From beetroot juice to lifestyle changes, Luke Coutinho suggests how you can deal with that terrible migraine pain.
Migraines are a severe form of headache that can turn into a chronic problem.
It's very different from a normal headache; it usually affects only one side of the head.
Besides pain, migraine can also cause nausea and vomiting in extreme cases.
While there is a pill for every symptom of migraine, it helps only for that particular migraine episode. But it doesn't address the root cause.
Migraine is multifactorial, meaning there is no one factor that causes it. Hence, identification of the right trigger becomes primary to successful migraine management.
Lifestyle triggers that cause migraine include lack of sleep, chronic stress, unhealthy gut (constipation, bloating, indigestion, candida overgrowth) acidity, exposure to strong smells/noise, dehydration, too much caffeine, vitamin deficiency (mostly magnesium and vitamin B13, B6), prolonged exposure to the sun and erratic meal timings.
Amongst the above, the two major causes of migraines and headaches are constipation and lack of quality sleep/stress.
Constipation leads to a build-up of toxins in the body leading to gases that cause not just headaches and migraines but poor skin, hair, low immunity, cancer, disorders, weight gain, bloating, indigestion, fatigue and brain fog.
- Soak 4-5 black peppercorns for four hours and bite into them followed by sipping water before meals. This works really well in most migraine cases.
Soaking peppercorns makes it less spicy.
You can also heat them in ghee or add them to the food you eat.
Pepper has an enzyme called 'piperine', which is anti-inflammatory and is thought of as a natural painkiller.
- Practise deep breathing.
Ten to 12 rounds of abdominal breathing helps infuse cells with plenty of oxygen and shifts the body into a parasympathetic state (rested state).
Sound producing breaths like 'chanting Omkar' or 'Bee breathing' also helps relax the mind and relieves you of migraine.
- Restorative yoga asanas like Child's pose, Corpse pose and legs up the wall also help.
- Turn on some soothing music and relax each muscle one by one.
- Beetroots are rich in nitric oxide, which is a powerful vasodilator (widens the blood vessels).
Drinking fresh beetroot juice or adding a teaspoon of beetroot powder to a glass of water helps dilate your blood vessels, thereby enhancing the blood flow towards the head region.
- Try the cabbage compress.
Grate cabbage and put it in a muslin cloth. Make a potli out of it and gently press it on your forehead for five minutes.
- Rub peppermint essential oil over temple region.
Additionally, massaging 3-4 drops of lavender essential oil mixed with a teaspoon of coconut oil on the temples helps with pain relief.
- Brew teas using spices and herbs like ginger, peppermint, cardamom powder.
- Maintaining a journal makes it easier for you to identify potential triggers from food to fragrances, as it can be different for each individual.
- Keep your body alkaline at the right times. Simple ways of doing this are to drink lemon water, mint/cardamom infused water and fennel seed water.
- Limit exposure to bright lights/screens
- Include probiotics and prebiotics (dietary fibre), either through food or a supplement, in your daily diet.
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*Image used for representational purposes only.
Luke Coutinho is a holistic nutritionist, author and integrative medicine and lifestyle practitioner.