The head throbbing starts, the aura around the eyes appears, and suddenly everything sounds louder and looks brighter than it should. A migraine has hit.
According to Migraine.com’s most recent statistics, the U.S. reports more than 38 million people suffer from migraines, with the majority of sufferers women: “18 percent of women compared to 6 percent of men.” While there are plenty of migraine medications out there to help ease the pain, sometimes simply making some changes in lifestyle and knowing what to avoid can be the best solution.
Here are five tips to help reduce and relieve migraines naturally.
#1 Stay Hydrated
It comes as no surprise that the element that makes up 60 percent of the human body is often the answer to many health issues. While migraines often present themselves for a variety of reasons, being dehydrated is a very common reason for individuals. With society coming and going most of every day, the risk of not drinking enough water and not staying hydrated is actually very common. Bringing a reusable aluminum water bottle is a great way to keep water accessible and at top of mind throughout the day, since its always there. This is actually one of the simplest and least expensive ways to avoid migraines. If it comes down to a taste preference, including cucumber, lemon, melon or another infuser can help increase the desire to drink up.
#2 Avoid Trigger Foods
When migraines are an unfortunate and ongoing part of a person’s life, there tend to be a few patterns that become apparent. One of the most noticeable patterns that can be identified is linked to eating and drinking habits. What’s good here is that once a food or beverage is realized as the culprit, avoiding those things and removing them from your diet can be simple. Over time, studies have proven there are some common migraine causing food categories for people prone to these headaches to avoid. These include processed meats and foods containing nitrates such as hot dogs, cold cuts and bacon. Also, items including MSG, fake dyes and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame. Too much sodium and caffeine have also been linked as triggers.
#3 Introduce Essential Oils
While essential oils have grown in popularity in many American households in the last decade, not everyone knows the positive impact they can have on migraines. The most effective oil scents for migraines Peppermint, Lavender, Chamomile, and Spearmint. When the beginning signs start to present themselves, adding a few drops of oil to the temples or behind the ears can help to ward off the migraine from fully hitting. Additionally, mixing one to three drops of oil mixed with water into a diffuser can create a calming and healing effect in the atmosphere, and help side effects subside. Essential oil products specific for migraines, such as patches and rollerball sticks, are easily found in drugstores and online as well.
#4 Get Enough Sleep
Believe it or not, not getting enough sleep is one of the most common causes of migraines. It’s interesting to think that sleep is such a difficult thing for people to feel in control of, especially since it’s a necessary part of life. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Lifestyle plays a large part in sleep habits, but there are definitely things that can be done to try and get the right amount of sleep and increase the quality of those hours. Taking time to review each week’s schedule and create a planned schedule that includes bedtimes and wake up times can help, even if not followed accurately each night. The important thing is to aim to be consistent to avoid feeling depleted and exhausted.
#5 Manage a Healthy Weight
While migraines affect both men and women of different body types and body weight, there have been several studies that link both obesity and malnourishment to migraine patients. In 2017, a study was conducted by Dr. B. Lee Peterlin, Director of Headache Research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore that proved this connection. Research during the study found that “obese people were 27 percent more likely to have migraines than people who were at a normal weight and those who were underweight were 13 percent more likely to have migraines.” Many migraine sufferers notice a difference in the frequency of their headaches and the severity once getting to a healthy weight and managing it.