As someone who has dealt with migraines for well over half of my life, I have quite a few tricks up my sleep when it comes to managing migraines.
Besides the obvious – medical management – I try to manage my migraines using alternative treatments whenever possible. I’ve found, through trial and error (mostly error) that overuse of as-needed medications has caused rebound migraines – those dreaded headaches that stick around for days.
These days, I only take as-needed medications on the worst days. I’m not saying that this is what you should do. This is what I do. This is what works for me.
That being said, here’s what I do.
I do the yoga.
I have my mother to thank for yoga. When I was about 15, my mom dragged me to a yoga class at the local YMCA. I thought she was crazy, but she had told me it would help with my migraines.
Well, here’s what I learned about yoga and migraines.
When I have a migraine, yoga does not lessen my migraine pain. However, yoga has a direct effect on my anxiety, which has a direct effect on the amount of migraines I have. So, while yoga does not cure my migraine pain, it does reduce the amount of migraines I have by decreasing my anxiety.
I try to have a daily yoga practice. With a rambunctious 3 year old and a husband who works swing shift as a miner, this is not always feasible. So, I shoot for doing yoga as much as reasonably possible.
I am so passionate about yoga for anxiety reduction that I am currently in training to become a yoga instructor. Everyone, do the yoga.
I take the naps.
When my head is throbbing and I can’t take it, my husband sends me to bed. He literally takes my phone or book from my hand, tells me to stop what I am doing, and tucks me in to bed. “Go to sleep. I’ve got this,” he’ll tell me. And he’ll take charge of whatever balls I’m juggling, such as cooking dinner, doing laundry, or putting Logan to bed.
I’ll draw the shades closed and fall to sleep, often with an ice pack on my forehead and my neck. I’ll wake up, a couple hours later or the following morning, feeling at least a little bit better.
Have I ever mentioned that I have the best husband ever?
I use the peppermint oil.
I carry peppermint oil with me at all times. I have a certain brand that I like to use, but I really don’t care what brand you use (I don’t sell or endorse any brand of essential oil). Nor am I an expert on essential oils. In fact, I have a small selection of essential oils that I use and swear by but couldn’t tell you what to do with them besides what I use them for.
That being said – peppermint oil.
The peppermint oil that I carry with me is used strictly for headaches. I carry it with me for this purpose and when I feel a doozy coming on, I place a small amount of the oil on my finger tips, then smooth the oil on to my temples (where it normally hurts) and my neck. I reapply as often as needed.
The thing about peppermint oil? The aroma is strong. If you’re in public, it’s going to draw attention. Apply it anyway. Oh, and it’s also going to tingle quite a bit (but in a good way.) That’s when the magic happens.
I drink allll the water.
I have yet to narrow down a dietary trigger, but dehydration will get me. Every. Time.
If you know me, you know that I developed an affinity for drinking coffee while working night shift as a nurse. I can’t go a day without coffee. However, I force myself to guzzle water before I pour my coffee.
Why? Because if I don’t, I’ll never drink the water.
I’ve taken to carry a water bottle with me as well. Hardly a new tip, but it works for me. I dislike warm water, so I invested in a quality water bottle that keeps my water bottle cold, for like, a month. Kidding, but it works well.
I do the therapy.
I’m unashamed to admit that I go to therapy. I’m an anxious person. For me, anxiety causes migraines. Therapy = less migraines.
So, dear readers, here are my tried and true tips for managing migraines without medication. Do they always work? No. But they certainly help me.