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Natural Supplements Can Help Treat Migraine Headaches

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- For nearly 10 percent of the population, painful migraines are a fact of life.

But for those migraine sufferers who do not want to take daily prescription medication, natural herbal supplements may help prevent headache pain, TV 10-55's Katie McGee explained.

Lindsay-Elizabeth Hand said her weekly migraines were truly debilitating and lowered her quality of life.

"It feels like someone is taking a brick and, like, pushing on the back of my head," Hand said of her migraine pain. "You can't really function. You can't do your job. You don't want to get out of bed."

Despite the pain, Hand was reluctant to take daily prescription medication.

"My goal was actually something more natural," she explained.

To combat her headaches, neurologist Dr. Juline Bryson prescribed a treatment plan for Hand that included taking a daily vitamin B2 supplement.

"Riboflavin, also known as B2, taken at 200 milligrams twice a day has been proven to reduce headache frequency," Bryson said.

For Hand, the natural treatment has worked wonders.

"I probably get one or two a month now as opposed to three or four a week," Hand said.

Bryson says B2 supplements are just one type of natural remedy that may help prevent migraines. Taking magnesium supplements, along with eating foods rich in vitamin B2 and magnesium, such as eggs, leafy greens, nuts and seeds, can also be beneficial.

Some natural supplements may even be as powerful as their prescription counterparts. Butterbur root, for example, "was proven to be almost as effective as Topomax in reducing headache frequency," Bryson said.

But Bryson cautions that natural supplement use is not necessarily a cure-all for all patients. Supplements can affect users in different ways, and not always for the better.

Though Feverfew, another herbal supplements, was shown to decrease headache frequency in some headache sufferers, Bryson warns that "some studies have shown it can make some people's headaches actually a little worse."

But for those who can create the right cocktail of natural supplements, the relief is worth the effort.

Combined with healthy habits, such as getting regular exercise, eating right, sleeping 8 hours a night, and avoiding alcohol, Hand says her headache problem has all but disappeared, thanks to natural supplements.

"I would say that fixing my migraines has been life changing. You're able to live a normal life. I just feel so much better."

Do you suffer from migraine headaches? Do natural supplements help you ease the pain? Share your comments below...

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