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Migraine Headaches - Other Treatment

Some people find that complementary treatments reduce how many migraines they have or how bad the migraines are.

If you are thinking about trying a complementary treatment, get the facts first. Discuss these questions with your doctor:

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  • Is it safe? Talk with your doctor about the safety and potential side effects of the treatment. This is especially important if you are taking medicines for migraines or another health condition. Some complementary treatments in combination with medicines can be quite dangerous.
  • Does it work? You may find it hard to judge whether a particular treatment is really working. Keep in mind that if you get better after using a certain treatment, the treatment isn't always the reason for the improvement.
  • How much does it cost? An expensive, unproven treatment that may or may not help you may not be worth its cost. Beware of therapy providers or products that require a large payment at the beginning of a series of treatments.
  • Will it improve my general health? Even if they aren't effective in treating migraines, some complementary practices (such as acupuncture, massage, or yoga) may lead to healthy habits that improve your overall well-being. These might be worth trying.

Talk to your doctor if you decide to try:

  • Acupuncture. This involves putting very thin needles into the skin at certain points on the body. Research shows that acupuncture can help prevent some headaches.1
  • Biofeedback. This is a way to control a body function—such as muscle tension—that you don't normally control.
  • Butterbur. This herb has been shown to help prevent migraines in some people.2
  • Feverfew. This is an herb that—some small studies show—may help prevent migraines in some people.2
  • Magnesium. Studies have found that some people with migraines have low levels of magnesium in the brain. Taking magnesium may help prevent migraines.2
  • Menthol. There is some evidence that a menthol solution rubbed on the forehead can stop or reduce migraine headache pain.3
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2). This vitamin may help prevent migraines.2
  • Coenzyme Q10. In a small study, this supplement worked to reduce the number of migraines for some people.2

For people who haven't been able to reduce the number of or control their headaches with medicine, stimulation of certain nerves in the face with mild electric current may help prevent migraines.4 For this treatment, electrodes are placed on your forehead for 20 minutes every day. If you have severe and frequent migraines and have not been able to control them with medicine, you may want to ask your doctor if this kind of treatment is available in your area.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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