This is a different topic from the norm, but migraines are something that have affected me for years and I’m sure many of you have had your fair share of painful headaches or migraines.
Migraines suck. Each time I get one, I am out for the count. I would take an absurd amount of Ibuprofen, usually mixed with another allergy pill or Sudafed. The goal would be to take enough medicine to feel loopy and knock me out so I could sleep it off. A couple years ago, it got so bad that I developed a tolerance for my medicine “cocktail.” I would need to get through 3 or so doses of it (meaning my migraine would hang around for a good 24 hours) until I finally shook the pain.
That was when I decided I would figure out the cause so I could find a way to prevent it. No one should be taking the amount of medicine I was taking. I had been convinced it was a number of things and in the end, none of which when tended to solved the problem.
After chipping my front tooth in high school, I had my tooth bonded and my dentist told me the tooth would eventually die, which I then would need a root canal. It seemed around the time the tooth died, my migraines started, so I was convinced once I got a root canal, my migraines would go away.
Then I noticed nearly every time I got a migraine, I felt stuffed up, so I was convinced it was my sinuses. I saw my doctor and he recommended using a nasal spray and taking an allergy pill daily. I didn’t want to do that and for the short amount of time I tried it, it didn’t do anything. I even bought a neti-pot, which helped pressure when I did have a migraine, but didn’t make me feel much better.
At this point, I was beginning to get frustrated, so I saw a neurologist. He recommended to get a MRI just to make sure everything looked okay. I did that and everything ended up being okay.
My neurologist also said that many foods we eat can cause a strong reaction such as a migraine. That was when I decided to give Whole 30 a go. I will say, I didn’t have one migraine the entire time and this made me believe I would find the culprit when we went through the reintroduction period.
No food group caused the reaction of a migraine. Ugh. What now?
At that point, I pretty much gave up, so I went a bit without investigating further. It was until I got one on Labor Day weekend when I was with my girlfriends. One of my best friends (sup Cait) was working at a Physical Therapy place and she suggested working through any knots in my neck, shoulder, and back. I obliged and when she was massaging through those areas, I felt constant pulling in my eyes (where the pain was).
Ding ding ding!
It was muscular. I’ve always been one to carry my stress in my shoulders, so this didn’t come as much of a surprise. It seems like every time I have a migraine now, I focus on working through the muscles that are connected to the pain point, and wa la! Migraine is gone!
So, what else can you do to get rid of a migraine?
Not everyone’s migraines are muscular, so over the years, I’ve developed a routine of things I could try to get rid of them. Below is my “routine” so you too can zap that migraine without the use of medicine. Check them out.
1. Foam Roll
I first start off by foam rolling through my back, shoulders, and neck, where I personally carry stress and tension. Consistently foam rolling serves as a preventative measure too.
It’s important to keep your muscles loose to avoid tension, so stretching is key. I do notice many of my migraines come shortly after a day I workout my upper body, so stretching your arms, shoulders, and neck a bit extra on those days will save you the pain.
When I went to PT in the fall, I came in one day with a migraine and they worked through my “smiling muscles.” They applied pressure through my forehead, right under my eyes on my cheeks, and the big problem was my jaw. We never release tension through our face, so this could cause migraines as well. Apply pressure to help!
4. Get Steamy
The best feeling when you have a migraine is sitting somewhere warm such as a steam room (my personal fave), the sauna, or even taking a hot yoga class. The warmth loosens up your muscles and just feels damn good.
De-hydration is a common cause of headaches and migraines, so make sure you’re drinking enough water. If your stomach is upset from the migraine, make hot tea or add a slice of lemon to warm water so it tastes good enough to want to drink.
6. Essential Oils
Lavender is my favorite essential oil for migraines, so I rub some of that on my wrists and then on my temples. Eucalyptus is also heavenly. I bring that to the sauna or steam room with me no matter how I’m feeling. Helps with stress.
7. Eat Healthy
Nutritious food can serve as a natural medicine. Make sure you’re eating clean, eating a ton of veggies, and avoiding added sugars in your diet as sugar can be a trigger for migraines.
8. Go For A Walk
Exercise can really help a migraine, especially cardio. When I have a migraine, I go for a walk or run because A) the fresh air feels good and B) the movement of my arms when I walk/run helps loosen up the tension that causes my migraines.
9. Drink Coffee or Tea
Unfortunately, some of us are addicted to caffeine and a migraine could be a result of lack of it. Try drinking a cup of coffee or tea and see if that helps! If it does, you may want to consider decreasing your daily caffeine intake.
Most importantly, it’s important that you relax. Take a nap, put your phone and computer aside. Unplug and let your body knockout the migraine on its own.
I hope these tips help you knockout and prevent those hated migraines! In our busy lives, we don’t have time to deal a debilitating migraine, so use these tips to prevent them in the first place.
Do you have tips of your own? Share them below in the comments!