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The 12 Best Natural Remedies for Migraine Relief (+ 5 Tips for Instant Relief!)

Migraine relief - The Dearing Clinic

Migraine relief is top of mind when you’re in the throes of a painful episode. Fortunately, you can get rid of a migraine fast by identifying the cause of your migraine and then selecting one of the many effective natural remedies for migraines, including acupuncture, essential oils, deep breathing, contrast therapy, and more.

When you’re in the throes of a migraine, there’s only one thing on your mind: How can I get migraine relief as fast as possible?

Between the throbbing, excruciating pain and the potential impairments to your vision and even your ability to simply function, migraine relief can’t come soon enough. But did you know that you don’t have to turn to pharmaceuticals or even a trip to the ER to find the relief you need?

The truth of the matter is that research has shown there are numerous natural ways to get rid of a migraine. But in order to take advantage of them, it’s important to understand what a migraine really is, what causes migraines, and how to know if you’re really dealing with a very bad headache vs. migraine.

So, let’s dive into the world of migraines to learn all about them and then discover the 12 best natural remedies so that you know exactly how to get rid of a migraine when the time comes.

What Is a Migraine?

Migraines are a debilitating neurological condition that affects more than 1 billion people worldwide, and they are three times more common in women than in men. These intense and often recurring headaches are known to significantly impact your quality of life by causing severe pain (often feeling like your head is in a vice), sensitivity to light and sound, and even nausea or vomiting. 

Often described as a throbbing or pulsating pain, true migraines appear on one side of the head and, contrary to popular belief, they don’t switch sides. In fact, most migraine sufferers only ever experience pain on one side of their head — and it’s always on the exact same side every time! 

The pain can be so intense that it interferes with work, school, and many other everyday tasks. But that’s not all. In addition to the physical symptoms you experience with migraines, they can also have a significant impact on mental health, causing feelings of anxiety, depression, and frustration. And one of the main reasons for this is their one key feature: their unpredictability.

While having a migraine causes visual warning signs in the form of a bright light or other visual disturbance (known as an aura) just before the onset for some people, others have no warning. This unpredictability can make it challenging for people to manage their condition and plan ahead, especially considering that migraines can last anywhere from two hours to three days! That’s why it’s essential for those with known migraines to work closely with a healthcare provider to develop a personalized treatment plan that may include lifestyle modifications, stress management techniques, and more. 

By actively managing the condition, many can experience fast migraine relief, thereby improving their quality of life and reducing the frequency and severity of their symptoms.

Types of Migraines

There are several types of migraines, and each comes with its own unique symptoms and triggers. The most common types include:

  1. Migraine without aura. This is the most common type of migraine, where people experience severe headaches without any warning signs.

  2. Migraine with aura. In this type, people experience warning signs, known as an aura, about 10 to 60 minutes before the onset of the migraine. Auras can manifest as different types of visual disturbances, including flashing lights or zigzag lines, or as sensory disturbances such as tingling in the face or hands.

  3. Chronic migraine. Another common type of migraine occurs when people experience a severe headache on one side of their head for more than 15 days per month and for at least three months in a row. Additionally, to be classified as a chronic migraine, at least eight of those days must be associated with the common symptoms of a migraine.

Another less common type of migraine is the hemiplegic migraine, which manifests as temporary paralysis or weakness on one side of the body prior to or during the onset of pain. This can be a frightening experience, as it is known to mimic symptoms of a stroke. 

Additionally, the ophthalmoplegic migraine is a type that involves temporary eye muscle weakness, which causes drooping eyelids, double vision, or difficulty moving the eyes. While it’s relatively rare, this type of migraine can also be frightening to those unaware of what’s happening.

Common Migraine Symptoms 

Now that you know more about the different types of migraines, let’s review the common migraine symptoms so you know what to look for. In addition to the debilitating headache pain migraines are known for, it’s important to know that they can present with several other migraine symptoms as well. These may include:

  • Severe pain that remains on one side of the head

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Sensitivity to light and sound

  • Visual disturbances

  • Fatigue

  • Dizziness

Everyone experiences migraines a little differently, and the severity and duration of migraine symptoms can vary from person to person.

It's important to remember that if you experience an aura, this is a set of neurological symptoms that typically alert you of an oncoming migraine. 

Meanwhile, others may experience something known as a "migraine hangover" after the headache has subsided. This phase can leave you feeling drained, moody, and mentally foggy for up to 24 hours after the migraine attack. If you suffer from migraines, it’s important to be aware of these additional symptoms and phases in order to effectively manage your condition and life.

What Causes Migraines?

Migraines can be triggered by various factors, and identifying the underlying cause can help you to effectively manage and even prevent future episodes. Some common triggers include:

  • Stress

  • Hormonal changes

  • Sleep disturbances

  • Weather changes

  • Dietary factors

While all of these are known triggers, it’s important to understand that what actually causes the migraine is inflammation in the nerves that provide sensation to your head. When these nerves become inflamed, they lose their flexibility and cause pain and other neurological symptoms. 

Fortunately, synchronizing your brain and body can go a long way in providing migraine relief. Here’s why: Removing the inflammation in these nerves through improved blood flow and muscle relaxation effectively eliminates the root cause of the pain. 

So, how do you do this? It all depends on the cause of your inflammation. Depending on the cause, you may find relief by applying heat at the base of your skull, using an herbal salve, or even getting a chiropractic adjustment. These methods all work to send a signal to your brain that the nerves are no longer inflamed, thus resolving the pain.

Headache vs. Migraine: What Is It, Really? 

Before we dive into the different best natural ways to achieve migraine relief, let’s take a moment to have a very important discussion about headaches vs. migraines. 

While headaches and migraines are often used interchangeably, it’s important to note they are not the same. 

Headaches are a common symptom experienced by most people at some point, and migraines are a specific type of headache disorder with distinct characteristics.

Unlike normal headaches (which can appear in different parts of your head and are often uncomplicated), migraines can cause throbbing or pulsating pain on one side of your head, worsen with physical activity, and are often accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.

It's important to note that migraines can be debilitating for those who suffer from them, often leading to missed workdays and a significant impact on quality of life. 

Interestingly, research has shown that at least 10 different headache disorders are commonly misdiagnosed with migraines. Furthermore, some secondary headache conditions are misdiagnosed as migraines as well! For example, certain types of sinusitis, dental infections, and even Lyme disease can be misdiagnosed as a migraine due to similar presentations. 

So, if you don’t have a history of migraines, it’s important to pay close attention to your symptoms, consider your history and lifestyle, and speak with your healthcare provider to rule out any other causes before determining you have a migraine.

Managing migraines often involves a combination of lifestyle changes, stress-reducing techniques, natural and home remedies, and sometimes even medication. Keeping a migraine diary to track triggers and symptoms can be helpful in identifying any patterns as you develop your own personalized treatment plan with your healthcare provider.

Migraine relief - The Dearing Clinic

The Truth About Migraine Medication: What You Should Know

While it’s true that migraine medications play a significant role in managing the symptoms of this condition, it’s important to be aware of the potential side effects they come with. 

Some of the most common side effects of migraine medications include dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, and even medication-overuse headaches. Additionally, not all migraine medications work the same for everyone, which can make finding the right medication or combination of medications a bit more cumbersome. As a result, many people who suffer from migraines prefer to use natural remedies to mitigate the occurrence and severity of their migraines. 

By opting for natural solutions, you can potentially avoid the adverse effects commonly associated with medication. Plus, taking the extra step to consider any lifestyle factors that may contribute to the frequency and intensity of your migraines can go a long way in preventing them. Common factors such as stress, diet, sleep patterns, and even your hydration levels can all play a role in triggering migraines. 

Addressing these lifestyle factors while implementing natural home remedies for migraines is a great first step to avoiding medications while managing your migraines and improving your overall quality of life.

Let’s take a look at 12 of the most effective natural remedies for migraine relief.

How To Get Rid of a Migraine: 12 Natural Remedies for Migraine Relief

If you want to get rid of a migraine fast, you must first identify the cause and then choose a supporting natural remedy. By taking a comprehensive and individualized approach like this to achieving migraine relief, you can work towards reducing the frequency and severity of your migraines — and ultimately improving your quality of life. 

While taking migraine medicine is often the go-to solution, natural remedies offer a gentler alternative treatment option. That said, it’s important to note that what works for one person may not work for another, so exploring various options is the key to finding the right approach for managing your migraine symptoms. 

If you’re looking for information on how to get rid of a migraine without medication, here are some of the top natural alternatives for migraine relief.

1. Adopt a consistent and rhythmic schedule. 

Maintaining a consistent schedule for when you eat your meals and snacks is known to help regulate your blood sugar levels. This is helpful because blood sugar fluctuations are known to trigger migraines in some people. 

In fact, a study published in the Journal of Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders found a direct link between blood sugar issues and migraines. Specifically, the study revealed that the longer people have diabetes, the greater their odds of experiencing migraines, and these episodes increased during bouts of low blood sugar.

Need help figuring out how to minimize blood sugar spikes and drops by adopting an ideal schedule as part of your migraine treatment plan? Check out The Rhythm Reset to learn more.

2. Use the power of essential oils. 

Certain essential oils, such as lavender and peppermint oil, have been shown to help alleviate migraine symptoms. According to one study, using peppermint oil for migraine relief outperformed the use of lidocaine, with 41.5 percent of patients in the lidocaine group reporting relief vs. 42.1 percent of those in the peppermint oil group! 

Likewise, researchers studied the effects of smelling lavender oil for migraine relief. They found that more than 71 percent of those surveyed noted partial or complete migraine relief after smelling lavender oil for 15 minutes!

Start by using two to three drops of essential oil in a diffuser. You can also use them topically by mixing a couple of drops with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, and massaging your temples or the base of your skull. Just remember to use a therapeutic grade essential oil to get the most benefit with your migraine self-care plan.

3. Try acupuncture. 

This traditional Chinese medicine technique involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points of your body to help relieve pain, and it’s been shown to be an effective way to achieve migraine relief. A study published in 2017 revealed that receiving 20 sessions of acupuncture significantly reduced the frequency of migraine attacks in participants. 

Interested in trying acupuncture as part of your migraine treatment? To get started, contact The Dearing Clinic to learn more!

4. Relieve stress with yoga and/or meditation.

Engaging in activities that promote relaxation and reduce stress can help manage migraines. Interestingly, research has shown that using yoga as an adjunct therapy for migraine relief vs. using conventional treatment alone drastically improved results. 

Specifically, utilizing yoga along with conventional treatment reduced migraine frequency by 85 percent while using conventional treatment alone reduced frequency by only 50 percent. Additionally, intensity also decreased in the yoga group by 77 percent while conventional treatment-only resulted in a 17 percent decrease in intensity.

5. Stay hydrated. 

Dehydration is a known trigger for migraines, which means staying properly hydrated is essential. In fact, a 2020 study showed that people who drank more water experienced less severe pain with their migraines and that their episodes were shorter. Additionally, they occurred less frequently than in those who didn’t consume much water. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water daily as part of your migraine self-care regimen.

6. Supplement with magnesium.

Research has shown that staying sufficient in this valuable mineral is linked to migraine prevention. According to a study published in 2022, those who were deficient in magnesium were more likely to experience migraines while participants who consumed the most magnesium were least likely to get migraines. 

Speak with your healthcare provider to determine your ideal amount of magnesium, but it’s generally recommended for men to supplement with up to 400 mg daily and women to take 300 mg daily. You should also make sure you’re consuming magnesium-rich foods, such as nuts, seeds, and leafy greens to support your overall brain health and help reduce the frequency or severity of migraines.

7. Take CoQ10.

Research has shown that supplementing with coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) aids in reducing the frequency and severity of migraines. According to a study published in Acta Neurologica Belgica, when migraine sufferers took 100 mg of CoQ10 daily, they experienced 68 percent fewer episodes over the period of a month. Additionally, the severity of their pain was reduced by an incredible 73 percent! It’s worth noting that no side effects were observed.

While the study showed migraine relief benefits with 100 mg supplementation, the official recommended daily amount for adults ranges between 30 and 200 mg daily. It’s best to work with your healthcare provider to determine the appropriate dosage amount for your individual needs.

8. Engage in physical therapy.

When you’re wondering how to get rid of a migraine fast, engaging in physical therapy may not immediately jump to mind. But research has shown that certain exercises and manual therapy techniques can provide the migraine relief you’re seeking. 

Here’s why: Physical therapy treats patients with both musculoskeletal dysfunctions and vestibular symptoms. And researchers have discovered that people with migraines often display symptoms of musculoskeletal and/or vestibular dysfunctions. These can include tight muscles, poor posture, and even dizziness.

To learn more about how physical therapy can help relieve your migraines, reach out to The Dearing Clinic and discover the variety of options available for your specific needs.

9. Turn to herbs.

There are a few herbs known to support migraine relief. Feverfew is a therapeutic herb traditionally used to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. Research has shown that taking 100 to 300 mg up to four times daily in supplement form is most effective for relieving migraines. 

Another popular herb is ginger. Though commonly mistaken for spice, ginger is an herbal remedy for migraines largely due to its inflammation-cooling properties. In addition to helping cool the inflammation in your nerves, ginger has been shown to help remedy migraine-related nausea and vomiting. You can use fresh ginger in your meals or beverages or take it in supplement form, based on your preferences.

Finally, another great herbal remedy for migraines is butterbur. This herb has shown promise in helping to provide migraine relief by cooling inflammation and preventing blood vessel constriction. According to research, taking 50 to 75 mg of butterbur twice daily for four months can help to prevent migraines.

10. Avoid caffeine.

While many believe that consuming caffeine can help to relieve migraines and headaches, research has actually shown that high caffeine intake is known to trigger migraines. Furthermore, studies have revealed that the more you consume, the worse your migraine symptoms become. Specifically, consuming 100 mg of caffeine each day is associated with a 5 percent increase in migraine frequency and severity. And those who consume 400 mg per day or more have a 42 percent higher risk of experiencing a migraine

Now, this isn’t to say you can never enjoy a cup of joe! You just have to use moderation and consider implementing healthier alternatives. For example, you can try some incredible-tasting herbal teas that offer stress-relieving effects. And if you really do need an afternoon pick-me-up, consider sipping on a cup of green tea instead. It still has caffeine but it’s also loaded with catechins, which are natural chemicals found in plants that are known to contain the inflammation-cooling properties associated with migraine relief, and other benefits as well.

11. Utilize cold therapy. 

Applying a cold compress to your head and neck area is known to promote migraine relief. In fact, research has found that cold therapy could decrease pain severity by as much as 71 percent. For maximum benefit, apply a cold compress to the base of your skull to help relieve the inflamed nerves contributing to your pain. Hold it there for 15 minutes, remove for 20 minutes, and then reapply as needed.

You can benefit even further from applying a hot/warm compress after the cold therapy has relieved some of the pain. Transitioning from cold to hot compresses for several rounds should help to calm nerve inflammation in the nerves lodged in your cervical spine and neck muscles as well as within myofascial adhesions (which are commonly referred to as “muscle knots”).

12. Get a chiropractic adjustment. 

Finally, manipulating your spine through chiropractic care has been shown to help relieve neck and cervical tension, thereby reducing the frequency of migraines. In fact, it’s quite common to notice a significant improvement in both migraine frequency and severity after a chiropractic adjustment. This is because the adjustment promotes improved blood flow and muscle relaxation in the neck. As a result, there’s less pressure on the nerves causing the migraine symptoms. 

You can learn more about how chiropractic adjustments help to relieve migraines, headaches, and other pain in our article “12 Signs You Need a Chiropractic Adjustment.”

Bonus: 5 Tips for Instant Migraine Relief

While the natural remedies above are known to help manage and even prevent migraines, there may be moments when you need instant migraine relief. Here are five tips that can help alleviate migraine symptoms quickly:

  1. Find a dark and quiet room and rest.

  2. Apply gentle pressure to your temples or forehead with your fingertips.

  3. Drink a cup of ginger tea to ease nausea.

  4. Take a warm bath or shower to relax tense neck muscles.

  5. If none of the above work to provide immediate relief, consider using over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, for short-term relief while you’re implementing natural remedies. (Learn more about OTCs and other pain medications.)

With the natural remedies and instant relief techniques listed here, you can take control of your migraines long-term and find the relief you need without relying solely on medication. 

Remember, it's essential to consult with your healthcare provider to determine the best course of action for your specific condition. But by embracing these natural options and experimenting with what works best for you, you’ll begin to regain control over your life — free of migraines and full of the experiences you no longer need to miss out on.


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