More than 37 million Americans suffer from migraines -- are you one of them? If you are, then you're likely familiar with uncomfortable symptoms like throbbing, pulsating pain, light and sound sensitivity, blurred vision, and even nausea. You're also probably well-acquainted with the usual coping diagnosis: OTC pain relievers like Tylenol or, in more severe cases, prescription drugs like Axert. While such drugs do work for millions of Americans, they can come potential side effects, including elevated blood pressure and enhanced risk for stroke. Ugh.
Don't be resigned to fixing one problem by creating another. Before you head to the pharmacy with your Rx, test out some of these all-natural, side effect-free remedies.
Try going gluten-free.
There is a strong link between diet and migraines, particularly as it pertains to gluten. This is because celiac intolerant individuals are often contending with nutrient deficiencies or gut yeast/bacterial imbalances that can trigger migraines. As such, embark on an elimination diet for at least two weeks, removing all forms of gluten in the process. Carefully track your symptoms -- you might be surprised to see that your fogginess and headaches are entirely gone.
Take B vitamins.
Along those lines, many sufferers of migraines are deficient in B vitamins. (In the case of gluten-intolerant folks, this is because they're not able to properly absorb it due to damage in their lower intestine.) Research has shown that supplementing with Vitamins B6, B12, and folate (B9) reduced symptoms in half in participants with migraines over just six months. So, go on, get supplementing.
It's not just great-smelling: Lavender essential oil is a potent tool for wellness, too. Studies like this have shown that it can help reduce the symptoms of migraines simply through inhalation. If you're not a lavender fan, try testing out eucalyptus, peppermint, or cinnamon essential oils for similar headache-relieving benefits.
Supplement with magnesium.
Interestingly, migraine sufferers also tend to have lower levels of magnesium. In fact, one study illustrated that people who took magnesium reduced the frequency of attacks by 42%, compared to 16% in the placebo group. Aside from supplementing with 400-500 milligrams a day, be sure to chow on magnesium-rich foods like spinach or pumpkin seeds.
Relax and avoid stimulants and depressants.
Feel like your migraines are worse when you're stressed out, drinking too much coffee, or suffering from a mild hangover? You're not just imagining things -- all will contribute to increased severity of headaches. If you're prone to migraines, make it a point to practice relaxation and self-care techniques like resting, meditation, or yoga, and keep your alcohol and caffeine intake to a minimum. Trust: That extra martini won't be worth the next day's pain.