Q. My husband has suffered unbearable headaches for over 40 years. The doctors have not found a cause.
The headaches can come in cycles that last for weeks. A few are so severe he cannot stand any noise or light and goes to bed.
The prescriptions give him too many side effects. Are there any natural treatments that might help?

A. When doctors hear the word “natural,” they often shudder because they think it connotes unscientific. In this case, two natural remedies–oxygen and melatonin–have been shown to provide pain relief for migraine and cluster headache (American Journal of Emergency Medicine, Nov. 2012; Current Neuropharmacology, June 2012).
One reader shared his story: “I am 30 years old and have suffered with cluster headaches for nine years. I would get them every day for a month straight. I tried pills but they never worked.
“My doctor told me to try oxygen and it has worked miracles for me. The pain is gone within minutes instead of the usual hours.”

We discuss melatonin, oxygen and many other treatments in our Guide to Headaches & Migraines.

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  1. sel
    Reply

    Increasing intake of magnesium based food may help relieve migraine headaches.

  2. Doctor's recommendation
    Reply

    When I lived in Palo Alto, CA my doctor at the Stanford medical center told me to be sure to drink a small cup of coffee every day. Some times when I get a bad headache in the middle of the night, I will drive over to Duncan Donuts and get a large coffee. Always, the headache goes away. I’ve tried many things and for me, coffee works the best.
    The doctor explained that caffeine is hidden in many things we eat and drink, unknowingly and we suffer headaches when we withdraw from caffeine consumption.
    One day my son was in the emergency room with an awful, skull crushing headache. As with most emergency rooms, it seemed to take forever until a doc could see him. I went to the soda machine and bought him a coke. He drank the soda quickly, desperate for pain relief. Headache disappeared and off we went…. happily. I’m sure this won’t work for everyone, just wanted to share in case it will help someone… it is so simple and worth a try.
    Best wishes for finding what works for you.

  3. steve
    Reply

    Try going wheat and dairy free. That has worked for a
    Couple of people I know.

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