Home Medications and Treatments for Migraine
The pain of a migraine headache is often described as an intense pulsing or throbbing pain. A migraine is different from a normal headache in that it affects only one area of the head. It is often accompanied by extreme sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, and vomiting. Migraine is three times more common in women than in men. People with migraine tend to have recurring attacks triggered by a lack of food or sleep, exposure to light, or hormonal irregularities (only in women). Anxiety, stress, or relaxation after stress can also be triggers. A migraine comes on suddenly. The head and neck muscles, reacting from continuous stress, become overworked. The tight muscles squeeze the arteries and reduce the blow flow. Then, when the person relaxes suddenly, the constricted muscles expand, stretching the blood vessel walls. With each heartbeat, the blood pushes through these vessels and expands them further, causing intense pain.
Symptoms vary from person to person and from migraine to migraine. Five phases of a migraine can often be identified:
- Prodrome: A variety of warnings can come before a migraine. These may consist of a change in mood (for example, feeling “high,” irritable, or depressed) or a subtle change of sensation (for example, a funny taste or smell). Fatigue and muscle tension are also common
- Aura: This is commonly a visual disturbance that precedes the headache phase. Some migraineurs develop blind spots (called scotomas); see geometric patterns or flashing, colorful lights; or lose vision on one side (hemianopsia).
- Headache: Although migraine pain usually appears on one side of the head, 30-40% of migraines occur on both sides. Throbbing pain may be present. More than 80% of migraineurs feel nauseated, and some vomit. About 70% become sensitive to light (photophobia) and sound (phonophobia). This phase may last 4-72 hours.
- Headache termination: Even if untreated, the pain usually goes away with sleep.
- Postdrome: Other signs of the migraine (for example, inability to eat, problems with concentration, or fatigue) may linger after the pain has disappeared.
Migraine Headache Causes The exact cause of migraine headaches is not clearly understood, though experts believe they are due to a combination of the expansion of blood vessels and the release of certain chemicals, which causes inflammation and pain. Various triggers are thought to bring about migraine in certain people prone to developing migraine.
Common Migraine Triggers:
- Certain foods, especially chocolate, cheese, nuts, alcohol, excessive caffeine intake, and monosodium glutamate (MSG), bring on headaches in some people.
- Missing a meal may bring on a headache.
- Environmental changes: Weather change, change in altitude or barometric pressure, natural disaster, change in time zone, and jet lag can trigger migraines.
- Stress, anxiety and tension are also risk factors. People often have migraines during times of increased emotional or physical stress.
- Birth control pills are a common trigger. Women may have migraines at the end of the pill cycle as the estrogen component of the pill is stopped. This is called an estrogen-withdrawal headache.
- Smoking may cause migraines or interfere with treatment.
The juice of ripe grapes is an effective home remedy for a migraine. It is said that King Jamshed of Persia, who was very fond of grapes, once stored the juice of grapes well packed in bottles and made it public that the bottles contained strong poison, so as to prevent other from taking it. It so happened that the king's wife was struck with migraine and having obtained no relief from any treatment, decided to end her life by taking this so-called `poison'. She took it several times in small doses and contrary to her expectations, it gave her great relief instead of killing her.
Niacin has proved helpful in the treatment of migraine. Valuable sources of this vitamin are yeast, whole wheat, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, nuts, sunflower seeds, liver, and fish. Vitamin B complex tablets containing 100 mg of niacin can be taken for the same purpose.
Cabbage Leaf Compress:
An ancient folk remedy for easing the pain of migraine is a cabbage leaf compress. A few leaves of the vegetable should be crushed, and then placed in a cloth and bound on the forehead at bedtime, or when convenient during the day. The compress should be renewed when the leaves dry out.
The crusts of lemon have also been found beneficial in the treatment of migraine. These crusts should be pounded into a fine paste in a mortar. The paste should be applied as a plaster on the forehead. It will provide great relief.
Carrot juice, in combination with spinach juice, or beet and cucumber juices, has been found beneficial in the treatment of migraine. In the first combination, 200ml of spinach juice may be mixed with 300 ml of carrot juice to prepare 500 ml or half a liter of the combined juices. In the second combination, 100 ml each of beet and cucumber juices may be mixed with 300 ml of carrot juice.
Non-citrus juice such as apple, pear or peach
Whole grain, calcium fortified cereal topped with skim milk or soy milk and fresh berries
Scrambled eggs (purchase those high in omega-three fatty acids) or add in some fresh cooked salmon or canned salmon and fresh herbs such as basil or cilantro
Fresh Blueberry Muffin or toasted whole grain bread
French toast recipe such as Seattle Apple French Toast (using skim milk)
Vegetable cottage cheese (low fat) in whole-wheat pita with lettuce or sprouts
Homemade soup that doesn't contain prohibited foods, such as Asparagus and Sesame Chicken Soup (substituting cider vinegar for the rice wine vinegar)
Calcium fortified juice
Tuna salad sandwich on whole grain bread with lettuce
Strawberry Sports Shake
Pasta stir-fry, such as Linguini Honey-Sauced Prawns
Garlic bread sticks
Fresh fruit salad
Broiled fish, such as salmon or tuna
Microwave Rhubarb Crisp
Gingered Pork and Peaches (made without the lemon juice or peel)
Mixed green salad
Cinnamon-Scented Raspberry Rice Pudding
During the initial two or three days of the juice fast, a warm-water enema may be taken daily to cleanse the bowels. A hot foot bath, fomentation over the stomach and spine, cold compresses (4.5degrees C to 15.6 degrees C) applied to the head, and towels wrung out of very hot water and frequently applied to the neck will go a long way in relieving migraine headaches. The patient should also take plenty of exercise and walk in the fresh air.
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