Anyone can get a migraine attack at any age, but seniors tend to have a greater difficulty relieving and managing the pain and other symptoms, because many pain medications and treatments are not safe for them to take together with any other medication they may be taking, or they contain ingredients that they can’t ingest. Fortunately, there are home remedies that are generally considered safe and effective for seniors in relieving migraine attack symptoms, and can help reduce how often they occur.
The foods and substances you choose to consume in your diet plays an essential role in preventing migraine attacks. Many foods and beverages are common migraine triggers, such as foods with nitrates, including hot dogs, deli meats, bacon, and sausage, sugary chocolate, cheeses that contains the naturally occurring compound tyramine, such as blue, feta, cheddar, parmesan and swiss, alcohol, especially red wine, foods that contain monosodium glutamate (a flavor enhancer) and highly processed convenience foods.
Migraine triggers are different with each individual. If you’re unsure which foods in particular may be triggering your migraine attacks, there is a very easy method and practice that will help pinpoint them. Just keep a simple daily food journal. Jot down what you ate after every meal, and note if it had any negative effect or not.
If your diet and overall health permits it, try drinking some coffee or caffeinated tea after your meal. A small amount of caffeine may ease migraine pain in some people, due to its positive effect on the brain’s blood vessels. However, do take it easy and be careful with it. Too much caffeine can actually cause a migraine attack or may lead to a severe caffeine withdrawal headache.
Skipping meals or waiting too many hours to eat is another common migraine attack trigger, due to low blood glucose levels. While it’s true that planning healthy meals and snacks takes some time, money and effort, the payoff of that effort is more energy and potentially fewer migraine attacks.
Water is also very important. Since even mild to moderate dehydration can be a trigger for a migraine attack, get into a daily habit of having water available to drink at all times, particularly during exercise and on hot summer days.
The chemical menthol found in peppermint oil may help prevent migraine episodes. You can apply it to your temples and face, or mix it into water and breathe it in as a means of aromatherapy.
A study conducted in 2019 compared the effects of nasal 4 percent lidocaine with 1.5 percent peppermint essential oil and a placebo for managing migraine symptoms. The researchers found that 40 percent of people in the lidocaine and peppermint oil groups experienced considerable improvements in their symptoms, compared with only 4.9 percent of people in the placebo group.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health notes that very little research has examined peppermint leaf, but a limited amount of evidence suggests topical peppermint oil may benefit tension headaches, which can turn into migraines if left untreated.
Magnesium deficiency is linked to headaches and migraine. Magnesium oxide supplementation may help prevent migraine with aura. It may also prevent menstrual migraine (hormone headaches). A 2021 study found that 500 milligrams of magnesium oxide taken twice a day for 8 weeks was as effective as the medication valproate sodium for preventing migraine without significant side effects.
You can also get magnesium naturally from many common and easy to find foods, such as almonds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, cashews, peanut butter, oatmeal, eggs, milk and leafy greens.
Bright light and loud noises can make your headache go from bad to worse. So if you’re able to, before it turns into a full blown migraine, find a spot away from the drama, close the door and pull down the shades when you’ve got a migraine coming on. It can help to significantly speed up your recovery.
Stress is, by far, one of the leading culprits of migraine attacks. Practice de-stressing methods and habits, such as yoga, listening to relaxing music and head massages.
Get some regular shut-eye to help stave off migraines. Too little or too much can trigger headaches and migraines. Aim for 7 to 8 hours each night, and try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day with the help of a loud but pleasant alarm clock.
Although these home remedies can help manage your migraine symptoms, reduce how often you get them and even prevent them, they are usually most effective at the onset of a migraine or before it starts.
If your migraine is very severe, it’s highly recommended to speak with a doctor who specializes in migraine treatment. Natural or home remedies may not be sufficient in this case.