What is a migraine? Why migraine happens. Who gets migraines? Treating migraines.

Alternative Medicine Options

Hate Taking Pills?

You've tried everything and still suffer from migraine headaches. Or, you don't like taking pills, don't like how they make you feel, or worry about their long-term effects. If you're looking for a different way to handle your migraine headaches, read on for information on some of the less conventional forms of therapy.

Acupuncture-In this ancient form of Chinese medicine, a practitioner inserts thin needles into several areas of your skin. Because the penetration of the needles is shallow and the needles are thin, there is little or no pain with acupuncture. Some studies suggest that acupuncture is helpful for migraine pain.

Biofeedback-This method of treatment gets good, pain-relieving results. Biofeedback is a relaxation technique that employs the use of special equipment that can teach you how to watch for and control certain responses of your body, for instance, muscle tension. The technique works well in combination with preventative medications.

No Proof

Cervical or spinal manipulation-To date, there is no scientific proof that chiropractic treatments are effective for the treatment of migraine headaches.

Herbs, vitamins, and minerals-There is some evidence suggesting that two herbs, butterbur (Petasites hybridus-also known as butterfly dock, bog rhubarb, butter-dock, blatterdock and exwort) and feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium, Chrysantheim parthenium, or Pyrethrum parthenium-also known as Bachelor's button, featherfew, Santa Maria, wild chamomile, and wild quinine) may prevent migraines, or at least reduce the severity of the associated symptoms.

High doses of vitamin B2 (riboflavin) are believed to correct deficiencies within the brain cells, preventing migraines. Some migraine sufferers have had success with coenzyme Q10 supplements while others find that oral magnesium sulfate supplements lower their incidence of migraine. Infusions of magnesium sulfate help some sufferers during acute headaches and may relieve migraine pain in those migraineurs who have a magnesium deficiency.

Don't try any of these treatments without checking with your doctor. If you're pregnant or allergic to ragweed marigolds, daisies, chrysanthemums, or other members of the Compositae family, don't use butterbur (sold as Petadolex, Petaforce, Tesalin) or feverfew. If you take warfarin or other blood thinners, don't take feverfew, since it may increase the risk of bleeding.

Massage-Massage is an obvious aid in reducing stress and relieving tension. Some migraine sufferers experience muscle tightness or tenderness in the area of the head, neck, and shoulders during an attack. While there's no proof that massage is helpful for migraines, massage may help the specific muscular symptoms that may accompany migraine.