If you’ve ever had a migraine, you know that when the first symptoms strike, it’s time to find relief — and fast. And when you find something that works, you stick with it.
Today, many in chronic pain are still without their Excedrin — the popular migraine pill has not yet made its way back on to store shelves — and looking for other options.
here are the obvious choices for zapping the pain, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Motrin and Aleve, for example). People with migraines often take beta blockers or antidepressants to prevent headaches, and triptans, such as Imitrex or Relpax, once symptoms start.
But if your headaches are persistent or other medications just aren’t cutting it, here are some other approaches you can consider.
Booking a massage can instantly help relieve headache pain, especially if it’s caused by tension or stress. Manipulating your muscles helps them relax, which boosts blood flow all over the body, helping to relieve the pain caused by a headache. You can also do a self-massage for similar benefits.
This method uses electric sensors to have a look at your body functions. The data is given back to you so that you can detect what is causing your headaches.
The method also teaches you appropriate ways to control symptoms during a headache. See your doctor to learn how to do biofeedback properly. It won’t work unless you do it properly, but it’s not difficult to learn.
3. Heat And Cold
Using heat and cold to relieve a headache is safe for anyone and completely medication-free. It works by relaxing your blood vessels when you apply heat or cooling your blood when you apply ice.
A heating pad or ice pack is all you need to give this method a try. Try both or just one. The trick is to use whichever works best for you. That differs based on the person, so try them both several times.
In acupuncture, thin needles are inserted under the skin to realign the flow of energy, or qi, in the body. In general, treatments run $60 to $120 per session, according to Acufinder.com, an acupuncture referral service.
An expert analysis, known as a Cochrane review, found acupuncture could help prevent acute migraines as well as drug treatments do and with fewer adverse side effects. Evidence also suggests that acupuncture could help people with frequent episodic or chronic tension-type headaches, they say.
Headache-relieving stretches can get at muscle tension that contributes to pain. Add them to your workout or use them when a headache looms.
Try these three: neck range of motion (chin forward, upward, and toward each shoulder); shoulder shrugs (shrug up, up and forward, and up and back); and neck isometrics (press palm into forehead and hold; press hand on each side of the head).
Stretch twice a day for 20 minutes per session. Hold the stretch for five seconds, relax for five seconds, and repeat each stretch three to five times.
Regular aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, biking, or swimming, can reduce migraine intensity and frequency, according to the National Pain Foundation.
In a small study in the journal Headache, migraine patients who were not regular exercisers engaged in a 12-week indoor cycling program. Participants improved their quality of life and reduced the number of migraines they had, as well as the intensity of the pain.
In studies, migraine sufferers who practiced yoga on a regular basis experienced fewer headaches and milder symptoms. Yoga helps you center your body and mind through meditation, breathing and stretching.
Combining these three things can help you control your headaches and keep you from suffering future ones. The great thing about yoga is that you can practice it at home or in a studio, so choose what you like best.
8. Diet Changes
Because certain foods can cause a headache, one of the best ways to treat the pain is to avoid those items. Keep an eating and headache diary for several weeks in which you record what you eat and whether you get a headache or not.
This will help you determine which foods lead to the issue. In general, nitrates and nitrites, found in processed meats and MSG are ones to stay away from. Alcohol, caffeine, cheese, chocolate and artificial sweeteners are other items you might need to limit or avoid.