It has been well-documented that a myriad of factors can contribute to or directly cause chronic migraines. Like many other neurological disorders, chronic migraines are usually idiosyncratic in nature, and treatment is based largely on self-reports from the patient. In addition, chronic migraine sufferers can experience migraines that are painful with few debilitating neurological symptoms or suffer from migraines that can greatly impact a person’s ability to function in society. As a fellow chronic migraine sufferer, I found that there is no one-size-fits all answer for migraine treatment and prevention. However, mixing alternative treatments with modern medicine can yield the best results.
1. Herbal remedies and Chinese medicine
Herbal teas have ample anecdotal evidence of effectiveness for treating various types of migraines. Ingredients including ginger and caffeine naturally found in teas can promote migraine mitigation and assist in recovery. Ginger has evidence of treating nausea, a common symptom experienced by migraine sufferers, and ginger has been shown to settle the stomach. Caffeine has been shown to help migraines by increasing blood flow. One of the best aspects of using herbal teas to treat migraines is the ease of use. Bringing tea to your place of work is not only socially acceptable—many people in work settings such as offices, elementary schools, and construction sites consume caffeinated beverages of choice daily.
2. Indoor environmental changes at home
People who are prone to migraines can be exceptionally vulnerable to a migraine attack during the winter and spring months when barometric pressure drops. Whereas it is unrealistic to change the barometric pressure in your home or apartment, anecdotal evidence exists that minor changes to your home’s climate can help prevent migraines and promote recovery time. Invest in a few humidifiers, space heaters, and turn your thermostat to 75 degrees.
Reflexology is one kind of treatment that many people with no medical ailments seek. Traditional Chinese reflexology is typically more affordable than Western medical treatments (e.g. Neuro PT) along with seeming more like an easy spa treatment rather than an unpleasant obligation. Reflexologists will focus on releasing toxins by pressing on pressure points found on the feet. It is important to note that people should always drink ample water after getting reflexology treatment, and feeling thirsty is normal.
Acupuncture has ample anecdotal evidence as being successful at treating a wide variety of maladies. Acupuncture is an ancient form of medicine based on the principles of stimulating specific pressure points to treat a variety of illnesses. In addition, acupuncture is painless and harmless when done correctly.
5. Massage therapy
Many migraine sufferers have problems with their necks. Massage therapy can mollify migraines or decrease the frequency of migraines by helping to relax muscles around the neck that may be tense due to an injury or stress. Loosening muscles can also improve a person’s natural range of motion when using the neck. Other complications from untreated neck injuries can include vertigo (also associated with migraines) and pinched nerves. Massage therapy can also help treat stress-induced migraines.
6. Special diets
Diet, exercise, and healthy interpersonal relationships are crucial to the health of almost all people. In addition, special diets can help migraine sufferers who are suspected to have sensitivities to certain types of foods. Often, people will report that specific types of foods (e.g. sucrose, excessive sodium, alcohol, etc.) contribute to their migraines. Most Americans consume too much sodium and sugar; and eating a restricted diet has been proven to help maladies including insomnia, chronic upset stomach, and type II diabetes.
7. Hope and physician support
There are few things more devastating than a lack of hope. Many chronic migraine sufferers can easily lose hope after losing past abilities to work and inability to do activities that they once enjoyed. Severe migraines can sometimes make a person’s quality of life extremely low. After each failed treatment or inconclusive EEG or MRI, people can easily lose their will to live without being actively suicidal. Medical professionals must remain diligent and creative in suggesting treatments that are pleasant in addition to having medicinal benefits.
Chronic migraine treatment summary
Many chronic migraine sufferers have a definite need to utilize Western medicines and treatment options. However, effective alternative treatment options exist that many people with no medical ailments use as leisure activities such as going to reflexology, getting massages, and drinking caffeinated beverages or herbal teas. Treatment for migraines should not be designed to be grueling in hopes of later success. Instead, a holistic treatment approach can both give patients the treatments they need while maintaining a high quality of life and ample hope.
About the Author: Lauren Hill is fascinated by alternative medicine and ways to treat common illnesses without the use of drugs. She writes for Solstice Medicine, an online traditional Chinese medicine company.