You know a migraine the moment it sets in. It can feel like you're spinning around in a room full of strobe lights while a small child jumps up and down on your head. Sound familiar?
It's more than a headache. A headache you can mostly function with, albeit probably not it the best mood. But when you're experiencing a migraine, you probably want to hide yourself away in a dark, silent room until the feeling subsides. For many, that seems like the only effective treatment, but there are other ways to beat migraines.
What's a migraine?
Migraines are identified as a pounding pain in one area of the head. As a result, you can feel nauseous and dizzy, often with a sensitivity to light and sound. You can also experience diarrhea and blurred vision. These headaches can be occasional or chronic. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are four stages to a migraine that you may experience:
Prodrome -- This stage occurs one or two days before the onset of the pain. You may experience symptoms including constipation, neck stiffness, depression, diarrhea, hyperactivity, food cravings and irritability.
Aura -- Typically experienced for 10 to 30 minutes, also before the onset of pain, aura is not as common. Auras can be visual, sensory, motor or verbal disturbances. Symptoms include seeing shapes, bright spots or light flashes, loss of vision, a tingling feeling in an or arm or leg or difficulty with speech.
Attack -- Just like it sounds, this is when the pain kicks in and can last up to 72 hours without treatment. This is also when the nausea, dizziness and other symptoms kick in.
Postdrome -- The final stage, this is after the pain subsides. During this "coming down" stage, you can feel extremely fatigued and need continued rest.
Common Causes of Migraines
Migraine headaches can be triggered by a number of conditions. They're often changes in the weather or in the environment the individual is in. Changes in humidity (barometric pressure), onset of storms and very dry or dusty conditions can bring on these headaches as well as strong odors and winds, altitude changes, smoke or certain forms of light.
Researchers from the National Yang-Ming University School of Medicine in Taipei, Taiwan announced last month a link between temperature and migraines. In a one-year study of 60 regular migraine sufferers, they found temperature sensitivity to be the trigger for mild migraines, as opposed to humidity.
Natural Treatments for Migraines
Researchers around the world are still working to determine the exact process that occurs within the body before, during and after a migraine. If you're suffering from migraines, you can find relief and even prevent your symptoms naturally. Here are some options to treat your migraines without prescription drugs:
White Willow Bark:
This bark contains salicin that converts into salicylic acid in the body and has an analgesic effect (painkiller). It's been used since approximately 400 BC, taken just like aspirin. Don't take it if you're sensitive to aspirin or for a period longer than 12 weeks.
Extracted from the leaf of the plant, feverfew helps maintain normal blood vessel tone. It also works similarly to aspirin, helping to prevent inflammation. Unlike white willow bark, this supplement can be taken daily to help prevent migraines over time.
This supplement is trusted by herbalists to maintain healthy circulation and blood flow to the brain. Butterbur's active components are petasins, which also promote proper neurological function and prevent painful disturbances like migraines. You can also take it daily.
Available in many forms, this root is a common cure for nausea. You can chew a piece of ginger gum to help relieve symptoms during a migraine.
Other homeopathic treatments include acupuncture, meditation and even hypnosis. Making sure you stay hydrated and get enough sleep are also important.
If your headaches become frequent, speak with your doctor to check for any underlying causes. Also, seek medical advice before switching to a natural remedy if you're currently being treated for chronic migraines. These supplements can keep you pain free to keep you out of hibernation.
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