by Kimberly Allen R.N.
With the number of Americans suffering from migraine headaches continuing to rise every year the desire and need for effective treatments increases. Many migraine sufferers are frustrated with the ineffectiveness of current conventional medicine and are turning to alternative treatments. Home remedies and alternative treatments for migraine sufferers are among the most sought after natural treatments.
Herbs and herbal preparations have been used to treat everything from headaches to the plague for thousands of years. Though there is no scientific proof and very limited clinical documentation to verify the effectiveness of herbs and herbal supplements the fact that they continue to be in use significantly speaks to their effectiveness. There are currently several herbs being studied for their ability to treat migraines. Feverfew is an herb that belongs to the same family as chamomile. Feverfew improves the “tone” of the blood vessels and stops the production of the inflammatory chemical that are released when a migraine starts. Feverfew is also believed to contain compounds that act similar to aspirin to prevent blood clotting.
The body produces a compound known as 5-HTP which produces serotonin. It is made from the seeds of Griffonia Simplicifolia, an African plant known for it’s medicinal properties. 5-HTP is available in supplement form. One study showed that migraine sufferers that took 600mg per day had a significant reduction in the duration and severity of their migraines.
Magnesium is a mineral that is responsible for hundreds of biochemical reactions in our bodies. A diet containing green leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds provides the magnesium for our bodies. Thee have been several studies to evaluate the effectiveness of magnesium supplements for the treatment of migraines with promising results. Migraine sufferers in one study took a 600mg per day supplement and after 9 weeks their migraines had been reduced by 41.6%. In other studies magnesium was found to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks.
Butterbur, also known as bog rhubarb, has a large root that has been used in herbal medicine since the 14th century. Butterbur has been studies more for it’s anti-inflammatory effects than for migraines, but it’s the significant anti-inflammatory effects that make such a great treatment for migraines.
Acupuncture has provided relief and a better quality of life for many migraine sufferers. The reasons why are unclear and there is very limited scientific data documenting it’s effectiveness.
Chiropractic medicine uses a holistic approach to treating the pain of migraines using spinal manipulation and massage. Many migraine sufferers report a significant improvement in the debilitating affects of migraines including the frequency and duration of the headaches.
The use of magnets is becoming a more popular passive treatment for migraines. Thee is currently a magnet bracelet available called the De-Ka Titan that numerous studies have shown to significantly reduce the pain and duration of migraine headaches.
There are many other non-traditional treatments available, however it is important to understand that though the use of alternative treatments offer many migraine sufferers relief it should not be used as a substitute for conventional treatments, but in conjunction with conventional treatments and with your Drs knowledge and approval. As with any form of alternative or natural treatments you should always research, research, research before starting.
Kimberly Allen is a registered nurse with an AND in nursing. She has worked in ACF, LCF and psychiatric facilities, although she spent most of her career as a home health expert. She is now a regular contributor to HealthAndFitnessTalk.com, dispensing advice and knowledge about medical issues and questions. You can reach her with any comments or questions at email@example.com.