One of the hard parts of determining what works for migraines is that the same pain can be brought on by a lot of different causes. Different solutions can work for different people, and even at different times for the same person. This can make researching migraines difficult. We still don’t understand how to figure out the cause for each person, so a treatment may only be useful for a portion of a study group. This makes the treatment look weak when in fact it may be GREAT for people with one kind of migraine.
That said, here are a few ways to treat migraines without medications.
1) Cold Therapy - Despite the name, VibraCool Knee/Ankle is an easy way to apply cold for migraines that are caused by Occipital Neuralgia. For those triggered by neck pain and tension spasms, use both the vibration and ice packs to reduce muscle spasm while applying cold. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1697736/
Two other drug free options that have good data -
2) Magnesium Dicitrate 600 mg/day - "Prophylactic treatment of migraine by means of high levels of magnesium dicitrate (600 mg) seems to be a safe and cost efficient strategy in clinical use."
3) Butterbur supplementation can cause the side effect of eructation (burping!) but has been proven effective to prevent migraines in adults and children.
All that said, in a 2011 survey of 45,000 people by Consumer Reports on alternative treatments, the one pain condition where prescription medications were the number one most effective was headaches. Many of the treatments most effective to stop a migraine in its tracks are injected. Bummer - no one likes needles. For people who are delaying giving themselves an Imitrex injection because of the injection pain, Buzzy reduces the pain of injections in adults up to 80%.
"Today I used Buzzy on myself with the frozen wings for an Imitrex shot. I HATE Imitrex bc it burns like fire. Buzzy made it 10x better. I actually laid in bed suffering for 4 hours with the migraine bc I hate the shot so bad. It's not the needle. It's the fire medicine. LOL. Buzzy is the bomb." - Sarah Holcombe RN
One spot of light - as more genetic tests identify reasons for migraines, the likelihood of grouping similar causes together for high quality research grows. Here’s hoping one of the solutions above can make your condition less of a headache.