Six Ways to Manage Migraines
4. Get realigned “Migraines are often caused by structural issues in the soft tissues surrounding the dural tube, which houses the fluid that nourishes the brain and spinal cord,” says Sheryl McGavin, of the Upledger Institute in Florida. “With craniosacral therapy, you can remove restrictions so the system flows freely.” During a session, a practitioner uses a light touch to make adjustments on the head, neck, and upper thorax. Find a certified therapist near you through Upledger’s International Association of Healthcare Practitioners (iahp.com).
OTHER OPTIONS. Bodywork and massage also help you relax, improve blood flow, and correct misalignments that contribute to headaches.
5. Try biofeedback therapy No matter what triggers your migraines, or how they manifest, stress makes everything worse, says James Gordon, M.D., founder of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, D.C. He suggests a type of biofeedback therapy that measures body temperature: When you’re stressed and more likely to have migraines your hands grow cold. With these biofeedback devices, you can learn to warm your hands and raise your body temperature, which reduces stress.
GO WITH A PRO. To find a certified biofeedback practitioner, go to healthfinder.gov.
MIGRAINE MEDS If natural solutions aren’t working, consider one of these prescribed medications.
PREVENTIVES. Anti-seizure drugs like Topamax or Depakote, low-dose antidepressants, anti-nausea drugs, anti-inflammatories, or heart medications can keep migraines at bay, but finding the right drug is hit-or-miss and side effects can include weight gain, foggy brain, and hair loss.
ABORTIVES. A class of drugs called triptans (such as Imitrex or Zomig) can halt a migraine in its tracks, but can cost $25 or more per dose.
RESCUERS. Opiates (such as Percocet or Vicodin) or shortacting barbiturates (such as Fioricet) can bring short-term relief by masking pain but may be habit-forming and can cause lightheadedness and other side effects.