Heal Thyself: Coping with migraine headaches

“Turn the lights off, turn the sounds off, and come back in 24-72 hours!”

This is what used to run through my mind when a migraine headache snuck up on me with little warning. While I have not cured my migraines completely, yet, I am grateful that I have been able to get through them quicker, and with less added stress. If you are like me, then you may also experience migraine headaches, or just regular tension/sinus headaches, and you may be desperate for some relief. I have been dealing with migraines, which I found are hereditary among the women in my family, for about 11 years. I’ve been rushed to the hospital before, due to the severity of my migraines. I’ve also been prescribed medicine that really did work, but it added a slew of other symptoms that did not make my body feel good once the headache was gone. Through self-research, and a few hospital visits, I found that my migraines are often triggered by stress let-down. Once I realized that there are natural remedies to help lessen the pressure, I began experimenting and perfecting my routine the minute I sensed any signs of the monster coming. I hope that some of these remedies help you, even if it simply encourages you to try your own self-healing regimen.

Preventative measures

It all begins with the mind. Keeping the mind in balance means that we are making sure that stress is not taking over, causing chemicals to trigger tension and headaches. Pay attention to the signs that your body gives you, which tell you whether it is in balance or not.

  • Drink plenty of water. We can never hear this too much, because it is true! Drinking plenty of quality water clears out the toxins, and keeps our pH at a healthy level.
  • Eat magnesium-rich foods. Magnesium is said to help regulate neurotransmitter release, blood pressure, energy metabolism, and nerve functioning.

Printable list of high magnesium foods including dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, whole grains, avocados, yogurt, bananas, dried fruit, and dark chocolate.

  • Meditate. The objective of meditation in this sense is to reduce the stress-releasing hormones in the body that can trigger the migraine, keeping the body, mind, and spirit in harmony.
  • Exercise.  Like mediation, the endorphins that release when we exercise help to rid the body of stress. Exercising is a great way to stay in balance, and it can be done anywhere!
  • Journal. Ideally, it would be nice to journal what you feel, what time of the month/day/week it occurs, and eating habits around the conception of the migraine. If you are not up for the extra time spent journaling, then just create one list of things that typically happen before, during, and after your migraine arrives.

Reactionary

Once your body begins to feel the pressure from the incoming migraine headache, it is time to begin whatever is most effective for your healing process. Here is a short list of some remedies to try getting rid of the symptoms of pain/pressure in the head, and nausea.

  • Deep breathing exercises relax the muscles, which in turn help to relieve the tension around painful areas in the neck, shoulders, and head.
  • Sleep. Yes, sounds like an obvious, but the reason why it is especially critical during a migraine is because of the regeneration of our body’s cells while we rest. Our bodies need down time to repair, so we must give it as much rest as it needs.
  • Ice/cold compress on the back of the neck, temples, and eye lids. The heat that the body emits, especially during a migraine, can increase nausea, and cause the pain to feel more intense. By helping to regulate the body temperature more, the coldness from a compress can lessen, or numb, the pain in those key areas, providing some more relief.
  • Ginger for its nausea-relieving properties. Consuming ginger raw, ground up in tea, or whatever way that you can handle, may help with the nausea associated with migraines. For me, once the nausea is under control, it is easier for me to tolerate the pain and tension.
  • Crystal therapy may seem foreign to some, but do not be alarmed. It is as simple as placing a crystal on the area that is causing tension/pain, and laying there letting it do all the work. If you already use crystals, then you may know that amethyst is known for its physical healing properties associated with headaches. It also aids in muscle relaxation, and it strengthens the central nervous system. While this alone has not rid my body of headaches, it has proven to ease the tension when combined with the other natural remedies. By having the cold stone on the key areas of the head or neck, it allows the mind and body to focus on the actual healing of the pain.tempPic (8)
  • Aromatherapy (which is an entirely different post on its own). Here are just a few perfect oils to add to a diffuser, to a bath, or to  pain areas!
    • Lavender essential oil (can be applied directly without diluting with carrier oil)
    • Peppermint essential oil (great muscle relaxer, and can help with nausea…must be diluted with another oil like coconut/almond/jojoba/grapeseed, etc.)
    • Eucalyptus essential oil (anti-inflammatory and clears up sinuses that will help ease tension; must dilute with another carrier oil)
  • Sips of water. If your nausea gets as bad as mine, even water will not stay down; however, the body is more susceptible to dehydration during a migraine, because we are not cognizant of our fluid intake. Taking small sips throughout the migraine episode is critical for hydration, which also helps the migraine to go away faster.
  • Almonds. A simple magnesium-rich snack that is bland in nature. A handful of almonds really does the trick for me, as it restores the vitamins that were lost from not eating. I’ve notice this one to work quickly, almost like taking an over-the-counter pill.
  • Red apples. Another hack for nausea, when you need to still eat something of substance. Keeping the body stable with nutrients is so hard when we are suffering with a migraine episode, so I have always had to keep a low-flavored fruit on hand to nibble. Red apples are another one of my essentials, as they help with blood sugar levels, and they don’t usually disturb my nausea.
  • Binaural beats/guided meditation. A relaxation method that helps to ease tension, and allows the mind to clear of negative thoughts about the pain or discomfort. Strengthening the mind is such a big part of coping with migraine headaches!
  • Reiki. If you are attuned to reiki, doing self-treatments is a must. If you have not been given the attunement of reiki, then going to someone that you trust with the healing art is a great way to get rid of the pain. Another tool that anyone can use is sending “healing thoughts” to the painful areas in the body. Saying something like, “I send healing energy to my head, my temples, my eyelids, my stomach,” repeatedly can lessen the pain because it takes the mind off the negative emotions associated with stress.

(I also have running list of other natural remedies that I have yet to try, so I will update this post with them once I have tried them!)

Now, take a deep breath. Inhale. Exhale. 

This was a lot of information, but that is the beauty of natural healing! There are so many different things to try.

We hope that when you begin to treat your temple at the onset of a migraine, you consider what nature blesses us with, first! If you try any of these, please let us know! Also, if you do anything else that is not posted here, please share in the comments with us! Calling all herb-gurus and all-things-natural people, now is the time to share with us.

 

We are in this together.

 

Peace.

 

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