How to cure a migraine

I’m going to tell you how to avoid getting a full blown migraine when you feel one coming on and you’re going to think I’m crazy. But I know it works. I haven’t taken anything for a migraine since November. And that’s not because I haven’t had the opportunity more than once. I’ve actually had several moments when I thought, ok, today is the day I’m going to have to take Advil, but then I didn’t have to because I know what to do to stop a migraine in its tracks.

So what’s the secret cure? Vigorous exercise. I need to run at least a half mile. Or climb five flights of stairs. Or ride a mile and a half on my bike. Yes it’s true. Vigorous exercise stops a migraine cold.

Now before you unfollow me permanently because you think I’m nuts, because when you have a migraine coming on the last thing you want to do is walk up five flights of stairs or run a half mile, hear me out. You have nothing to lose because you’ve never been able to get rid of them before. You’ve only gotten them to abate for a while until they come roaring back and you have to medicate again. I know. I’ve suffered with migraines for 45 years.

A few months ago, when  I turned my researching prowess onto curing migraines, I came up with many theories. One theory,about brain hypoxia  in particular, lead me to create an essential oil blend I thought would work based on that theory of what a migraine is. In a nutshell, the theory is that the brain is having a kind of electrical storm because of a lack of oxygen. Based on that research, the essential oil blend I came up with is meant to raise blood pressure and help oxygenate the blood in order to stop the storm.

So there I was, sitting on the couch on an evening I usually run, having a migraine, thinking, well, if I think the essential oil blend works because it raises blood pressure and oxygenates the blood, then running should really get rid of a migraine. I dragged myself up, got changed, and went out to run two miles.

I have to tell you those first few steps almost put me out! The throbbing with every step was pretty bad. But pretty quickly the throbbing stopped. I still had a migraine, but I could keep running. And then, about a quarter of a mile in, the pain started to lift, and by the time I reached a half mile, the migraine was gone. And I do mean gone. Not just hiding like when you medicate and it goes away until it comes back, but really gone.

I tried this again and again and I can tell you it works. I was at school one day with what I call a “hot head.” It’s a feeling that my whole head is on fire and it is the precursor to a major migraine. But instead of resorting to Advil, I quickly walked up five flights of stairs in the parking garage. By the time I was sitting in the car, the headache was gone.

Riding my bike for about two miles yields the same results. And in a pinch, when I can’t get out, I find a quiet spot and do a minute and a half of a plank pose from yoga. That will make a headache go away, but it might still come back because it’s not prolonged enough. But a second one later will usually work.

So why does exercise work? Because you are doing three things that impact that electrical brain storm: you are raising your blood pressure, raising your heart rate, and oxygenating your blood.

I’m sure my theory flies in the face of everything you’ve ever done to get rid of a migraine. It did for me. If you’ve learned how to deal with migraine like your mother did (this is how I learned) then you probably start medicating the minute you feel it coming on and then sit or lay down in a dark room and wait for it to go away. And it never does. It recedes into the background so you can be semi-functional, but it comes back, again and again for the next four days.

There is one more interesting thing that makes me sure I am on the right track. I do believe that high histamine is a trigger. When I was trying to get rid of a migraine by trying to lower my histamine level, I tried using olive leaf extract, one of my favorite rescues. But it didn’t work at all. It actually seemed to make the headache worse. I’ve recently done more research into olive leaf and discovered that one of the things it does is lower blood pressure. So based on my theory of brain hypoxia, olive leaf would make the headache worse because it’s doing the opposite of what you need it to do.

You don’t have to take my word for it. You can try it for yourself. I can only tell you that it works. I had a big nasty rum mixed drink when I was out with the girls Friday night  (it’s true I never learn) and felt like crap within an hour of having it and woke with a migraine the next day. I thought, well this will be the day I’ll need to take something, but I dragged my raggedy butt out the door and road my bike down to the bay. Two miles in on my ten mile jaunt, the headache was gone! I still felt like crap from the histamine horror overload, but I didn’t have a headache.

So the next time you are on the verge of a migraine, instead of pulling out the Advil, pull out the bike and get going. You do not have to live with migraines. Whatever your fitness level, find that threshold when your blood pressure and heart rate rises enough to oxygenate that stormy brain and get rid of that headache!

Try it!



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Posted in histamine intolerance, menopause, migraine, peri-menopause, Women's health
17 comments on “How to cure a migraine
  1. jennifersjohnson says:

    Dale, Your research on your hot flashes has been an inspiration…….the histamine connection has led me to explore the impact of “leaky gut” and candida and I finally feel like I am on the right track…..thank you!

    Jennifer johnson

    Sent from my iPad


    • Allison says:

      I had migraines all my life, but it is heart breaking to watch my son endure them. His last for days. I am happy to have an inexpensive cure. Neurofeedback stopped working. Acupuncture was $120, but it worked! He never wanted to go again…needles! A big THANK YOU in advance.

    • lauren moschetta says:

      Hi Dale- just finding you and all of this helpful info… hormonal migraine sufferer, take Indomethacin and Imitrex injections if that doesn’t work…I have noticed exercise will kill a low level migraine…but many of my recent ones come during sleep (as did the few times I’ve had hives) by the time I wake up its too far gone to exercise …what to do then?

      • Good question! That’s happened to me too. I’ll usually have a smoothie with sesame seeds. They’re known analgesics and it seems to work for me. I also keep a bottle of Olbas oil handy at all times. A little of that on a tissue really helps take the edge off.

  2. Jenny Sievers says:

    I think there is something to this€.I might give it a try. Been having lots of migraines past two weeks and not had time to exercise. Probably a connection!


  3. sofia says:

    I’m lucky because my husband is a trained reflexologist so when an “aura” appears, he pushes the pressure points in my feet and the aura goes away and the pain never comes. Now…when he is working on my feet it is unbelievably painful…I mean I have been know to whimper and curse his name…but it is worth it!!

  4. Rosemary Pringle says:


    Sent from my iPad


  5. Charon Marie Graham says:

    That’s an amazing article! I do get the occasional migraine and I lay down but I will try it next time.

  6. Very interesting. But, I am so much farther along than advil! That does absolutely nothing! I sometimes can exercise after medicating. But pain isn’t the only part of my migraines. clumsiness is another. And I worry about getting hurt. I actually have. But I still attempt to exercise. I just usually try to take medicine too. sigh. Besides clumsiness, there is also a gut connection, where I have to stay within proximity to a bathroom, and also the mood can be harsh. So all of these things bring the whole package of my chronic migraine picture together. I love what you are saying about oxygen. getting up and moving around is what i have to do everyday to see “how I am feeling” unless I wake up with a 6 or 7 on the pain scale. I really might have a sense of pain that goes away when I rise and move around.

    I used to make them go away when we lived in a house with a swimming pool and I would jump in and get a cold shock to my system(we left it unheated all year round, it’d be about 65 degrees) and I would swim around for 15 or 20 minutes. longer sometimes. It would sort that pain right out. Back then the chronic was not quite there. I get 3/4 a week during bad phases!

    A life of dynamic living has been stolen from me, and I hope to get something back as I and others who care help me trudge through this!

    Glad to not be alone! But not happy that so many suffer!


    • I’m sorry to hear of your challenge with migraines. You validate the cure with your swimming story but also add to the complexity of the fix with the rest of the health issues that come along with them. I need to add a note that says you really need to do it when the migraine is just starting, before the pain gets so debilitating you can’t leave the house.

      I hope you find your way to healing. Migraines are miserable and life altering for sure. That’s why I am always trying to get rid of them for everybody. I’ll keep researching.


  7. […] wanted to do a bit of a follow up to my “How to Cure a Migraine” post because I thought I left a few key points […]

  8. T'Seul says:

    Hi Dale. I’m excited to find some back-up for my own theory. I discovered it while suffering the early stages of migraine on a camping trip. I had to blow up a large air mattress. By the time I was done, my migraine was gone! Normally, a migraine would invariably last three days, without fail. It did start to come back some hours later, but a few minutes of hyperventilating would send it packing again. I have since replicated these results consistantly. This is extremely exciting for me as I have had the same experience as you with rebound headaches from any amount of medication. I will experiment with physical exercise vs breathing exercises now and see if I can get even better results.

    • T'Seul says:

      Hmmm. Since posting, I’ve been reading that hyperventilating actually de-oxygenates the brain. So now I’m really confused. -Susan

      • I would say blowing up the mattress wasn’t hyperventilating. Start there with what that process is. I’m anxious to hear back from you as you research and refine. I haven’t used medication in two years. I stand by what I’ve found especially with rebound headaches. Even my worst migraine now doesn’t last longer than a day. It might be a really bad day, but it’s not five days!

        Keep in touch!


      • T'Seul says:

        What works for me is breathing hard until I get a little dizzy. This is obviously something one does during exercise too, which is why I thought there may be a connection. I will experiment, as you say. 😉 -Susan

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