Migraine Headaches Part 3

In this blog we will identify ways to stop a migraine once it has started.  Even though migraines can be very unpredictable, there are still some strategies you can implement to help mitigate the symptoms and even stop them in their tracks.  We will look at strategies you can implement once you have first started experiencing an aura all the way up to when a migraine has fully set in.

As mentioned in part one of this blog series, migraines often have warning signs leading up to the actual migraine called an aura.  Auras vary from person to person but usually include sensitivity to light, nausea, or confusion.  Once you notice an aura, the first step is to stop whatever you are doing and remove any stressor or trigger that could be potentially causing the aura.  If sensitivity to light is part of your aura, it is best to lay down in a quiet and dark room.

Once the migraine has set in, it can be unpredictable as to how long the headache will last. However, incorporating these 6 strategies below may help reduce both the length and the intensity of your migraine.

Take 5-Hydroxytryptophan

5-Hydroxytryptophan, also known as 5-HTP, is the active form of the amino acid tryptophan.  5-HTP gets converted into the neurotransmitter serotonin in our body.  As mentioned in part two of this blog series, low serotonin may play a role in migraine headaches.


Although caffeine can be a trigger for some people, for others, consuming a small amount of caffeine may actually help stop a migraine in its tracks.  The vasoconstrictive properties of caffeine is thought to be one of the reasons why it helps some people with migraines.  Be careful about how much caffeine you consume.  If your body becomes dependent on caffeine, a lack of it can become a trigger for migraines.  

Essential Oils

Diffusing or rubbing essential oils directly on the skin can be a good treatment for migraines.  One of the best essential oils for migraines is lavender oil.  There are a growing number of studies proving that lavender oil can prevent and even stop migraines once they have started.  One study found 71% of migraine attacks to be resolved or partially resolved after the inhalation of lavender1.  Another essential oil that has been shown to help with migraines is peppermint oil.  

Stay hydrated

Hydration can be an overlooked factor in migraines.  When experiencing a migraine, having a glass of room temperature water is a good start.  If you feel that hydration is an underlying factor in your migraines, it is best to get a urinalysis to measure hydration and also have an electrolyte panel done.  

Temperature therapy

Although both hot and cold therapy have been documented to help people with migraines, most people respond better to cold therapy.  Start by applying a cold pack wrapped in a towel directly to your forehead.  Alternating between hot and cold has been shown to work in some cases as well.

Get adjusted

Getting adjusted can not only help stop a migraine once it has started, but it can also prevent them from occurring in the first place.  In our fourth and final blog in this series, we will look at how chiropractic can help you with your migraines.  



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    Dr. Sheena grew up in the western suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota and completed her undergraduate studies in Architecture, Chemistry, and Sustainability at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus.