Migraines are the worst. I've been getting migraines for 10 years, about once every two weeks, and managing these migraines has become a part-time job for me. I'm always on the hunt for a natural migraine remedy. Here are a few of my tried and trusted natural and homeopathic migraine prevention tips and tricks.
For me, a migraine starts as a dull pain behind my right eye. I notice myself rubbing my right brow line, trying to massage the pressure down. It then gets sharper and sharper until it feels like a tight headband going from my right eye along the side of my head and around the back. My migraines last 2-4 days and those 2-4 days are filled with nausea, fatigue, pain, and frankly, resentment towards this unrelenting agony. It's dark.
Anyone who gets migraines: I'm so sorry.
I notice migraines happen more frequently when I'm not setting work boundaries. I am a total people pleaser at work and I physically absorb stress, critiques, and overload in my body. My body processes this stress by outputting pain.
Chronic pain is real. And it sucks.
Here are a few of the practices, supplements, and treatments that have helped me manage my chronic migraines. I'm not a doctor so this is not real medical advice -- this is just my testimony of what has worked for me, personally, after 10 years of trial and error.
Vitamin Supplements as a Natural Migraine Remedy
A few vitamins have really changed the game for me.
Ashwagandha is a medicinal root with a long, long history of providing healing properties in the Ayurvedic school of thought. Healthline says ashwagandha is "classified as an adaptogen, meaning that it can help your body manage stress. It can boost brain function, lower blood sugar and cortisol levels, and help fight symptoms of anxiety and depression." I take 2 capsules of ashwagandha each morning.
This B-complex vitamin has thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, and vitamin B12. Studies have linked riboflavin to migraine prevention. I take one of these each morning, with my ashwagandha.
Magnesium is a great supplement for nerve health -- since migraines are a neurological issue, Magnesium is a must-add to any migraine prevention routine. Studies have also linked magnesium to migraine prevention. The American Migraine Foundation says, "Daily oral magnesium has also been shown to be effective in preventing menstrually related migraine, especially in those with premenstrual migraine. This means that preventive use can be targeted at those with aura and/or those with menstrually related migraine."
I take 2 capsules (500mg total) of magnesium in the evening, before going to bed.
For me, when I eat or drink something with a lot of sulfates or preservatives (cheap wine, cheap salami), I know I'm dancing with the devil.
Same with coffee -- I used to be a cold brew addict, but now I mostly drink iced matcha tea and occasionally have a decaf Americano. It's not necessarily caffeine that is related to migraines, but rather the coffee itself, I think - for me personally.
Acute Pain Relief
When I do get migraines, the best treatment for me is triptans -- my doctor wrote me a prescription for Sumatriptan, and I've found that taking one capsule of sumatriptan at the first symptom of a migraine can soften the overall blow. It does come with side effects - triptans make my neck stiff? - and sometimes I have to take two over the course of two days for it to go away. But, for my eye-pain migraine specifically, triptans help more than Excedrin or Advil.
I LOVE this ice pack -- it's a headband of frozen ice cubes, so it numbs the pain, and you can adjust the pressure points/tightness to be right on top of where it hurts, which provides a sort of acupressure pain relief. It's some special compound that can be frozen and re-frozen over and over.
I actually own 3 of these ice packs, and I keep them in my freezer at all times, so that I can rotate one in, then when it melts, put it back in the freezer and replace with a second one.
I have had less success with aromatherapy, but know other people love it. This aromatherapy roll-on tube smells nice, at least!
Some people like acupuncture for migraine relief -- there's a trigger point on your foot that an acupuncturist knows to prick. For me, I haven't had much success with acupuncture, but I know others swear by it.
Screen time & outside time as a natural migraine remedy
While I do go to workout classes indoors, working out outside, either a walk/run outside or a hike in nature, is more expansive, reflective, and meditative for me.
My job and hobbies are primarily computer and screen-based. (I work as a digital strategist for an online media company, and my hobbies are making things on my computer/phone.) Anything that can get me looking up and out beyond my screen helps my mood, stress, and body rest.
Long walks help my mood, help my eyes rest, and help me get into a more reflective state.
Going for a 30-45 minute walk, as much as I can, is super key for my prevention of migraines.