Migraine Headaches

Migraine is a type of headache that people can have several times a week or once every couple of years. Sensations called auras may come before a migraine happens. Migraines can be so strong that they make it hard to work and do normal things.
Migraines may be prevented with changes to lifestyle habits, such as avoiding triggers. Medicine and therapy are also used to prevent and treat. Some people may need surgery when these treatments are not helpful. Some people turn to natural therapies to further ease migraine symptoms and frequency.

Natural Therapies

Likely Effective

These therapies are likely to ease symptoms:

May Be Effective

These therapies may ease symptoms:
  • Acupuncture is the use of fine needles on points of the body to improve health. B1, B2, B3
  • Chamomile is a flowering plant. A5
  • Chiropractic spinal manipulation applies pressure to a person's spine or other body parts to improve health. C3
  • Dietary changes C2
  • Feverfew is a flowering plant. A1
  • Massage therapy C3
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients found in fish, seeds, and nuts. They can also be taken as a supplement. A9
  • Physiotherapy is the use of massage, heat, and exercise to improve health. C3
  • Progressive muscle relaxation C2
  • Relaxation therapies C3
  • Stress management C2
  • Vitamin B2 is found in grains, plants, and dairy products. It can also be taken as a supplement. A8
  • Vitamin B6 is a found in meat, dairy, and chickpeas. It can also be taken as a supplement. (Note: It may interact with anti-nausea medicine taken by pregnant women. It may also interact with medicine used to treat cancer, anxiety, and narcolepsy). A4
Magnesium, Vitamin B2, and coenzyme Q10 may ease migraine symptoms when taken together as a supplement. A2

Not Enough Data to Assess

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.
Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution

Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse. For example, vitamin B6 may interact with anti-nausea medicine taken by pregnant women. It may also interact with medicine for cancer, anxiety, and narcolepsy.

References

A Herbs and Supplements
A1 Wider B, Pittler M, et al. Feverfew for preventing migraine. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2015:CD002286.
A2 Gaul C, Diener HC, et al. Improvement of migraine symptoms with a proprietary supplement containing riboflavin, magnesium and Q10: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicenter trial. J Headache Pain. 2015;16:516.
A3 Chiu HY, Yeh TH, et al. Effects of Intravenous and Oral Magnesium on Reducing Migraine: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Pain Physician. 2016;(1):E97-E112.
A4 Askari G, Nasiri M, et al. The effects of folic acid and pyridoxine supplementation on characteristics of migraine attacks in migraine patients with aura: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial. Nutrition. 2017;38:74-79.
A5 Zargaran A, Borhani-Haghigi A, et al. Evaluation of the effect of topical chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.) oleogel as pain relief in migraine without aura: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Neurol Sci. 2018;39(8):1345-1353.
A6 Long R, Zhu Y, et al. Therapeutic role of melatonin in migraine prophylaxis: A systematic review. Medicine (Baltimore). 2019;98(3):e14099.
A7 de Sousa CNS, da Silva Leite CMG, et al. Alpha-lipoic acid in the treatment of psychiatric and neurological disorders: a systematic review. Metab Brain Dis. 2019 Feb;34(1):39-52.
A8 Zeng Z, Li Y, et al. Efficacy of CoQ10 as supplementation for migraine: A meta-analysis. Acta Neurol Scand. 2019 Mar;139(3):284-293.
A9 Maghsoumi-Norouzabad L, Mansoori A, et al. Effects of omega-3 fatty acids on the frequency, severity, and duration of migraine attacks: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutr Neurosci. 2018 Nov;21(9):614-623.
A10 Xiao Y, Yuan L, et al. Traditional Chinese patent medicine for prophylactic treatment of migraine: a meta-analysis of randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials. Eur J Neurol. 2015 Feb;22(2):361-368.
A11 Zhou L, Chen P, et al. Systematic review and meta-analysis of traditional Chinese medicine in the treatment of migraines. Am J Chin Med. 2013;41(5):1011-1025.
B Acupuncture
B1 Xu J, Zhang FQ, et al. Acupuncture for migraine without aura: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Integr Med. 2018 Sep;16(5):312-321.
B2 Linde K, Allais G, et al. Acupuncture for the prevention of episodic migraine. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Jun 28;(6):CD001218.
B3 Yang Y, Que Q, et al. Verum versus sham manual acupuncture for migraine: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Acupunct Med. 2016 Apr;34(2):76-83.
C Other Therapies
C1 Probyn K, Bowers H, et al. Non-pharmacological self-management for people living with migraine or tension-type headache: a systematic review including analysis of intervention components. BMJ Open. 2017 Aug 11;7(8):e016670.
C2 Barnes NP. Migraine headache in children. BMJ Clin Evid. 2011 Apr 11;2011. pii: 0318.
C3 Chaibi A, Tuchin PJ, et al. Manual therapies for migraine: a systematic review. J Headache Pain. 2011 Apr;12(2):127-133.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC
  • Review Date: 11/2019
  • Update Date: 06/09/2020