Migraine Remedies to Keep You Going
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I’ve been a migraine headache sufferer for as long as I can remember. When I was a pre-teen and into my teenage years, I suffered from migraines with brainstem aura. They caused me to get tunnel vision and vertigo, and on a few occasions, completely faint. My mom discovered the trigger: overprocessed foods and sugar, like cinnamon sugar bagels (my favorites back then!!).
Knowing what I know now, my migraines were also probably triggered by gluten as well. Because now that I am sugar-free and gluten-free, and I’ve healed my gut, my migraines have almost gone away. The main trigger I still have is weather-pressure related, and there’s not much I can do about that. (And oddly, it only happens here in the Midwest.)
Why am I telling you this?
Because understanding your migraine and its causes is a big step towards getting rid of them. And, the type of migraine affects the type of migraine remedies that will work. So before you can figure out what natural remedies for migraines will work, you have to figure out the type of migraine you have and its triggers.
What Causes Migraines & Types of Migraines
Figure out what your migraine triggers are so you can figure out how to fix them. Triggers include:
- Blood sugar issues, such as hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia
- Food allergies
- Sinus pressure and allergies
- Lack of sleep
- Digestive issues
- Weather pressure
- Spine or neck out of alignment
- Vitamin or mineral deficiencies, such as magnesium, B vitamins, or iron
- Environment, especially air quality
To name a few. Everyone has different causes for migraines. Some may be temporary, like a stressful work or living environment or pregnancy. But if you’re getting them often, then try to narrow down what’s causing them. Do you get one every time it rains? Or when you eat candy? Sometimes it takes a doctor to figure it out, like with vitamin deficiencies. If you think you may be low on vitamins or minerals, see your doctor to get blood work done and tested.
Migraines can be a symptom of something else, too. If you have digestive issues, the migraines could be a result of it. Things like candida overgrowth, an autoimmune disease like Celiac, or a food sensitivity that your stomach can’t handle. Common food sensitivities that cause migraines are dairy, gluten, sugar, and food additives and dyes.
Related: Happy Gut, Happy Mind: The Ultimate Guide to Gut Health, Candida, and Creating a Healthy Microbiome
Types of migraines include:
- Common Migraine: Intense pain or pulsating pain, usually on one side of the head or one specific spot. Migraine symptoms include nausea, dizziness, fatigue, mood swings, and confusion. You may also be sensitive to light, sound, smells, or touch.
- Weather or Sinus Migraine: You feel this headache around your eyes, nose, and across your forehead. The pain feels deep inside your head.
- Stress or Anxiety Migraine: Pain resonates from the neck and back of the head, through the crown of your head.
- Tension Migraine: The pain stems from the neck but continues all the way through to the forehead. The forehead often feels taunt from pain.
- Migraines from Digestive Issues or Food: The sharp, intense pain throbs around the forehead, temples, and eye sockets. It makes your eyes feel sore.
- Cluster Migraine & Chronic Migraine: A cluster migraine may come and go throughout the day. But it reappears for several days or even weeks. A chronic migraine is when you get a migraine for more than 15 days a month. Or, when they last consistently without relief for several days.
Do any of those sound like you? I know I’ve experienced most of those types of migraines at some point or another. Understanding your migraine will help you fight it and keep them at bay.
Home Remedies for Migraines
Apple Cider Vinegar
If you’re experiencing a migraine caused by digestive issues, blood sugar issues, or dehydration, ACV will help you bounce back. ACV works best for when the migraine is from sugar, which makes the body acidic. ACV, when consumed, becomes alkaline and helps balance your body’s pH and relieve your throbbing temples. Add a pinch of cayenne to speed up the process, as it also reduces acidity in the body and relieves aches and pains.
I make a Good Girl Moonshine (an ACV drink from the Trim Healthy Mama cookbook — pictured above) and add cayenne. It always cures my blood sugar migraines!
Magnesium, Iron, Potassium, Vitamin B, and Vitamin D
Most people are magnesium-deficient, so this can be a common cause of a migraine. If you’re experiencing the common migraine symptoms, cluster or chronic migraines, you may be lacking magnesium. I get my magnesium from my Plexus TriPlex, but you can also take a supplement or even bathe in Epsom salt. Epsom salt is high in magnesium, and helps detox any toxins in your body that could be causing your migraine.
Another option for getting in your magnesium is adding pink Himalayan salt to your diet. It’s rich in minerals your body may be lacking, and it’s an easy swap for table salt.
Lack of potassium can sometimes cause headaches and muscle spasms, especially if you’ve been sweating a lot or working out. If you’re low on potassium, try eating a banana to give you a boost.
Iron, Vitamin B complex, and Vitamin D are all common to be deficient in. Eat foods rich in these, such as eggs, fish, beans, and any leafy green like spinach. One thing to keep in mind: Vitamin D can block iron absorption, so you want to try to consume them separately (or take your supplements at different times of the day). Vitamin C helps boost iron absorption. If you think you may be low, talk to your doctor first, but eating a healthy diet never hurts.
If you have a tension, stress, anxiety, or sinus migraine, essential oils can help. For sinuses, try rubbing peppermint and eucalyptus oils onto your temples, nose, and chest to open up the sinuses and relieve pressure. For tension headaches, use coconut oil, peppermint, and cayenne and apply to the back of your neck for relief. For stress and anxiety, mix peppermint, lavender, and frankincense oils and apply to the temples, above the eyebrows, and along the neck. Then, breathe in the scent from your hands for a few seconds to relax.
Kefir, Ginger, Aloe, or a Probiotic
If your symptoms are caused by inflammation in your stomach, try drinking something soothing. Kefir or a probiotic can help heal your gut and restore balance. If you think you may have a food sensitivity or candida, work on cutting out the food you suspect for 2 weeks. See if that helps while also cleansing your body of sugar. Help your body heal with the probiotic.
Aloe and ginger are anti-inflammatory, too. They help your body calm down which may help relieve your migraine.
The problem with migraines caused by digestive issues or food sensitivities is that they aren’t quick to fix. Until the food, sugar, or other inflammatory problem passes, your migraine will continue. The best way to combat this is to try to heal your gut. Cut out the food, and use essential oils and other suggestions on this list to help the symptoms. If your pain is behind your eyes, in your temples, and across your forehead, it’s time to take a look at your diet and gut.
For tension migraines or migraines caused by misalignment, yoga can often help relieve the pressure. Load up a video on YouTube like this one for “text neck” and other neck pain. Or do a full body stretch to make sure you get your entire back and hamstrings, which can cause migraines as well.
If you get migraines all the time and feel out of alignment, consider seeing a chiropractor. I was out of alignment in my neck and spine, and after seeing a chiropractor, it’s made a WORLD of difference.
Feverfew and Butterbur
Feverfew and butterbur are two herbs that can help reduce a whole number of ailments, one of which is migraines. They can help with allergy, digestive issue, anxiety and hormonal migraines. They come in supplements, or you can even get them as teas.
Cinnamon, Cayenne, and Spicy Foods
Cinnamon helps balance blood sugar. If you have a migraine from your blood sugar suddenly dropping or skyrocketing then take some cinnamon. Add it to your drink, your yogurt, or take a supplement. It will help stabilize your blood sugar faster.
Cayenne helps balance the body’s pH when eaten. When applied as a rub on your skin, it can reduce aches and pains for tension migraines.
Spicy foods help open up the nasal passages and relieve some pressure when you have a migraine from allergies and sinuses.
Working out may be the last thing you feel like doing when you have a migraine. But, the adrenaline boost you get from working out can help relieve the pressure. Endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine released during your workout gives you that happiness high. If your migraine is from hormones, tension, or stress, this boost in the happy hormones can balance it out and relieve your migraine.
The Obvious: Drink Water, Eat food & Sleep
It may seem obvious, but dehydration and sleep deprivation are common causes of migraines. A lot of people don’t drink or eat enough throughout the day (or go long periods of time between), and they don’t get enough sleep.
Your body can’t function if you don’t feed it. These are the essentials it needs. While I love coffee and tea, they aren’t going to keep your body healthy if you don’t drink water too. If you don’t like plain water, add some lemon, lime, cucumber, or infuse it with fruit like watermelon and strawberries. Make sure to eat throughout the day to keep your blood sugar balanced. And try to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night so your body can recover from the day and your brain has time to rest.
If all Else Fails: Goody’s Extra Strength Headache Powder
Goody’s has the same active ingredients as Excedrin for Migraines, but significantly less toxic fillers. (It only has lactose monohydrate and potassium chloride as inactive ingredients). It’s a better alternative for when you just can’t take the pain anymore. And in my experience, it still works wonders.
What are your tips for Migraine Relief?
When you have a migraine, what do you do to get relief? How often do you get migraines? Have you figured out your triggers or type of migraine you tend to get? Let me hear them in the comments or send me a tweet @RebelHeartBty.
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