Yoga Poses For Migraine: How To Get Relief From That Pounding Pain
- sparshita saxena
Dealing with a headache is not easy. It can mess around with your everyday routine, and to make things worse, that debilitating pain doesn’t easily subside even when you’re taking rest. Migraine is a different ballgame altogether. It has no cause and no cure, however, genetic predisposition do come into play. The excruciating pain can even compromise one’s efficiency and productivity.
For the longest time in my life, I had suffered from migraine and my only BFFs in the time of distress were migraine pills or cups of chai and coffee. I had become devoted to the magical powers of caffeine against my own liking and was on a relentless lookout for something natural that would heal me inside out. I knew that the dependence on painkillers or caffeine was futile in the long run. Then yoga came to my rescue, and I’m glad it did.
In yogic practice, all forward bending postures are based on exhalation. Headaches are usually cured by deriving ways to supply extra oxygen to the brain. It therefore calls for practices that involve inhalation – hence pranayama becomes an important tool in tackling migraine.
“In case of any headache, your brain nerves get less prana , therefore it pains. Pranayam is excellent for curing migraine,” explained Yogi Anoop from the Chaitanya Foundation, Mediyoga.
Postures for Instant Relief
1. Bhujangasana or the Cobra Pose
2. Ustrasana or the Camel Pose
3. Setu Bandhasana or the Bridge Pose
4. The Shoulder Stand or Sarvangasana
Yoga Could Reduce Your Headaches By Almost 50%
Migraines can be debilitating, but research shows that a regular yoga practice can make them less frequent and painful.
Migraines are a debilitating form of headache. The pain can be severe, it can sometimes last several days, and other symptoms include nausea and sensitivity to light and sound.
Around 15% of us will suffer from migraines, making it one of the most prevalent conditions globally. Despite this, there’s no cure-all treatment for migraines. Instead, sufferers take a range of medications and make lifestyle changes to accommodate their condition.
However, researchers at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences may have found another effective intervention – yoga.
The study found that using yoga as an ‘add-on’ to migraine management reduced headaches by 48% – compared to just 12% by using medication only. So if you’re a migraine sufferer, now could be the time to invest in one of the best yoga mats and take up the ancient practice.
As part of the study, the researchers enrolled participants between the ages of 18 and 50 with up 14 episodic migraines per month. They were randomly assigned to one of two trial groups those who took medication only and those who would take medication and do yoga.
Migraine Buddy Users Data & Testimonials
Based on Migraine Buddy users who recorded yoga under relief methods, 38.98% have found it helpful, 29.90% have found it somewhat helpful, while the remaining 31.12% found it unhelpful in bringing relief to their migraines.
We decided to help provide a basis for easier comparison. Although the percentage of people who found Yoga helpful is much less than taking Triptans as a relief method, it has a higher percentage of people finding it helpful than another non-medical method, Drinking Water. The percentage of people who found Ibuprofen helpful is also not far off from the people who found Yoga helpful. Furthermore, it should not be overlooked that the percentage of people who found Ibuprofen unhelpful is slightly more than those who found Yoga unhelpful. This portrays how Yoga, a non-medical relief method compares to medical methods .
To enhance this articles reliability and relevance, we have also taken the liberty to extend a questionnaire out to Migraine Buddy users. For the past 2 weeks we collected information from users who have tried yoga for their migraines and here is what we found:
37.5% of respondents stated that they started doing yoga because of their migraines. The answers provided about how they got to know about yoga were very diverse. Some said they knew about it through family and friends, through the Internet, doctors, free yoga classes, etc.
Here is what some of the respondents said:
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Number : Stretches Help You In Getting Relief From Migraine
There are certain stretches, albeit the gentle ones, which can help control migraines.Here’s a simple one: Relax your body, either in a sitting or in a standing position.Gently bend your neck to the right with your left hand stretched in the air. Stay for 30 seconds and repeat the same in opposite direction.Do this for a couple of times.
Yoga For Migraine Helps Tone Your Muscles And Your Breathing
Two of my closest friends and fellow Migraine Warriors are avid yoga practitioners. They’ve been urging me for years to try yoga for Migraine and overall health. Last year, I became a believer – especially after reading all the proof on yoga for Migraine prevention. I thought: I’ve tried yoga and I didn’t like it. . But it was a new year, and I was so ready for a new me.
I began test-driving the huge variety of yoga classes offered at my local club and at nearby studios to find an instructor, type and class that suited me. Vinyasa Flow. Restorative Yoga. Hatha Yoga. Hot Yoga. Sunrise Stretch. Who knew there were nearly 20 different types of yoga?
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About Migraine And Yoga For Migraine
A migraine is an intense, debilitating, and chronic headache that causes attacks on more than 15 days monthly. This type of headache produces severe pain on one side of the head, and some sufferers may even experience aura. Natural treatment is always an ideal approach, and this is where yoga for migraine relief can help.
In general, exercises like yoga can help prevent migraine attacks by lowering stress levels, reducing inflammation, improving sleep quality, and more.
Major migraine symptoms also include difficulty speaking, nausea, vomiting, tingling or numbness, and sensitivity to sound and light.
Most migraine headaches last about four hours however, if they are not treated or you dont respond well to treatment, they can last anywhere from 72 hours to a week.
Conventional migraine treatment will depend on a number of factors, including your age, how long they last, and how often you have them. Often, migraine medications include NSAIDs and other pain relievers like acetaminophen .
In this article, we will explain how yoga for a migraine headache works, as well as specific yoga postures for migraine relief. Lets get started
Yoga Helps Reduce Episodes And Intensity Of Migraine
Migraines, a neurological disease, can result in symptoms like nausea, vomiting, flushing, pallor, and diarrhea during acute migraine episodes. This can often wreak havoc on your quality of life. Being a chronic disorder, migraines need constant care and management through medicines and lifestyle changes. You also need to avoid possible triggers. Yoga, when added to the conventional care for such headaches, can help not only reduce the severity of an attack but also even cut down their frequency. Whats more, researchers suggest that due to this effect, it could possibly help reduce the dosage of medication you need in conventional care, as well as your chances of side effects from those drugs.2 In one study of patients who faced a migraine without aura, yoga therapy for 3 months was found to help reduce the severity of the migraine and the pain, besides reducing headache frequency.3
Migraines can be with aura or without. An aura causes visual symptoms like zigzag lights, sensory symptoms like numbness or tingling on one arm and then up one side of the face. It may also cause trouble producing words. This is followed by a headache.4
Not only will regular practice of yoga help, but specific asanas or poses can also be more beneficial than others when it comes to addressing the specific symptoms or pain linked to headaches and migraines. Here are some of those that have such benefits.
Also Check: How To Beat Migraines Naturally
See Why Yoga Is Considered One Of The Many Non
Stress can be a common trigger for people with migraine. Some research shows, however, that migraine improves when stress is reduced. This means that certain activities aimed at reducing your stress levels may help improve your migraine symptoms, which is why some people have added yoga to their migraine treatment strategy.
Yogas postures, deep breathing and meditation aspects have been shown to reduce stress. Some studies have analyzed the impact of yoga on adults with migraine and suggest that it could be very helpful in both treating migraine and fighting the disability associated with migraine. Despite these findings, however, more research on yoga and migraine is needed.
Heres a look at what to consider before starting yoga as part of your migraine therapy:
Paschimottanasana Or Seated Forward Bend
This asana, like the janu sirsana, helps calm excited nerves, slows the release of hormones from both the adrenal and pituitary and glands.11 It also eases stress, relieves headaches, and calms the brain.12
You can make use of a strap to help you with this pose if needed. This is how the pose is done:13
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How Do You Treat Migraine
If you have been suffering from head-splitting ache for years or have recently been diagnosed with migraine, there are ways other than medication to help overcome your pain. Arterial surgery, muscle surgery, Occipital nerve stimulation, Botox, beta-blockers, and antidepressants are a few of the various preventive methods available to fight migraine attacks.
But beware as not all of these methods come without side-effects. Opting for some of these methods may increase the risk of hypotension, heart attacks, insomnia, and nausea to name a few.
So, is there a natural way to fight against migraine without hurting the body in the process?
Luckily, yes. The answer is Yoga. Below are the easy to practice yoga poses for migraine. Let us know them one by one.
How Does Yoga Help With Stress
For starters, yoga is exercise . And, as the Mayo Clinic notes, exercise is proven to reduce stress by increasing your endorphins, improving self-confidence, and forcing you to focus on the task on hand instead of your current anxieties.
Yoga, compared to cycling or lifting, has a reputation for stress reduction because of that last point â the focus on your yoga poses, your bodyâs movements and your controlled breathing is so intense that it makes it much harder to think about what your boss said earlier, or the big birthday youâre planning for your partner, or whatever else is stressing you out.
In addition, the National Institute of Health notes that yoga may also help you sleep better, lose weight, and relieve lower-back and neck pain, all things that likely lead you to feel less stressed.
Also Check: Why Do Migraines Go Away After Vomiting
Yoga For Migraine Relief: 10 Asanas That Can Ease The Pounding Pain In Your Head
The blinding pain of a migraine can bring anyone to their knees. In fact, it is the worlds sixth leading cause of years lost due to disability.1 So youd be forgiven for wanting some way, any way, to rid yourself of the pain and other symptoms that go with this malady. While mainstream medication offers some solutions, yoga may be an alternative way to migraine relief.
Yoga Poses For Migraine
It is important to note that every migraine is different, and so not every pose will work for every migraine you may have. There is no right or wrong way to do any of these poses find what makes you comfortable and relaxed and enjoy! These poses are useful for when you are in the middle of a migraine and to help maintain a calm nervous system between migraines. Heather
With 17 years of practice with Yoga, here are some Yoga poses Heather recommended to migraineurs and tips for Yoga when you dont have a migraine:
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Marjariasana Or Cat Stretch
According to Parwani, This exercise activates your back muscles, improves the core, digestion and blood circulation, all of which can help avoid migraines.”
Come onto your fours with your arms perpendicular to the floor, and hands under the shoulders with palms to the ground.
Look ahead and bring your knees hip-width apart. Tilt your head back and inhale. Raise your tailbone and compress your glutes.
Hold this pose and take long, deep breaths. Now exhale, and arch your back up while looking down. Hold this pose and come back to the first position.
Yoga Poses For Migraine Relief
There are specific yoga postures for migraine relief that help target stress and tension, which may be key contributors to your migraines. Certain poses can help improve blood flow to the brain and boost overall circulation. As a result, you may experience less of the pain and throbbing associated with migraines.
The following are 10 yoga postures for migraine relief:
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Is There Any Research Around Yoga And Migraine Treatment Specifically
You bet! The American Migraine Foundation notes that there have been studies showing the link between yoga therapy and its impact on treating migraine headaches. One migraine study, for example, showed a âsignificant reduction in the impact of headache on patientsâ lives, headache frequency, and severity and a non-significant reduction in headache duration.â
And, while not a medical journal, Migraine Buddy, a popular migraine tracking app, found that out of their users who said they used yoga for migraine relief, 39.98% thought it helped.
Legs Up The Wall Pose
This is one of the perfect yoga exercises for migraine headaches.
- Sit beside a wall with feet extended on the floor in front of you while the left side of your body is in contact with the wall. During exhalation, lie down gently on your back and pivot yourself so that the back of your legs are now pressing against the wall while the bottoms of your feet are facing up.
- Press your sitting bones against the wall and your back and head should be rested on the floor forming an approximate 90 degrees angle on your body. Let your neck be in neutral position and the back of your head feel heavy.
- Soften your face and throat and let your hands rest on each side with palms facing upwards. Close your eyes and deeply breathe through your nose. Keep the position for 5 to 15 minutes.
- To come out, push the bottom of your feet into the wall while lifting your hips slightly. Roll to one side gently and stay on the side for few more breaths before returning to your sitting position.
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What Yoga Poses Will Help Headaches
Personally, I find that doing a slow sequence always helps my headaches. The most important factor is to focus on the breath, go within and relax. But remember that if you have a headache, dont challenge yourself! Choose sequences that you feel comfortable with and that you can practise without creating too much heat in your body.
Jalandhara Bandha Or Chin Lock
If youre chronically tense, nadi shodana or alternate nostril breathing could help. A modified form of this is done while lying in the corpse pose or savasana, with chest elevated and arms to the side. To do this, simply inhale alternatingly from one nostril and exhale from the other without actually using your fingers to block the other nostril.16
Heres how its done:
- Sit comfortably on the floor or on a comfortable surface. Firm your shoulder blades against your back to allow your sternum to be lifted. Your ribs in the front of your torso must not jut out.
- Your chin must rest comfortably on your sternum, with both the chin and the elevated sternum meeting midway between the two. Take care not to only lower your chin all the way without elevating the sternum. The bottom of your chin and front of your neck meet at the crook. Draw this up diagonally toward the top of your spine and into your skull. To do this, your chin should lower and your head may pivot, drawing the top of the sternum up.
- Start inhaling when your head is upright and apply this chin lock toward the end of the inhalation. Hold this lock as you retain the breath. When you exhale, raise your head back to a neutral position until you inhale again.
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Savasana Or Corpse Pose
No list of asanas targeting the calming of the mind or brain is complete without mention of the savasana or corpse pose. By relaxing the mind, you can free it of tension, easing the headache. It can bring you into a very deep state of meditative rest that can energize you once done.28
This is how it is performed:29
- Lie down on your back, flat on a mat or the ground, arms by your sides, eyes closed. Your legs must be a little apart so that you are completely comfortable and toes facing a little outward. Allow your knees and feet to relax fully.
- Your arms should be by the sides and a little away from your torso. Your palms must face up and be open.
- Focus your attention on one part of the body at a time and use this to relax your body from head to toe. Start with your right foot, then the right knee, the other leg, then the torso until you reach your head.
- Inhale slowly, deeply, and gently. Feel your breath relax you further and further. As you inhale, feel the breath energize you. As you exhale, feel yourself relax. Do this for 1020 minutes until you are completely relaxed but not asleep!
- To exit the pose, roll to your right side with your eyes still closed. Be this way for a minute. Then, using your right hand to push yourself up, move to a seated position. Let your eyes remain closed. Breathe in and out a few times in this pose before you open your eyes.