Have you ever woken up with a headache that is attacking one side of your neck and head and your eyeball feels like it’s going to pop out? If you get this kind of a headache often, you may be suffering from migraines. There are so many kinds of headaches – headaches caused by tension or due to an inflamed sinus, for example. While a regular headache normally goes away within some time, a migraine is one of those headaches that lasts for a minimum of 4 hours or even longer.
I have been on the receiving end of many such headaches and I can truly say that this blinding throbbing headache knocks me out for two days at the very least. I rush to the medicine drawer the moment I feel it coming on. Thankfully, I have also discovered a few natural remedies over the years, which give me some relief in addition to reducing the frequency of such attacks.
What is a Migraine?
A migraine is a headache which has neurological symptoms. This kind of a headache has the capacity to completely throw you off your game for days at the end. It causes a severe throbbing pain, usually on one side of the head and not a constant dull pain like a regular headache. It is often accompanied by vomiting, nausea, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. A migraine attack can last from four hours to three days.
Early Warning Signs of Migraine
The symptoms below normally start appearing a few days before the migraine strikes and warn you of the throbbing pain that lies ahead.
- Frequent mood swings
- Cravings for certain foods
- Neck stiffness
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
Find Your Migraine Triggers
Those susceptible to migraines typically have a dietary or environmental trigger.
It is important to identify and isolate these triggers where possible.
- Hormonal changes in women – just before/during their periods
- Food additives like MSG, aspartame and processed food
- Beverages like wine and coffee
- Bright lights or the glare from the sun
- Changes in sleep patterns including lack of sleep/ too much sleep/ even jet lag
- Fluctuations in blood sugar levels
Natural Remedies to Cure Migraines
Opt for ice over heat when dealing with a migraine. Icing the back of your neck or temples will help reduce inflammation. Ice acts as an anti-inflammatory and helps numb out the pain.
Take a Hot Shower:
Having said the above, a hot shower also helps loosen and relax the muscles, so you could try that too. You will have to find which one works better for you.
Munch on Ginger:
Munching on ginger or drinking ginger tea when a migraine starts helps control the pain and nausea. Ginger blocks prostaglandins, which stimulates muscle contractions and helps control inflammation. This helps relieve any pain that the body may be experiencing.
Alcohol and drinks with high sugar content can dehydrate you and should be avoided. Staying hydrated is extremely important when your body is dealing with a headache. Good old water may seem too obvious or simple to actually work as a remedy, but it does help significantly.
Up your Magnesium Intake:
Studies have shown that people suffering from migraines have low magnesium levels. Taking magnesium tablets regularly can reduce the frequency of your migraines. Including beans, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and vegetables like broccoli and leafy greens to your diet is also a good idea since these contain magnesium.
Start your Day with Apple Cider Vinegar:
Dilute a tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar in a glass of water and add a tablespoon of honey to it. Drink this concoction every day in the morning to reduce the frequency of your migraine attacks. If you feel an attack coming on, you can increase the Apple Cider Vinegar to two or three tablespoons for that period. It aids in detoxification, controlling blood sugar, relieving constipation and maintaining the pH levels in the body.
Increase Your Omega-3 Intake:
Most headaches are a sign of some inflammation in your body. Omega-3 helps battle these inflammations. Eat more salmon, tuna, flaxseeds, walnuts, spinach and broccoli to ease the attack.
Exercise/ Practise Yoga:
When you feel an attack coming on, your muscles will become knotted and tense. The best thing to do is either to go out for a run or stretch your muscles. When you exercise, endorphins are released, which helps control the migraine. Practising yoga has helped me greatly. Adding a daily dose of pranayama has brought down the regularity of these migraines – Kapalbhati, Anulom-Vilom and Bhrastrika Pranayam are asanas that I swear by.
The most crucial step in tackling migraines is identifying your triggers. Once you do that, you will be better able to predict and hopefully, control it without popping those synthetic pain-killers.
By Rahul Aggarwal
who is residing in Faridabad.