Tackling migraines with Ayurveda

Migraine is a common type of headache, which may sometimes occur with additional symptoms such as nausea, or light sensitivity. Migraine is more than a mere headache. The one-sided throbbing pain experienced during a bout of migraine, affects your daily functioning, making it a painful experience every day. Further, the harsh sun rays experienced during the summer months, may only add to the pain.

Migraine can be triggered by any factors including stress, environmental factors, alcohol, bright lights, certain odours, change in sleep patterns, changes in hormone levels (particularly in women), loud noises, missed meals, smoking or exposure to smoke, and certain foods. However, the exact cause of migraine headache is still unclear.

Treatment methods:

When you get initial symptoms of migraine try to treat them right away, when the headache is less severe. Drink enough water to avoid dehydration, particularly if you have vomited. You can try resting in a quiet dark room, placing a cool cloth on your forehead.

Ayurvedic Remedies

Ayurveda considers migraine to mostly occur in people with imbalanced pitta constitution. Although, people with vata and kapha constitutions can also experience migraine, pitta dosha is considered as the main cause. Bringing about a balance in the doshas can help in maintaining bodily balance and solve the root cause of the problem.

Ayurveda suggests a combination of healthy diet, ayurvedic/herbal medications, yoga and panchakarma treatments to get rid of migraines completely.

Panchakarma

In the Panchakarma procedure, Nasya or medicated oil drops are used for treatment of migraine. The first type of treatment is called Shirovirechan, wherein strong, irritant medicines are instilled as nasal drops, which induces sneezing and watery discharge. Second type of treatment is the Avapidat nasya, wherein a herbal paste, usually made of herbs such as Vacha and Pippali, together with honey, are inserted through the nostrils in liquid form. These procedures are aimed at eliminating the root cause of headache/pain.

The medicated enema used for migraine, known as Anuvasan Basti, is given, wherein small quantities of medicated oils (50ml) are given at regular intervals on an out-patient bais. Sesame and Mahanarayan oil, containing Asparagus racemosus as main ingredient, are mostly used for this purpose.

Ayurvedic medicines

One of the most commonly prescribed drugs for treating migraine is Suvarna Sutashekhara Ras. It is given in dose of 125 milligrams twice a day. The medication can be taken with milk. Few other preparations that can be taken for this condition are Godanti Bhasma, Triphala Guggulu, Bhallatakasav and Tribhuvankirti.

Yoga

Simple yoga treatments can serve as an effective alternative in dealing with headaches and migraines. Yoga, particularly deep breathing exercises, can boost immunity, and improve headaches/migraines caused due to stress and worry. Inverted postures, or postures where head is lowered briefly, increases oxygen supply to the brain and reduces the strain-induced headaches. Pranayama is an excellent solution for migraines. Shitali Pranayama is known as cool breathing exercise, wherein the tongue is rolled like a tube, inhaling air through the mouth and exhaling is done through the nose. Following this technique regularly can reduce migraine symptoms, while also pacifying the pitta imbalance.

Herbs

Feverfew is a popular herb for treating migraines. Several studies have backed the use of feverfew in treating migraines. Other herbal cures for migraines include use of ashwagandha, brahmi, shatavari, chyavanprash, jatamamsi, gudachi and chyavanprash. Shirodhara (herbal hot oil massage) is also known to relieve headaches. However, herbs should be taken only after working with a trained herbalist to choose the specific herb suitable for your body type.

Prevention

Understanding your headache triggers can help you to avoid foods and situations that cause migraines. Few other suggestions for preventing migraines caused by external factors are:

  • Avoid smoking and alcohol
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners
  • Avoid caffeine
  • Limit sun exposure
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Exercise regularly
  • Reduce stress
  • Find ways to relax
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Walk regularly in a park/garden or other scenic place.

Adopting the said measures, not only makes you feel relaxed, but can also ban recurrent migraines.

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