Dr. Tariq Jagnarine
Fam Med, Endocrinology/Diabetes

Migraine headaches are different from other types of headaches. The symptoms can include visual changes; sensitivity to sound, light, or smell; and nausea or vomiting. Various home remedies may help provide relief from migraine symptoms and help prevent episodes.
Several medications can treat or prevent migraine episodes. Natural remedies may be able to provide additional relief from symptoms.
Home remedies for migraine relief and prevention include the following:

Acupressure involves applying pressure to specific parts of the body. The aim of stimulating these points is to alleviate pain. Professionals can administer acupressure, or people can try it themselves at home. However, it is helpful to follow instructions from a professional before beginning.
A useful acupressure point for headaches is the LI-4 point, which is in the space between the base of the left thumb and the index finger. Applying firm, but not painful, circular pressure to the LI-4 point using the opposite hand for 5 minutes may relieve headache pain.

A person may find that changing their diet helps prevent migraine episodes. This is because, for some people, specific foods are migraine triggers. Some common examples of foods that can trigger migraine include processed meats, alcohol, chocolate, and caffeine.
People can try to identify potential migraine triggers by keeping a symptom diary and looking for patterns.

Essential oils
Lavender essential oil may help relieve stress, anxiety, and headaches. A 2021 literature review found that 10 types of essential oils contain components that could help ease migraine symptoms. These include lavender, peppermint, chamomile, and basil.
It is important to note that some essential oils can be harmful to children, people who have asthma, or those who are pregnant or nursing. Please consult a doctor before using them.
People should inhale essential oils only via a diffuser. If applying topically, always dilute with carrier oil at a safe concentration.

A 2021 review of three clinical trials found ginger powder safe and effective in treating people with migraine. In comparison to control groups, it significantly reduces pain after 2 hours. Ginger also helps to relieve nausea and vomiting.
While ginger has benefits, there is a risk of side effects and interaction. For example, people taking warfarin may have an increased risk of bleeding. Speak with a doctor before trying it.

Stress management
Stress triggers symptoms in 7 in 10 people with migraine. It may even create a cycle in which migraine pain worsens the stress, which then triggers another migraine.
Whenever possible, it is best to limit situations that can lead to stress. Finding outlets such as journaling, exercise, and meditation may help. Other stress relief strategies might include taking a warm bath, listening to music, or practising breathing techniques. Some people find stress management classes helpful.

An older 2014 study compared conventional migraine treatment with and without a regular yoga practise. The researchers found that the group who participated in yoga had greater relief than the group who received conventional treatment alone.
Participants did yoga 5 days per week for a total of 6 weeks.
A 2022 review noted that short-term yoga interventions reduced clinical migraine symptoms. It also alleviates anxiety, depression and stress, which can worsen episodes.

Biofeedback therapy
Biofeedback is a therapy that involves learning how to consciously control bodily functions that are typically unconscious. For example, a person might learn how to relax muscles. Sensors on the targeted muscles feed into a small machine that gives real-time feedback about muscle tension, helping users identify tight muscles. Using sensors along the forehead, jawline, or trapezius muscles in the shoulders may help people target muscles that are contributing to migraine pain.

Massaging the muscles in the neck and shoulders may help relieve tension and alleviate migraine pain. Massage may also reduce stress. A person may benefit from a professional massage. Anyone interested in a self-massage for migraine can try taking a clean tennis ball and standing against a wall to roll it with some pressure along the shoulders and back.

A deficiency of the essential mineral magnesium may trigger migraine aura or menstrual migraine headaches. Research has found that taking supplementary magnesium may help reduce the frequency of episodes for some people.
Speak with a doctor before taking this supplement, particularly if other health issues are present.

B vitamins may reduce migraine frequency and severity. They play a role in regulating neurotransmitters in the brain. A 2021 review found that vitamin B2 at 400 mg daily for 3 months had a significant effect on the number of days, duration, frequency, and pain score of migraine episodes.
Vitamin D may also play a role in the frequency of migraine episodes. A 2018 study found that people with migraine and vitamin D deficiency had more days with migraine pain than those without the vitamin deficiency.
B vitamins are water-soluble, so any excess is passed out in the urine. For this reason, it is unlikely that a person could take too many. Still, it is best to speak with a doctor before taking new vitamin supplements.

Herbal supplements
Butterbur and Feverfew are two herbal supplements that may help reduce migraine pain and frequency of episodes.
A daily dose of 150 mg of butterbur for about 3 months could reduce episode frequency, according to the American Migraine Foundation. The organization notes that while feverfew is less effective than butterbur, it may be helpful for some people.
There are some risks involved when taking herbal remedies. Speak with a doctor before trying these supplements.

For some, dehydration can be a migraine trigger. Drinking enough water throughout the day may help prevent migraine episodes from occurring. Taking small sips of water may also help a person deal with some migraine symptoms, such as nausea.

Some people find it helpful to lie down in a dark room when they have a migraine headache. For some, falling asleep can also alleviate the pain. Adequate sleep can also help prevent migraine episodes. Getting too much or too little sleep can be a migraine trigger. Aim for 7–9 hours of restful sleep each night.

Some people find that laying cool or warm compresses on their heads can be soothing and help reduce migraine pain. However, people with circulatory problems, diabetes, or some skin conditions should avoid extremes of temperature.

When to seek help
If an individual experiences migraine symptoms more than a few times per month, or if the symptoms are severe enough to interfere with work or other activities, it is important to see a doctor. A doctor can rule out serious illnesses and provide advice on managing and treating symptoms.
If migraine episodes are frequent or severe, it is important to see a doctor. A headache specialist can provide advice on treatment options, and help manage symptoms.