Migraines are more than just bad headaches. They can negatively impact your whole life, especially when chronic in nature. However, there are a number of things that you can do to help prevent migraines and reduce the symptoms when one strikes.
What is a Migraine?
A migraine is a type of headache that is characterized by intensity and certain distinguishing symptoms. Usually migraines come with severe pain that does not go away with the use of over-the-counter headache medications like Tylenol or Aspirin. Migraines are often debilitating and impact your ability to carry out daily activities. Migraines are common and are typically more likely to occur in women. 73% of migraine sufferers in the United States are women, and 85% people who suffer from chronic migraines are women.1 2
If you are unsure if you are experiencing migraines or typical headaches, keep an eye out for these symptoms.
Common Migraine Symptoms
- Blurred vision and/or auras
- Pain usually limited to one side, not the whole head
- Sensitivity to light
- Pins-and-needles sensation in your limbs
What Causes Migraines?
Migraines are caused by a combination of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors. Common migraine triggers include stress, low blood sugar, dehydration, exposure to bright light, jet lag, poor sleep habits, and hormonal changes.
Tips to Prevent & Soothe Migraines
Watch What You Eat
If you suffer from chronic migraines, keep a food log, and watch for patterns in foods you’ve eaten on days when a migraine develops. Make sure that you are eating a balanced, nutrient-rich diet and drinking plenty of water. Adding more ginger to your diet may help to prevent migraines and reduce nausea associated with migraines. 3 A naturopathic doctor (ND) can help you pinpoint whether there are any specific foods that are triggering your migraines.
Ultimately it is vital to identify the cause of your migraines, and an ND can be a powerful partner in finding the culprit.
Some people find that acupressure helps with chronic migraines. 4 Acupressure can be particularly effective at reducing nausea caused by migraine. 5 Acupressure is a type of holistic/integrative therapy based on the same principles as acupuncture. During an acupressure session, your therapist will use their fingers to put pressure on specific points on the body in order to stimulate the body’s self-healing mechanisms.
Inhale Lavender & Peppermint
Inhaling the scent of peppermint and lavender essential oils reduces migraine symptoms in some people. 6 7 To obtain the aromatherapy benefits of these scents, choose high quality, pure essential oils. Add to a diffuser or blend a few drops of the essential oil to a carrier oil (such as jojoba or grapeseed oil) and apply the mixture directly to your skin on pulse points such as your temples and the inside of your wrists.