A migraine is not just a normal headache. It is unbearably painful and debilitating. Sometimes, the pain is so severe that you cannot work, cannot rest, or you just cannot be. Just one single episode is crippling enough to make you want to put these headaches to rest forever.
Did you know that the Headache Centre of Atlanta has found stress to be a major migraine trigger? Around 80% of all migraineurs attribute stress to be the major factor. Other causes are hormones (65%), odors (44%), lights (38%), smoke (36%), heat (30%), and food (27%). Factors like magnesium or calcium deficiencies are also triggers. Naturally, you must try to keep these at bay to reduce the chances of a migraine attack.
Although painkillers can offset the pain and bring relief, however, they can have side effects. They might interfere with those parts of the body that don't need treatment. They are certainly not advisable for expectant mothers, and people already afflicted with other ailments.
But, do not lose hope. All you need to know are some effective yet natural remedies. You could try these simple lifestyle changes for migraine treatment at home.
Natural remedies for migraine relief
1. Meditate to mitigate a migraine
If you are a woman, chances are that your migraine will be triggered by hormonal changes post-adolescence. You are also three times more likely to suffer from migraines in adulthood than men. Do you suffer from menstrual or post-partum (after childbirth) migraines? One effective and instant relief solution is a meditation that can balance your chakras or the energy points. Meditation is an effective treatment for a stress-related migraine. It helps you relax and heal.
“A free solution that has shown results is Hari Om meditation (a guided meditation by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar). It brings your fluctuating hormones to normal levels. However, you must be consistent to experience the benefits over a period of time,” said Dr. Shiksha Thakur, an Ayurvedic physician and Nadi Parikshak.
Meditation provides instant relief without side effects. Anybody can practice it regardless of age, gender, or other criteria. It relaxes your blood vessels, increases your pain tolerance limit, and pumps you with well being, informed Dr. Thakur.
2. Choose proteins over processed food
It is crucial to subscribe to the idea of consuming nutritious food over junk or fast foods. Instead of eating scrumptious meals after long intervals, eat three hearty meals or six small healthy meals a day, depending on your palate and schedule. This will help you control those sudden migraine attacks.
Chocolate, wine, cheese, processed meat, yeast, nuts, pickles, and peanut butter are best avoided for migraineurs. Plenty of water intake is also known to be a simple migraine treatment.
It is recommended that migraine sufferers maintain a regular exercise schedule. Exercise reduces stress and helps balance many chemicals and functions within the body.
Spend 15 to 20 minutes for a morning walk coupled with low-impact asanas like Veerabhadrasana and Gomukhasana. Do not try exercises that are likely to jerk your neck, as it may trigger a migraine.
4. Go early to bed
When you are in pain, sleeping in a quiet, dark room can be comforting. Sleeping at the same time, at an early hour regularly can also keep migraines at bay. Dr. Thakur recommends sleeping for at least seven hours, preferably between 10 pm and 6 am.
5. Take a break before work
As a migraineur, you must know that you shouldn't stretch yourself beyond a point. Take a soothing holiday either with family and friends or even alone whenever you feel the burnout. Apart from the wide open spaces, you can learn some relaxation techniques for migraine relief. You can also consult experienced doctors and therapists who can heal your migraine with non-invasive techniques. You can visit the serene Art of Living Centre in Bengaluru and experience the calm of the peaceful atmosphere here.
6. Relax before you collapse
Don’t wait for a breakdown. A finding has found that an imbalance in stress hormones has been known to result in 80% of migraine cases worldwide. Practicing Sudarshan Kriya (SKY), a unique breathing and de-stressing technique, daily has proven effective in migraine treatment. It relaxes the nervous system and balances stress hormones.
Note: Doing Bhramari Pranayama before Sudarshan Kriya is extremely beneficial as it releases serotonin and addresses post-partum as well as a menstrual migraine. “It soothes the upper respiratory tract, which is sensitive to a migraine attack,” added Dr. Thakur.
7. Detox your body
Pamper yourself regularly to maintain your health. A full-body massage can help relax and ease all the stiffness. A periodical detoxification session helps remove toxins. Trained therapists at The Art of Living Panchakarma centres across India and abroad can help you de-stress. Treatments like Vamana and Virechana are natural methods to detoxify your body.
8. Drop that fear
Fear of pain is present in all of us, especially when we have experienced it before. Have you noticed that fear of the migraine triggers a migraine? It is a case of mind over matter. Train your mind to deal with pain if and when it comes. When it is not there, don’t think of the times when it is. If a headache is inevitable, sleep and relax. Learn the art of resting your mind and body.
A case of meditation over medication
“I don't need to worry about migraines anymore,” says Gurudatt Anvekar.
Gurudatt is a graphic designer who spends most of his time in front of a computer screen. Screen light normally triggers his migraine attacks. Yet, he has not had a severe case of migraine in the last month.
“Being a migraineur makes me sensitive to light. However, now I am able to sit in front of my computer for long hours as the intensity of my migraine has reduced remarkably after I started meditation and Sudarshan Kriya. Migraine attacks would occur twice or thrice a week earlier. Now, it has reduced to only once in two months,” he said.
Rajaque Rahman, a former journalist who used to suffer chronic migraine attacks, also experienced the healing effect of Sudarshan Kriya. “It has been 13 years since my last migraine attack occurred and when I first learned the Sudarshan Kriya,” he said.
Bliss Meditation. vol 1-4
What is Meditation? A mind without agitation is Meditation. A mind is the present moment is Meditation.