Home Remedies for Migraines

You have a full day planned, but a migraine is threatening your schedule.

The debilitating pain, light and sound sensitivity, and nausea that go with many migraines make it feel nearly impossible to get anything done.

Here are some home remedies for migraines to alleviate your symptoms.

Use an Ice Pack

A cold compress (like an icepack or cold washcloth) can reduce the flow of blood and lower your pain levels.

Place the cold compress on your forehead, neck, or scalp to reduce your pain.

Combine an OTC Painkiller with Caffeine

In small amounts, caffeine usually improves migraine symptoms.

Though some pain medications specifically for migraines already include caffeine, you can replicate the medication by combining an over-the-counter painkiller (like Tylenol or Ibuprofen) with a glass of coffee or tea.

Retreat to a Quiet, Dark Room

Many people find that a lot of light and loud noises make their migraine worse. Go to a quiet, dark room if possible.

Or, wear sunglasses and noise-cancelling headphones if heading to a dark room isn’t possible.

Massage Your Head

Massage is one of the home remedies for migraines that can provide near-immediate relief.

Spend a few minutes massaging the neck, forehead, temples, or area where the pain is concentrated. Use firm, circular motions.

Apply Lavender Oil

Research suggests that the smell of lavender can improve your migraine-related pain.

Use a diffuser to spread the scent of lavender throughout your home or rub a small amount on your temples.

Schedule a Yoga Session

Even though you may not feel like exercising, a yoga session can shorten your migraine’s duration and lower its intensity. Focus on relaxing movements that incorporate breathing exercises.

Look for Outlets to Manage Your Stress

Stress is a common trigger for migraines. Your pain levels are often worse when your stress levels are high.

Find outlets to reduce your stress, like meditating, exercising, journaling, reading, and drawing.

Avoid Foods and Situations That Trigger Your Migraines

When you have a migraine, take note of your environment to find potential triggers.

Common triggers include:

  • Loud noises
  • Strong odors
  • High stress levels
  • Excessive amounts of caffeine or alcohol
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Foods with nitrates (like hotdogs and deli meats)
  • Processed food
  • Foods with the flavor enhancer MSG
  • Chocolate

If you can identify what factors are causing your migraines, you can take steps to avoid them or be prepared for them if avoidance isn’t an option.

Consider Taking a Magnesium Supplement

Low magnesium levels are linked to more frequent migraines. If your doctor approves, add a magnesium supplement to your daily routine.

Or, eat foods high in magnesium, like nuts, whole grains, and dark green vegetables.

The Bottom Line

For the best results, try home remedies for migraines as soon as possible.

If you can treat the migraine before your pain is excruciating, this makes it easier to control your pain levels.

Combine multiple home remedies for quick relief. Many people find that taking an OTC painkiller with caffeine and retreating to a dark, quiet room is an effective early treatment.