Things I Do to Get Rid of My Migraines
People have a lot of headaches and migraines now. I wonder if people had them 200 years ago as badly as they do now. But, I guess that is a different discussion. We end up swapping stories and remedies like favorite recipes. In any case, I thought I’d write a list of the things that work for me since I get asked from time to time.
If you are reading this you probably have a headache right now and don’t give a crap about prevention. You can scroll down to remedies and go back to this later.
Figure out your trigger and what causes your headaches
- For me it is sugar and stress. Usually combined. I stopped eating sugar and have fewer, milder headaches. I used to have headaches that would last days and needed to be in bed with the light out. Now, I just get kinda crabby.
- Weather related. Google to find out the pollen count in your area. You may find something in particular is blooming.
- Are you hungry? Eat!
- Food related. Ask yourself what you’ve eaten lately. Sugar, caffeine, and alcohol can be big causes. Here are some common food triggers:
- Sugar (Candy, that sweet and sour chicken you ate last night, muffins, etc.). There is an amazing amount of sugar in most food we consume.
- Alcohol. Which is actually sugar, but it also dehydrates you.
- Caffeine. Soda, Diet soda, tea, coffee.
- Withdrawal. If you regularly consume certain food items and spend a day or two without them – you can get a withdrawal headache from addiction. I see this with sugar and caffeine. I used to eat ice cream or candy bars to get rid of mine before I realized it was better to just stop eating sugar.
- Dehydration. Make sure you are drinking enough water or non-caffeinated items.
- Did you have a bad day at work?
- Did you aunt surprise you with a visit while your house was a mess?
- Did your mom call and tell you how much smarter your sister is?
- Did you watch something sad on television?
- Do you feel overburdened with anything?
- Addiction. I mentioned caffeine and sugar being additive for some people. Caffeine has never been a problem for me, but sugar has. If you decide to stop consuming these items you are probably going to go through withdrawals, but it will end. For me the worst part of the sugar withdrawal was about a week of headaches and being pissy. I seem to think that caffeine takes about the same amount of time. You may find you can occasionally partake of these items after you are done going through your withdrawal, but I would be very mindful how much you are consuming so you don’t end up right back where you were. I allow myself one small sugary item a month. Any more than that and the cravings and suffering begin. It’s not worth it for me.
- Hormones. Make a note of when you get headaches. It might be hormones.
- Smoking. If you are doing it or around it, you know what to do here.
It’s good to know what kind of headache you have to get rid of it. Here is how mine play out:
- In the corner of my eye: migraine.
- Below or above my eyes: sinus or allergy related.
- Back of head: tension or stress.
- Sides of head: tension or stress.
- Sometimes I will get a allergy headache that will kick off a migraine, so unless I treat for both, I still have a headache. These are the least fun of headaches.
My Personal Remedies
As for all headaches — don’t ignore them. They are much easier to get rid of when they first start. Don’t wait until you want to stab someone.
- My homemade migraine headache oil. Recipe here
- Head massage. Better if you can talk someone else into doing it for you. Concentrate on eye area, scalp, neck, whatever feels good
- Rosemary oil – rub a few drops on your temples and/or cheeks
- Lavender oil – rub a few drops on your temples and/or cheeks
- Frankincense, Clary Sage, Geranium, and Thyme essential oils – good if your headaches are hormonal related.
- Magnesium – Optimal magnesium levels are good for bone, tooth, muscle, and joint health as well as for optimal sleep, blood sugar, blood pressure, stress reduction… and headaches. Either get the oil you can spray on (health food store), make your own (water +Magnesium Chloride flakes) or take magnesium (we like Natural Calm, magnesium and calcium).
- Use a neti pot. No. You won’t drown.
- Cup of coffee. The caffeine can expand the blood vessels in your head and relieve a headache. If you normally drink coffee it may have no effect. Also, if you are suffering from caffeine withdrawal it might also work — but you may want to consider kicking the addictive habit.
- Hot shower
- Visualization. This one sounds crazy, but I have found it effective. Sit quietly and imagine your headache and being able to see it. Where is it located? Where is it sitting in your head? What color is it? What shape is it? Does it have a texture. The more you concentrate on it, the smaller it will get. Try it! No one has to know.
- Breathe exercises.
- Tiger Balm – This is the stuff for sore muscles you can get at the drugstore. I will take a little bit of it and put behind my ears, temples, and rub whatever is left in my scalp. It really seems to help. At the very least, it is distracting.
- Exercise – which is the last thing you want to do – but it can really help.
- If I can’t get rid of it without drugs, I reach for the Excedrin Migraine.
- My homemade allergy headache oil. Recipe here.
- Sinus massage. Your sinuses are below your eyes in your cheek area and above your eyes behind your forehead. If you press between your eyes on the bridge of your nose and rub down across your cheeks it is supposed to help drain your sinuses. Just rub the one direction over and over with pretty firm pressure. If you put a little lotion or oil on your fingers, you won’t tug your skin as much.
- Stinging Nettle. You can get it at the drugstore in the vitamin section.
- Stop eating dairy (Cheese, milk, whey. Whey is in everything from frozen foods to crackers). You can read a great article by Dr. Weil here on this.
- Use a neti pot. Also awesome if you are fighting a cold or trying to stay well.
- Boil water and put a towel over your head and breath in the steam. You can also add a few drops of some different essential oils into the water.
- Hot shower
- Stay inside
- Relaxing. Watch television, read a book, walk outside, etc. Find something you enjoy to get your mind elsewhere.
- Massage your head.
- Valerian root. You can get it at the drugstore in the vitamin section. It helps you relax.
- Hot shower.
- Breathe exercises.
- Lay on your back with your knees up and feet on a chair. I’ve been told you can’t stay stressed in this position. Seems to work for me.
And maybe all you need is a good laugh…