Treating Methods for Migraine Headaches

Treating Methods for Migraine Headaches

Clinical Features

Migraine is a particular type of headache which occurs paroxysmally. Constriction of certain cerebral arteries takes place at the onset of the attack, but later these vessels dilate and cause characteristic headache.

There are three characteristic groups of symptoms:

  • Visual disturbances may occur at the beginning of the attack. Usually they take the form of flashes of light, spots or patterns before the eyes, but sometimes partial loss of vision.
  • A severe throbbing headache which usually commences on one side of the head and may last for several hours.
  • Nausea and vomiting are frequently associated with the headache

Aetiology

The cause is unknown. However a number of triggers have been identified:

  • injury to the head associated with contact sports such as football or boxing
  • sudden changes in weather, particularly thunderstorms or hot dry wind
  • hypolglycemia and missing meals
  • emotional stress may precipitate an attack
  • fluctuations in hormonal levels – drops in estrogen levels, particularly premenstrually
  • food allergies have been identified as a precipitating factor in 80 to 90% of case

Treatment

Aromatherapy is better used as a preventative measure than as an attempted treatment for migraine. Once a migraine attack has begun, many sufferers find the smell of most essential oils overbearing or can’t bear being touched.

A cold compress made with equal parts of peppermint and lavender should be placed across the forehead and temples and frequently changed as soon as it starts to warm up. Extremely light massage of the temples with lavender oil might be useful if touching the head does not make the pain worse. Many migraines seem to be due of restricted blood supply to the brain, and hot or warm compresses with sweet marjoram on the back fo the neck will increase the flow of blood to the head. Sweet marjoram is a vasodilator and warmth itself also helps.

Other Treatments

  • Feverfew, ginkgo biloba extract, peppermint and rosemary are very effective here in the treatment of migraines.
  • Foods such as chocolate, cheese and alcohol have been reported to trigger migraine attacks. They contain the amino acids phenylalanine and tyramine which are considered vasoactive amines.
  • Avoid stimulants such as coffee, tea, coke, nicotine and alcohol.
  • Avoid nitrates (preservatives found in hot dogs and salami, aspirin, and monosodium glutamate (MSG), a common seasoning.
  • Increase consumption of cold water fish or fish oils.
  • The use of acupuncture in the treatment of migraine headache has received considerable research attention. Acupuncture appears to have some success in reducing the frequency of migraine attacks.

KKathleen Flanagan Portraitathleen Flanagan, CEO and Founder of Awakening Spirit, Aromatherapist, Sound Therapist, Esthetician and Author.