Migraines are more than just a bad headache. Migraines are a neurological disease that typically presents with an intense headache and/or other disabling symptoms. Migraine attacks will often come with one or more of the following symptoms: visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sensitivity to lights, sounds, or smells, or odd sensations in the face or extremities. Due to the severity of these attacks, migraines are the 6th most disabling disease in the world. These attacks often leave sufferers unable to function normally at work or school – leading to lots of sick days.
Since the disease and symptoms are typically different from person to person, finding the right treatment can be difficult. Here’s 5 drug free treatments to try that have been backed by science:
Perhaps one of the more commonly sought alternative treatments, acupuncture has a well established history in pain treatment – including migraine headaches. This study showed acupuncture had a significant advantage over medication in reducing the frequency and intensity of migraines. Participants also reported fewer side effects with acupuncture compared to medications.
I’ve had several patients report a decrease in the frequency and intensity of their migraines after chiropractic care. I’m sure to warn patients up front that there are several factors that cause migraines, but if one of their factors comes from muscle tension or their spine – we’ve got a good shot at improvement. This study showed adjustments were just as effective as first-line medications for tension and migraine headaches. Another study showed “significant improvement” in migraine sufferers following manipulative treatment.
Diet can play a major role in preventing migraine attacks. Many of the suggested foods or supplements work through their anti-inflammatory properties. In this study, Omega-3 supplementation led to a significant decrease in the frequency of migraine headaches compared to a control group. The study didn’t mention anything regarding the intensity of headache or symptoms, but suggested Omega-3 supplementation as a prophylaxis.
Exercise is often one of the best types of conservative treatment for a host of problems. But many migraine sufferers also see exercise as one of their triggers that puts them out of commission. This study examined this balance between exercise and migraine attacks. The researchers noted that while exercise could trigger attacks, patients that didn’t exercise as often had more migraine attacks. Furthermore, regular exercise had a prophylatic effect on migraine frequency most likely due to raising the triggering threshold in patients. They reported more research has to be done on specific types of exercise for this patient population.
Stress is often a big factor in triggering attacks or ramping up the intensity of an attack. It makes sense that utilizing stress relief techniques could benefits migraine sufferers. This study looked at hypnosis and/or relaxation techniques (visual imagery, relaxation, and pain-displacement techniques) showed these as effective treatments.
Curious if chiropractic can help? Contact our office in Clarkston, MI to see if we can help!