A recent trend on social media claims that soaking feet in hot water, also known as hydrotherapy, can help relieve symptoms of migraine. In a video, a TikToker named Becca Von Bereghy praised the home remedy and said, “I am forever grateful to the human beings that have shared this on TikTok, because I think you just changed my life.”
But social media is not the most trusted platform for medical advice, which is why we spoke to Dr Sinjan Ghosh, Consultant-Neurology, Fortis Hospital, Anandapur, to understand whether soaking feet in hot water really helps manage the pain or not. Here’s what you should know.
Understanding Migraine And Its Symptoms
A migraine is a type of headache that causes intense, throbbing pain, usually on one side of the head. It is a common condition that occurs in more than 10% of people worldwide aged between 20 and 50 years, according to a study published in the journal JAMA Network.
It’s often accompanied by symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light, sound, or smells. Photophobia and phonophobia are two conditions that are associated with migraine. While photophobia is defined as an abnormal sensitivity to light, phonophobia is an abnormal fear of sound.
Dr Ghosh said, “Lifestyle modifications play a crucial role in managing migraines. Patients are advised to avoid triggers such as fasting, late nights, and exposure to scorching sunlight.”
He added, “Dietary changes involve steering clear of known triggers like chocolates, coffee, soft drinks, and cheese, which aim to reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks.”
Can Hydrotherapy Help Relieve Migraine Pain?
In general, hydrotherapy involves using water to promote relaxation, pain relief, and rehabilitation in conditions like muscle injuries or joint disorders.
People have also claimed its effectiveness in treating migraine symptoms.
A study published in the Journal of Neurosciences in Rural Practice found that adding hydrotherapy to standard treatment for migraines was more effective than standard treatment alone in reducing headache frequency, intensity, and impact on quality of life.
However, Dr Ghosh said, “While home remedies may provide some relief, it’s important to approach them with caution.”
“The notion of roasting coffee beans and placing them on the head lacks scientific backing. On the other hand, soaking feet in hot water, known as hydrotherapy for migraines, has shown some benefit in scientific studies. However, it is not a standalone solution but can complement medical interventions.”
What Expert Recommends?
When it comes to effectively managing migraine pain, treatment usually involves a comprehensive approach, including medications tailored to the patient’s profile. The type of migraine plays a significant role in determining the course of treatment.
“Seeking professional medical advice is crucial, as self-medication with Over-The-Counter (OTC) analgesics can lead to medication overuse headaches, a persistent and nagging condition,” warned Dr Ghosh.
To prevent migraines, it is crucial to identify triggers, make lifestyle adjustments, and, when necessary, use medication under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
“Raising awareness about migraines is equally essential, as many individuals often mistake them for regular headaches or sinus issues. Understanding the distinct features of migraines and seeking appropriate medical advice can significantly improve the management and overall well-being of individuals affected by this condition,” concluded the doctor.