alternative treatments seek to relieve pain during a headache, to reduce the
frequency of headaches, or to reduce the need for traditional medications. As
is the case with many alternative treatments for any disease or condition,
opinions are often mixed as to the efficacy of some treatment methods, and
research is often minimal in comparison to traditional medicine treatments.
people have had success in using alternative treatments in the management of
many diseases and conditions, including migraine. Before trying any migraine
alternative treatments, you should always check with your doctor to be sure
that the methods are safe and right for you.
Herbs and Supplements
Some scientific evidence suggests that a few over-the-counter
herbs and supplements may prevent migraines or reduce their severity. However, some can have potentially dangerous
side effects, especially for pregnant women, so always check with your doctor
before starting any supplements.
- High doses of riboflavin (vitamin B-2) have been shown to reduce the frequency
(but not the severity or duration) of migraine headaches.
helps to relax constricted blood vessels. Some studies have found that many
migraine patients are deficient in magnesium, so supplements may help prevent
headaches (although study results are inconsistent and more research is needed).
In addition, intravenous magnesium helps relieve pain during a migraine
headache, especially in people with magnesium deficiencies.
Q10 improves energy metabolism. A few studies have shown benefits from
coenzyme Q10 supplements for people with migraine, but the reason for this is
not yet known.
- Fish oil
is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, chemicals that protect nerves and reduce
inflammation in the body. A small study has shown that fish oil supplements
reduced the frequency and severity of migraine headaches.
has been found by some to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine
headaches. It is also known to reduce nausea, so it may also be useful during a
migraine headache as well.
is an herb that has been found to contain some of the same anti-inflammatory
chemicals as aspirin. Limited studies have shown that daily feverfew
consumption may reduce the frequency of migraine headaches or the severity of
the pain. Pregnant women should not use
is a plant that may inhibit inflammation in the blood vessels. Limited studies
have shown it may be able to reduce headache frequency in migraine sufferers or
to reduce the severity of their pain. Pregnant
women should not use this herb.
is a technique of traditional Chinese medicine that involves inserting very
thin needles into specific points on the body that are thought to control the
flow of energy. Studies have shown that
acupuncture may be helpful both in reducing the frequency of migraine headaches
and in reducing the duration and severity of a headache already in progress.
care involves manipulating the spine and other bones to ensure their proper
alignment; misalignment of the spine can cause nerve irritation and
inflammation. A few studies have found that proper and safe chiropractic
manipulation can reduce both the frequency and intensity of migraine headaches.