17 Natural Remedies for Instant Migraine Relief

Mental Health

One thing is for sure: migraines are no fun. People who suffer from chronic migraines may have to stop what they’re doing, whether it’s caregiving, working, or going to school. A migraine can come with a wide variety of miserable symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, or sensitivity to light and sound.

Unfortunately, instant migraine relief isn’t always easy to come by. While pharmaceuticals have proven to be effective for some, they are ineffective for others. They also come with a hefty price tag and have a long list of side effects.

But there’s another way that’s often overlooked: natural migraine relief options. Natural remedies are starting to become a more viable option than medication since they don’t carry the same side effects and are also much cheaper. Many people find that these remedies are even more effective than their normal medication. Let’s look at 17 examples of natural remedies for instant migraine relief, including all assortment of minerals, vitamins, shrubs, and relaxation techniques.

Natural Migraine Relief Remedies

Magnesium

magnesium flakes spilling out of an orange bottle

Magnesium is a crucial mineral when it comes to the overall function of your body. According to some studies, magnesium levels may be low when a migraine comes on. For that reason, keeping your magnesium levels high enough on a regular basis can potentially help your migraines become less frequent. Taking magnesium during a migraine attack could also ease the pain. This can take the form of oral magnesium, or intravenously via specific headache treatment.[1]

Ginger

whole ginger and ginger slices on wooden table

Ginger has always been a remedy for a variety of things, especially when it comes to digestion issues or nausea. But did you know it also serves as a remedy for natural migraine relief? Indeed, ginger has oils that contain hundreds of different substances (thus the reason it is effective for a variety of ailments).

So, why does ginger help with migraines? It is thought that it blocks prostaglandins, which are a kind of lipid that can cause muscle contractions to occur, among other things. When the ginger slows down the processes of the prostaglandins, it can lead to instant migraine relief.[2]

In fact, ginger powder has been studied in comparison to a common migraine medication, sumatriptan. In this study, the effectiveness did not differ between the two treatments.[3] Keep in mind, however, that ginger powder comes without the side effects or high price tag as a pharmaceutical.

Looking to add more ginger to your diet and help out with the onset of a migraine? Try this delicious and soothing lemon and ginger tea!

Feverfew

white feverfew flowers

Although relatively foreign to modern medicine today, feverfew has long been used as a natural remedy. Just about anything under the sun is treatable with feverfew, including migraines and headaches. It also works for arthritis, toothaches, asthma, stomach issues, skin problems, and menstrual issues. It is native to the Balkans in Europe, but grows elsewhere as well these days.

If you’re looking for migraine headache relief, you can eat fresh feverfew leaves or take supplements made with the dried leaves. Feverfew works for migraine headache relief most likely because of the fact that it contains parthenolide. This chemical relieves certain kinds of muscle spasms, as well as reduces contraction and inflammations in the blood vessels of the brain.

Butterbur

dried butterbur leaves on wooden table

Butterbur is a kind of shrub that grows in North America, Asia, and Europe. It has served as a remedy for natural migraine relief (as well as a remedy for a variety of other problems) throughout history. Since the roots can be toxic, the leaves are the only part of the plant safe for use in natural remedies. Butterbur works because of its isopetasin and petasin, both of which lower levels of inflammation and spasms. This is how it both reduces the pain of a migraine when it’s happening, and also prevents migraines from coming on in the first place.

Instant Migraine Headache Relief Techniques

Massage

massaging the back of a woman's neck for instant migraine relief

While it is more for the prevention of migraines rather than migraine headache relief, massage can make a big difference for someone who suffers from frequent migraines. One of the reasons for this is the fact that some of the common triggers for migraines are stress and poor sleep. As one study showed[4], massage can help with both, so it can therefore ease tension and help reduce the severity and frequency of migraines.

Interesting Fact: It is estimated that women experience migraines twice as much as men.[5]

Biofeedback

woman having a migraine and holding her head with two hands

Like other relaxation techniques, biofeedback is one that could prove effective in providing instant migraine relief. Biofeedback works particularly well for migraines triggered by muscle tension. It is a technique whereby you can learn to “control” the involuntary processes within your body. It’s all about awareness of your body and taking control of what exactly is going on. You can learn it from an experienced therapist and, if you become good enough at it, you can use this method to reduce the power of a migraine.[6]

Yoga

four people doing yoga poses on yoga mats

Another useful relaxation technique that may help with natural migraine relief is yoga. Yoga includes meditation, posture, breathing, flexibility, and strength improvement for getting to know your body better and improving your overall well-being. Because yoga helps with things such as anxiety, muscle tension, and vascular health, it could have a positive effect on migraines. This particularly applies to the reduction of the frequency of migraines, as well as how long they last and how intense they feel.

While not enough research has been done to select yoga as the main treatment instant migraine relief, there is anecdotal evidence to support the claim that it can make a big difference. This is especially the case if it’s done alongside another kind of treatment. If you’d like to give it a go for yourself, this beginner yoga workout is a great place to start.

Did You Know?: Migraine is the third most prevalent and sixth most disabling illness around the world.[7]

Acupressure or Acupuncture

woman lying down receiving acupuncture to the face

Acupressure and acupuncture have similar concepts but different techniques, and both can be used for natural migraine relief. The practice of acupressure typically focuses on applying pressure to the hands and fingers in order to cause other parts of your body (including your head) to get pain relief. It is considered a reliable alternative form of treatment for chronic headaches and similar issues. It also helps with nausea specifically caused by migraines.

Acupuncture stems from China two and a half millennia ago, and it is used to treat migraines as well as a wide variety of other ailments. While you may not subscribe to its logic (the fact that “chi,” the body’s energy, must be balanced in order for you to get relief), the fact of the matter is that it helps many people find instant migraine relief.

Vitamins & Essential Oils for Migraines

Vitamin B2

foods rich in vitamin b2 such as eggplant, cheese, almonds, walnuts on cutting board

Vitamin B2, which also goes by the name riboflavin, could be lacking in people who suffer from migraines. This means that getting more of it can help with migraine relief, especially alongside other forms of treatment. It can be taken as a supplement or taken from foods, including cheese, lean meats, eggs, almonds, spinach, milk, broccoli, asparagus, whole grains, and more.

Psst… try this guilt-free chocolate cookie recipe to get a vitamin B2 boost! It sounds too good to be true, but the recipe contains eggs, which are a fantastic source of vitamin B2.

Vitamin B6

assortment of gel capsules and pills for natural migraine relief

The human body doesn’t store Vitamin B6, so you need to get it from your diet. This vitamin helps the body utilize dopamine and serotonin. Lower serotonin is linked to migraines, meaning vitamin B6 could help with migraine headache relief. You can take supplements or eat foods that contain vitamin B6, such as whole grains, baked potatoes (including their skins), peas, chicken, salmon, peanut butter, bananas, carrots, spinach, pork, eggs, and more. Perhaps one of the easiest ways to add more vitamin B6 to your diet is to eat more beans.

Vitamin D

woman lying on the grass in the sun getting vitamin d

Vitamin D is a tricky vitamin to find in foods, except for very specific kinds of foods. There is a correlation between people who get migraines and a lack of vitamin D. In fact, people who are vitamin D deficient have a higher risk for pain that OTC pain relievers can’t help. For this reason, people who fall into this category can find migraine relief when they take vitamin D. Some foods that contain vitamin D, include egg yolks, oysters, fish, and cheese, but it especially comes from sun exposure or from supplements.

Vitamin C

sliced citrus fruits such as oranges, kiwis, lemons that are rich in vitamin c

Sometimes referred to as ascorbic acid, vitamin C helps with tissue repair and growth in your body. Your body cannot produce vitamin C on its own, so it is essential that you get it through healthy foods. Luckily, lots of foods contain at least some amount of vitamin C. These foods include a huge number of fruits and vegetables, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, leafy greens, potatoes, berries, watermelon, mango, broccoli, strawberries, green peppers, and more.

Studies have shown vitamin C to be effective in treating different kinds of pain. Vitamin C helps with instant migraine relief, although scientists have yet to determine exactly how or why it works. This vitamin is effective as a supplement as well.

Vitamin E

vitamin e tablets on a spoon with a glass of water

This is a particularly useful vitamin in women who suffer from menstrual migraines. In one study in 2009, women took vitamin E pills before and during their menstrual cycle. Compared to the placebo group, their pain was less severe and they were not as hindered by their migraines. It additionally worked to help with the accompanying problems of nausea, light sensitivity, and sound sensitivity.[8] Vitamin E can be taken as a supplement or it can be found in vegetable oils like sunflower oil, nuts, seeds, green vegetables, or other foods that have been fortified with it.

Lavender Oil

small bottles of lavender oils and purple lavender flowers around

Lavender oil is a powerful essential oil that can be used for natural migraine relief. As you may know, lavender is effective in encouraging relaxation and relieving tension. Did you know, however, that it works extremely quickly? Many people find relief after 15 minutes of inhalation during a migraine attack. According to the 2012 study, patients who inhaled lavender found faster migraine headache relief than people who inhaled a placebo.[9] You can also apply it to your temples instead of inhaling it.

Peppermint Oil

small dark glass bottle of essential oil with mint leaves

Interestingly, peppermint isn’t actually a substance of its own – it is a mixture of spearmint and water mint, and it is found in teas or flavorings. Peppermint oil has long served as a natural herb for remedying a variety of ailments, including headaches and migraines. This essential oil has calming and numbing qualities that are said to ease the pain that comes with a headache or migraine. Simply put some of it on your forehead or temples when you feel a migraine setting on in order to experience natural migraine relief.

Don’t want to fork out for a bottle of lavender or peppermint oil? Why not try making your own essential oils?

Other Effective Remedies to Try

Caffeine

woman's hands holding a mug

Although most commonly associated with coffee or black tea, caffeine is a naturally occurring substance that helps with the body’s ability to absorb medications. This makes it an effective remedy for natural migraine relief to take along with whatever you normally take. Its boost in treatment effectiveness is as much as 40%, so it’s really worth it. Caffeine can be taken in pill form for a particularly speedy delivery.

Marijuana

cannabis leaf on a green background

No matter where you stand politically on the legalization of marijuana, there is no denying it has some useful medical applications. In fact, migraine headache relief is one of them. Marijuana has a long history as a treatment for many different ailments. Unfortunately, it became illegal in the United States in 1937, although the medical use of cannabis is legal in over 30 states.

Extensive research is hard to come by because marijuana is still illegal in many states. Even so, this substance has a long history of use for migraine headache relief. According to anecdotal evidence, this is a highly effective treatment method. If medical marijuana is legal for use against migraines in your state, you may want to try it and see for yourself if it provides adequate relief. You can even try cannabis oil, which has become an increasingly popular migraine remedy.

Action Steps: Choosing the Best Remedy for Natural Migraine Relief

For a step-by-step guide on how to choose the best remedy for natural migraine relief, take a look at the five simple steps below.

  1. Do some research on the specific kinds of migraines or migraine symptoms for which each remedy is most effective. Start with this article and go from there.
  2. Think about combining your chosen migraine headache relief remedy with another kind of treatment. For example, taking caffeine alongside your regular migraine medication.
  3. Prepare yourself by purchasing the recommended dosage and form of the treatment to have on hand. You could also start taking the supplement or natural migraine relief remedy regularly, as recommended (to prevent a migraine from occurring).
  4. When a migraine occurs, take your prepared natural remedy and observe the results. Don’t get frustrated if the first try doesn’t work; it takes some trial and error to find the most effective remedy for you.
  5. Take notes as you try the various options to determine which provides the best relief.

Natural remedies take a little more effort than simply filling a prescription, but it is well worth it. After all, you won’t have to pay as much money, you won’t get the terrible possible side effects of pharmaceuticals, and you won’t have to visit a doctor to get a prescription. That means you have more freedom to find the right instant migraine relief remedy for you.

Is chronic stress causing migraines? Learn how to relieve stress quickly and easily in four simple steps.

Conclusion

When it comes to methods for instant migraine relief, natural remedies are always preferable to pharmaceuticals. After all, many of them end up being just as effective. Medications tend to have more side effects, they are often expensive, and using them long-term can cause numerous health issues.

These remedies for natural migraine relief are just the beginning of what is out there. Natural remedies are not regulated in the same way as prescription drugs, so it is harder to find scientific studies that support their usage. Take a look at the anecdotal evidence, then, and decide which one you want to try first. You may find that one of these 17 options is the best remedy for migraine headache relief for you!

References

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