If you’re a fan of natural treatments and looking to learn more about them, this post is for you! Today I’m sharing all my favorite tricks to treat a migraine episode early before acute pain meds have to be used. Now there’s no shame in needing prescription meds, but if we can avoid using them why not, right? Read on to see what I use when I feel an episode coming on, and make sure you grab the printable checklist below!
Note: the following contains affiliate links – if you use them to make a purchase, I will receive a portion of the sales. I only link to products I personally use and enjoy!
1. 300-500 mg Ginger
Several studies have found that ginger can be a great option for treating migraine episodes. In fact, one study found that it can work just as well as the prescription medication Sumatriptan! I use this ginger tincture when I’m out and about, and ginger tea when I’m at home. Be aware that ginger is a mild blood thinner, so check with your doctor before using if you are on any prescription or OTC blood thinners or have a bleeding disorder.
2. Magnesium Lotion
I love my magnesium lotion for several reasons – it helps with migraine, has a comforting scent, and gives me an excuse to give myself a quick shoulder massage! I use this brand because it contains a more readily absorbed form of magnesium and has no added scents other than shea butter. I use it on my neck and shoulders as it just makes sense, but you can use it anywhere other than on sensitive skin. Be aware that magnesium is a SALT, so you may experience a small amount of tingling, itching, or burning when you apply it – this is normal and often goes away with repeated use.
3. 100mg Caffeine
There is a caveat to this – if you are addicted or reliant on caffeine, it may not work very well as an abortive treatment. It’s worth trying, just keep track of how your body responds to it! This treatment may be a good one to use only a few times a week, and 100mg of caffeine is a good amount to try. 100mg looks like:
- 2 shots of espresso
- 1 cup of home-brewed coffee
- 2-4 cups black tea (varies)
- 2 cans of caffeinated soda
4. Snack w/ Carbs + Protein
Low blood sugar can trigger a migraine, so a small snack is always one of my first go-to treatments if I can stomach it. Combining carbs with protein and/or fat ensures that you’ll be getting longer-lasting energy that won’t spike that blood sugar and cause a crash later. Some of my favorites:
- peanut butter and crackers
- cottage cheese with fruit
- carrots and yogurt dip
- a small smoothie with 1 fruit, 1 veggie, yogurt, and water or milk
I know, you’re tired of people telling you to drink water when you have a migraine. But for real, have you been drinking enough water?? Ways to tell you’re dehydrated are a dry mouth, shakiness, skin that doesn’t spring back immediately when pinched, and tacky gums. If you are sensitive to cold water, herbal tea is a fantastic way to stay hydrated! I even like a simple mug of warm water with lemon and a drizzle of honey.
6. Cold Therapy
AKA, an ice pack on your noggin! I like to place one on the back of my neck and another across my eyes for maximum effect. Cold helps reduce inflammation of the blood vessels in your head, which in turn will reduce pain. My favorite way to get my cold therapy in is the ReLeafpack – it’s made of completely natural ingredients and has a nice weight to it that feels delicious on my eyes and sore muscles!
7. Relax Your Shoulders and Breathe
I don’t know about you, but I tend to hold most of my stress in my neck and shoulders. When you feel an episode coming on, take a moment to scan your body and see if you’re clenching any muscles. Some nice deep breaths and intentional muscle relaxation can go a long way in preventing a migraine episode from escalating. If you’re interested in making this a regular practice, search “Progressive Muscle Relaxation” on YouTube!
8. Rest When Possible
Many of us often wait until our pain has become unmanageable before taking time out to rest, but doing this early on is the way to go. At the first sign of an episode, take just five minutes to close your eyes and rest – maybe use your favorite pair of sunglasses, an eye mask, or some sound muffling ear buds to help you if you’re at work or away from home. Show yourself some compassion and kindness by resting before you have no choice!
Let me know if you found these suggestions helpful and what your favorites are from this list! If you haven’t already, click the image below to grab your free printable natural treatment checklist to take with you or keep on your fridge at home =)