Migraine Relief: Alternatives To Medication

Migraines are an all-too-common affliction across the world. In the U.S. alone, 39 million people suffer from this neurological condition in one form or another. For many, these episodes of severe pain can be debilitating and cause disruptions of day-to-day life. Relief is often found through traditional medication methods, either preventative or reactive, but that isn’t always the case. Below are a few alternative treatment methods to potentially reduce the frequency of migraines and alleviate head pain.

When those afflicted by migraines want to seek relief without medication, it can involve certain lifestyle changes. These modifications range from getting more exercise and water to practicing stress management techniques. A standard preventative route is to avoid what could be triggering the attack.

There are numerous foods and beverages that could be triggers. Frequent offenders include foods with nitrates – like bacon, hot dogs and deli meats – chocolate, processed foods and even dried fruits. Various kinds of alcohol (especially red wine) and caffeine could also be the cause of pain. As such, adopting a specific diet and drinking certain beverages in moderation can play a vital role in preventing migraine attacks. The key to determining what to eliminate often starts with recording everything consumed during the day in a food journal and noting any symptoms.

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Another route to consider is massage. With a low risk of side effects, the various types of massage can work to relieve stress, pain and muscle tension. Whether opting for deep tissue massage or manual therapy, many participants see a reduction in symptom frequency along with increased sleep quality. Speaking of sleep, migraine sufferers are at a higher risk of developing a sleep disorder, sometimes two to eight times more susceptible. This makes establishing healthy sleep patterns and striving for restful, quality sleep a highly recommended remedy as well.

Stress is habitually linked to migraines, with more than 80% of sufferers reporting stress as a trigger according to the American Headache Society. As such, stress management should be a high priority for those experiencing frequent pain. Beneficial as a complementary treatment, yoga is one form of stress relief people can turn to for help. Other alternatives include deep breathing exercises, meditation and therapy.

Lastly, there are several products on the market which can also help, such as migraine glasses. Designed to block particularly painful types of light – like fluorescent or blue light – these eyeglasses can be very helpful to those with increased light sensitivity. Wearers with light as a trigger have found they can prevent an attack or at least make the pain more tolerable.

Anyone who is experiencing migraines should reach out to a medical professional for the best approach to treatment. There are also specialized services available to make pain management easier by providing helpful resources, support and expertise. For additional alternatives in migraine relief treatment, please see the accompanying resource.

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