Ah yes… the delights of a migraine headache. They are horrible. I had one this week. Hateful things.
Migraines are not just a bad headache. They tend to be accompanied by nausea, blurry vision, runny noses, ringing in the ears. Migraine sufferers also get auras – these can be dots on their vision, flashing lights, or a bit of both. Some auras can even be smells, or a sense in their bodies that the migraine is coming. It is not a pleasant sensation.
Now, migraines are very severe. I have some down home and folksy remedies which might help lessen the pain, but if you suffer really badly from these, for goodness sake, go to the doctor and get help with them. There are drugs out there which can stop the pain right away and they are totally worth using to escape the horrors of a migraine. However, some of these tricks might help…
If you have a migraine, go and lie down in a darkened room with a cool wet flannel on your forehead. I know this is what your Mum always recommended but it does help. Migraines are caused by vasodilation of the arteries in your head, so the coolness of the flannel might help reduce that expansion, and many migraine sufferers are sensitive to light. Rubbing your temples might help as well. Apparently putting pressure on the temples decreases the flow of blood through the arteries and can bring some relief.
Do you know what triggers your migraines? Personally, I know I am heading for trouble if I have imbibed red wine, chocolate and cheese in some combination, though I also get hormonal migraines. Oh that is great fun let me tell you. NOT. However, if you do not know what your triggers are, have a look at the day and the hours before you are struck with the headache. If there is something that comes up regularly with your migraines, it might be a trigger for you. Some common ones are nitrates (often found in wine), too much coffee, chocolate, red wine, birth control pills, monosodium glutamate, ovulation, menstruation, dehydration, irregular sleep, too much sleep, psychological stress and sudden withdrawal from coffee. Basically, if you have triggers… stay away from them. You know it makes sense.
There is a herbal remedy though… Feverfew has been used for thousands of years as a herbal remedy, but it is only since the 1970s that herbalists have been suggesting it will work wonders for migraines. You need to take it daily, but eating one leaf, or taking a herbal supplement from the health food shop will work wonders, apparently. Fever few is one of the herbs I am planning to grow in my garden, so I will report back if it makes any difference!