FEATURE — Have you ever had a migraine headache? If so, you know that you’d do just about anything to never have one again.
As a functional medicine doctor, I run in to my fair share of patients that have been dealt headache medications as a first line of defense, before they could realize that there are better options out there that are healthier, safer and sometimes, downright simple. Not to mention infinitely better than a lifetime prescription.
Close to 18 percent of women and 6 percent of men in the United States suffer from migraines, and surveys indicate that 1 in 4 women will experience a migraine in their lifetime.
Is my headache a migraine?
Typical migraine symptoms include severe head pain, often accompanied by photophobia (sensitivity to light), phonophobia (sensitivity to sounds), nausea and vomiting. A “classic migraine” includes some type of aura – sensations that signal a migraine is coming, such as flashing lights, wavy lines across your field of vision, certain sounds or smells depending on what part of the brain is affected.
Some people experience additional symptoms that can be frightening, as they can mimic the symptoms of a stroke. These symptoms can include numbness or weakness on one side of the body, sudden partial or complete loss of vision, difficulty speaking (dysarthria), and hearing loss among other things.
Here are some simple things you can do to identify and eliminate what might be causing your migraines:
Check your genetics and get adjusted the right way
Genes load the gun, and it seems like the right neck problems can help pull that trigger. Migraines suck, but they don’t have to be a part of your life.
Start with an elimination diet
An elimination diet removes common food allergens from your diet for a set period of time, followed by a systematic reintroduction that allows you to track adverse reactions to specific foods. I never cease to be amazed at the number of symptoms that seem to disappear in our patients just by doing a proper elimination diet for four weeks.
Part of any elimination diet that is geared toward migraine prevention is to avoid foods high in tyramine, histamine and arginine. Please consult with your physician before changing your diet. A functional medicine provider can direct you in the best way to accomplish the isolation and identification of your unique triggers.
Supplement with omega-3 fish oil
There are studies showing that daily supplementation with fish oil can help decrease both the frequency and severity of migraines. High quality olive oil appears to be similarly beneficial, but you’ll want to be careful that you are getting your olive oil from a reputable source.
In order to see results, you will usually have to take 300 to 600 milligrams twice a day in the form of magnesium glycinate or citrate. Another option is applying magnesium oil or soaking in a warm bath with magnesium bath salts or flakes, as magnesium is more easily absorbed through the skin.
Supplement with riboflavin
This should be taken at a dose of 400 milligrams a day. Be warned, it will turn your urine a dark yellow, but there’s nothing to worry about.
Balance your hormones
Some suggestions to help you stop premenstrual migraines include exercising, eliminating caffeine, alcohol and sugar, and eating a diet rich in plant foods, especially the broccoli family, flax seeds and tofu (organic, of course).
Get the best sleep of your life
Magnesium, the common sleep aid, has been shown to help relieve migraines at low doses, 1 or 2 milligrams, shortly before bedtime. For a deeper option, try looking at this product from Neurobiologix. It is one of our favorites because of the combinations it contains of magnesium, valerian, GABA and others. We have seen this help many fall asleep fast and wake refreshed.
Takeaways on migraines
So, remember: A migraine is not just a migraine. There are are myriad migraine symptoms and even more potential triggers and root causes. You’ll need to do some detective work to discover your specific underlying cause.
While it takes some effort and some trial and error to discern the exact cause of your headaches, it is most definitely worth it. We’ve seen many people overcome what they expected to be a lifelong problem just by implementing a few of these changes.
At Balanced Health Care, we don’t just practice medicine, we’ve “Nailed It!”
Written by DR. BRENT NOORDA, Balanced Health Care.
• S P O N S O R E D C O N T E N T •
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