If you are one of the 47 million Americans who are plagued by migraines, this post is for you.
As any sufferer will tell you, there is nothing quite like the nausea-inducing, throbbing pain of a migraine. The bad news is that for many folks, migraines are a frequent occurrence. But the good news it that there are a number of ways that you can tackle migraines at home, lessening their occurrence and easing their severity. Try one or try them all, and find out what works for you.
1. Eat light. Research shows that a low-fat diet may help to tame migraines. In one study, participants who followed an extremely low-fat diet (10-15 percent fat) for 12 weeks reported having at least 40 percent fewer headaches. When they did experience pain, it was 66 percent less intense. It's also a good idea to avoid nitrates, nitrites, MSG (monosodium glutamate) and other preservatives and flavor enhancers as these chemical additives have been known to cause headaches.
2. Hydrate. Dehydration can play a big role in causing headaches. Make sure you stay well hydrated throughout the day.
3. Caffeinate. Caffeine is a double agent when it comes to headaches. The chemical can restrict blood vessels, lessening the pain of a migraine, but caffeine withdrawal is a sure-fire trigger for headaches. Limit caffeine to one or two servings per day and avoid caffeine late in the day so as not to disturb your sleep.
4. Supplement. Several vitamins — such as vitamin B, feverfew, melatonin and butterbur — have been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. Talk to your health care provider before you add any herbal supplements to your daily diet.
5. Massage. In a small study, people with migraines who had six weekly massage sessions reported fewer and less painful migraines in the weeks they had massages as well as for three weeks following. Ask your partner for a quick rub of your shoulders, neck, and temples once a week to help ease frequent headaches.
6. Stretch. If your migraines are caused by muscle tension, then some daily stretches might help. Try some neck rolls (bring chin forward, upward, and toward each shoulder) and shoulder shrugs (shrug up and down, up and forward, and up and back) to loosen muscles that may be causing your pain.
7. Exercise. According to the National Pain Foundation, regular aerobic exercise such as running, walking, biking or swimming can reduce migraine intensity and frequency.
8. Meditate. There is no scientific data to back this one up, but many practitioners swear by using meditation to calm the mind and focus thoughts away from the areas of pain.
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