If you’ve ever suffered a migraine (or especially if you get them regularly), you know that it’s so much more than a bad headache. Migraines are a complex condition that cause people to endure a wide range of debilitating symptoms, like nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, and of course, crushing head pain.
Needless to say, migraines can significantly affect your quality of life. Those who are prone to migraines will do just about anything to get rid of them as quickly as possible, and prevent them from happening again.
Alongside following your prescribed migraine treatment plan and adopting healthy lifestyle habits, like avoiding common migraine triggers, there are a few home remedies that have proven to help people manage their migraines.
While these migraine remedies may not work for everyone, as long as your doctor gives the green light, it’s sure worth a shot. Here are science-backed four home remedies to help soothe, and maybe prevent, migraine symptoms.
1. Sniff lavender oil.
Lavender is a Mediterranean plant that’s touted for a calming, soothing scent and potential stress-relieving qualities. (Lavender oil may help relieve menstrual pain too.) According to a 2012 study conducted by Iranian and German researchers, people who inhaled lavender oil for 15 minutes during their migraine found faster relief than those who were given a placebo. You can sniff lavender oil directly from the jar or rub a diluted solution on the temples.
2. Get your ginger fill.
Along with ginger’s famed health benefits, like its tummy taming properties and high levels of antioxidants, the herb may also be a helpful migraine pain reducer. A 2014 study conducted by Iranian researchers gave some participants ginger powder and others the prescription migraine drug sumatriptan. The researchers found that the ginger power had decreased migraine severity and duration just as effectively as the drug, with fewer side effects.
3. Make a habit out of yoga.
Yoga is not only great for stress relief and improving your overall health, but it may also reduce the frequency, duration, and intensity of migraines when you practice it regularly. A 2015 survey found that women who underwent 12 weeks of yoga had a significant reduction in the impact migraines had on their lives.
Yoga may help migraines by reducing anxiety and stress levels, releasing tension in migraine trigger areas, and improving overall vascular health.
4. Keep a migraine diary.
One way to help you learn what your migraine triggers are (so you can avoid them) is to keep a migraine diary.
When you feel a migraine coming on, track your headache pain from 0 (no pain) to 3 (worst pain) in the morning, afternoon, and evening each day until you find relief. You can also write down any lifestyle changes (good or bad), such as your sleep habits, what foods you ate, or if you smoked, and what medicine you took and whether or not it helped.
Keep up with the headache diary for at least a month. This can help you spot a pattern and learn what treatments, lifestyle changes, and home remedies work for you—and which ones don’t.