The Importance of Taking a Holistic Approach With Migraine
Several years ago, I stopped being on preventative medication for my chronic migraine condition while planning to have a child. I wanted as little medication in my body while I was trying to conceive and knew I wouldn’t be taking any while I was pregnant or nursing.
Over the years, I had tried dozens and dozens of preventatives to lessen my chronic daily migraines and never found one that fully worked.
Once I had children, I decided not to go back onto preventatives. I decided to live preventatively with a holistic approach. I will always need abortive medication to break a migraine, but find I have fewer complications by being off preventatives.
I tend to get side effects from medications and like how a holistic approach only makes me more resilient rather than weaker in another aspect of my health.
As with medication, I have had to find what works specifically for me. I still try many products and find that some work and some don’t. Overall, I enjoy living preventatively rather than taking a pill that gives me side effects.
Food and Beverage
I drink a lot of water! Dehydration is a huge migraine trigger and filling myself with water helps keep me balanced.
Tea also has many holistic benefits. I avoid alcoholic beverages and sugary drinks. Over the years, I have become increasingly sensitive to wine and draft beer and no longer drink them.
I eat an anti-inflammatory diet as much as possible. Some find relief by cutting sugar, gluten or dairy. For me, it is about eating leafy greens, ginger, turmeric, and other foods that heal my gut.
Overly processed foods filled with chemicals inflame my body and trigger migraines, making it harder for my body to fight naturally.
Ice and Heat
Ice is the best natural treatment for my migraines. Some people cannot tolerate the cold, but my head needs ice to numb the pain. I wear ice packs on my head and freeze pressure and pain points in order to find relief.
Heating pads also help me. I use heating pads to warm my fingers and toes that get extremely cold during a migraine.
I also use a warm compress on my face when a migraine is triggered by sinus pressure. The warmth loosens the congestion in my face, which relieves pressure and pain.
Heating pads are also used to soothe sore neck and shoulder tension. I have a lot of muscle tension in those areas and using a heating pad to warm the muscles and then stretching to loosen them really helps.
Essential oils for migraine work differently for everyone. High-quality oils can be ingested, diffused, used topically and more. All of these methods should be researched and done carefully under the care of a professional.
I prefer using essential oils by diffusing them. It is the safest way to receive the benefits naturally and is safe for children and pets to be around.
I use a diffuser all throughout the house. Although I am really sensitive to smell and often can’t stand perfume, I have found oils that work for me.
My mood, pain level, and the time of day determine the oil that I use; a variety is needed for my variety of life.
I also use peppermint (with a carrier oil) topically on pressure points. I use a roll-on applicator on my wrists, temples and occipital region.
Peppermint should not be used directly on the skin. Once again, research the types of oils that may benefit you, speak with a professional and find your path to using essential oils in the best way to treat your condition.
Exercise and Meditation
For many, exercising triggers migraines, yet for others it relieves them. For me, it’s a combination of both.
I find that preventatively, yoga, Pilates and gentle stretching helps my body stay flexible, releases tension, and improves my moods. High-impact activities do not work for me and inflame my head, triggering a migraine.
Next page: Sarah shares more of her favorite holistic migraine treatments.