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8 ways to treat migraine headaches without medication

Migraines are intense throbbing headaches, often accompanied by nausea, vomiting and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. According to Mayo Clinic, the cause of migraines is still largely unknown, though migraine sufferers can often identify their personal triggers. Triggers can be anything from hormonal changes to stress and from sun glare to a change in the barometric pressure during a storm. 
These disabling headaches effect a whopping 36 million Americans, according to the American Migraine Foundation. One in four households in America has a member who suffers from migraines, so whether you or a loved one, use these home remedies to prevent migraines and soothe pain during an attack. 
1. Vicks VapoRub. Alison Jacobson, the blogger behind Safety Mom, says that when she has a headache, applying Vicks VapoRub to her temples and forehead is so powerful, it reduces pain and pressure almost immediately. The proof for this remedy comes from the Department of Neurology at Thomas Jefferson University, which found intense pain from migraines was reduced after two hours following the application of a menthol gel similar to Vicks VapoRub. The soothing effects of menthol are also found in peppermint essential oils. Lori, of the Health Extremist blog, claims a homemade mixture of peppermint essential oil and water or coconut oil, when applied directly to the forehead and temples, relieves pain within 30 minutes to one hour.
2. Ice and banana peel compress. This might sound a bit wacky, until you realize ice wrapped in a banana peel is nothing more than a potassium-rich cold compress. Mayo Clinic recommends applying a cold compress to the head and neck in order to dull the pain of a migraine. Place a banana peel on your forehead with ice, as recommended by Peas Health, you get the added benefit of potassium absorbed directly through the skin.
 
3. Olive oil. A study by the Divisions of Adolescent Medicine in Providence, RI found that olive oil, as well as fish oil, is effective at reducing the frequency, duration and severity of recurrent migraines in adolescents. The reason behind the success of olive oil and fish oil lies in the fact that both contain long chains of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, building blocks for hormones that regulate blood clotting, contraction and relaxation of artery walls, and inflammation, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
4. Lavender oil. Just two drops of lavender in a pot of boiling water can be enough to soothe your throbbing migraine. Inhale the lavender vapors and feel relief wash over you, recommends Everyday Health. A study published in European Neurology suggests inhaling lavender essential oil for 15 minutes is an effective and safe treatment for migraine headaches. It works because lavender has properties that reduce anxiety, stabilize mood, soothe muscle spasms, and reduce hypertension. 
5. Eat more flax seed. Flax seed is a superfood that has been used since the time of the ancient Egyptians to treat constipation, hot flashes and breast pain, as well as high cholesterol and migraines, according to Migraine.com. Flax seed is high in fiber and omega-3 essential fatty acids, which improve brain function and lower the risk of heart disease. Whole someone recommends mixing flaxseeds in with a smoothie, oatmeal or even just with water to reap the benefits. You may be surprised that by introducing flaxseed into your diet, you can decrease the frequency of migraines. 
6. Honey. The Foundation for Advancement in Cancer Therapy (FACT) has found that eating two teaspoons of raw honey during mealtimes can prevent migraine attacks. It is also effective at quelling symptoms. FACT recommends a heaping tablespoon of honey at the first sign of migraine symptoms. Honey does not need to be digested and absorbs directly into the blood stream, making it a quick and effective treatment. Honey is also soothing to the stomach, making it a perfect treatment for people who suffer from nausea during a migraine attack. 
7. Peanut Butter and ginger. This treatment might sound awfully strange, but holistic therapists swear by the combination as an effective migraine solution. Peas Health explains, that by applying a paste made from peanut butter and grated ginger directly to the temples, the body absorbs magnesium and arginine. People who suffer from migraines often have low levels of magnesium, as found in a study by the University of Maryland Medical Center, and according to Defy Medical, arginine is a chemical precursor to nitric oxide, which acts as a blood vessel-widening agent. Thus, a combination of the two can be just the right cocktail to release pressure.
8. Stretch your neck. Muscle-tension can trigger or exacerbate a migraine. Stretch for 20 minutes twice daily to prevent a headache before it occurs and to relieve the pain once you've been afflicted. Health.com recommends moving your chin forward, upward and toward each shoulder, holding each position for five seconds and then relaxing for five seconds. You can also do shoulder shrugs and neck isometrics by pressing your palm into your forehead and against each side of your head. 
People who suffer from migraines know how debilitating these headaches can be. In fact, according to the Migraine Research Foundation, 113 million work days are lost annually to migraine and other headaches. These home remedies just might offer you the relief you so desperately need. 
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