Migraines are more intense than common headaches. They’re typically characterized by a throbbing pain on one side of the head. They’re often accompanied by nausea, dizziness, and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraines can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days.
What Can Yoga Do for Migraine Relief?
Yoga can provide more than just physical fitness. It can bring calm and peace to your mind and body, as well as help with ailments such as anxiety, depression, and pain. It isn’t clear exactly how yoga changes the body in this manner, though the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) may play a role. During yoga, the PNS can slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure. This allows your body to recover after a stressful event, such as a migraine. Not only is yoga a holistic approach to fighting migraines as they’re happening, it’s also a proactive approach to reduce the pain.
What does the research say?
A 2014 studyTrusted Source found that headache frequency and intensity was reduced in people who practiced yoga in addition to their regular treatment regimen. These participants also experienced an improvement in vagal tone, which refers to the amount of activity in the PNS. Overall, yoga improved the cardiac autonomic balance. Disturbances in the autonomic nervous system and in the regulation of the circulatory system are associated with migraines. If balance is restored, the likelihood of a migraine is reduced.
Poses that could help
Specific yoga poses can target tension and stress, which may be contributing to your migraines. Certain poses can help boost circulation and improve blood flow to your brain. This may lessen any pain or throbbing sensations that you’re having. Here are four poses that may help relieve your symptoms and balance your physical, mental, and emotional states.
The child’s pose can calm the nervous system and reduce pain.
This pose opens the chest, heart, and shoulders, and can reduce any anxiety you may be having.
Downward facing dog
The downward face dog can increase circulation to the brain.
This pose can restore your body to a deep state of rest. Some find it helpful to listen to relaxing music during this pose. During a migraine you may be sensitive to noise, so you will need to decide if the music helps you relax.
Although you can try these poses during a migraine, you may have better results if you add yoga to your daily routine.
Other ways to prevent a migraine
Aside from yoga, there are other things you can do to reduce your risk of migraines. This includes:
• Watching your diet. You should limit your intake of trigger foods, such as chocolate, alcohol, and caffeine.
• Limiting exposure to the sun. Bright lights and sunshine can aggravate migraines.
• Keeping a daily schedule. Try to stay on the same sleeping pattern, eat proper foods, and exercise daily.
For best results, consider practicing yoga in addition to your regular treatment regimen. Remember that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all treatment for migraines. Some people may find relief with yoga, and others may not. If you’re wondering whether yoga may be right for you, speak with your doctor.