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Cluster Headaches: 10 Natural Treatments

Cluster headaches are one of the most painful afflictions a person can experience. Those who suffer from them have described cluster headaches as a hot dagger being poked through the eye and into the brain. (1) Women have even compared the pain from cluster headaches to labor pain. (2) Many who have endured them have scoured the web for cluster headaches natural treatment methods. And whether you experienced once or many times, trying cluster headaches natural treatment methods might be the best way to go. Once you experience a cluster headache, you will likely do anything you can to avoid that kind of pain again. Below is a list of cluster headaches natural treatment methods you can try.

Here are 10 natural cluster headache remedies:

1. Magnesium and Vitamin B2

Those who have cluster headaches usually have low blood levels of magnesium. Preliminary trials show that intravenous magnesium injections may relieve a cluster headache, while a deficiency can cause symptoms to be worse. (3) For a cluster headache treatment, take 400 milligrams of magnesium three times a day, taking one capsule before bedtime. This is because attacks are most common in middle of the night. (4) A vitamin B2 deficiency can lead to nerve damage and inflammation, which are two conditions that may increase the severity of cluster headaches. (5 ) Vitamin B2 may lessen symptoms, both the intensity and how often the headaches occur. In fact, in a 2004 study published in the European Journal of Neurology, subjects who received 400 milligrams of vitamin B2 capsules per day experienced less headache attacks than before taking the supplement. (6 )

2. Kudzu Extract

Kudzu extract, native to Southeast Asia, comes from a semi-woody, perennial and leguminous vine. For over 2,000 years, kudzu has been used as an herbal treatment for several medical conditions. These include fever, acute dysentery, diarrhea, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. (7) More than 70 phytochemicals or phytonutrients have been identified in kudzu root, with isoflavonoids and triterpenoids as the main components. (8 ) In 2009, researchers questioned cluster headache sufferers about their use of various alternative remedies. Of the 235 patients, 16 had used kudzu. They consented to interviews and provided medical records. Eleven (69 percent) experienced decreased intensity during attacks, nine (56 percent) saw a decrease in frequency of the attacks and five (31 percent) experienced a decline in duration. All reported minimal side effects. (9)

3. Melatonin

Melatonin is used as a supplementary treatment for patients with cluster headaches who have found incomplete relief from conventional treatments. A lack of melatonin may lead to an increased likelihood of attacks. Furthermore, melatonin levels have found to be decreased in people who experience cluster headaches. Some studies show that melatonin treatment can quickly relieve cluster attacks. However, this is only in episodic cluster headache patients. In studies that showed no results after treatment, researchers proposed that for best results, melatonin be administered before the cluster period begins. (10)

4. Capsaicin Cream

The main ingredient in capsaicin cream is cayenne pepper, which works by blocking nerve pain signals. Apply a small amount to the inside of your nostril, on the side you’re experiencing the pain. A study published in the Clinical Journal of Pain found that capsaicin use reduced the number of headache attacks in the 60 days after the end of treatment. For some people, application on the inside of the nostril can lead to a temporary painful sensation, as well as sneezing and a drippy nose. However, as mentioned, these sensations are usually only temporary. (11 )

5. Get Outside

Oxygen is one of the quickest and best cluster headache remedies. People with cluster headaches often experience relief after attaining oxygen during an attack. A good way to accomplish this naturally is by getting outdoors and taking several deep breaths of fresh air. (12 )

6. Exercise

Exercise daily to reduce stress and boost blood circulation. In between attacks, take hikes, do yoga, or practice interval training. Exercise has been proven to help relieve cluster headache symptoms. (13)

7. Breathing Exercises

In order to get more oxygen to the brain and thereby relieve symptoms, practice deep, rhythmic breathing. Doing so will also help to put the body at ease. Yoga in particular is great for suffers of cluster headaches, because it combines deep breathing and exercise. (14)

8. Maintain Regular Sleep

It’s crucial to maintain a regular sleep routine if you suffer from cluster headaches. Cluster attacks might actually begin when there are changes in your normal sleep schedule. Do everything you can to get a good night’s sleep, consistently. (15)

9. Use Peppermint Essential Oil

It seems like essential oils are some of the best natural treatments available for many conditions. For example, you can use peppermint oil to relieve headache pain. Before and during a cluster headache attack, apply two to three drops of peppermint oil to the temples. For extra help, also apply two drops to the back of your neck and bottoms of the feet. (16)

10. Drink Ginger Tea

Gingerol, a bioactive ingredient in ginger, has therapeutic effects. It acts as an extremely powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. (17) Furthermore, ginger reduces pain by acting on vanilloid receptors. (18) It also relieves nausea, which can be a symptom of an intense cluster headache. (19) To relieve symptoms, drink a cup of ginger tea one to two times a day. (20) Sources: 1. Very Well 2. The Migraine Trust 3. NCBI 4. Mayo Clinic 5. New York Times 6. NCBI 7. Web MD 8. NCBI 9. NCBI 10. NCBI 11. NCBI 12. Migraine Trust 13. NCBI 14. NCBI 15. NCBI 16. NCBI 17. Science Direct 18. NCBI 19. UMM 20. Cluster Busters