While over the counter analgesics such as aspirin and ibuprofen work well to stop many types of headache pain, they are relatively ineffective when it comes migraine relief. There are a number of prescription medications used in the treatment of migraines but those all come with hefty potential risks and side effects.
Headaches top the list of common complaints, and migraines are by far the most painful and debilitating type of headache. An intense migraine attack can floor victims, plaguing them with nausea and dizziness and confining them to bed. For those who want more natural migraine relief, here are four options;
5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is produced from the amino acid tryptophan and is used to make serotonin and melatonin. Some studies indicates that this natural compound may reduce the frequency and severity of migraines and even prevent migraines. One study involved 124 people; half of which were given 5-HTP (600 mg/day) and the other half were methysergide. 5-HTP was found to be as effective at reducing the severity and duration of migraines as methysergide.
Magnesium is a mineral found naturally in foods such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains and in nutritional supplements. Several studies also indicate that magnesium is effective at reducing the severity and frequency of migraines. One study showed that those taking 600 mg of oral magnesium daily had a 42 percent reduction in the frequency of migraines, compared to 16 percent in the placebo group. High doses of magnesium may cause diarrhea, digestive irritation, nausea, muscle weakness, difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, irregular heart rate. It can also interact with certain medications so talk to your doctor or pharmacist before adding high doses of magnesium.
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is an herb that is well known as a folk remedy for migraine, as well as headaches, arthritis and other pains. This folk remedy is backed by scientific studies that do show this herb as effective health plans for the prevention and treatment of migraines.
There are side effects, including nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea and nervousness. People with bleeding disorders should not take feverfew because it may increase bleeding time. This herb may also interact with blood-thinning medications. People taking aspirin and warfarin (Coumadin) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or other blood thinners should consult their doctor or pharmacist before taking feverfew. People with allergies to yarrow, ragweed or chamomile, ragweed should not take feverfew. Pregnant or nursing women and children should not take feverfew, as the safety has not been established.
When deciding the course of treatment, it is always best to compare the results and the potential side effects of options. Although there are warnings associated with herbal remedies, there are typically far more associated with prescription drugs.