Studies show that 5% of men and up to 17% of women suffer from migraine attacks regularly. If you are one who fits into these categories, you know exactly how debilitating the pain can be and how important it is to find a solution pre/post migraine attack! Migraines can occur with one or more of the following symptoms:
One-sided, pulsating pain
Can last several hours to several days
Moderate to severe intensity
Worse by movement
Sensitivity to noise
The causes of migraines may be different for everyone, making it super important to find the cause. Some of the causes include excessive dilation of the cerebral blood vessels; low serotonin in the body; tight muscles; stress; dehydration; vitamin deficiencies; hypertension; food allergies; low blood sugar and release of substance P that can irritate the nerves and blood vessels causing pain. Naturopathic Doctors address the root cause of the migraines; remove underlying triggers all while decreasing pain. It is, however, important to rule out more serious causes of migraines, like hypertension before treatment. Usually, treatment requires more than one therapy.
Here are some natural ways to treat migraines:
Eliminate Food TRIGGERS! Eating foods that promote low-grade inflammation in the gut is important
Common triggers include foods with MSG and nitrates like inbeer, wine, cheese, chocolate, gluten, sugar, milk, eggs and lunch meats
Remember there is a two-way communication between the gut and the brain. Food sensitivities can cause damage to the digestive tract over time causing imbalances in the microbiome. A gut that is out of balance produces signals to the brain that promotes inflammation and pain normally associated with migraines. Minimizing food sensitivities and healing the gut can be a step towards healing migraines. Talk to your Naturopath about food sensitivity testing.
Minimize refined sugars, which are known to cause inflammation in the gut. A study with 96 females who suffered from constant migraines showed that a low carb diet, high-fat diet (Ketogenic diet) significantly reduced the frequency and severity of migraines after 1 month!
Avoid skipping meals – Always make sure to eat protein with every meal to help maintain steady blood sugar throughout the day
Some medications cause migraines as a side effect
Reduce physical and/or emotional stress
Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep a night
Stretching or yoga for tight muscles
Nutritional Supplements - Nutritional treatments can significantly reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine headaches
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) - Protects against free radical damage
COQ10 - Essential for energy production
5-HTP - Increases serotonin levels in the body
Vitamin B12 - Helps to negate the side effects of NSAID’s
Magnesium Citrate - Helps to decrease muscle tension and vasospasms
Petasites Hybridus (Butterbur Extract)
Tanacaetum Parthenium (Feverfew)
Acupuncture - Acupuncture can reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines by about 50% through relieving tension and clearing heat
At the onset of a migraine, apply a cold towel at the back of the neck and put feet in hot water for about 20 minutes
1 cup of black coffee works wonders when you feel a migraine coming on
If you suffer from constant migraines, talk to your Naturopathic Doctor about figuring out what the possible cause may be, whether it is, dehydration, nutritional deficiencies and/or food intolerances before attempting to just to treat the pain. This can go a long way in the prevention of migraines and overall maintenance of optimal health.
The advice in this article is for informational purposes only. It does not replace the care of a Naturopathic physician.