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I’m plagued by agonising migraines so I tried and tested 8 ‘cures’ – here’s my top picks

MILLIONS of migraine sufferers could soon benefit from a new pill endorsed by reality star Khloe Kardashian, who experiences attacks.

The tablet, rimegepant, could be approved for use next spring, according to prescriptions watchdog the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Ten million people in the UK are estimated to suffer from migraines
Khloe Kardashian has endorsed a new cure pill available in the US – but Brits will have to find other remedies until it’s approved in the UK
Mum-of-three Lynsey Hope, 41, of West Malling, Kent, has suffered migraines since her early teens – less often now, but still severe

It’s already available in the US, costing patients £19,000 a year. Studies show it can cut moderate to severe headache ­frequency by half. 

Meanwhile the UK’s ten million migraine sufferers –  one in five women and one in 15 men – will have to find other help. GP Rachel Ward says: “Migraine is often associated with nausea and sensitivity to light and sound.”

A National Headache Foundation poll found 87 per cent of sufferers are craving better treatment.

Mum-of-three Lynsey Hope, 41, of West Malling, Kent, has suffered migraines since her early teens – less often now, but still severe.

She says: “I have to go straight to bed and lie in a dark room with my eyes closed, or sleep until it passes. I can’t work or look after the kids. The pain is unbearable.”

Here, she tries out some remedies . . . 

ACUPUNCTURE

A CHINESE study published in the journal Neurology in June found that acupuncture can reduce migraine frequency by half. 

Lynsey says: “I was relieved to find I only felt a tiny pin prick when the needle went in, and a slight pressure when my practitioner then adjusted it.

Acupuncture can be effective – but it’s very pricey

After my first session (£50), I suffered a migraine within a week or two, but after two sessions it was longer than usual before I suffered another. 

“But it’s too expensive – I’d need to spend £100 a month for it to work.”

RATING: 4/10



TIGER BALM

WHILE there is limited research about the effects of Tiger Balm when it comes to headaches, many sufferers swear by it. 

It contains herbal ingredients including clove oil, cajuput oil and menthol, a mild analgesic.

Many sufferers swear by Tiger Balm, though research is limited

Lynsey says: “I applied it to my forehead and temples and got a tingling sensation.

Once it settled, it did make me feel relaxed and helped with initial symptoms. The pot will last a long time as you only need a tiny bit, so for £6.79 on Amazon it’s worth a go.”

RATING: 6/10

ICE PACKS

PLACING an ice pack on to the forehead, scalp or even neck can deliver pain relief. In one study of 100 sufferers, 75 per cent found cold therapy provided them with some pain relief, which may be due to a reduction in blood flow.

Lynsey says: “I bought some cooling gel sheets for £3.20 on Amazon and found if I stuck one on my forehead as I felt a migraine coming on, they could really make a difference. 

75 per cent of sufferers said cold therapy provided them with some relief

“Sometimes the headache or warning symptoms never developed to a full migraine.”

RATING: 10/10

SUPPLEMENTS

MANY supplements claim to ease migraine pain but evidence has been found for just a few.

Neurologists in Berlin found riboflavin (B2) reduces migraine frequency, while the NHS recommends magnesium and coenzyme Q10.

Neurologists in Berlin found riboflavin reduces migraine frequency

Lynsey says: “The only supplement I found­­ effective was the riboflavin, from Holland & Barrett for £5.99.

After eight weeks, I noticed a huge reduction in the number of migraines I was having, and those I’ve had are less severe.” 

RATING: 9/10

DARK ROOM

BRIGHT lights and loud noises are major triggers for a migraine, and in a recent survey of 4,000 people, 89 per cent became sensitive to light during an attack.

Lynsey says: “When I first get the warning signs of a migraine – flashing lights and blurry vision – I lie down in a dark room as fast as I can. This is cheap and effective to deal with migraine. 

Bright lights and loud noises are major triggers for a migraine

“It doesn’t do much to stop the throbbing headache but it does help it to pass more quickly.”

RATING: 8/10

OVER-COUNTER MEDS

PARACETAMOL, aspirin, ibuprofen, Nurofen Migraine Pain (£3.50, boots.com) or Migraitan (£7.79, superdrug.com) are in pharmacies. 

Lynsey says: “I found painkillers most effective if taken as soon as symptoms began.

Over-the-counter medicine can work well

I didn’t notice much difference between ibuprofen and migraine pills.

Most effective were soluble tablets such as Panadol Extra Advance (£3.99, lloydspharmacy. com). These contain caffeine too, which is said to help.”

RATING: 9/10

COFFEE

IT has been said to ease migraine symptoms.

A study at the San Francisco Headache Clinic in 2016 found caffeine is more effective than ibuprofen.

Coffee is said to reduce migraine symptoms, but is it really true?

Many over-the-counter treatments contain it, as it can enhance the effects of the medication.

Lynsey says: “The last thing I felt like at the start of a migraine was coffee.

I tried it and felt more nauseous – and as I tried to drink a bit more, I was sick. It provided no relief. If anything, I felt worse.”

RATING: 0/10

EXERCISE

EXERCISE such as jogging, swimming, brisk walking and cycling can be effective in preventing migraine because it stimulates your body to release natural pain-relieving chemicals called endorphins, advised the Migraine Trust. 

Lynsey says: “I decided to stick to doing moderate exercise for 30 minutes, three times a week. 

Regular exercise can stimulate your body to release natural pain-relieving chemicals

“It made me feel a lot better and as long as I drank enough water and didn’t get dehydrated, I definitely suffered fewer headaches.”

RATING: 7/10

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