These headaches interfere with the lives of a billion people. Fortunately, you can get rid of them without pills.
It is estimated that 85.6 million work days are lost each year as a result of migraine headaches. However, many migraine sufferers perceive it simply as a severe headache.
Instead of seeking medical help, the disease often goes undiagnosed, even when other disabling symptoms occur along with pain, including sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.
Researchers have found that genetics and environmental factors play a role in the onset of migraines. They occur when changes in your brainstem activate the trigeminal nerve, a major part of the pain transmission pathway.
This causes your body to release inflammatory substances such as calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP). This and other molecules can cause blood vessels to swell, resulting in pain and inflammation.
How to cure a migraine
Numerous prescription medications are available to prevent and treat migraines. But for many people, traditional treatment has its limitations.
Some people with migraines do not tolerate certain medications well. Some cannot afford these medicines because of the high cost or side effects. Others are pregnant or breastfeeding and cannot take medication.
However, there are alternative evidence-based methods to improve migraine attacks and make them less frequent.
Research shows that alternative therapies are associated with improved sleep, emotional well-being, and feelings of control.
Some patients may be able to stop prescription drugs altogether with one or more additional treatments. For others, non-traditional therapies may be used along with prescription drugs.
Since stress is a major trigger for migraines, one of the most effective alternative treatments is mindfulness meditation, which involves focusing your attention on the present moment. Research shows that mindfulness meditation can reduce headache frequency and severity.
Another useful tool is biofeedback, which allows a person to see their vital signs in real time and then learn how to stabilize them.
There is strong evidence that biofeedback can reduce the frequency and severity of migraine headaches and reduce headache-related disability.
Yoga is based on traditional Indian philosophy and combines physical postures, meditation and breathing exercises to bring mind, body and spirit together. Consistent yoga practice can help reduce stress and treat migraines.
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