The top causes of migraines and how to find relief

The Impact of Migraines on Daily Life

Migraines are not just headaches; they are complex neurological conditions that can profoundly impact a person's daily life. The throbbing pain, sensitivity to light and sound, and accompanying symptoms like nausea and vomiting make even the simplest tasks challenging. According to research, approximately 12% of the population suffers from migraines, making it one of the most common neurological conditions globally. Understanding the causes of migraines and how to find relief is essential for those affected.

Understanding Migraines

A Brief Overview of Migraines

Migraines are neurological disorders that affect millions of people worldwide. They are characterized by severe, throbbing headaches, typically on one side of the head, and are often accompanied by a range of other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraines can last for hours or even days, significantly impacting a person's quality of life and daily activities. While the exact cause of migraines is not fully understood, various triggers, including stress, hormonal changes, certain foods, and environmental factors, can contribute to their onset. Treatment options for migraines range from lifestyle modifications and preventive measures to medications that can help alleviate symptoms and reduce the frequency of attacks.

What's the difference between a migraine and a headache?

Distinguishing migraines from regular headaches is crucial for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. While both conditions involve head pain, there are distinct differences. Migraines typically present as intense, throbbing pain, often on one side of the head, and are frequently accompanied by additional symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. In contrast, common headaches, often referred to as tension headaches, tend to cause a steady, dull ache on both sides of the head and lack the severe, pulsating quality of migraines. Furthermore, migraines are often preceded by warning signs known as "auras," which can include visual disturbances or sensory changes, while such auras are not typically associated with regular headaches. 

Identifying Triggers and Their Role in Migraines

Migraine triggers are diverse and can vary from person to person. Common triggers include stress, hormonal fluctuations, medications, specific foods or additives (like caffeine or MSG), dehydration, irregular sleep patterns, and environmental factors such as bright lights or strong odors. Recognizing one's individual triggers is essential for preventing migraine attacks and tailoring a personalized management plan. Keeping a migraine diary, tracking when headaches occur along with potential triggers, can be invaluable in pinpointing specific factors that contribute to migraines. Once identified, individuals can work to avoid or minimize these triggers, ultimately reducing the frequency and severity of their migraine episodes and enhancing their overall quality of life.

Natural Remedies for Migraines

With the limitations and potential side effects of conventional medications, many migraine sufferers are turning to natural remedies in their quest for relief. Natural remedies offer the promise of addressing the root causes of migraines and reducing their frequency and intensity without relying on pharmaceutical drugs. This approach aligns with the growing interest in holistic and natural healthcare.

The Holistic Approach to Migraine Relief

A holistic approach to migraine relief involves looking at the whole person, not just their symptoms. It acknowledges that migraines can be triggered by various factors, including diet, lifestyle, and emotional triggers. By addressing these factors holistically, individuals can find long-term relief and improve their overall quality of life.



Top Natural Remedies for Migraine Relief

Herbal Supplements


  • Feverfew, a medicinal herb derived from the Tanacetum parthenium plant, has gained attention for its potential in providing migraine relief. Some studies have suggested that feverfew may help reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks, possibly due to its anti-inflammatory and vasodilatory properties. Feverfew is thought to inhibit the release of certain chemicals in the brain that can trigger migraines. While research on feverfew's effectiveness is ongoing and results vary among individuals, some migraine sufferers have reported positive outcomes from its use. As with any complementary or alternative therapy, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare provider before incorporating feverfew into a migraine management plan.


  • Butterbur, a herbal remedy derived from the Petasites hybridus plant, has shown promise in providing migraine relief for some individuals. Studies have suggested that butterbur may have anti-inflammatory and muscle-relaxant properties, which can help reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks. Butterbur extract, when taken in the proper dosage and formulation, has been found to be effective in preventing migraines. However, it's crucial to use a specific type of butterbur extract that is free of a substance called pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA), as PA can be toxic to the liver. Due to this potential risk, it is recommended for individuals considering butterbur as a migraine treatment to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure the safe and appropriate use of this herbal remedy.


  • Ginger has long been considered a potential natural remedy for migraines due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea properties. Migraines are often accompanied by nausea and vomiting, and ginger's ability to alleviate these symptoms can be particularly helpful for migraine sufferers. Additionally, ginger may help reduce the severity and duration of migraines by inhibiting the release of certain neurotransmitters associated with pain and inflammation. In a clinical trial comparing ginger to a pharmaceutical for migraine treatment, both were equally effective in relieving pain and satisfying participants. However, ginger had fewer negative side effects, with only about one in 25 people experiencing an upset stomach, while the medication caused various adverse effects like dizziness, sedation, vertigo, and heartburn.




Essential Oils

Peppermint Oil

  • Peppermint oil has gained attention as a potential natural remedy for migraines due to its soothing properties. Its menthol component can help alleviate headaches by relaxing the muscles and increasing blood flow,  which may relieve tension and reduce the intensity of migraine symptoms. Some individuals find relief from applying diluted peppermint oil topically to their temples and forehead, while others prefer inhaling its aroma through steam inhalation or diffusers. As with any alternative remedy, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating peppermint oil into a migraine management plan, especially if you have allergies or sensitivities to essential oils

Lavender Oil
  • Known for its calming and soothing properties, lavender oil has been shown to be an effective and safe natural treatment in the acute management of migraine headaches. You can use lavender oil through inhalation with methods like aromatherapy or adding a few drops to a warm bath. Or apply diluted lavender oil topically to your temples and neck, as it may help relax tense muscles and ease headache pain. While lavender oil is considered safe for most people, it's essential to use it cautiously and consult with a healthcare professional, particularly if you have any allergies or sensitivities to essential oils, before incorporating it into your migraine management routine. 

Rosemary Oil
  • Rosemary oil is believed to help reduce headache pain by promoting circulation and relaxing tense muscles in the head and neck. To find relief, individuals can either apply diluted rosemary oil to their temples or inhale its aroma through aromatherapy or steam inhalation. While there is anecdotal evidence supporting its use, more scientific research is needed to establish its effectiveness as a consistent migraine treatment. As with any alternative remedy, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before using rosemary oil for migraines, especially if you have allergies or sensitivities to essential oils, to ensure its safety and suitability for your specific condition. 


Diet and Nutrition


  • Proper hydration plays a crucial role in migraine management and prevention. Dehydration is a known trigger for headaches in many individuals, as it can lead to changes in blood flow and affect the brain's sensitivity to pain. Maintaining adequate fluid intake throughout the day helps in regulating these factors and may reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. It's essential to drink water regularly and listen to your body's signals for thirst, as waiting until you're already dehydrated can be a migraine trigger. Additionally, for some migraine sufferers, electrolyte-balancing drinks or foods, such as coconut water, can be especially beneficial in preventing dehydration-related migraines.

Magnesium-Rich Foods

  • Magnesium is a mineral that has garnered attention for its potential role in migraine management. Some studies suggest that magnesium supplementation may be beneficial for individuals who experience migraines, particularly those with magnesium deficiencies. Magnesium is thought to help regulate neurotransmitters and blood vessel constriction, both of which can be involved in migraine attacks. Oral and intravenous forms of magnesium are readily accessible, safe, and affordable, and can prove highly effective for individuals experiencing magnesium deficiency and suffering from migraines. 

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)

  • Some studies suggest that riboflavin supplementation may help reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks. It is believed that riboflavin plays a role in cellular energy production and may influence brain and nerve function, factors that could be related to migraines. While research on riboflavin's effectiveness is ongoing, some migraine sufferers have reported positive results with its use, particularly in preventing migraines. 


Lifestyle Adjustments

Regular Sleep Patterns


    Sleep disorders and poor quality sleep have been associated with increased frequency of migraine attacks. Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same times each day can help regulate your body's internal clock, reducing the likelihood of migraine attacks. Additionally, achieving an adequate amount of sleep, typically 7-9 hours for most adults, can contribute to lower stress levels, which are known migraine triggers. Incorporating relaxation techniques and creating a comfortable sleep environment can further enhance quality sleep and reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines, ultimately improving one's quality of life.

Stress Reduction
  • Stress is a well-recognized trigger for migraines, and understanding the relationship between the two is crucial for effective migraine management. When an individual experiences stress, the body responds with various physiological changes, such as muscle tension and the release of certain chemicals, which can contribute to the onset of a migraine attack in susceptible individuals. Chronic stress can also lead to a heightened state of vulnerability to migraines over time. Managing stress through techniques like relaxation exercises, mindfulness, and stress-reduction strategies can be essential in preventing and alleviating migraine episodes. By addressing stressors and adopting healthy coping mechanisms, individuals can potentially reduce the frequency and intensity of their migraines, leading to improved overall well-being. 

Regular Exercise

  • Physical activity can have a complex relationship with migraines, as it can either trigger or alleviate these debilitating headaches, depending on various factors. While some individuals find that intense exercise can act as a migraine trigger, many others experience relief from migraine symptoms through regular, moderate physical activity. Exercise promotes the release of endorphins, natural painkillers, and can reduce stress, a common migraine trigger. However, it is essential for those with migraines to adopt a balanced approach to exercise, staying hydrated, and avoiding extreme exertion, particularly during migraine-prone periods, to maximize the potential benefits while minimizing the risk of triggering an attack. Consulting a healthcare professional for personalized guidance on incorporating physical activity into a migraine management plan is advisable.



Acupuncture and Acupressure

Acupuncture and acupressure are alternative therapies that have gained popularity for their potential effectiveness in relieving migraine symptoms. Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin needles at specific acupuncture points on the body, while acupressure applies pressure to these same points without the use of needles. Both techniques are believed to promote the flow of energy or "Qi" along the body's meridians, helping to restore balance and alleviate various ailments, including migraines. While research on the effectiveness of acupuncture and acupressure for migraines is ongoing, some studies suggest that these therapies may offer relief for some individuals. 

Yoga and Meditation

Yoga and meditation are holistic practices that offer potential benefits in managing migraines and reducing their frequency and intensity. Yoga combines physical postures, controlled breathing, and mindfulness techniques, helping individuals to relax, relieve muscle tension, and reduce stress—an acknowledged migraine trigger. Similarly, meditation fosters relaxation and stress reduction by calming the mind and promoting mental clarity. It can provide individuals with valuable tools to cope with the emotional and psychological aspects of migraines, such as anxiety and depression, which often accompany these headaches. While not a standalone solution, integrating yoga and meditation into a comprehensive migraine management plan can help individuals better understand and manage their triggers, while potentially reducing the impact of migraines in their lives.

Precautions and Considerations

Consultation with a Healthcare Provider

Before starting any new regimen, it's essential to consult with a healthcare provider, especially if you have underlying medical conditions or are taking other medications. They can provide guidance and monitor your progress.

Allergies and Sensitivities

Be mindful of allergies or sensitivities to herbal supplements and essential oils. Perform patch tests when using new products and discontinue use if you experience adverse reactions.

Dosage and Proper Usage

Follow recommended dosages and usage instructions for herbal supplements, essential oils, and other natural remedies. More is not necessarily better, and excessive use can lead to adverse effects.

Potential Interactions with Medications

If you are taking prescription medications, be aware of potential interactions between natural remedies and your medications. Some herbs and supplements may interact with drugs, affecting their effectiveness or causing side effects. 

Natural remedies offer a holistic and often gentler approach to managing migraines, addressing not only the symptoms but also potential root causes and triggers.


Considering their integration alongside conventional therapies can significantly impact migraine management, enhancing its effectiveness. Opting for a holistic method that blends natural remedies with lifestyle adjustments and stress management techniques paves the way for sustained relief and an overall better quality of life for those grappling with migraines. Understanding the migraine's roots and adopting a proactive, multifaceted approach sets the stage for more empowered management and potential alleviation of its impact.

All-naturalAnti-inflammatoryAnxietyAnxiety reliefBrainBrain healthDehydrationDepressionEat cleanEatingExerciseFoodFood sensitivitiesHabit changeHabitsHeadachesHealthHealth benefitsHealth newsHealth productsHealth tipHealth tipsHealthtipsHealthyHealthy habitsHealthy livingHerbalHerbal medicineHerbal supplementsHerbsHolistic healthHolistic nutritionHormonesHydrationInflammationInsomniaMagnesiumMedicationsMeditationMental healthMigrainesMindMindfulnessNaturalNatural healthNatural resourcesNatural supplementsNeurologicalNutritionNutritionistPainPain reliefSleepSleep cycleStressStress supportStressreductionVitaminsVitatipsWaterWellness