July 27, 2010, - 2:03 pm

What Are Your Migraine (or Other) Headache Cures?

By Debbie Schlussel

I was out for most of yesterday and the early parts of today with a horrible migraine headache.  When I get these, I’m often incapacitated and tossing and turning in pain in bed in the dark.  Even the strongest of medicines don’t knock them out unless I hit it right at the beginning.  It’s very debilitating and frustrating because I have to drop everything.  That’s why I’m happy I only get these once in a while.  But this is the second one I’ve had in within two weeks.  This one is just going away now (hope I didn’t jinx it).

frownyface

What are your best cures (prescription and natural/homemade) for migraine headaches and other types of headaches? Will try almost anything (so long as it’s legal, ethical, and kosher). In the past, I’ve asked for your best remedies for colds and flu, and I tried some of them. Some of them seemed to work. So I’m asking for your advice again.

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77 Responses

Hi Debbie.
By the way,I’m a new fan of yours. I have learned so much from you these last few months.Keep up the good work.
Migraines are so debilitating! I had a migraine that lasted 2 months. Tried the prescriptions and they took the edge off but the side effects kept me from functioning. Chiropractor did not help either. One of the keys is to get yourself to fall asleep. So I asked a doctor what they give me introvenously in the emergency room that knocks the headache out immedialtely. Ibroprofen,benedryl, anti nausea med. Falling asleep will break the cycle of the headache. Find your triggers, for me it was diet,not enough sleep, hormones! stress. Watch the carbs and excessive coffee intake and dehydration. A supplement of calcium,vitamin d, magnesium helps too. My daughter was put on this and not only did it get rid of the headaches but also put a stop to her partial seizures and was finally able to conceive.Ultra cal night is the brand. I hope and pray that your headaches will be healed. Georgia

Georgia Woolwine on July 28, 2010 at 11:29 am

Debbie, I accidentally found fresh bluberries and pomegranate juice are an instant cure to my headaches.

Get well soon.

Lex on July 28, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Debbie,

I have suffered from migraines my entire life and they are absolutely brutal. I have tried many migraine meds over the years and, like you, most don’t do anything unless you catch them early. The only thing that has ever worked for me are meds that put me to sleep. Otherwise, it is tossing and turning agony and super senses that amplify every sound 100 decibles and every beam of light to supernova intensity. i have tried to notice my triggers, but there doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to it. I have noticed that vitamins do help make them less frequent. Sorry but I am not sure there is a magical cure. Hope you are doing better today.

Adam K on July 28, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Be sure and see a good physician if this persists. I lost my wife due to Glioblastoma, which is a tumor of the brain. It started with headaches. And do not trust just any doctor. Ask your conservative friends for suggestions. I do not believe that you have any serious problem. I think it is your body forcing you to shut your activity down. (like reading,& computer screens). Live to be blessed Debbie, & all of your subscribers too.

joe Myrick on July 28, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Debbie,
I cured my headaches for life by eliminating caffeine. I heard about this cure at a public lecture by someone from U. Michigan migraine clinic while on sabbatical in Ann Arbor. The lecture led me to suspect caffeine for two reasons: headache pills with caffeine were the best pain med I could find, and when I cut caffeine out for a day or two, I got a massive headache. Withdrawal symptoms continued for several days when I quit, but after that no more debilitating headaches. This is about the only cure I know of that actually saves you money :-). (I know it doesn’t work for everyone though.)

wilinsky on July 28, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Hi, Debbie:

Many women find that their migraines go away, when they stop using birth control. [Although you might be substituting a pain in your head for a pain in the butt, if you have an unwanted kid!]

I found that MSG and sodium nitrates are triggers. It’s in practically everything that’s packaged and processed, although it’s not always listed as such. (Truth in labeling?) Google it.

Excedrin PM works well for a lot of people. Some people swear by “Moody’s” — which is a headache relief powder you can buy at Walmart.

Going to bed every night at the same time can help prevent ‘em, too.

Adam G. Katz on July 28, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Ive suffered from them for over 30 years, due to my allergies. I use a great chiropractor, and medication. Relpax is the best medication I have found. Non-sedating and non-addictive. Forget over the counter, doesnt touch them. Try it! Imitrex wasnt strong enough for me.

lc on July 28, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Sorry to hear it. I had a few migraines a week, some of them lasting up to three days, for years. After having tried a number of pre-migraine meds, natural cures and migraine medications, this is what has kept mine mostly at bay now:
Topamax (in higher dosages used for seizures) — I could actually feel a difference when I first started taking it. The neurologist told me that it doesn’t work for that many people but that it works really well for those it does help. I still use Fiorinal for the migraine and migraine-tension headaches that do pop up. There is also a Headache Relief roll-on that contains peppermint and lavender; it’s made by Escents Aromatherapy in Vancouver and is really soothing.

Samantha on July 29, 2010 at 2:30 am

I hate to bear bad tidings, but cutting out chocolate (ow), peanuts and anything with nitrates has all but eliminated my horrible migraines.
Sometimes they are caused by sinus problems as well, so when I’m stuffy, or regularly at least, I rinse and blow with salt water.
Good luck, I know how hideous they are.

James Tooley on July 29, 2010 at 3:45 am

Weed. I’m not trying to be funny, either – my best friend has terrible, terrible migraines and has had them pretty regularly since she was a kid, and it’s the only thing that’s worked 100% every time (ahem, but, she didn’t find that particular cure until adulthood). If you’re morally opposed to that, and I would kind of imagine you are, perhaps there’s some form of hemp or henna-based food or drink that might help?

The alternative, and this might be too Eastern-medicine for your taste, is meditation. The thing is, weed cures it not because your head doesn’t hurt anymore, but because you really don’t care – you’re aware of the headache but the drug has knocked out whatever part of your brain notes that as a bad thing. Meditation is a natural, drug free way of dissociating the negative feelings from the pain. I know it sounds like BS, I thought so too at first, but it really does work.

hellcat on July 29, 2010 at 12:25 pm

*Disclaimer – I am normally a “take three aspirin and a nap” kind of girl, but I’ve found that that is not always sufficient for something as miserable as a migraine.

hellcat on July 29, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Hey Debbie: I can empathize, and sympathize. I suffer from migraines, so did my Mother (May she RIP) and her mother, etc. It’s genetic on my Mom’s side. Although I’m a strong proponent of natural therapies when you have a migraine you want to stop it from becoming full-blown as fast as possible, but if it’s already gone too far, (because you didn’t have the means to grab a strong over-the-counter medication like an extra-strength Advil, i.e.) and you already feel nauseous, and are vomiting, the only thing that really works is taking a sedative and a sleeping pill, and when you wake up 6 or so hours later, it’s gone. Migraines are triggered by stress, but there is also a genetic component to these types of headaches. Therefore, if you can pinpoint whatever it is that caused you to immediately (or shortly thereafter) come down with a migraine, you might have an idea what would cause it to begin, and therefore, you would take an Aspirin or an Advil (Tylenol doesn’t seem to work at all for migraines, and they are harsher on the liver than the other over-the-counter painkillers) even before the first signs of the migraine presents itself. Once the pain starts, over-the-counter meds don’t do very much anymore. You need something much stronger. In my opinion, taking a mild tranquilizer and an Ambien and then going to sleep is much safer than reaching for an opiate like Oxycodone or a Percodan. Targishi Tov ;-)

Debbie Washington Hts. Girl on July 29, 2010 at 2:26 pm

KFC Original (all dark), pickled jalapenos, Pepsi and Tylenol.

That used to be my hangover cure. Worked every time. Might work for a migraine too.

Bless you Debbie.

Bobby, the Zionist Gentile on July 29, 2010 at 9:35 pm

Dear Debbie, although I live in the UK I would like to recommend – prescription only here -:

Migraleve pink tablets, contains Buclizine hydrochloride BP 6.25mg plus codeine(opiate) and paracetamol.

Voltarol 100mg diclofenac sodium (not to be taken orally)

juniper on July 30, 2010 at 7:25 am

Debbie,

I take Zomig (zolmitriptan). Within 2 hours, the migraine is completely gone, like it was never there. But… then I’m kind of stoned for about 24 hours. But it’s worth it. Doesn’t matter if I take it right at the beginning, or if it’s trip-hammering me already — it’s never failed.

Lisa

Lisa on August 3, 2010 at 8:59 pm

Debbie, I know the feeling. Someone already mentioned Topamax. Ask your doctor about it. I’ll warn you, though, that it will make you extremely tired for a while and almost as dumb as a tea-partier for a while longer, but it’s worth it.

Please note, however, that it’s only a preventative treatment. You have to take it religiously at the same time of day everyday. If I, for whatever reason, cannot, that’s an emergency room trip for me. Many people who are desperate enough to take Topamax are also desperate enough to take prescription opiates for when it fails.

But when weighing your options, keep in mind that some researchers believe migraines to be a debilitating and cumulative disease. Cumulative, of course, means that unless you get them treated, they’ll only get worse and become harder to treat. Except, of course, for those lucky women who get better during menopause.

What else? Oh, yes, don’t rule out the possibility that you might have another serious type of headache as well as or instead of migraines. Learn the symptoms of emergency headaches so you know when a headache isn’t “just” a headache and you can get proper emergency treatment. If you can, talk to a neurologist or a psychiatrist about all of this rather than just a general practitioner, because general practitioners don’t know their oboe from their bass in neurological disorders like migraines. And above all else, get better!

Colin on August 6, 2010 at 9:11 pm

My mother suffered from migraines 40+ years ago. Hers were sometimes relieved by warming her hands. The theory at the time was that migraines were caused by “too much blood” in the brain, and that warming the extremities would increase blood flow to them and out of the brain, relieving congestion. Interestingly, her hands were often quite cold during a migraine. She may have actually had vascular headaches; at one point she was prescribed ergotamine tartrate, which helped her a lot.

I had migraines in my 20s, not frequent thank goodness. Complete with aura, though. Once I had an attack while at work. One of my co-workers, a young woman from Japan, jumped up from her station and began massaging my neck and squeezing my head with her hands, and the headache left. She said the idea was to slow the flow of blood into the brain. No idea if it really did slow it, but perhaps it did and mine were also vascular headaches.

Please find a headache specialist/clinic and have a complete workup.

TallerThinner on August 21, 2010 at 11:49 am

For me, a beta-blocker reduced the frequency and Imitrex killed off the ones that made it through…

Choey on August 29, 2010 at 11:43 pm

The ONLY thing that ever works for me is Imitrex nasal spray. I waited for years for Sumitriptan to make it to market. Before that, I was a guinea pig for all sorts of “cures.”
A new study shows (purportedly) that migraine is in the DNA.
Until another study shows something else.

Barbara Vracin on September 15, 2010 at 1:42 pm

I have suffered from cluster headaches for over 15 years. One thing that has helped has been acupuncture. That can take the pain away without any side effects.

I would also suggest asking in meditation or for a dream for something to help you. In my case, I had a dream that told me to take magnesium. I haven’t had a serious headache for 1.5 years.

TL on October 2, 2011 at 11:53 am

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