When our head threatens to explode with pain, a migraine is usually behind it. We have therefore put together a potpourri of different measures for you that promise rapid relief.
Headaches are a widespread condition that can be caused by a variety of symptoms. By far the most common variant is migraine, which is accompanied by numerous unpleasant side effects and, in its severe form, can drive sufferers to sheer despair. In addition to the classic therapies of conventional medicine, however, the “thunderstorm in the head” can be put to an end with a number of alternative treatments and natural herbs.
A migraine usually appears as a pulsating, one-sided headache and lasts between four and 72 hours. If it torments a sufferer for more days of the month than it leaves him or her alone, it is considered chronic. A migraine attack is often accompanied by symptoms such as hypersensitivity to light, smell or noise, nausea and vomiting. In 10 to 30 percent of cases, it is heralded by perceptual disturbances such as flashes of light, flickering or impaired visual perception. In this case, we are dealing with a migraine with aura, which may also involve mild speech disorders, tingling or numbness on one side of the body, or dizziness.
Medical science does not yet have a definitive answer to the question of what causes a migraine attack. However, a variety of factors, which moreover often occur in combination, are held responsible: For example, an increased serotonin level can trigger a circulatory disorder in the brain, which could become noticeable via a migraine. Additional trigger factors include excessive stress, a sleep-wake cycle that is out of sync (e.g., in the course of jet lag), a (media) overload of stimuli, or severe weather changes. Hypoglycemia and the consumption of alcohol, nicotine, citrus fruits and tyramine-containing foods (bananas, chocolate, red wine) can also trigger an outbreak of migraine.
If you decide to fight a migraine with painkillers, you should in any case consult a doctor beforehand in order to be provided with medication that is optimally suited to your individual symptoms. For example, a mild to moderately severe migraine can be counteracted extremely effectively with conventional painkillers such as paracetamol, ibuprofen or acetylsalicylic acid. If they prove ineffective, triptans, which regulate serotonin levels in the brain, may be used. The use of ergotamines should only be considered as a last resort, as they can cause considerable side effects.
Treatment with herbal preparations is somewhat less problematic, as followers of alternative medicine swear by them. In particular, motherwort has been used with considerable success: its use significantly reduces the number of seizures and also considerably weakens their intensity. In addition, it has a beneficial effect on accompanying symptoms such as nausea, dizziness and vomiting. A handful of homeopathic products also enjoy an extremely good reputation as gentle migraine stoppers. For example, deadly nightshade remedies are said to stop throbbing headaches accompanied by severe nausea and vomiting, while preparations of bloodroot are said to relieve severe pain in particular, and common nux vomica products are ideal for curing migraine attacks caused by anger, hectic activity or lack of sleep. Furthermore, non-medicinal therapies such as massaging the temples with peppermint essential oil or rubbing the neck area with warming ointments that promote circulation have also proven effective.
If you want to prevent nasty migraine attacks from getting this far in the first place, relaxation exercises such as autogenic training and progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) are recommended, as well as regular endurance sports (40 minutes three times a week), sufficient fluid intake and healthy, restful sleep. Although this does not completely prevent migraine episodes, it can reduce the frequency of their occurrence.