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What are some effective alternative migraine treatments?

“It is very important to remember that many of the most effective preventative treatments for migraines do not require any medications.” Sashank Prasad, M.D. Chief, Division of Neuro-Ophthalmology Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston

Here I provide a list of alternative ways to prevent migraines occuring, all 100% natural. I’ve found some to be helpful in my migraine journey. Do speak to your doctor/specialist before trying any of the recommendations in this article.

Supplements

Scientific evidence suggests that some supplements may be beneficial in preventing migraines. It is important to remember, however, that this information is not supported by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and that not all people can take the following supplements or homeopathic medicines, either because of pre-existing health conditions or because of the medications they are currently taking. Please speak to your doctor before starting any of the following supplements or vitamins.

Magnesium

Migraine sufferers typically have low concentrations of magnesium in the brain during an attack. Low concentrations in the blood level may also occur outside of an attack. Additionally, magnesium deficiency is fairly common among women suffering from migraines. As such, magnesium therapy has been shown as an effective preventative treatment plan for migraine sufferers.

Riboflavin (B2)

Riboflavin is an essential vitamin for membrane stability of the body’s cells. It is also used in certain cell energy functions. One study showed that 400mg of riboflavin for three months reduced ocular migraine occurrence by 50 percent in half of all participants.

 

> The full list of supplements is available in the ‘Ocular Migraine: Natural Prevention & Treatment’ book

 

Behavioral interventions

Behavioral interventions require you to reframe how you think, respond or react to any given situation. They are considered particularly helpful in managing emotional triggers associated with ocular migraines, and may even help you better understand the relationship between ocular migraines and stress. Just remember to give these practices time to work; they may not provide immediate results, but the end result can be extremely powerful.

Relaxation Training

There are many different kinds of relaxation training, giving you plenty of options to choose from! Some of the most popular include deep breathing exercises, guided imagery, and muscle-relaxing exercises. Others may also find benefits in relaxing activities, such as listening to music, creating art, or playing music. Whatever you choose, commit to at least 20 to 30 minutes per day as a preventative migraine treatment.

Biofeedback

Certain functions of the body are involuntary – breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure. Biofeedback can help you gain more control over these normally involuntary functions so you can attempt to manipulate them and keep a migraine from taking over. To learn this technique, you initially work with a biofeedback specialist. Special equipment (EEG/EMG) is used to measure muscle tension, skin temperature, or brain waves (type of measurement varies depending on doctor/treatment goals/ocular migraine causes). Once you have become familiar with the technique, you can use biofeedback on your own, without the assistance of medical equipment.

 

> The full list of behavioral interventions is available in the ‘Ocular Migraine: Natural Prevention & Treatment’ book

 

Alternative interventions

If behavior management interventions help you conquer the mind, alternative medicine interventions address your body’s physical well-being (in one form or another), giving you a fully holistic approach to treating and preventing your ocular migraines. However, it is important to keep in mind that not everything will work for everyone. Research your options, consider which ones might be most effective for you, and vet all practitioners carefully to ensure they have received proper training and/or certification.

Acupuncture

A key component of ancient Chinese Medicine, acupuncture involves the insertion of tiny needles into specific points of the body. Heat, mild electric currents, pressure, or laser lights can also be applied to these points. Some scientific evidence has suggested this may be an effective treatment for about half of all migraine sufferers.

Spinal Manipulative Therapies

Chiropractic medicine and osteopathic manipulation are spinal manipulative therapies that focus specifically on the body’s musculoskeletal system, particularly the spine. There are, however, some distinct differences between these two treatments, namely their “focus.” Whereas osteopathic treatments focus mostly on longer lever manipulations and manipulations of the joints in a problem area, chiropractic medicine focuses on smaller area in a particular region.

In regards to scientific evidence, studies show that chiropractic medicine may be able to reduce migraine occurrence by as much as 90 percent in approximately one-third of all sufferers, and around half may experience a reduction in migraine intensity. One small study also indicated that osteopathy may provide significant improvements for migraine sufferers, including the number of days they experience episodes.

Relaxation and Stretching

Relaxation or stretching exercises are considered especially beneficial for ocular migraine sufferers because they help to reduce stress and muscle stiffness/tension. Yoga, for example, combines the benefits of relaxation/stretching and strength/resistance exercises into just one session.

> The full list of alternative migraine treatments is available in the ‘Ocular Migraine: Natural Prevention & Treatment’ book

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