Natural Treatments for Migraines
1. Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
A poor diet, high in things like processed foods and sodium, is one of the biggest triggers for migraine symptoms. Foods that can make migraine headache pain worse include added sugar, refined grain products, conventional dairy products, aged cheese, red wine, chocolate, eggs, artificial food additives (such as the sweetener aspartame), flavor enhancers, high amounts of sodium, very cold foods or nitrates in processed meat. (8)
Foods that can help prevent or treat migraines include those with omega-3 fatty acids (like nuts, seeds and wild-caught fish), fresh fruits and vegetables, foods high in magnesium, and healthy, lean proteins.
2. Manage Stress and Get Enough Sleep
Sleeping too much or too little can both increase migraine symptoms. (9) Stress can also cause sleep trouble, muscle tension and changes in blood flow. Make an effort to stick to a regular sleeping, exercise and eating schedule to keep blood sugar stable and hormones balanced throughout the day. Build in time to relieve stress throughout the day using things like exercise, reading, acupuncture, going outdoors and meditation. Cognitive behavioral therapy and other forms of psychotherapy might also be helpful to deal with chronic pain, negative thoughts and unhelpful behavior.
3. Keep a “Migraine Journal” to Track Symptoms
Not sure what’s causing your migraine symptoms? It could be your diet, nutrient deficiencies (such as magnesium deficiency), exercise routine or other factors. Some people find it very helpful to keep a log of their symptoms along with possible triggers, including dietary patterns, stress levels, time and type of exercise performed, and amount of sleep. This can help you draw connections and narrow down factors that might cause migraine attacks.
4. Limit Screen Time or Lots of Light Exposure
If you notice that migraines are triggered from blue light exposure being omitted from electronic devices, limit the amount of time you spend using these devices or consider wearing blue light-blocking glasses. If sunlight seems to worsen headaches, wear sunglasses when outdoors (especially those that are tinted blue or green to block UV rays reaching your eyes).
5. Use Essential Oils and Heat
Essential oils for headaches include peppermint, lavender, eucalyptus, frankincense and rosemary. These can be applied to the painful side of the head, neck and elsewhere to soothe tension and stress. You can also numb the pain with a heated towel, heating pad or ice pack applied to the head, upper back or neck for about 15 minutes at a time.