Whether you want to avoid medications, or haven’t found success with conventional medicine, natural migraine remedies offer an opportunity to control and prevent your migraines. According to Migraine.com readers, over 50% have tried a natural migraine treatment to relieve or prevent their migraines. We’ve rounded up 30 of our favorite natural migraine treatments for you to try. These include:
- At-home remedies
- Lifestyle changes
- Essential oils
- Vitamins and supplements
As always, talk to your doctor before using any of these therapies.
What at-home methods work for natural migraine relief?
Your first stop for migraine relief should be at home. What can you do now?
- Check your diet
- Try ice packs
- Stay hydrated
- Look into your birth control or other medications
- Reduce stress
- Improve your posture
First, check your diet. Keeping a migraine tracker is essential for rooting out migraine triggers that could be causing your pain. Common migraine triggers include foods that contain:
- Artificial flavoring
Or, your migraines may be related to gluten. Dr. Axe explains how a gluten sensitivity could lead to headaches or migraines. By finding these migraine triggers and then eliminating them from your diet, you can help prevent migraines before they start. While tracking your migraine triggers and aiming for a great migraine diet may seem too easy, many find that they can reduce the number of headaches they get each month just by using this tip.
If you suffer from migraines, you’ve heard it before, but seriously stay hydrated. Alexander Mauskop, MD, recommends his patients drink a few glasses of water right when they feel a migraine coming on. Even better? Sometimes that trick can actually stop the migraine in its tracks.
Next, look into your birth control or other medications. The hormones in birth control can lead to headaches and migraines, and other hormonal fluctuations related to menstruation can too. Our post on the topic covers how you can prevent these menstrual migraines and treat them when they do occur. Finally, if you’re suffering from multiple migraines a month, talk to your doctor if you’re taking any medications that could be leading to these migraines.
Finally, bringing stress reduction techniques into your day is one of the best preventative measures for reducing migraine occurrence. That means exercise, relaxation methods we’ll discuss below, and other ways to reduce demands on you and your time.
Also consider improving your posture. Sitting in a chair all day with your chin jutting forward puts incredible stress on your neck and shoulders. It can also lead to tension headaches or encourage migraines. EverydayRoots.com suggests:
“Try using an ergonomic chair if you’re sitting down a lot, and make a conscious effort to sit up tall but relaxed, with your shoulders back, your chest open, and your neck not sticking too far forward. Working on strengthening core muscles helps a lot with posture, since balance and the strength to support ourselves properly comes from mostly from our center.”
Finally, when migraines do hit, try ice packs. As Carolyn Bernstein, MD, explains on Prevention.com, “ice is an anti-inflammatory” and can help reduce migraine pain.
What are the best therapies for natural migraine relief?
Once you’ve exhausted these at-home remedies, it’s time to turn to more structured therapies to reduce your migraine pain. Some of these take place outside of the house, some you can do in a quiet room. Some are more expensive, while some have DIY options you can do for free. These therapies include:
Yoga for migraines
Yoga for migraines is always a winner. It incorporates soothing relaxation techniques with gentle stretching. Yoga can also boost your circulation and improve blood flow to reduce any pain you’re having. Yoga with Kassandra has a quick 15 minute yoga routine for migraines.
Essential oils for migraines
The best essential oils for migraine relief include:
- Lavender oil
- Peppermint oil
- Basil oil
“This fresh-smelling oil has vaso-constricting and vaso-dilating properties, which help control blood flow in the body. Headaches and migraine pain are often due to poor blood flow, and peppermint oil helps to open and close the vessels that promote flow. Peppermint home remedies also open up the sinuses so that more oxygen can get into the bloodstream.”
Incorporating these essential oils into your daily routine can be deeply satisfying and healing. HealthyandNaturalWorld.com has a few fun and interesting ways to include essential oils for migraines into your daily routine. You can try them:
- In a relaxing full body massage
- With a facial steam
- By rubbing them into your temples
- In your bath
- In a room diffuser
We talk about even more essential oils for headaches you can try in our post “16 Of The Absolute Best Essential Oils For Headaches.”
Massage for migraines
We all love a good massage, but did you know massage can be an effective natural migraine treatment? As Migraine.com reports, one study found that those who received massages had fewer migraines and better sleep quality. Massage can also help relieve the tension that builds up in the neck and shoulders that can lead to migraines.
And getting a massage doesn’t have to break the bank! Definitely treat yourself when you can, but you can also perform these DIY neck massages to help reduce tension in the neck, or the following DIY scalp massage for migraines. This post also lists some other ways to get your partner involved, or find cheaper massage options in your community.
Pressure points for migraines
Similar to massage, using pressure point therapy for migraines is a quick practice you can do at home, at your desk, or in bed. Similar to acupressure, these areas of the body hold tension that can be relieved through directed focus and pressure. Always breathe deeply and fully when pressing each of these spots, applying pressure for a few seconds on each. Perform as needed until your pain dissipates. Try these now with this infographic from Top 10 Home Remedies.
Acupuncture for migraines
“An expert analysis, known as a Cochrane review, found acupuncture could help prevent acute migraines as well as drug treatments do and with fewer adverse side effects. Evidence also suggests that acupuncture could help people with frequent episodic or chronic tension-type headaches, they say.”
Biofeedback for migraine
Biofeedback is a process where a healthcare practitioner will electronically monitor key bodily functions, such as heart rate. While doing this, they’ll train you on how to voluntarily control those functions. Doing so can help you prevent or manage pain as it starts. As WebMD reports:
“Most studies on biofeedback show that it makes headaches shorter and happen less often in children and adults. In general, its effects seem similar to many drugs that treat headaches, and it can be part of early treatment for migraines.”
Learn more about how biofeedback can help you in our post on the topic.
What herbs are good for migraine headaches?
Herbs are a commonly recommended natural migraine treatment. The most popular ones include:
- Gingko biloba
We’ve given more information about the most commonly used herbs below.
Feverfew for migraine
Feverfew is a very popular natural migraine treatment. This perennial plant has been used for centuries as a herbal remedy. It’s typically a preventative treatment for migraines, as many people report that it helps reduce the number of migraines they experience every month.
“Feverfew helps alleviate the throbbing pain associated with migraines by reducing inflammation, especially in the blood vessels in the brain. It also has minimal side effects. It can help quell vomiting and nausea in migraine sufferers who experience those symptoms.”
Unfortunately, reviews on feverfew’s efficacy is mixed. Some trials have found it effective, but others have found no significant difference between it and placebos. If you’re interested in seeing if this natural migraine treatment can work for you, talk to your doctor.
Ginger for migraine
Healthline.com reports that:
“Ginger has been well-documented as anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial. In addition, a 2014 study published in the Journal of Phytotherapy Research showed that ginger powder benefits were comparable to sumatriptan, a common migraine prescription, but with fewer side effects. Most people can tolerate fresh or dried ginger root, supplements, or extract.”
Since ginger has other anti-inflammatory properties that can help pain of all kinds, and it’s incredibly delicious, we always recommend adding more ginger to your diet! If you’re considering more concentrated supplements, talk to your doctor first as these can interact negatively with some medications.
Butterbur for migraines
Butterbur comes from a shrub that’s indigenous to wet, marshy areas of North America, Asia, and Europe. The herbal remedy butterbur has recently gained attention as a first-line defense for preventing migraines, giving hope for those suffering from the debilitating headaches. Although classified as an herbal remedy and available for purchase at health food stores in the U.S., butterbur is available by prescription in Germany to fight migraine headaches.
In 2012, the American Academy of Neurologists (AAN) classified the herb as a preventative treatment for migraines, cementing the still-alternative medicine’s place in a headache-fighting arsenal. Butterbur is “the only supplement shown to be effective in preventing migraine,” according to Neurology Now, AAN’s official magazine.
For the maximum benefit, recommended doses are at least 75 mg twice each day, although doses as low as 50 mg, twice each day, may also be effective, according to WebMD. Migraine prevention may be achieved when taking the pills for at least 16 weeks.
Several studies have been done to evaluate butterbur’s benefits. A study published in the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics found people taking butterbur reduced their migraine attacks by as much as 60%. Study participants took 50 mg of butterbur extract twice daily over a period of 12 weeks. Another study, published in the journal Neurology, found that butterbur worked to halve the number of migraine attacks for nearly 70% of study participants.
Butterbur extract may prevent half—or more—of a patient’s migraine attacks, studies say. In the Neurology study, patients experiencing the most benefit took 75 mg of butterbur daily.
What vitamins are good for natural migraine relief?
As Migraine.com explains, some of the most common vitamins and supplements suggested for migraines, include:
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Flaxseed oil
- Coenzyme Q10
- Omega-3 fatty acids
Magnesium and coenzyme Q10 in particular show great promise as a natural migraine treatment. We discuss each of these in more detail.
Is magnesium good for migraines?
Magnesium, a common mineral found in readily-available, affordable supplements, is a critical building block for bones and DNA. It also helps cells communicate, making it an important part of the body’s overall functioning. Scientists have examined magnesium’s potential for helping people with chronic pain, particularly fibromyalgia or migraines.
Experts aren’t sure whether taking magnesium helps reduce chronic pain in itself, or if supplements address an underlying deficiency.
Recommended daily amounts are between 400 and 420 milligrams for adult men and 310 to 320 milligrams for adult women.
Foods high in magnesium include seeds, leafy greens, and whole grains. Some water, tap and bottled, is also rich in magnesium, but levels vary. Because the body stores most of its magnesium inside bones and cells, testing for adequate levels can be difficult.
Nevertheless, adequate levels of magnesium are critical for the body to function at optimal levels. Besides being a critical building block for the bones, magnesium plays an integral role in brain chemistry, although trials have produced mixed results regarding the mineral’s ability to protect against migraines.
People suffering from migraines may become magnesium deficient because they’re genetically unable to process the mineral, according to research published in the Journal of Neural Transmission. About 50% of people who develop migraines are magnesium deficient.
Studies attempting to measure magnesium’s impact on treating migraines have yielded inconclusive results, probably because not all patients tested were magnesium deficient, according to the research. Magnesium is safe and inexpensive, leading researchers to suggest that all people who experience migraines take the supplements.
Because many studies have found magnesium to be effective against pain, and because testing for deficiency is so difficult, some doctors recommend all their chronic pain patients take the supplements. People should still consult their own doctors before adding new supplements to their regimen.
What about coenzyme Q10 for migraines?
Coenzyme Q10 is responsible for producing ATP, the main energy source for your body’s cells. It’s also related to the production of protein, muscle contracting, and it also works as an anti-oxidant. While not exactly a vitamin, this vitamin-like substance has been shown to be a potentially effective natural migraine treatment.
MigraineTrust.org discusses results from a Cephalalgia study on coenzyme Q10 for migraines:
“Thirty-two patients diagnosed as having migraine with or without aura were treated with CoQ10 at a dose of 150 mg per day in a controlled experiment. No adverse events were associated with CoQ10 therapy in any of the trial participants. As a result of the treatment, 61.3% of the patients treated had a greater than 50% reduction in number of days with migraine headache. Only two participants showed no improvement with CoQ10 therapy in their migraine headache intensity compared with baseline (ie when the trial started). The average number of days with migraine headache during the baseline non-treatment phase was 7.34 and this decreased to 2.95 days by the end of the trial. The reduction in migraine frequency after 1 month of treatment was 13% and this improved to 55% by the end of 3 months of therapy.”
Cautions for natural migraine treatment
While a natural migraine treatment offers an opportunity for migraine relief without medications, it still comes with a few caveats.
Always talk to your doctor before starting any supplement or vitamin regime, as these may interact harmfully with any medications you’re taking. Further, if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, avoid taking any supplements or vitamins, as many haven’t been tested for pregnancy.
Many supplementary products are regulated in the same way as food items. Because of this, it’s up to you to talk to your doctor and other healthcare professionals to find safe, supported brands to try. Always look for quality, not only price, when looking to natural migraine treatment. Also follow the dosage recommendations for these supplements exactly, as they may cause side effects if you take too much.
Other migraine treatments
If you’ve tried a natural migraine treatment and still haven’t found relief, talk to your pain doctor about options for more interventional pain management. They may recommend:
To find a pain specialist in your area, click the button below.