could experience a negative
reaction or even increase your headache pain because of a natural treatment, but the odds
are far less than with pain-relieving medications.
Natural Remedies for Migraines and Headaches
Do you suffer from constant headaches or migraines? If you do, you may be looking to
seek relief. With that being said, even if you only occasionally suffer from headaches or
migraines, you may still be seeking fast relief, but in a natural way. For natural ways to
relieve the pain and discomfort associated with migraines and headaches, please continue
Grapes are a great and natural way to seek relief from a headache or a migraine. When it
comes to using grapes to seek relief, there are a number of different steps that can be
taken. For natural consumption, just eat a bowlful of ripe grapes. Another approach
involves just drinking the juice, as the juice is what provides the relief. With this
approach, squish or grind a few grapes and drink the juice.
In keeping with what is consumed, it is important to eat a proper diet. Diet is not only an
ideal way to help get over a migraine quicker, but it is also a way to reduce your chances
of suffering from one. A well balanced diet is key to staying happy and healthy. Fruits,
vegetables, whole grains, nuts, honey, yogurt, and milk are advised. In fact, one other
natural remedy for headaches that comes highly recommended is eating a fresh apple
Water is also key to reducing the average time frame of a headache or a migraine. As
with a healthy diet, the regular consumption of water can help to prevent the onset of
headaches and migraines. In addition to drinking plain water, another home and natural
remedy for headaches and migraines that comes recommended is that of honey. Many
headache and migraine sufferers report a decrease or complete elimination in pain when
drinking a glass of water with a teaspoon of honey.
A cold compress can also and should be used to help treat a migraine or a headache. A
ziplock bag filled with ice or a cold washcloth can be used. Although a cold compress is
an ideal way to seek relief from a headache or a migraine, there are also individuals who
claim that heat provides them with assistance. If you would like to try this approach, start
with warm washcloths or towels around the neck and armpits.
Those who have the option to do so are encouraged to sleep when they develop a painful
headache or migraine. Although sleep may not provide permanent relief, the temporary
relief is still preferred by many. Even if sleep is not possible, like if you are a parent who
is at home with your child, stay in a dark room. Light can often complicate a headache,
especially a migraine. This can make the pain much worse or even unbearable for many.
For that reason, those suffering from migraines are encouraged to limit their exposure to
household lights, sunlight, television, and computer screens.
Headaches, especially migraines, can be debilitating. Some sufferers are unable to
continue on with their daily activities. If this describes you and if you have tried the
above mentioned natural and home remedies for migraines without success, you may
want to consider contacting a healthcare professional. As nice as it is to stay natural, it is
important to be able to complete your daily tasks, especially if you are employed or a
Drug Free Alternatives to Migraine Relief.
People are different from each other. A natural treatment that might relieve one person's
migraine headaches may not relieve someone else's. But on the same measure, just
because one migraine headache treatment does not work for one person does not mean it
won't work for you. There are many effective alternatives to taking medication when it
comes to relieving migraine headaches. One of these alternative methods may be just
what you have been looking for.
Chiropractic adjustments, or chiropractic manipulations, are a very popular natural
treatment method for headache relief. Patients with migraine headaches have been
visiting chiropractors for over 100 years, and with very good results. Studies have shown
that over 80% of headache patients find relief with chiropractic care. Plus, chiropractic
treatment has been shown to be extremely safe. Spinal problems do cause headaches and
by correcting these spinal problems many headache sufferers find welcome relief.
Biofeedback is another form of treatment that is safe and can be effective in eliminating
pain. Biofeedback is a training program designed to help a person develop the ability to
control their autonomic (involuntary) nervous system. Functions that are normally
automatic can be controlled voluntarily. This technique makes it possible for a person to
control their own heart rate, blood pressure, skin temperature, and of course, the
relaxation of their tense muscles.
Stress can cause tension, which can lead to muscle tightness (muscle tension) and cause
headaches. By relaxing these tense muscles, especially in the neck, it is possible to
relieve the tension causing the migraine headaches. With biofeedback, once the technique
is learned there is no longer any need for the biofeedback equipment. The patient with
migraine headaches can now produce the desired effect at any. They can control certain
bodily functions, such as muscle relaxation, which can help reduce and relieve their
Most people are unaware that too much salt can cause headaches. And by simply
lessening the salt intake headaches can sometimes be prevented.
Food allergies or sensitivities can also cause migraine headaches. Certain foods such as
cheese, alcohol, monosodium glutamate (a food additive), nuts, beans, caffeine, chocolate
and onions can cause migraines. Foods that cause headaches are called “triggers.” People
who experience migraine headaches because of food sensitivities can eliminate their pain
by simply eliminating the foods causing the pain.
However, it’s not always easy to discover which foods are the culprits. One way is to
keep a food diary. Get a small notebook, with each page representing one day. On each
daily page make three columns. The first column will contain the hours in the day. The
second column will be a list of the foods eaten that day. And the third column will list the
symptoms that you experience.
As an example, if you had eggs and toast for breakfast at 8 AM you would write “eggs
and toast” in the food column that corresponds with 8 AM. Make a note of everything
that is eaten on this list and at what time they were eaten.
When you eventually experience a migraine headache you write “migraine headache” or
“headache” down in the symptoms column at the time it began. For example, if one of
your headaches begins at 2 PM you will write “headache” in the symptoms column for 2
It may take a few weeks or even a few months, but after experiencing a few migraine
headaches, with the help of the food diary, you will be able to tell which foods cause
headaches. Over time, by figuring out which ingredients in these foods are causing your
pain, you will be able to eliminate these ingredients and relieve some pain.
Another very common cause of tension headaches and migraine headaches is just plain
stress. People who experience tension can get headaches from their increased tension.
Relieving tension can often relieve migraine headaches. Tension can be relieved in many
ways such as with biofeedback training (as explained above), taking a warm bath or
shower, lying down and resting in a quiet dark room, putting something cold on the back
of the neck (at the base of the skull) or having someone massage your neck muscles and
possibly your temporal region to help relieve your tension and muscle spasms. Regular
exercise can also, over time, reduce tension.
These are just a few of the many natural treatment methods that are available to migraine
headache patients. They are all considered safe and are effective for many people. If you
have headaches it may be beneficial to try some of these treatments or search out others
on your own. But as always it is a good idea to talk with your doctor before attempting to
treat yourself for a health problem.
Exercise to Ease Migraines
The relationship between exercise and migraines is quixotic. Science says that exercise,
by promoting the regular release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain controllers,
should help ease the frequency and severity of migraines. Many migraineurs claim that
their attacks are triggered by physical exertion. Who is right?
Like many other aspects of migraines, the answer is contradictory because both groups
are correct. Strenuous exercise can cause migraines in people who are prone to them.
Regular exercise can reduce the frequency and severity of migraine headaches as well as
increasing overall health and wellness.
Regular exercise reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases like high
cholesterol and high blood pressure. It also helps improve sleep patterns and relieves
stress. All of which can subtly affect the likelihood of migraines.
Migraineurs who gave up exercise as a headache trigger should try again. Common
exercise migraine triggers are things like:
* Not eating properly before exercising and causing a dramatic drop in blood sugar to
* Not taking in enough fluid and becoming dehydrated while exercising
* Starting a new eating plan and a new exercise plan at the same time
* Attempting strenuous exercise without warming up properly
To pinpoint exertion-related migraine triggers, migraineurs should keep an exercise log.
It should include specific information:
* Time of day when exercising
* Last meal prior to workout
* Fluid intake
* Medication details
* Whether or not a headache occurred during or after the workout
The best type of exercise for migraineurs is regular, moderate aerobic exercise, at least 30
minutes three times a week. Recommended activities include:
* Power Walking
Any new exercise plan needs at least six weeks to discover if it has a beneficial effect on
Migraines and Caffeine
Migraineurs have a love-hate relationship with caffeine. For many, the vasoconstrictor
helps alleviate their migraine pain. For an equal number, the chemical is a migraine
headache trigger. The relationship between caffeine and migraines is anything but
For caffeine addicts who discover that their daily cuppa is a migraine trigger the problem
of caffeine is particularly thorny. People who regularly consume large quantities of
caffeine often experience withdrawal headaches if they do not get their regular java jolt.
If they are predisposed to migraines, the headache they get if they cut out the caffeine is
going to be a doozy. Many people think caffeine withdrawal alone can bring on a
migraine. Regular caffeine-aholics are advised to lower their caffeine intake slowly so
they do not send their body into withdrawal.
Many migraine pain relievers include caffeine. The vasoconstrictive action of caffeine
helps relieve migraine pain for some people. One current theory of what exactly goes on
in the head during migraine proposes that arteries in the temple get inflamed during an
attack and vasoconstriction would reduce the inflammation. Another possible reason to
include caffeine in a migraine medication is because it acts as a supplement to the main
analgesic. Studies have shown that many analgesics function more efficiently and pack a
greater punch when paired with caffeine, though no one is sure exactly why.
Caffeine shows up in many unexpected places, so migraineurs who are sensitive to it (not
all are) need to be vigilant label readers. Everyone knows about beverages, things like
coffee and colas. Caffeine is also found in many clear or fruit-flavored sodas. Caffeine
can be found in chocolate; the darker the chocolate the more caffeine it contains.
Caffeine is in many over-the-counter analgesics, and not always clearly labeled.
Migraineurs should be especially warty of caffeine in over-the-counter migraine formulas
of regular medications.
Migraines and Depression
Being in pain so fierce that the only recourse is to hide in a dark, quiet room until it is
over several times a year would make anyone sad. Migraineurs, though, are five times
more likely to develop clinical depression than people who do not have these debilitating
headaches. Conversely, people who are depressed are three times likelier than happy
people to become migraineurs.
Many scientists view the intertwining of migraine and depression as a chicken or egg
situation. They are patently comorbid, but does one cause the other? If so, which one
starts the process, the migraine or the depression? The answer is not that simple.
Migraines, depression, and, unsurprisingly, insomnia, a state associated with both
conditions have something in common. All three are associated with neurotransmitter
deficiencies in the brain.
Doctors believe that while they are related, depression and migraine headaches have
distinct causes with a similar neurobiology. For years, doctors blamed depression in
migraineurs on their resultant loss of quality of life due to headaches. Now it looks as
though the link is a biologic shared mechanism rather than psychology.
One danger for clinically depressed migraineurs is possible drug interaction between their
depression medication and their migraine drugs. In July 2006 the FDA recognized one
such danger, that of mixing triptans for migraines with SSRIs (selective serotonin
reuptake inhibitors) or SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), used to
treat depression and mood disorders. Combining the drugs can lead to a condition called
Serotonin syndrome occurs when there is too much serotonin in the body. Symptoms
include hallucinations, increased heart rate and body temperature, fast changes in blood
pressure, and gastrointestinal upset. Sometimes a patient has no choice but to take these
medications together, but they need to weigh their options with their doctor and be
monitored closely for serotonin syndrome.
Migraines and Insomnia
A bout of insomnia will often bring on a migraine in someone prone to them. Having a
migraine will often lead to insomnia. It sounds like a vicious cycle, and, for some
migraineurs, it can be.
Insomnia is characterized by the inability to fall asleep, stay asleep, or fall back to sleep if
awakened unexpectedly. Head and abdominal pain from a migraine may exacerbate the
inability to sleep in people already inclined to sleep disorders.
A 2005 study published in Headache, the journal of the American Headache Society,
discusses the links between poor sleep and migraines. Most of the study participants
reported some form of sleep trouble and over 50% attributed migraine onset to sleep
disturbances at least some of the time.
Almost 40% of participants admitted to sleeping six or less hours a night. These “short
sleepers” experienced more frequent and severe migraines than other migraineurs. Short
sleepers were also more likely to wake up with daily headaches, a condition known as
Over 85% of the study participants said they chose to sleep or rest because of headache
pain and 75% said the pain forced them to sleep.
Insomnia and migraines have something in common. Serotonin deficiency is linked to a
number of disorders, including migraines and insomnia. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter
thought to be an important part of the body’s regulation of sleep, mood, appetite,
vomiting, and body temperature. It is manufactured in the gastrointestinal tract, where
90% of it is produced, and the central nervous system, and then stored in the blood.
Insufficient serotonin levels are also associated with several gastric disorders. This may
explain why so many migraine sufferers experience stomach problems prior to or during
a headache. Lack of serotonin is also likely to be a major component in the phenomenon
known as abdominal migraines.
Migraines and Obesity
Are you more likely to have migraines if you are obese?
The simple answer, for adults, is no.
The more complicated answer is sort-of. Obesity does not cause migraines in adults—the
jury is still out on how obesity affects pediatric migraine
That’s the good news. The bad news is that migraine and obesity can have a devastating
affect on each other.
While obesity does not cause migraines, migraines, especially for people with migraines
plus chronic daily headaches, can lead to obesity. People with migraines are likely to
spend more time being sedentary, forced to inaction by the pain in their head.
Additionally, many medications given to migraineurs cause weight gain directly, others
cause it indirectly by increasing appetite.
Weight gain leads to depression in many people, which leads to more unhealthy
behaviors (compulsiveness, hopelessness, increased inactivity, etc.) Inaction, weight
gain, and increased appetite—a road that begins in migraine may well end in obesity.
Recent studies have divided migraineurs into different categories by their body mass
index (BMI). The higher the body mass index, the more overweight the patient. The
majority of the study participants were women, and median age was approximately 38
Obese migraineurs, those with a BMI of 30 or higher, are far more likely to have extra
problems with their migraines than people with a lower BMI are. Patients with higher
body mass indexes reported more frequent headaches that lasted longer and were more
severe than those experienced by lower BMI patients were.
There have been several studies on weight and headache prevalence, especially
migraines, in children and teens. The initial results are a little frightening since almost all
of them saw a correlation between a high BMI and incidence of migraines and other
types of severe headaches (tension headaches, cluster headaches). All agreed, however,
that more research is needed.
Migraines and PMS
No one knows exactly what causes migraine headaches, or even what happens in the
body and brain when someone has one. One thing that is known, however, is that three
times as many women as men have migraines. Many female migraineurs will also
confess that their headaches are likely to coincide with the period just before their
A whopping sixty percent of women migraineurs have migraines during their period and
during the rest of the month. Fourteen percent only have a migraine headache during
their period. Look at the numbers; seventy-four percent of all women migraineurs
associate their period with their headaches, and while medical science does not deny the
connection, the reason for it is still unknown.
In addition, many women who become migraineurs later in life say that their pre-
menstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms became much more acute since the headaches
began. A study published in the January 2006 issue of Headache confirmed the
apocryphal evidence. Women participating reported that bloating, weight gain, breast
tenderness, mood swings, back pain, and abdominal cramps all became more severe
during a migraine.
The women in the study were given a medication to induce a temporary artificial
menopause by halting the action of the ovaries. Even with the hormonal ups and downs
of regular periods eliminated, they still reported worsened PMS symptoms during a
The fourteen percent of women who only have migraines during their period are said to
have “menstrual migraines”. There is hope, though. For some lucky women, taking a
brief course of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, like ibuprofen) for
several days prior to their period as well as the first few days of it can stave off a
menstrual migraine. Women who want to try this type of prophylactic treatment should
discuss the option with their doctor.
Finding a Migraine Doctor
You have severe, debilitating headaches that cause you to vomit and huddle in a dark
room for hours waiting for them to go away. Chances are they are migraines. The only
way to know for sure, and start on the path to managing your condition if they are
migraines, is to be properly diagnosed.
The first step should always be your regular doctor. One out of every eight people
suffers from migraines, so chances are good that your doctor has seen someone who has
migraines before. If your regular doctor does not feel qualified to properly diagnose the
source of your headaches or discounts your pain, it may be time for a specialist.
Ask your doctor for a referral to a headache specialist. If they do not know anyone,
check with your insurance company to see if they have any specialists listed. If that
doesn’t work (or even if it does), contact your local medical board. You can also try one
of the major headache organizations for professionals, not patients, and ask for the name
of three or four specialists in your area.
Check with friends and family. The odds are good you know someone with migraines
and they may just have a doctor they love. Another good place to ask for a referral is at a
local teaching hospital or university.
When you have a few names, call and find out more about the doctor. Some good
screening questions to ask the doctor are:
* How long have you been specializing in headache treatment and how often do you treat
* Are you certified in your specialty (for doctors in the U.S. and Canada)?
* Do you belong to any headache-oriented professional organizations?
* Do you participate in any kind of continuing education program to stay apprised of the
latest research on headache diagnosis and treatment.
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