Patient Blogs | Migraine
How Complementary Therapies Help Me Prevent Migraine
photo of aromatherapy oils

As I’ve learned more about my migraines -- and triggers -- over the years, I’ve also tried several alternative therapies to help me manage them. Some work well, especially if I’m good about doing them consistently. Others seem to just be a waste of time and energy. It’s hard to navigate since you really have to give things a legitimate try before writing anything off. It’s draining, exhausting, time consuming, and often expensive to manage.

Physical therapy and massage seemed to work the best for me. My migraines often result from stubborn tension headaches, so these therapies really helped prevent them.

Physical therapy taught me both core and posture exercises that I can do at the appointments and at home on my own. If I do them consistently, I notice that I’m supporting my body better in my everyday activities and that helps me to keep the tension headaches at bay.

Similarly, massage has helped prevent tension headaches by increasing blood flow and movement in my back and neck. I’ve always had tension in these areas (probably from years of schoolwork, hunched over a computer with bad posture). Getting regular massages helped to open up these areas and made me feel better. It also allowed me to get more from my physical therapy.

On the other hand, I’ve taken supplements regularly for about 5 years now. I’ve noticed certain improvements in my general health. However, this coincided with me getting a better grasp on managing and preventing my migraines, so it’s hard to know how much, if at all, supplements helped.

I’ve also tried essential oils to help with bad migraines that don’t seem to pass. This has never really worked for me. Oils never came close to my actual medications in helping me to ride out a migraine. Heat and ice are other options that make some people feel better, but they just never helped me. 

I’ve also gone to a chiropractor, but honestly, I could never tell if it was helping. Sometimes, I actually felt worse. The time, energy, and money that it took was not worth it to continue for me.

All of this is to say, I’m really lucky to have had access to all of these things -- not everyone does. Prevention is so important to me that I probably spend about $200 a month on it. 

It’s a commitment of money, time, consistency, and patience. As long as these things continue to help me prevent my migraines, I’ll keep doing them. It’s just part of the constant “work” many people don’t see for those of us who suffer from migraines.

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Photo Credit: Moncherie / via Getty Images

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Andi Schmerin

Andi Schmerin

Diagnosed since 2001

Andi Schmerin has been living with migraine for nearly 20 years. By minimizing lifestyle triggers and leaning on medication when needed, she is able to maintain a thriving life as a mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend, and women’s health PA. Schmerin lives outside of Philadelphia, and you can frequently catch her cheering on the Eagles, Flyers, or Phillies. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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