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Prescription and over-the-counter medications for headaches and migraine can have unpleasant side effects that can affect both short and long-term health. Natural remedies can be highly effective in treating and preventing headaches and migraine, with no severe side effects for most people. Here are three natural treatments for headaches and migraine that work.

Magnesium

Magnesium is an essential mineral that the body needs to perform many different functions, but many people lack in this vital nutrient. Research has found strong links between headaches, migraine and low levels of magnesium in the body. Several studies showed that magnesium supplements could reduce the frequency and severity of migraines and sometimes even prevent them altogether. Magnesium supplements of around 400mg a day are recommended for chronic headaches and migraines, but some people experience digestive problems when using oral supplements. One of the most effective ways to increase magnesium intake is by using a magnesium spray, which is available at most health food stores, and won’t cause digestive problems. Magnesium spray is applied directly to the skin and absorbed into the body.

Feverfew

Feverfew is one of the most popular natural remedies for headaches and migraine. Research has found that feverfew can be useful in preventing or reducing the frequency of headaches, while also reducing the severity of other symptoms associated with migraines, such as sensitivity to light, nausea and digestive problems. Feverfew is thought to work by preventing inflammation and the contraction of blood vessels in the brain. Side effects are uncommon but can include anxiety and nausea. Pregnant women should not take feverfew, as it can cause the uterus to contract and increases the risk of miscarriage.

Essential Oils

Essential oils have been used for centuries to treat a wide range of physical and emotional problems. Lavender oil is one of the most widely-used and versatile essential oils and is also safe for most people to use neat on the skin. Lavender oil helps to relax the muscles, stabilize mood and reduce pain, producing a calming effect that can soothe headaches and migraine. One study found that inhaling the oil for 15 minutes decreased headache pain in over 70 percent of participants. Lavender oil can also be applied directly to the forehead, temples, and neck to help relax muscles. Another effective essential oil for headaches is peppermint oil, which can help to stimulate blood flow and reduce nausea associated with a migraine.

Some medications for headaches and migraines can cause long-term side effects and can even be addictive. Natural treatments are often safer and can be just as effective as over-the-counter medicines. However, it’s important to talk to your doctor if you are taking prescribed medication, as some natural remedies can interact with another drug.

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