Better Health
Live Your Life to the Fullest

Alternative Migraine Treatment

Search more topics here
Custom Search
woman receiving migraine treatment, treat your migraine with massage

Migraine headaches are a neurological condition that occurs physiologically. People, who suffer from migraine headaches can experience a wide variety of symptoms including nausea, vomiting, altered body perception, disturbance of vision and severe headaches. It can cause debilitating effects, causing someone to miss work, or school for sometimes more than one day. Unfortunately, there has been no proven cause of migraines. It has been linked to several different theories such as genetic, but nothing is concrete.

            In addition to having no cause, there is no cure for migraines either. There are several types of treatments on the market but not every treatment works for every person who is suffering from migraines. Not every type of treatment will work for everyone. One treatment may work for someone and not the next person. This is understandable especially in the case of prescription medication and over the counter medicine. Medication affects everyone differently.

            The human body is made up of the same chemical composition. However, when the body starts secreting hormones and chemicals for natural body function, each person’s body will secrete the amount it specifically needs. So for one person the body may only secret a milliliter where as in another person the body my need 5 milliliters. This goes for all bodily secretions such as insulin, histamines, hormones, adrenaline, etc. When medicine is entered into the blood stream, it changes the chemical make-up in the body. When mixed with different amounts of chemical within the body a different reaction will occur. This is how you can get two completely separate reactions from two different people who take the same medication.

            It is the same for alternative treatments for migraines as well. Even though alternative therapies don’t change the chemical make up in the body, not everyone’s body will react the same to alternative treatments. If one treatment doesn’t work for you, that’s not to say it won’t work for someone else. It just means you need to keep trying until you find the right treatment for you.

            The most common alternative treatment for migraine headaches is ice. Ice therapy is used in all different types of medical settings for decreasing swelling and inflammation. In some migraine theories the blood vessels in the brain become dilated which causes swelling in and around the nerves. To reduce this swelling and cause migraine symptoms to subside place an ice pack on the back of the neck for 15-20 minutes. Never put ice directly on the skin, always place a towel or paper towel in between the ice pack and the skin. Additional care includes lying down in a dark, quiet room. Migraines affect visual and
auditory senses, so by lessening the sensations to these areas you can reduce the symptoms of a migraine.

            If ice doesn’t work for you, the opposite may help. Take a warm bath or shower. Heat can open up the pores and relax muscles.  Tension and stress can build up in the muscle tissue in the neck and shoulders, which inhibit blood flow to the head and brain causing headaches. Get a therapeutic (in a doctors office) massage or give yourself a head and neck massage. Loosening these muscles can relieve the pressure on the nerves that supply blood to the head, neck, shoulders, and arms.

            Tension and stress are huge causes of decreased body function. Stress not only affects your ability to work properly or function, it affects your muscles, mobility, and agility. Stress can cause people to become sick i.e. Stomach problems, migraine headaches, inability to eat, etc., if maintained over long periods of time. That is why it is so important to reduce stress wherever possible. Massage therapy, meditation, yoga, or exercising are inexpensive easy ways to reduce stress on a daily basis.

            Another way of reducing stress and ultimately reducing migraine headaches is through biofeedback. Biofeedback is not a treatment, however it is process of training the body to become aware of the physiological functions and controlling them. The autonomic nervous system controls processes in the body that occur involuntarily such as blood pressure, heart rate, pain perception, skin temperature, and muscle tone. Using instrumentation at first the person can train the body to manipulate these processes. So eventually overtime someone can control whether a muscle becomes tense, or even if it does they can return it to a relaxed position therefore reducing stress and the likelihood of a migraine occurring.

            Food can be another cause of migraine occurrences. The American diet, now a days is filled with fatty, greasy, sugary, salty food. Its no wonder why there are so many people that are overweight. One ingredient that is added to food over abundantly is salt. Most of the food we eat already has salt added to it. However, more often than not people add extra salt, whether it is for taste or just because they are used to it. Salt constricts the blood vessels reducing the ability for the blood to flow through. Less blood flowing throughout the body increases the blood pressure and the likelihood of causing a migraine. Try to reduce your salt intake. Avoid added abundant amounts of salt to your food. If you are looking for taste try some spices such as cumin, turmeric, curry, garlic or ginger.

            If salt isn’t a problem in your diet then, another possibility is a food sensitivity. Foods such as cheese, alcohol, MSG (monosodium glutamate - a food additive), yeast, wheat, nuts, avocados, beans, bananas, oranges (and other citrus fruits), pork, vinegar (and pickled foods), dairy products, caffeine, chocolate, and onions all have been proven to cause migraines. Although these are not the only foods, it is important to eliminate the food sensitivity to decrease the frequency and intensity of your migraines. The easiest way to find a food sensitivity is to keep a food diary.

            A food diary will determine and which foods could be causing your migraines. Get a small notebook and make 3 columns on each page. In the first column you will record the time of day that you eat your foods. In the second column you will record what food you ate in accordance with the time that you ate it. In the third column you will write the symptoms of your heads in accordance with the time that they occur. Over time you should be able to notice a pattern of what foods are causing you to get migraines. Once you know what the food it you can eliminate it from your diet. If you have trouble determining what ingredient or part of the meal that is causing you to get the headaches your next step would be to do an elimination diet.

            An elimination diet, allows you to pinpoint the exact ingredient or food that is causing migraine headaches. At this point you should have minimized the number of foods that could be causing your headaches. Stop eating these foods; remove them from your diet completely. Then you will reintroduce them back into your diet 1 at a time with a week in between. This gives each food enough time to cause any symptoms if a food allergy is causing migraines.

            If none of these alternative methods works for you, your next option should be to see a chiropractor. Chiropractors are specially trained in diagnosing and correcting spinal problems that cause pain, decreased range of motion and immobility. When the spine becomes misaligned, nerves can become pinched reducing blood flow and causing swelling. Headaches and migraines in addition to back pain, and neck pain are just a few of the problems that chiropractic can solve. A chiropractor realigns the vertebrae releasing the pressure off of the nerves and relieves the symptoms of headaches. Chiropractic has proven a successful alternative treatment for many of today’s health problems. More than 80% of patients find relief from their headache symptoms with chiropractic treatment and many see results almost immediately.

            Remember to never stop searching for a solution to your migraine pain. If one treatment doesn’t work for you, try another one. Not all treatments will work for everyone, however all of these treatments are natural alternatives to prescriptions medications and surgery.