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Alternative Treatments for Migraines

Painful migraine headaches are one of the top 10 reasons why women seek to explore alternative therapies. Alternative medicine appeals to growing numbers of patients who either are not getting enough relief with conventional medications or there are no medications for certain condition, or those who wish to limit their reliance on medicinal drugs or simply prefer not to take any medications at all. For example, many patients take triptans, such as Maxalt or Imitrex, as soon as their migraine headache starts, but if that does not help to relieve the symptoms, they are left with no other alternative except to lay in bed for a couple of hours or even a day. Their entire lifestyle and way of life would be affected if there was no alternative to help with their pain.

However, although alternative therapies can provide relief from migraine headaches in many patients, they may not work for all. Therefore, you should always have a rescue medication on hand if a migraine attack starts despite your alternative regimen.

Alternative Treatments for Migraines


Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese healing art, uses thin needles to restore the free flow of energy in the body. For instance, if you have a headache, inserting a needle into these areas where the energy got stuck may help you alleviate some pain.

In order to experience the best possible results from acupuncture, migraineurs should commit themselves to a series of acupuncture treatments, not just a single session. Some patients may initially require weekly treatments while others may not need them so frequently. If attacks are more common during menstruation, an acupuncture treatment just before the period begins can be very helpful. Numerous studies suggest that for most patients acupuncture is at least as effective for migraine prevention as a conventional drug treatment.


Relying on equipment that monitors the body’s physical tension, biofeedback teaches people how to control their body’s functions. Migraine patients can use this technique to become aware of and learn to control how their bodies respond to pain. Once aware of an oncoming migraine attack, they can stop it or reduce its severity. Generally, biofeedback teaches patients techniques to abort the pain and stop the process that is leading to the migraine. Self-hypnosis techniques that control blood vessel swelling and muscle contraction are also taught. This technique is a great alternative for female migraine sufferers who are thinking about getting pregnant since many migraine medications cannot be taken during pregnancy.


The aim of a chiropractic adjustment is to restore the proper flow of energy throughout the body by manipulating the spine to correct any misalignments. Experience of many patients suggests that chiropractic care might be at least as effective as many prescription drugs when it comes to treating migraine pain.


Feverfew is a traditional herbal remedy used to treat numerous conditions such as allergy, anemia, asthma, arthritis, common cold, fever, infertility, psoriasis, upset stomach and diarrhea. One of the most researched applications is its use in prevention of migraine headaches. Feverfew seems to stop the blood vessel spasms that trigger migraines. Some migraine patients find relief from this herbal supplement, although further research is needed to confirm its benefits. Feverfew is available as a stand-alone dietary supplement or combined with magnesium, riboflavin or ginger, which are also believed to help relieve migraine symptoms. Other supplements generally used for migraine headaches include butterbur, dong quai and coenzyme Q10.


Practicing yoga can provide substantial relief for those sufferers whose migraine attacks are triggered by bad posture. Some of the forward-leaning bends can be beneficial in preventing migraines while some of the postures can help relieve symptoms when you get a migraine. Studies show that migraineurs who practice yoga experience fewer, less intense headaches and use fewer medications than those who solely rely on traditional medicine.

Where to Get More Information and Support:
Migraine Action
The Migraine Trust