Migraine
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58 Member Stories
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Naturopathy can help find the root cause of your migraine with a systematic analysis that can include gut problems, mold allergies, vitamin deficiencies, hypertension, food allergies or intolerances, dehydration, spinal subluxations, coffee/caffeine intoxication, and artificial sweetners toxicity amongst others.  All these problems can lead to migraine symptoms and usually can be treated without using medication.

What is migraine?

Migraine is a disorder that can cause a lot of discomfort and pain to a person.[1] This is because a migraine headache is not your typical everyday headache. If you experience a migraine, then you know the crippling condition it leaves you in. You are likely to experience the following symptoms:

- Pounding pain 

- Nausea and vomiting

- Sensitivity to light and sound

The pain of migraine is such that when it strikes, you will be willing to do almost anything to make it stop. Migraines don't just happen--they aren't a random occurrence. They are your body interacting with their surroundings. Explore your environment to ascertain what's upsetting your inner balance, and you can learn how to control your headaches and keep them from recurring.

Naturopathic medicine is an integrative form of medicine that uses natural remedies to help the body heal itself. It uses many types of therapies, including herbs, acupuncture, exercise, massage, as well as nutritional counseling. The science of naturopathy is centuries old, and today, the system combines both traditional treatments with modern science to heal a person. 

In recent years, naturopathy for migraine has emerged as a drug-free way to reduce the symptoms of migraine. This naturopathy treatment for migraine can, in some cases, also prevent migraines, or at least help in reducing the severity and duration of a migraine.  Let us take a look at some of these naturopathy treatments for migraines.


See: Ginger for migraines pain relief

How does Naturopathy view Migraine?

Migraine headaches are brought on by excessive dilation of the cerebral blood vessels, even though scientists don't completely understand what causes the dilation to begin with.  Blood vessels do not just dilate spontaneously and are merely responding to chemical changes that are occurring within the body. A naturopathic physician or holistic medical doctor is going to want to take a complete medical, family, menstrual, and diet before thinking about the reason for migraines. 

A few of the illnesses that can be ruled out with such a systematic analysis are gut problems, mold allergies, vitamin deficiencies, hypertension, TMJ misalignment, food allergies or intolerances, dehydration, spinal subluxations, coffee/caffeine intoxication, and aspartame (artificial sweetener) toxicity amongst others.  All these problems can lead to migraine symptoms and usually can be treated without using medication.

A surprising proportion of migraine headaches may also be due to migraine medication, as strange as it may seem.  Medications of analgesic and ergotamine compounds have been implicated as a contributing element for victims of daily headaches.  Talk about this happening with your prescribing doctor if you're taking over 30 analgesic pills per month or in case you regularly use ergotamine derivatives.  Withdrawal from these products can temporarily create headaches worse, and removing these products completely may ultimately mean no more headaches.

When trying to narrow the causes of headaches, the easiest place to begin is to identify how & what eat in your diet.  Food reactions are a substantial contributor to headaches and some improvement in symptoms, maybe complete remission can always be done by eliminating problematic dietary products.  The elimination or challenge diet trial is a simple way to detect food reactions which could be causing your headaches.

Foods that are most commonly known to induce migraines include dairy products such as milk, cheese, or eggs, as well as wheat, orange, tomato, and rye. Foods such as beer, cheese, and wine cause migraines in some people because they contain histamines and/or vasoactive chemicals that cause blood vessels to enlarge.  Women have a tendency to respond to histamine-containing foods more often than men do, due to a deficiency in an enzyme (diamine oxidase) that breaks histamine down.  Taking supplemental B6 may be helpful in these circumstances, as it can boost diamine oxidase activity. Nitrites, which are common ingredients in lunch meats and smoked/cured meats, dilate blood vessels and might trigger a migraine.

See: Ayurvedic Treatment Protocol For Migraine in 30 yr old female

Naturopathic treatment for Migraine

Besides diet, natural remedies are often effective in preventing migraine headaches. Current research supports the use of riboflavin (vitamin B2), feverfew, butterbur, magnesium, and CoQ10 in decreasing both the frequency and severity of migraine headaches in most individuals. A physical treatment known as CranioSacral therapy may also be effective in prevention and therapy since it can ease restrictions from the skull. Some natural therapies shouldn't be taken with certain medications, so it is important to speak to your naturopathic physician before starting any herbal or nutritional therapy. Ultimately, ensuring proper amounts of exercise and sleep, managing stress and eating frequently are important in preventing migraines. Make an appointment with your naturopathic doctor to go over which of those options is suitable for you.

See: Homeopathic Remedies For Migraines

Herbs & supplements for migraine headaches

Magnesium and Migraine

Magnesium is a natural mineral that is known to regulate your blood pressure, boost your heart health, regulate muscle and nerve function, and is also one of the building blocks of bone, DNA, and protein. If you lack magnesium, then this might be a cause of your migraine. 

Many people use magnesium for treating and preventing their migraine symptoms, such as visual disturbances, severe headache, sensitivity to sound and light, vomiting, and nausea. Research [2] has shown that taking a supplement of magnesium can prove to be an effective way of preventing migraine headaches. 

The foundation of this has been established by several studies [3] that have found that the magnesium levels in a person's brain fall below a certain level when they are suffering from a migraine. 

According to the American Migraine Foundation [4], if you suffer from migraines, you should try taking 400-500 milligram supplement of magnesium oxide daily. This will help prevent migraines.

Magnesium is especially said to be helpful in preventing migraines with aura and menstrual-related migraines. If you don't want to take a magnesium oxide supplement, then you can also include some foods that are known to be rich in magnesium. Some good food sources of magnesium include: 

Sesame seeds

Almonds

Peanut butter

Brazil nuts

Sunflower seeds

Cashew nuts

Oatmeal

Eggs

Milk


Herbs for migraine headaches:

Feverfew and Migraine

Another common natural remedy for migraines is feverfew. The herb feverfew has been used for many years for the treatment and prevention of migraine headaches. 

More commonly, though, feverfew is used as a preventive treatment for migraine. Many people have reported [5] that after taking feverfew, they experienced their migraine attacks gradually becoming less frequent, and some people even found that they stopped altogether. However, there is more evidence required to prove this for a certainty. 

Many studies have shown that feverfew has a beneficial effect, but it was shown to be only slightly more effective than a placebo. [6]


Another study undertaken by the Neurologische Universitätsklinik in Germany found that out of 170 participants, those who were taking feverfew experienced only 0.6 fewer migraines during the month, as compared to the participants in the placebo group. [7]


This is why, based on current research, it seems like feverfew is only slightly beneficial in preventing or treating migraines. However, more human studies are still required to come to a solid conclusion.  


Butterbur and Migraines

Butterbur is an herb that has been used for many years for treating pain, stomach issues, cough, chills, fever, insomnia, and even migraines.  The extract of butterbur is said to have a broad spectrum of action that helps provide relief in migraine. 

One of the earliest studies done on the effectiveness of butterbur and migraines [8] originates from a small study done in Germany which has 60 participants. Out of this, 33 adults were prescribed 50 mg of standardized extract of butterbur twice a day, and the other group of participants took were given a placebo.

At the onset of the study, these participants were suffering from an average of 3.3 migraines every month. After undergoing four weeks of treatment with butterbur extract, it was found that those who took the extract witnessed an average of having just 1.8 migraines in a month. After a period of eight weeks, they were suffering from only 1.3 migraines a month. This was a whopping decrease of 61 percent. 

At the end of 12 weeks, the butterbur extract recipients were having an average of 1.7 migraines in a month, which was still a decrease of 49 percent from when they started. 

Another study [9], also found that after having butterbur extract, the incidence of migraine attacks decreased by almost 50 percent.  Additionally, another benefit of taking butterbur extract for treating migraines is that butterbur is much safer than any of the prescription drugs given for migraines.


Lavender Oil and Migraines

Lavender is a very popular natural remedy that is known to have many health benefits. 

A 2012 research [10] study found that people who inhaled lavender oil for 10 to 15 minutes during a migraine attack, reportedly experienced faster relief than those who were given a placebo to inhale. 

The use of lavender oil for migraines has also been published in the Journal of Herbal Medicine [11], during which participants who were using lavender oil experienced a decrease in the severity and frequency of their migraines after a period of three months.


Other holistic Therapies 

Biofeedback treatment: Search for a certified biofeedback practitioner to understand how to decrease pain using a relaxation response that's as successful as Inderal with no side effects.

TENS Unit: Electrical nerve stimulation components can decrease muscle strain in patients with tension and migraine headaches. A healthcare practitioner's prescription is necessary for insurance coverage of those units, which should be available through medical supply companies. Some chiropractors and physical therapists loan out these devices to patients for a small deposit.

Acupuncture: Acupuncture can balance inherent hormonal deficiencies, tone the gastrointestinal system, and calm reactive blood vessels.

See: Migraine Supplements

Summary

If you are prone to getting migraine headaches, then you are well aware that the symptoms of migraine can be challenging to deal with. It can reach an extent where you may have to end up missing work or even doing day to day chores might prove to be difficult.  Trying some of the naturopathy remedies for migraine can be helpful and may provide you relief from the crippling symptoms of migraine. While more research is still necessary on proving the exact effectiveness of some of these remedies, as long as you first consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements.


See: Migraines vs Headaches treatment

References

1. Lance, J. W. (1986). Migraine and other headaches. Charles Scribner's Sons.

2. Supplements and herbs - The Migraine Trust. (2019). Retrieved 15 September 2019, from https://www.migrainetrust.org/living-with-migraine/treatments/supplements-and-herbs/

3. Supplements and herbs - The Migraine Trust. (2019). Retrieved 15 September 2019, from https://www.migrainetrust.org/living-with-migraine/treatments/supplements-and-herbs/

4. (2019). Retrieved 15 September 2019, from https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/magnesium/

5. Pareek, A., Suthar, M., Rathore, G. S., & Bansal, V. (2011). Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium L.): A systematic review. Pharmacognosy reviews, 5(9), 103.

6. Wider, B., Pittler, M. H., & Ernst, E. (2015). Feverfew for preventing migraine. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (4).

7. Diener, H., Pfaffenrath, V., Schnitker, J., Friede, M., & Zepelin, H. H. V. (2005). Efficacy and safety of 6.25 mg tid feverfew CO2-extract (MIG-99) in migraine prevention—a randomized, double-blind, multicentre, placebo-controlled study. Cephalalgia, 25(11), 1031-1041.

8. Lipton, R. B., Göbel, H., Einhäupl, K. M., Wilks, K., & Mauskop, A. (2004). Petasites hybridus root (butterbur) is an effective preventive treatment for migraine. Neurology, 63(12), 2240-2244.

9. Grossmann, M., & Schmidramsl, H. (2000). An extract of Petasites hybridus is effective in the prophylaxis of migraine. International journal of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics, 38(9), 430-435.

10. Sasannejad, P., Saeedi, M., Shoeibi, A., Gorji, A., Abbasi, M., & Foroughipour, M. (2012). Lavender essential oil in the treatment of migraine headache: a placebo-controlled clinical trial. European neurology, 67(5), 288-291.

11. Using Lavender Essential Oil to Prevent Migraines - Engineering Radiance. (2019). Retrieved 15 September 2019, from https://www.engineeringradiance.com/2018/08/using-lavender-essential-oil-to-prevent-migraines/

See: Why Magnesium is important for your diet

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