Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How to Prevent and Relieve Headaches – Naturally

I used to get migraines. A lot. They first started when I was just beginning high school (though I thought they were just headaches back then), and I’d suffer through them a few times each week, popping aspiring like candy to try and dull the pain. It wasn’t until my senior year, when I’dcompletely wrecked my stomach with aspirin, that I found out they were migraines.

I finally got special preventative medicine and “emergency” pills for when I felt a migraine coming on. In order for the preventatives to work, I was supposed to start out with one pill per day. If I got a headache, I was supposed to go up to two per day. If I still was getting migraines, I could go up to three per day. I liked the idea of not getting migraines all the time, but I was frustrated by the fact that, at age 17, I would have to take pills every day. The pills seemed to work fairly well, and I cut the frequency of my migraines down to one every week or two for the next few months.

I couldn’t afford to stay on the medication for more than a summer, though, and in the fall I started college—and the migraines came back. Since I didn’t have prescription medicine, I settled for Excedrin Migraine, which was a 50/50 toss up between working and making me nauseous in addition to the migraine.

These days, I’m lucky enough to have health insurance and can actually afford migraine medicine. I chose not to go the preventative pill route, though, instead opting for just the “emergency” medication. Not taking preventative medication is a personal choice, but one that can sometimes make life more difficult—if I’m not careful, I end up getting far more headaches than I probably would otherwise. But it’s worth it to me to not feel like I’m relying on medication to be well. This is something I can battle on my own.

Instead, I try to prevent and ease my migraines through a variety of natural methods. Some work better than others, but I figure everything is worth a try. Here are some of the things you can do to help prevent or treat migraines naturally:
  1. Get enough rest.
  2. Eat small, frequent meals.
  3. Use a cold compress on your forehead.
  4. Take a hot shower.
  5. Get a massage.
  6. Try acupressure.
  7. Drink less alcohol.
  8. Drink more water.
  9. Maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise.
  10. Minimize stress.
  11. Moderate caffeine intake. A little is ok, but don’t overdo it.
  12. Take breaks from the computer.
  13. Don’t get too much sun.
  14. Exercise regularly.
  15. Don’t stress your jaw – no jaw clenching or excessive gum chewing.
  16. Monitor your food triggers and avoid foods that set off migraines.
  17. Avoid overstimulation.
  18. Ride shotgun to avoid motion sickness (and migraines).
  19. Keep a regular schedule.
  20. Make sure you’re getting enough vitamins.

Take a look at this article on Yahoo! Shine for more details on any of the above items and why they help with migraines. Do you have any more to add to the list? I once had a doctor recommend rubbing rosemary oil on my temples to stimulate blood flow—and it actually did help a lot.

Stay happy. Stay healthy.