What are the most effective natural alternatives to treat migraine attacks?

With all of the attention paid to natural treatments for migraine sufferers — from over-the-counter medications to medical equipment therapies — here’s more information about the ones that deserve your consideration.

An increase in the number of migraine sufferers combined with an increase in the costs associated with treatments for this condition has led to a renewed interest in natural treatment alternatives.

Just how many people suffer migraine attacks?

The Migraine Trust reveals that migraine is the third most common disease in the world — more prevalent than diabetes, epilepsy, and asthma combined — with an estimated global prevalence of 1 in 7 individuals suffering, or 14.7%.

According to the Journal of Head and Face Pain, between 38 million and 50 million people in the United States suffer from episodic or chronic migraine disease. Those suffering from episodic migraine attacks experience one to two sessions per month. Those with chronic migraine attacks suffer sessions for 15 days or more.

Of those suffering migraine attacks, the most common symptoms reported include:

  • Light and/or sound sensitivity
  • Throbbing, pulsating pain
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Vision changes and/or blurred vision
  • Aura and/or light halos

With respect to treatment, sufferers often wrestle with remedies for individual symptoms or treating the collective — and the costs can be astronomical.

What is the total cost of migraine treatments?

The costs of migraine treatments on the individual sufferer can be broken down into direct costs — money paid out-of-pocket to combat symptoms — and what is referred to as secondary costs — financial burdens resulting from loss of work and productivity.

A couple of recent studies — The Burden of Neurological Disease in the United States and The Burden of Neurological Disease in the United States — shine a spotlight on the alarmingly high direct costs of migraines.

  • Economic burden for migraine patients equals $78 billion per year
  • Annual cost for chronic migraine sufferers is $8,500-$9,500 per person
  • Annual cost for episodic migraine sufferers is over $2,000 per person

However, the secondary costs of living with and attempting to treat migraines is what hits closest to home.

  • Sufferers can expect to lose over $4,000 per year in productivity
  • Sufferers may endure harsh side effects from prescription meds
  • Sufferers may go from doctor to doctor looking for answers
  • Sufferers are forced to miss personal and professional appointments

In an attempt to lessen the physical suffering and economic impact of migraine attacks, there is a renewed interest in natural migraine treatment alternatives.

What are the most effective natural treatments?

Outside of the more common recommendations for preventing migraine attacks — proper diet, an acceptable amount of rest and sleep, moderate exercise, etc. — here are some treatment worth your consideration:

  • Essential oils through a vaporizer. Scent therapy is gaining support amongst migraine sufferers. When they first hit the scene, essential oils were rubbed on the feet or the wrists at an acceptable distance from the head. With the introduction of vaporizers, essential oils are turned into a room-filling mist that is breathed in for relief.
  • Vitamins and supplements. Some of the natural chemicals that reduce the inflammation known to cause migraine symptoms include fish oil and riboflavin — both found at any natural foods market or pharmacy.
  • Probiotics. Probiotics found in yogurt have been found to have a positive effect on digestion and mineral absorption, both associated with a decrease in migraine symptoms.
  • Reiki therapy. Reiki is an alternative healing therapy that focuses on the energy channels of the body, as well as partnering practices that include meditation and yoga — in combination, these result in a more relaxed state of mind and body.
  • Blue light-absorbing glasses. Excessive exposure to the blue light given off by digital devices has been identified to disrupt sleep and increase migraine symptoms — glasses help to reduce this exposure and the negative effects of digital devices.


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1. https://www.migrainetrust.org/about-migraine/migraine-what-is-it/facts-figures/
2. https://americanheadachesociety.org/news/journal-prevalence-migraine-severe-headache/
3. Gooch, C. L., Pracht, E. and Borenstein, A. R. (2017), The Burden of Neurological Disease in the United States: A Summary Report and Call to Action. Ann Neurol.. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1002/ana.24897.
4. Hazard, E, Munakata, J, Bigal, ME. The burden of migraine in the United States: Current and emerging perspectives on disease management and economic analysis. Value Health 2009; 12: 55–64.