I strive to avoid getting headaches and have tracked culprits for them over several years. However, on occasion, I still get headaches and have found ways to manage them when unable to take prescription medicine. I always try to avoid prescriptions medication when possible and especially when pregnant or nursing.
One of the first things you need to do is pay close attention the body cues. Some people notice an aura or a flash of light just prior to getting a migraine, but I do not. I generally feel a dull pain in my neck and gently popping it sends temporary relief. If I pay close attention, I also notice an increase in heart rate and almost anxious feeling. My migraines generally occur in my right temple, but sometimes do occur in the left.
If you are able, at the very onset of a migraine, take time to lie down and breathe deeply; meditation is a great tool. Pay attention to each breath – in through your nose, filling your belly with air and let it out slowly through your mouth. You may not realize how tense you are. Try to equal the breaths in with those out. Soft, calming music may be helpful at this point.
Taking a magnesium supplement at the onset of a headache can be beneficial. Magnesium helps open your blood vessels and constricted blood vessels causes the pain associated with migraines. As with any medication or supplement, check with your medical professional before doing so. Some may find magnesium supplements especially helpful and may even take on a daily basis as a preventative measure. An over the counter medicine, such as aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen at the maximum adult dosage that can be taken (only choose one) and are only effective at the onset and usually cannot cease the pain, but may alleviate it slightly. If you wait, they are not as effective.
Again, lying down in a quiet room is ideal after taking either or both recommendations. Using ice packs, on your forehead or temple(s), and neck can bring relief. Or, if you prefer, a heated pad, filled with aromatic herbs can be nice. Try to sleep or at least rest. You may find that using some herbal remedies in the temples and neck can help – rosemary or lavender essential oil or holistic headache balms.
When I had really horrible, three-day migraines when pregnant, I would have my husband bring me Thai food as spicy as I could handle. Not sure if it was the spice, distraction, or watery nose, but I seemed to get pain relief temporarily from this. A few other remedies include going outside for fresh air, taking a daily multi-vitamin, massage, drinking a rosemary tea, taking activated charcoal, and eating a fiber-rich diet.