Migraines are a debilitating condition that affect millions of people worldwide. While pharmaceuticals can be effective at treating migraines, many individuals turn to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as a preventative or complementary approach. Evidence-based CAM approaches can provide relief for migraines, decrease their frequency and intensity, and improve overall quality of life for those who suffer from them. In this post, we will explore some of the most effective CAM approaches for preventing and resolving migraines.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicine technique that involves the insertion of needles into specific points on the body to stimulate energy flow. According to a systematic review published in the Cochrane Library, acupuncture has been shown to be an effective treatment for migraines. The review found that acupuncture reduced the frequency of migraines and provided relief for migraine-related pain.
Herbal remedies have been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments. Some herbs have been found to be effective in preventing migraines. For example, butterbur, a plant native to Europe and Asia, has been found to be effective in reducing the frequency and severity of migraines. A study published in Neurology found that participants who took butterbur had fewer migraines per month compared to those who took a placebo. Feverfew, another herb, has also been found to be effective in preventing migraines. A study published in the British Medical Journal found that feverfew reduced the frequency and severity of migraines in participants.
Mind-body techniques such as meditation, yoga, and tai chi have been found to be effective in reducing the frequency and severity of migraines. A study published in the Journal of Headache and Pain found that participants who practiced yoga regularly had fewer migraines per month and experienced less migraine-related pain compared to those who did not practice yoga. Another study published in the journal Headache found that participants who practiced mindfulness-based stress reduction had fewer migraines and experienced less migraine-related disability than those who did not practice mindfulness.
Chiropractic care involves the manipulation of the spine and other joints to improve alignment and reduce pain. A systematic review published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that chiropractic care can be effective in reducing the frequency and severity of migraines. The review found that chiropractic care was particularly effective when combined with other CAM approaches such as acupuncture and herbal remedies.
Dietary changes can also be effective in preventing migraines. According to the American Migraine Foundation, certain foods and drinks can trigger migraines in some individuals. Common triggers include alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, and processed foods. Eliminating these foods from the diet or reducing consumption can help prevent migraines. Additionally, consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help prevent migraines.
Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine approaches can be effective in preventing and resolving migraines. Acupuncture, herbal remedies, mind-body techniques, chiropractic care, and dietary changes are all effective CAM approaches for preventing and treating migraines. Individuals who suffer from migraines should speak with their healthcare providers about incorporating these approaches into their treatment plan.