Migraine suffers have several options

Emily Bishop

Migraines can put a damper on anyone’s day, but there are some effective natural ways to relieve the tension.

According to www.mayoclinic.com, 6 percent of men and 17 percent of women have experienced a migraine. Fortunately, there are many ways to relieve and prevent migraines.

The excruciating pain associated with migraines can range from fair to brutal, and it can happen anywhere from one to four times each month, according to www.webmd.com.

The reasons migraines form are not known, but they are linked to contractions of blood vessels and hereditary abnormalities in specific parts of the brain and other changes in the brain.

Symptoms of migraines include feelings of queasiness, light sensitivity and a decrease in appetite.

Naomi Demmon, sophomore in chemical engineering, said she has not experienced a migraine, but remembers friends in high school who did.

“When they had them, they weren’t happy about it,” Demmon said.

Vickie Setterberg, massage therapist at Avenues for Health, 221 Fifth St., said therapeutic massage addresses migraines through a variety of techniques including craniosacral therapy, positional release and myofascial release therapy.

Craniosacral therapy evaluates and enhances how the membranes and fluids surrounding the brain function, Setterberg said. Myofascial release therapy is a process of stretching out the muscles and surrounding fascia.

“First of all, if a person has not seen a doctor for their migraines, they should see their physician or go to the Student Health Center to have their symptoms checked to rule out any other medical problems,” Setterberg said.

Some common causes of headaches and muscle tension include reading or sitting with poor posture and sitting at a computer for long hours at a time.

“Headache pain can originate from tight muscles in the neck, shoulders and head,” Setterberg said.

“By relaxing the many muscles of the neck and shoulders, tightness at the base of the skull can be reduced.”

Setterberg recommended taking breaks when working on a computer to stand up to stretch, as well as maintaining good hydration and nutrition.

“Water is one of the cheapest and easiest things you can do for your health,” she said.

The best way to relieve a migraine or headache is to deal with it right away, Setterberg said. If you are already on prescription medication for your migraines, take it as prescribed.

“You can massage and rub your own neck or shoulders, particularly at the base of your skull to release some of the tension,” Setterberg said.

“Take some slow, deep breaths to release some of your stress and also to get more oxygen into your lungs and brain. Stretching your neck and shoulders will also help.”

Sleep plays a part not only in being healthy, but also in preventing migraines, Setterberg said. Not getting enough sleep causes a variety of symptoms and weakens the immune system.

“Since the flu season is right around the corner, lack of sleep can lead to being run down and make you more susceptible to all the germs going around,” Setterberg said. “If you are feeling tired, your body could be telling you that you need more sleep.”