Mythbusters: Migraine Remedies

Alternative treatment methods that may not be worth the headache

One internet search will provide endless advice about alternative medical approaches, especially when it comes to migraine treatment. From vitamins to homeopathic remedies, exercises and essential oils, everyone swears that their solution works. But with all the clutter on the internet, you have a right to proceed with caution. To help you cut through the noise, we investigated some of the most common alternative migraine remedies to see which ones held water.

Alternative Migraine Remedies

Magnesium: Found in many greens, nuts seeds and grains, magnesium is known to reduce stress, can help reduce migraine frequency, and has few side effects. Studies suggest magnesium supplementation can be helpful for migraine with aura and menstrual-related migraine. In fact, both the AAN and Canadian guidelines recommend its use for migraine prevention, either as oral magnesium citrate 400-600 mg daily or by eating more magnesium rich foods. Doctor Says: Effective

Homeopathic Migraine Treatment: The homeopathic theory says that if you take a minuscule amount of an element that causes symptoms like the symptoms that you are experiencing, your body will repair itself. Examples of this could be belladonna and other poisonous herbal substances. Tests have never proven homeopathy to work, and Britain is considering banning homeopathy from its National Health Service. Doctor says: Not effective

Butterbur: Butterbur comes up regularly in migraine circles as an effective migraine treatment method—and studies support that it is effective for prevention in some patients. However, due to a rare but serious risk of liver toxicity, it has been removed from the market from some countries, and many headache experts in the US have stopped recommending its use. Doctor Says: Effective, but proceed with caution and know the risks

Essential Oils: A small bottle of lavender can help you to relax (although not in a medical fashion), and can be very pleasant as well. In a modern pyramid scheme, however, consumers are sold an entire set of essential oils, and assured that they can “treat” a plethora of ailments, even encouraged to use essential oils instead of medicine.  While one or two oils might smell nice, there’s no need to purchase an entire set, and they should not be substituted for medicine. Doctor says: Not effective

Acupuncture for Migraine: The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health reports that studies have proven that acupuncture can be effective in fighting chronic pain, like headaches. Many doctors work with and recommend acupuncturists, especially because it is minimally invasive and can garner results for migraine patients. Doctor Says: Could be effective

Remember, every person responds to treatment differently, so please make sure to consult a doctor before adopting any new migraine remedies.

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