Just about everyone has experienced a bad headache at some point, but a migraine is far from a bad headache. Those who suffer from migraines know how debilitating the effects can be. Migraine symptoms include severe recurring and intense throbbing pain combined with visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, extreme sensitivity to light, sound, touch and smell, and tingling or numbness in the face. Migraine pain is usually on one side of the head, but both sides are affected in 1/3 of migraine attacks. Attacks typically last between 4 and 72 hours.
A migraine is actually a syndrome — a collection of symptoms which arise from a common cause. Everyone is different, as are their symptoms, so attacks can vary widely from person to person. Every 10 seconds, someone in the United States goes to the emergency room with a migraine or a headache. Migraines rank in the top 20 of the world’s most disabling medical illnesses and is, in fact, a neurological disease.
Women are three times more prone to migraines than men are, and over 27 million women in the U.S. are affected by them. Migraines can be tough to treat. There are well over 100 drugs, surgical treatments and other devices used to prevent or treat the symptoms, but choosing one or a combination that might work is time- consuming and frequently requires expert help. If you’ve tried many different medications and nothing seems to work, here’s what you should try next — yoga. Practicing these simple yoga asanas for a few minutes every day will help your body fight through your next migraine attack.
1. Hastapadasana (Standing Forward Bend)
This bend calms the mind and invigorates the nervous system by increasing blood supply.
2. Setu Bandhasana (Bridge pose)
The Bridge pose helps to keep your blood pressure under control. It relaxes your mind and reduces anxiety. While doing this pose, your blood rushes to your brain to aid in pain relief.
3. Balasana (Child’s Pose)
The Child’s pose stretches the hips, thighs and ankles, and helps to relieve stress and fatigue. It calms the nervous system and effectively reduces pain.
4. Marjariasana (Cat stretch)
The Cat Stretch improves blood circulation while minimizing stress and helping you breathe better. It relaxes tense muscles to reduce pain.
5. Paschimottanasana (Two-Legged Forward Bend)
The Two-Legged Forward bend calms the brain to relieve stress and the pain of a headache.
6. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog pose)
The Downward Facing Dog pose will increase blood circulation to the brain and relieve your headache.
7. Padmasana (Lotus pose)
The Lotus pose relaxes the mind and the body to alleviate headache pain.
8. Shavasana (Corpse pose)
The Corpse pose rejuvenates the body by bringing it into a deep state of meditative rest. Use this as the last pose in your routine, lying down for a few minutes.
If you are currently taking medication, don’t stop taking it unless your doctor advises you to do so. However, doing these poses frequently will help to lessen the impact of migraine attacks, and may even contribute to stopping them permanently.
So grab a yoga mat and start practicing!