Stroke or heart attack risk increases in women with migraine. The study looked at 917 women who were evaluated for heart disease. The researchers found that those women with a history of migraines were at a higher risk to experience a future cardiovascular event – stroke, in particular.
The study also found that women who suffered from headaches had an 83 percent higher risk of a cardiovascular event over the course of a six-year follow-up, while women with a history of migraines were 2.33 times more likely to suffer stroke, compared to women without migraine history, over the course of the study.
Alternative treatment methods for chronic migraine headaches have been shown to offer additional relief alongside traditional treatment methods. Here is a list of alternative methods worth trying to treat chronic migraine headaches.
Acupuncture: Hair-thin needles are inserted into the skin at designated points in order to offer relief from pain.
Biofeedback: This involves becoming aware of changes in muscle tension, heart rate, and skin temperature. By recognizing these changes, you can take medication earlier or resort to other preventative methods.
Massage: Massage can help alleviate stress and muscle tension.
Herbs, vitamins, and minerals: There is some evidence that certain herbs, vitamins, and minerals may be beneficial in the treatment of chronic migraine headaches. Always speak to your doctor before taking supplements and herbs to avoid complications and medication interactions.
Electrical stimulation of the occipital nerve: A battery-powered device is implanted near the occipital nerve located at the base of your neck. Continuous energy pulses are then sent to this nerve.
Essential oils: Aromatherapy utilizes essential oils to promote relaxation and reduce stress. There is some evidence suggesting that the scents of ginger, peppermint, and lavender can ease migraine headache pain.
Dietary changes: For some people, food can trigger migraine headaches. Common trigger foods are chocolate, aged cheese, citrus fruits, and red wine. To determine what your food triggers are, keep a food diary for a month and report when you experience a migraine.
A person who suffers from chronic migraine headaches can benefit from relaxation. Here are a few different methods that can help promote relaxation:
Deep breathing: When we breathe quickly, we also breathe shallowly. For deep breathing, inhale to completely fill your abdomen and then exhale to let it all back out.
Visualized breathing: This is best done with your eyes closed, imagining the tension in your body being released with every exhale.
Progressive muscle relaxation: Turn your thoughts to your body – picture your headache or other pain and focus on relaxing the involved body parts to release it.
Music relaxation: If you need an aid, calming music can be used to help you relax.
Mental imaginary relaxation: Imagine relaxing scenarios like a park, a warm spring day, or even a beach. Whatever image relaxes you, picture it.
Prevention is also a large part in treating migraine headaches. Here’s what you can do to help prevent migraine episodes or at least lessen their impact.
Find a calm environment – turn off the lights, apply cold compresses on your neck and head.
Sleep well – establish regular sleep hours, unwind at the end of the day, minimize distractions, check your medications.
Eat wisely – document meals in a diary to find food triggers, don’t skip meals, avoid trigger foods, eat consistently.
Exercise – often and at the level recommended by your doctor.
Manage stress – don’t rush, finish assignments early, make to-do lists.
Keep a migraine diary – record your triggers, patterns, causes.
Strive for balance – meditate, practice yoga, stay calm.
These natural remedies paired with your treatment plan set our by your doctor can help you better manage your migraine headaches.