What are they?
A migraine is a severe, throbbing headache. It often occurs in one side of the head and is frequently accompanied by symptoms of nausea, sickness and extreme sound and light sensitivity.
Migraine sufferers may also experience a stage called ‘aura’ – this involves visual flashes, blind spots and dizziness.
A tip to manage your migraines is to note down when they occur – this can help you determine what may be causing them. Track them on a calendar and make sure to note any changes, patterns or potential factors such as:
Drop in estrogen levels – Before menstruating, women experience a decline in estrogen. This imbalance appears to be a common cause of migraines.
Alcohol – If you sense a hangover-style pain after one or two drinks, you may be experiencing migraines. If you are suffering a headache within eight hours of drinking alcohol, avoid it.
Hunger – Try not to go longer than three hours without food, fluctuations in blood sugar can activate your migraine response.
Caffeine – If you are a regular drinker of coffee, you have prepared your body for withdrawal headaches. This form of headache can stimulate the migraine receptor.
Here are five natural remedies believed to help relieve migraines:
Ice packs – When stopping migraine pain, always choose cold rather than heat; ice is an anti-inflammatory so it will help relieve the tension.
Supplements – A recent study found that migraine sufferers who took 400mg of vitamin B2 daily, experienced significantly less pain over a period of three months.
Relaxation techniques – Tai chi can increase body awareness, practising this method will make oncoming migraines easier to detect and give you the ability to treat the pain before it gets too bad. Massage is said to ease neck and shoulder tension and yoga with the focus on mindfulness (restorative yoga in particular) is also suggested for migraine relief.
Herbs – The American Academy of Neurology have found that the herb, butterbur is effective in treating migraine pain. Dry-leaf feverfew capsules are also believed to reduce the frequency of migraines, although more clinical evidence is needed.
Acupuncture – Research has found that acupuncture therapy can provide patients with similar long-term migraine relief as medication, just without the potential side-effects.