One of the [many] symptoms that I’ve been dealing with lately has been frequent and debilitating migraines. I’ve suffered from chronic migraines since I was in my early teens. And over the years I’ve tried everything: several MRIs, brain specialists, beta blockers, migraine medication, antidepressants [seriously, so dumb], muscle relaxers, chiropractor, massage, and the list goes on and on. In college I found the secret weapon – high (and I mean HIGH) doses of Aleve. [note: I do NOT recommend this as an option.] And my digestive system is still suffering the consequences of years of these treatments.
About five years ago I made lifestyle changes and my constant migraine vanished. Almost overnight. This is not an exaggeration. Within a week of going dairy and gluten-free, practicing yoga and daily meditation my migraines completely stopped. For years.
But, as my health started to decline, they came back with a vengeance. While there is no magic pill for a migraine that lasts for days, I have found several holistic tools that relieve some of the pain, relax me, and help me ride out the migraine.
How I manage a migraine naturally*
Drink a sh*t ton of water
SO MUCH WATER. And I add in some pink Himalayan or sea salt to the water. The salt delivers minerals to your body which helps you hold on to the hydration longer. Be sure that you use high quality sea salt – not table salt. You can also have pure coconut water which has natural electrolytes.
Sleep as much as possible
Cancel dinner with the girls. Take a sick day from work. Sleep. And then sleep some more. Often times a migraine is a message from your body that you need to S L O W D O W N. So listen. Really listen. Turn off your screens. Put the book away. Turn the podcast off. Just rest.
Have a little caffeine
Just a touch. I’ll have a small piece of clean dark chocolate or a few sips of green tea. The caffeine can help narrow the blood vessels (which tend to enlarge with a migraine) and reduce the intensity. But don’t overdo it because caffeine is dehydrating which is a common migraine trigger.
Use essential oils
As soon as I feel a migraine coming on, I apply a drop of frankincense to my thumb and press it to the roof of my mouth. I’ll also use 2 drops each of peppermint, eucalyptus and frankincense and massage them into my temples, forehead, jaw line, and neck. I’ll diffuse peppermint and lavender while I lay on my spoonk mat or take a nap. You can order the essential oils that I use here.
The last thing I usually want to do when I have a migraine is workout but this gentle routine from Yoga with Adriene is awesome. Between the focus on breathing and the stretches, I always feel better. I like to apply the essential oil mixture before doing this practice.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.