the myth about migraines

There are a number of commonly held beliefs about migraines that make it hard for sufferers to get proper diagnosis and treatment.

1) Migraines are not real (all in the head, an overreaction to a normal headache, etc.).

Not true. Migraines are a biologic primary headache disorder. Even migraine pain is not confined to the head, though that is generally where it is worst.

2) Migraines have a known cause.

Sadly, no. There have been several interesting theories put forward in the last decade, but no single, definitive biological cause of migraines has been identified thus far.

3) All migraineurs have the same symptoms.

No, they don’t. This is one of the things that makes migraines so hard to diagnose, particularly if a patient’s doctor is only familiar with the most common symptoms.

Click to learn more about natural treatment for Headaches and Migraine.

applying heat or cold for migraine relief

Many people who suffer from migraine headaches relieve the pain of a migraine with the common application of heat or cold. This treatment method is particularly popular with people trying to minimize or avoid prescription medication use, especially among pediatric patients and their families.

There are some few techniques that can help ease the pain of a migraine. Not all techniques work for all patients. While some migraineurs find comfort in cold, at least as many are more uncomfortable in the presence of cold. My cousin who was suffering from a migraine after all that stress of dealing with his mover NYC company had that experience. The same is true of heat used for pain relief – for some it helps, for others it makes the pain worse.

Apply a compress, hot or cold, to point on the head where pain is most severe. This is frequently on the temple where a large artery runs, or in front of the ear, another arterial locale.

For patients who feel their migraine pain ‘stabbing into the back of the eye’ a damp cloth (warm or cool) laid over the eyes often provides relief. As a side benefit, covering the eyes in this manner also eases the discomfort of photo sensitivity for many patients.

Taking a hot or cold shower with the water directed at the head and neck is another method to try, as is taking a warm (neither hot nor cold) bath. The latter is further enhanced with the use of appropriate aromatherapy techniques.

Some patients find relief in by alternating hot and cold cloths at the point where the migraine pain is most intense. Sometimes hot and cold used simultaneously can ease the pain. A migraineur may apply a cold compress on their forehead while at the same time soaking their feet in a container of warm water.

feverfew may help migraine patients

Migraineurs (people who suffer from chronic or episodic migraine headaches) are looking for headache relief that doesn’t come from a drug lab.  All too often pharmaceutical migraine solutions have unpleasant side effects, including, ironically enough, headache.

Some migraine sufferers have found help from feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium), a common flower that grows all over Europe and North America.  Feverfew plants resemble daisies.  They have flat yellow centers with slender white petals on lightly furred stems and small yellow-green leaves.  Medical texts going as far back as Ancient Rome list dried and crushed feverfew leaves as a palliative for headaches.

Feverfew is best used in a preventive program.  Several clinical trials, all in the past decade, have shown that feverfew, taken two to three times a day, can reduce the frequency of migraine episodes by up to 50% for some people.  Several study participants who experienced chronic daily headaches (CDH) plus migraine episodes reported that their daily headaches stopped completely after four weeks of feverfew treatment.

Feverfew, while helpful to some, has a significant amount of potential side effects.  Few people experience them, but they can be serious.  Any patient wanting to add feverfew to their migraine prevention regimen should consult with their doctor and a licensed herbalist.