Migraines affect around 20 percent of the population and women are most vulnerable – the good news is that is is possible to manage migraines effectively with natural medicine and to reduce attack frequency and severity.
Migraine or Headache?
Symptoms of a Migraine
All the symptoms below are associated with the instability, dilation, and constriction of blood vessels seen in migraine, (as opposed to a headache caused by muscular tension, for example.)
- severe throbbing pain in forehead or one side of head
- nausea or vomiting
- visual disturbances – flashing lights, blurred vision, blind spots, known as an aura
- feeling too hot or too cold
- tingling and numbness in the limbs
- loss of appetite
- sensitivity to light, noise or odours
- seeking a darkened and/or quiet place
- attack lasts for several hours or up to a day or more
What’s important to note is that migraines are unique to each individual, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution, because everyone has different triggers.
Such triggers may include:
- stress and emotional changes
- Poor sleep and tiredness
- flashing lights (including computer/TV screens)
- environmental triggers like geopathic stress, electrosmog, flashing lights or glare, noise, humidity, sudden changes in barometric pressure
- poor posture, structural imbalances and muscle tension
- too little or too much exercise
- blood sugar fluctuations
- food intolerances and allergies, especially to dairy, wheat, the additive MSG, dietary amines (cheese, red wine, beer, orange juice, chocolate) , caffeine, processed or aged meat (especially if it contains nitrates), artificial sweeteners, salicylates and high-fat foods
- platelet disorders that cause ‘sticky blood’
- low serotonin levels, which can lead to a lower pain threshold
- nerve disorders, where a person’s nerve cells release ‘substance P’, causing blood vessels to dilate and white blood cells to release histamine
- sinus problems
- Bacteria and/or viral infections
- Gut issues – dysbiosis/purification/fermentation
- Heavy metals and/or chemical sensitivities
- Liver and kidney impaired detoxification
- Nutritional deficiencies
- the oral contraceptive pill
- Hormonal changes – women can experience migraines pre-menstrually due to the rapid decrease in oestrogen coupled with sagging progesterone at that time.
- Genetic component – migraines can run in families
For most people it is not just one trigger, but a combination of several aggravating factors that cause an attack.
Manage Migraines Effectively
A holistic approach is ideal to effectively assist to manage migraines, minimising and potentially banishing such attacks for good!
Naturopathic Medicine for Migraines
In addition, naturopathic medicine offers effective alternative methods to prescribed medication. Below are some diet and lifestyle recommendations to further help migraine sufferers.
- avoiding smoking
- minimising caffeine and alcohol consumption
- reducing stress through lifestyle changes, such as yoga
- exercising regularly
- eating at regular intervals
- Eating a balanced diet consisting mostly of foods which encourage blood sugar balance such as whole grains combined with protein sources such as fish, eggs, meat or pulses.
- Avoiding known food allergens/intolerances and food additives (see list above) – if you’re not sure, book in for a food intolerance/allergy test at my clinic.
- Identify any emotional triggers – fear/guilt (see below)
- Other helpful tips include lying in a cool, quiet, dark room, listening to music or meditating, applying ice packs, and sleeping it off.
Natural supplements for migraines
Key natural supplements can be used to help prevent as well as manage migraines and, particularly in combination with quantum physics technology – helping to alleviate the pain and frequency of attacks. Examples that your naturopath may prescribe include:
- 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP, 400 to 600 mg per day) – 5-HTP is made by the body from tryptophan (an amino acid) and converted into serotonin, the “happy” neurotransmitter associated with a diminished sense of pain. Researchers think abnormal serotonin function in blood vessels is related to migraines, and some of the drugs used to treat migraines work by affecting serotonin. Several studies indicate that 5-HTP may be as effective as some prescription migraine medications.
- Magnesium (200 to 600 mg per day) – People with migraines often have lower levels of magnesium compared to people who do not have migraines, and several studies suggest that magnesium may reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. Magnesium is essential for the action of over 300 enzymes in the body and is best known for its role in muscle relaxation
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin, 400 mg per day) – A few studies indicate that riboflavin may reduce the frequency and duration of migraines. In one study, people who took riboflavin had more than a 50 percent decrease in the number of attacks.
- Coenzyme Q10 for cellular oxygenation and improved blood circulation, vitamin C with bioflavanoids to reduce the histamine response and anti-inflammatory fish oils are also often prescribed.
- PEA (Palmitoylethanolamide) – an endogenously produced cannabimimetic compound, can work wonders for pain.
- Herbal medicine such as feverfew, butterbur and ginger, adrenal formula’s containing withania, licorice and ginseng, nervine relaxants such as passionflower, skullcap and valerian and hawthorn and gingko for their vaso-dilatory properties.
In his book “A More Excellent Way”, Henry W. Wright looks at the spiritual roots of physical disease. In his experience of working with hundreds of patients over many years, he believes migraines can be triggered by “guilt resulting from conflict in your life, in conjunction with fear.” Interestingly, he explains that it’s not the conflict itself that triggers the migraine, but the conflict we have with ourselves about the said conflict, which may be real or imagined. In summary, the migraine is triggered by self-conflict and a feeling of false guilt which leads to fear; this internal emotional environment then physically lowers the person’s serotonin levels.
Book an Appointment Today
So what are you waiting for? Book an appointment to help minimise and hopefully overcome your migraines!