Prescriptions work for migraines but can come with uncomfortable side effects. What other treatments exist for those seeking answers outside the normal medical sphere?
A Review of Common Alternative Therapies
Clinical massage therapy
There’s massage, and then there’s clinical massage, which is performed by a practitioner familiar with chronic pain and migraines. Examples of clinical massage may be trigger point therapy, craniosacral manipulation on or deep tissue massage. Each of these focuses on specific muscle groups and trigger points known to relieve migraine pain. When looking for a masseuse, look for these keywords or ask the masseuse if they have specific experience with migraine patients
Acupuncture is an ancient medicine that focuses on energy levels on the meridians of a body. An acupuncturist will use (non-scary) needles at specific triggers along the body which are surmised to decrease pain. The theory is these pathways, responsible for pain, are turned on or off depending on the location and pressure of the needle. Like all treatments, patients have mixed reviews — anywhere from saying their migraine pain disappeared to reporting no effect. Do your research before choosing an acupuncturist.
The Cefaly headband
This device is FDA-approved, but often considered an alternative treatment as it doesn’t include prescription medication. You apply the device directly to your forehead, where a low-voltage electric current stimulates the underlying tissues and nerves. 20 minutes a day has been tentatively shown to have as much impact as prescription medications.
Inhaling pure oxygen for migraines has been used since the early 1940s to mixed results. Oxygen seems to help cluster headaches more than other types of severe headaches. Administered at home, migraine sufferers inhale high-flow oxygen for 10–15 minutes to see results. Some insurance will cover oxygen for migraine treatment.
Biofeedback treatment uses a device, like a TENS machine, to monitor body response like skin temperature and muscle tension. By receiving instant feedback on these data points, you’re able to watch and change your responses as needed. Your biofeedback technician will teach you how to closely monitor these changes and make adjustments as needed. A study in 2007 showed remarkable success in treating migraines with biofeedback.
Our Team: We are Here to Help
We are a small, dedicated app development team that wants you to better understand your migraines and triggers. Everyone on the team has lived with migraines at some point in their lives. We are your community, and we’re here to help. Reach out any time with questions. [email protected].
As always — please seek the advice of a doctor for medical questions. Our app team cannot give medical advice.
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