Headaches & Migraines

Natural Remedies for Migraines

5 ways to combat these debilitating headaches

If you suffer from migraines, you don’t need us to tell you they can cause excruciating pain, visual disturbances and nausea. They can also be so debilitating that all you are able to do is curl up in a darkened room in complete silence—sometimes for days. But you don’t always need a prescription for a migraine remedy. Here are some ways you can find relief without medication:

  • Change your diet. Some foods—alcohol, artificial sweeteners, cheese, chocolate, MSG and processed meats are some of the most common ones—can trigger migraines. The best way to learn if foods trigger your painful attacks is by keeping a food diary. Jot down what foods you ate when a migraine came on, and then eliminate these foods one at a time to see if your migraines improve.
  • Try acupuncture. Small studies suggest this complementary therapy can ease migraine pain and may reduce the number of headaches you have, too.
  • Breathe. Stress can kick off a migraine, so try relaxation techniques, including deep breathing. With practice, you may be able to head off the pain of a migraine before it starts.
  • Get a massage. Though massage for migraines hasn’t been studied in depth, preliminary research is promising. A 2006 study found massage therapy reduced the number of headaches people experienced (though it doesn’t help once a migraine has already started). Massage can also reduce stress, a known migraine trigger. And really—do you need an excuse for a massage?
  • Take a supplement. Some recent research suggests that vitamin B2 may reduce the frequency of migraines. Talk to your health-care provider before starting a supplement regimen, though, to make sure it doesn’t interact with any other medications you’re taking.
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