Migraines are a prevalent health issue that affects millions of people all around the world. In America alone, it is estimated that 12% of the population suffers regularly from migraines.
Unfortunately, there is no simple cure for migraines. But, many effective treatments can help to reduce the symptoms. The symptoms of a migraine typically include:
- tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
- visual changes/aura
- sensitivity to sound, light, or smell
Some migraines, such as the ocular and vestibular kind, produce more unusual symptoms, including vertigo and mood changes.
The cause of migraines is not yet known. However, a now outdated theory is that they are predominantly caused by spasms in the blood vessels of the brain. However, since triggers and severity of migraines vary from person to person, the causal factors encompass many variables, including genetic, lifestyle and temperamental.
Another theory that is popular about the cause of migraine is that Cortical Spreading Depression is the culprit. This condition is described as a "wave of sustained depolarization (neuronal inactivation) moving through brain tissue."
Much more research is still needed to fully understand why migraines occur before a proper cure can be formulated. But for now, we have many different methods of prevention and treatment.
What are the stages of a migraine?
Knowing when a migraine is about to strike is difficult. But, you can predict the patterns of your migraines, as they are usually relatively consistent once the initial onset commences.
Here is the general progression of a migraine:
- Premonitory or warning phase - feeling tired, craving certain foods, mood changes, and feeling thirsty.
- Aura (not always present) - some people experience visuals such as dots, blind spots, zigzags, and stars in their field of vision.
- The headache or main attack stage - this can constitute anything from mild to severe pain usually felt at the forefront of the head.
- Resolution - the pain and symptoms either gradually stop or immediately stop.
- Recovery or postdrome stage - the "hangover" from a migraine attack can last a few hours or a few days and includes tiredness, loss of appetite, and anxiety.
Understanding your migraine stages can help you better prepare and provide your doctor with useful information when it comes to providing care and prescribing medication.
How can I relieve migraine pain at home?
When a migraine strikes, you desperately want some relief. At home, you're confined within four walls, and depending on the severity of your symptoms, a migraine can be a debilitating experience. So what does one do?
Use the CHILL method
CHILL stands for Cold, Heat, Inhale, Liquids, and Lights off. This method is a simple way to relieve most or all of your migraine symptoms.
- Cold - apply an ice pack or pack of frozen peas to your head or neck. This may stop the blood vessels from inflaming, which causes you pain.
- Heat - apply heat to your hands using hot water, which can help keep your blood flowing.
- Inhale - find some fresh air and take some deep breaths to supply your brain with more oxygen.
- Liquids - drink as much water as you can but do get at least 16 ounces.
- Lights off - if you're in a brightly lit room, turn off the lights.
Following the CHILL method should hopefully reduce or end some of the symptoms of your migraine.
Have a Migraine Emergency Kit
If you frequently suffer from migraines, it's best to always be prepared. When at home or on the go, have an emergency migraine kit ready on hand. It should contain:
- 2 x Cold Packs
- Eye Mask
- Any painkillers or prescribed medication
- Lavender essential oil
- Ginger tea bags (helps calm the stomach)
When it comes to drinks, make sure they don’t contain any sugar or caffeine. Just stick to plain water or herbal teas with no sugar. Coffee and energy drinks may make your symptoms worse and can lead to a repeat migraine within the following 24 hours.
Natural remedies for migraines
Natural remedies can reduce the frequency of migraines and alleviate some of the symptoms during a migraine attack.
Change Your Diet
Many migraine sufferers have great success in reducing their prevalence of migraines through dietary changes. You may have already noticed that some foods trigger your migraines.
Typical food triggers include heavily processed foods, wine, alcohol, chocolate, and caffeine. It's crucial to remove these dietary triggers from your diet if you suspect they may be causing your migraines.
For some, it's a little more challenging to pinpoint the foods that are triggering them. That's why it's useful to keep an eating journal, so that you can start finding repeating patterns when you suffer a migraine attack.
Acupressure involves repeated application of pressure on certain parts of the body. By stimulating certain parts of the body, it is believed that muscle tension can be lessened, which helps alleviate pain.
For migraine sufferers, it has been suggested to focus on the LI-4 acupressure point, which is located in the space between the base of the left thumb and pointer finger.
Essential oils are concentrated extracts of various flowers and plants. Many people believe that essential oils have tremendous health benefits.
Most notably, lavender has been used for over millennia by various civilizations to treat anything from stress to cardiovascular problems. Today, lavender is used for its calming effects when inhaled in small amounts.
In fact, studies have shown that lavender is an effective treatment for stress.
Multiple studies show that consuming ginger is an effective way to deal with a migraine. One study found that it was more effective for dealing with migraine than an actual migraine medication.
Ginger will also relax your body and help with any stomach discomfort. Unless you have a pre-existing allergy, ginger is very safe and is very well tolerated. Ginger tea is the most beneficial way to consume ginger during a migraine attack.
What are the pressure points to relieve migraines?
There are two main pressure points to focus on to relieve the symptoms of a migraine. As discussed above, acupressure is a great way to relieve a migraine for some people. So, it's worth giving it a shot if you're in severe pain, and nothing else is working.
LI-4 Pressure Point for Pain
The LI-4 pressure point is found between the base of the left thumb and index finger. Applying firm but gentle circular pressure for 5 minutes to this point may help alleviate pain from your migraine.
PC6 Pressure Point for Aura
Studies have found that applying pressure on the PC6 pressure point helps those suffering from migraines with aura.
The PC6 pressure point is found three fingers up from the base of the wrist on the inside of the arm. The study found that applying pressure to the PC6 pressure point helps with nausea and vomiting associated with aura.
Other Pressure Points
There are other pressure points you may want to try, including:
- Third Eye Point - in the middle of your two eyebrows
- Drilling Bamboo - the inner corners of both eyes
- Temple Region - there are multiple pressure points around the temple to try
- Face Region - either side of your nostrils
- Gate of Consciousness - the base of your skull, hollow area between the vertical neck muscle
- Union Valley - the webbing between your index finger and your thumb
- Bigger Rushing - the top of your foot between the big and the second toe
What is the best pain reliever for a migraine?
A multiple survey study found common answers for best pain relief strategies for migraines. They are as follows:
- Block the light - sit in a dark room or put on sunglasses
- Get Warm - hot water on the hands or a bath
- Cool Down - ice packs on the head and neck
- Acupressure - gentle but firm circular pressure on key pressure points (listed above)
- Breathe - inhale air slowly and mindfully for about ten minutes
- Silence - block out all noise by escaping somewhere quiet or using earplugs
- Stomach Relief - drink ginger or herbal tea to calm the stomach
- Devices - use special neuromodulation devices made to relieve the symptoms of migraines.
The migraine stopper - a simple way to stop your migraine
One effective way to stop a migraine can be using a neuromodulation device such as the Migrain Stopper. These devices are relatively new to the market, but millions are already benefiting from their use.
The Migraine Stopper is an innovative and natural way to deal with a migraine. It uses no drugs and is extremely well tolerated by migraine patients. It is not only used to relieve a migraine, but can be used daily as a preventative therapy.
The Migraine Stopper is a unique ear pump that is operated by the migraine patient. It applies gentle and precise positive and negative air pressure into the ear canal to stimulate two nerves in the ear and consequently provide migraine relief.
The two nerves it is designed to stimulate are the trigeminal and vagus nerves. These two migraine fighting nerves are well known to researchers to help alleviate migraines.
The Migraine Stopper has gone through years of clinical trials that show that it can significantly reduce the symptoms of a migraine, including head pain, throbbing, pulsating, and nausea.
For more information about the Migraine Stopper and what it can do for you, check out our other articles for more information or purchase one today!