Alternative treatments for migraines include vitamin and mineral supplementation and lifestyle modifications. Sometimes, migraine patients can benefit from biofeedback therapy to help manage stressful situations that trigger migraines. Proper nutrition can also be considered an alternative treatment for migraines as some foods may trigger migraine attacks and magnesium deficiency can cause migraines in some people.
Migraine headaches can cause severe, throbbing pain on one side of the head, light sensitivity, nausea, and vomiting. Sufferers also sometimes see flashes of light. They are also more common in women because migraines are thought to be brought on by hormonal fluctuations. In addition, migraine headaches can be triggered by eating certain foods, and are typically more frequent right before the start of the menstrual period and generally subside after menopause. Migraine headaches can be debilitating and in certain cases, can prevent people from performing their activities of daily living such as working and going to school.
Migraines can cause other symptoms such as numbness in the neck, arms, or legs, and the pain can persist for days. Sometimes, the attacks can be so debilitating that they cause sufferers to seek emergency medical treatment at their local emergency room. There are medications that help lessen the severity of symptoms, but they can cause significant side effects such as nausea, vomiting, shaking, and anxiety. These medications can be taken orally, but are more commonly administered via the intramuscular route.
Taking magnesium supplements and the herb feverfew might also help certain people manage their symptoms. Those whose serum magnesium levels are low might be prone to migraine headaches, and by replacing magnesium through supplements or diet, the episodes may be fewer and less intense. Vitamins, minerals, and herbs are not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Using these supplements should be discussed with the health care provider before considering this type of alternative treatment.
Biofeedback helps patients evaluate which stressful situations trigger or contribute to their migraine headaches. Participating in a biofeedback program and keeping a food diary are alternative treatments for migraines that can be beneficial for most people, regardless of the severity or frequency of their episodes. The health care provider can recommend a biofeedback practitioner and a nutritionist who can help the patient with her food diary. When alternative treatments for migraines are ineffective, conventional treatments such as prescription pain relievers may be recommended to lessen symptoms.
Although alternative treatments for migraines can help patients manage their migraines, for some people, they are ineffective. For those whose migraines are resistant to treatment, further medical evaluation may be necessary. In rare instances, people who suffer from migraine headaches might be predisposed to other, more serious medical conditions such as strokes. Migraine headaches also have a genetic component and sometimes run in families.