Science-backed treatments for the disorder include yoga, acupuncture and even caffeine
Migraines are a severe, even debilitating, neurological disorder that affects people of all ages. The condition often involves pain in the head and neck, and can also include visual or sensory episodes. While migraines often go undiagnosed, experts estimate the disorder affects about one in seven Americans annually.
Dizziness, nausea, fatigue, light sensitivity, difficulty seeing or even sensations of numbness in the limbs may all be symptoms. And a migraine episode can last for hours or even days, and leave lingering symptoms, making daily tasks difficult. This is the situation for Chasing the Cure's Brenda who has suffered a mysterious headache for nine years.
Brenda's story was first featured on Episode Three of Chasing the Cure
Some migraines may have an identifiable cause — and some may not — the experience can vary between individuals. It’s also worth noting that the medical community has yet to fully understand the cause of the often unpredictable headaches, which may be experienced acutely or chronically.
For prevention and relief, here are five migraine remedies which may help on their own, or in tandem with a doctor-prescribed regimen:
Regular exercise and time to unwind are important for addressing migraines, which is where yoga comes in. Stress can contribute to migraine pain or frequency, while yoga involves deep breathing and mindful movement to help relieve tension and promote relaxation. If you’re in the midst of a migraine episode, try some gentle yoga. Regular yoga and meditation can help balance the body and mind, which may improve quality-of-life for migraine sufferers.
Acupuncture is a traditional medicine that involves a licensed professional placing needles at strategic points in the body to promote healing. How acupuncture works is not easily explained by Western medicine; nonetheless, some studies have shown promise that acupuncture treatments can help relieve migraines for chronic sufferers.
While caffeine may be a trigger of migraines for some, for others it can actually provide relief, especially when combined with pain relievers. If you know too much java isn’t at the root of your migraine try green tea or even a carbonated beverage.
Higher temperatures and blinding sun can be real triggers for migraine sufferers. While seeking out cooler temperatures is a good idea, the most important thing is to stay hydrated, so don’t overdo it on caffeine, avoid alcohol and drink plenty of water.
Over-the-counter pain relievers can help migraines, especially when combined with other remedies. However, there are countless prescription treatments and preventative medicines available so consult with a physician to find the right one. Prescription medications are highly individual and have varying side effects, so you’ll need to open up that conversation with your doctor if you're still not finding relief from them.
The most important thing if you are suffering from migraines is to take care of yourself by living a healthy lifestyle. Get support by reaching out to fellow migraine-suffers through online communities such as Move Against Migraine, The Migraine Zone, and Chasing the Cure’s Facebook group. Migraines can sometimes be a symptom of more life-threatening illness, so it’s important to consult with your doctor about what you’re experiencing and a safe treatment plan.
Lorinda Toledo is a writer and journalist in Los Angeles.
Case Files Related To This Article
- CASE FILE
Woke up 9 years ago with a daily debilitating headache. Numerous healthcare providers and procedure have yet to identify its source or fix.