How to Use Essential Oils for Migraine Pain Relief
Natural migraine remedies? If you have ever experienced migraine pain, the idea of herbal relief might seem too good to be true.
But think again. Naturopaths are successfully treating migraine pain with an array of complementary therapies – from acupuncture to aromatherapy. For those who prefer a holistic approach to their healthcare, it is encouraging to learn that essential oils, in particular, are working well for many people!
Is it a migraine or just a bad headache?
Talk to any migraine sufferer and they will tell you that a migraine is much more than a strong headache. Migraines often are accompanied by symptoms other than just head pain: nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, disruptions in vision, even dizziness. It is common, they report, to be unable to function while in the grips of migraine pain. Some individuals must turn out the lights, squelch environmental noises, and lay immobile until the pain subsides.
How common is a migraine headache?
More than 35 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches. That means 1 in every 4 households has a migraine sufferer. Of those, 43 percent are women, which is thought to be due to hormonal changes women experience that men do not. Most migraine sufferers are between the ages of 35 and 45. According to the Migraine Institute, migraines are the world’s third-most prevalent and sixth most disabling illness.
Migraines are not exclusive to adults. Children can get them, too. According to the Migraine Research Foundation, about 10 percent of school-aged children suffer from migraines. The age group with the highest risk is adolescents 15 to 19, with 28 percent of them affected by migraine. Half of all migraine sufferers have their first migraine before age 12, with boys more likely to suffer from migraines before puberty than girls. The prevalence flip-flops after age 17, when 23 percent of young women have migraines compared with 8 percent of young men.
Is it a sinus headache or a migraine?
Did you know that 97 percent of people who self-diagnose with a sinus headache have a migraine? That is according to researchers at The Headache Center. That frequent headache you are experiencing is likely not your sinuses. It is why taking over-the-counter medications for sinus relief is not helping. Most migraine sufferers experience painful headaches once or twice monthly. An unfortunate 4 million people get daily migraines.
What causes migraines?
Medical professionals and researchers are not entirely clear about what causes migraines. It is widely believed that genetics and environmental factors play a role, as can imbalances in brain chemicals. While they are not 100 percent certain on a cause, most healthcare practitioners agree there are triggers for migraine attacks. Some of the most common include:
- Changes in the weather – barometric pressure has a profound effect on intracranial hypotension, which can lead to a low-pressure migraine.
- Drinks – alcoholic and caffeinated beverages can induce a migraine.
- Hormones – this is a trigger for boys until they reach puberty and for girls following puberty.
- Sensory stimuli – bright lights, loud noises, and strong smells are some of the common offenders.
How essential oils can help migraine headaches
A growing body of evidence suggests that herbal migraine remedies are safe and effective. One such study in European Neurology promotes lavender oil for migraine headaches. Forty-seven participants with previous migraine diagnoses were divided into two groups. One group received a placebo while the other was asked to inhale lavender essential oil for 15 minutes. The study revealed the group inhaling lavender essential oil experienced a reduction in the frequency and severity of their migraines. A separate study published in the Journal of Herbal Medicine also indicated participants who used lavender essential oil for three months reported similar results.
Lavender is not the only essential oil that can relieve migraine pain. Here are some other options:
- Peppermint oil is just as popular and effective as lavender for treating headache pain.
- Rosemary oil has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties that can help combat migraine pain.
- Chamomile oil is known for relaxing the body and soothing muscles, which is effective against migraines caused by stress.
Other natural migraine remedies
Essential oils are not the only effective natural migraine remedy. Here are some other ways to prevent migraine flare-ups and treat them if they do emerge.
- Headache ReLeaf Roll-On is an easy and convenient way to leverage the power of menthol and essential oils. It combines menthol, purified water, and three essential oils (lavender, rose, and peppermint) in one convenient glider. Apply it directly to your temples, forehead, and back of the neck for instant relief. It is safe and effective for children and adults.
- 5-HTP dietary supplements help reduce the number of migraine days you experience each month. Some researchers believe migraines are triggered by low serotonin levels. In one such study on its effectiveness, researchers discovered that when taken daily for six months, 5-HTP prevented or significantly decreased migraines.
- Butterbur is an herbal extract that has shown promising results in the fight against migraines. Scientists attribute its anti-inflammatory properties to butterbur’s ability to reduce the frequency of migraines in both children and adults.
- Feverfew, when combined with magnesium, riboflavin, and Q10 can help reduce the frequency of migraines.
Stopping migraine pain in its tracks
Do not let migraine pain sideline you. Leverage the power of essential oils and these other natural remedies to reduce the frequency and severity of your migraines. Here’s to a happier, healthier, headache-free you!