Alternative Headache Treatments: What's Best?

So many alternative headache treatments are available today it can be difficult to distinguish what helps and what doesn't help. Basically, there aren't any quick cures for headache. Many of the following supplements can reduce headaches and are even more effective when combined with lifestyle changes and prescription medications. It is very important to realize that you must give any new method at least three months to see the full effect.

I have been practicing in the filed of headache medicine for over 10 years. During that time, and seeing over 10,000 headache patients per year at our Dent Headache Center, has shown that some supplements are better than others. The BEST supplements for alternative headache treatment are:

Although it is difficult to take so many pills at once (!!)there are products such as Migraine Vitamins in vitamin stores that have all items combined in one tablet or capsule. We recommend Migralief which is available from many sources. Magnesium and migraine are strongly linked and with many of my patients this ALONE was enough to reduce headaches. Most people have to get up to 800mg. It is especially effective against menstrual migraine. You can read more of my review on the herbal headache remedies.

This is a supplement that may also help reduce migraine frequency. Unfortunately there have not been too many studies done on this supplement and those completed showed mixed results. While one study showed a possible improvement in migraine profile, another didn't. At the present time our clinic doesn't recommend CoQ, but if a patient wants to try it, we tell them go ahead, maybe it will help.

alternative headache treatment Biofeedfack has been proven in many clinical studies to have a positive effect on headaches. So what in the world is it?? Biofeedback is a method of training people with chronic pain how to manage their pain. It has been proven over and over again to be sucessful in reducing chronic pain syndromes so you might consider it if you have other problems such as fibromyalgia.

Acupuncture for headache is a centuries old method of using small needles in certain points of the body to alleviate pain. If done by a skilled accupunturist, the effect of reducing headaches can be as high as 50%. Although you will need around ten treatments to see an effect, this is worth a try if you cannnot tolerate or do not wish to take medications.

This treatment is effective for minor musculoskeletal problems such as neck pain. It is also effective in tension headaches with a component of neck spasming causing the pain.

It may also be very effective if you are suffering from headaches caused by cervicogenic pain. Unfortunately, chiropractic manipulation has been found in clinical trials to not be effective in migraine, and this is due to the fact that migraine is more of a neurological disorder, not strictly a muscular one.

Regular exercise is most often overlooked as one of the alternative headache treatments. Regular workouts help relieve anxiety and stress and thereby reduce head pain. So get up and get out and start doing some exercise. Working out regularly helps raise seratonin levels over time and you start feeling better. Pants fit better too!
Getting a massage is recommended to just about all of our patients. Not only does it help with neck pain and spasms, generally speaking it is very relaxing. This is especially important if you are single. It is estimated that single people suffer from a lack of human contact, actual physical touch. Massage therapy can help alieviate this problem.
  • YOGA
Yoga is a centuries old method of exercise combined with deep breathing to promote wellness. Regular practice of yoga can strengthen muscles and tendons in addition to reducing stress. Stress...remember that? One of the main cause of headaches is stress.

Yoga is something you can learn at home with a beginner's set and introductory yoga dvd's . You can exercise AND promote well being through this method.

Read more about types of yoga and decide which kind of yoga is best for you. Generally I recommend that newcomers to yoga start with Hatha method which is gentle stretching. It is usually followed by a period of meditation which is very calming.

A great way to relax with yoga is to use aromatherapy oils for stress relief. The most commonly used oil is lavender but be careful as some scents are known to provoke a migraine.

Research the above alternative headache treatments to find out which is best for you..try a few! They just might help.

1. Mauskop A, Altura BM. Role of magnesium in the pathogenesis and treatment of migraines. Clin Neurosci 1998;5(1):24-7.
2. Mauskop A, et al. Intravenous magnesium sulfate rapidly alleviates headaches of various types. Headache 1996;36:154-60.

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