Ending migraine misery would be a life-changing success for many whose lives are impacted by the condition. Migraine headache sufferers often search for years for safer and more natural ways to end their misery. Common medications can be expensive, have side effects and some are addictive. Some of the migraine medications have “rebound” effects. This means once you are on them, any time you try to back off the medication, you will get worsening of your headache. Or sometimes, stopping the medication will cause a migraine. But there is hope. There are natural ways to treat some of the causes of migraine headaches.
Common Causes of Migraines
- Food sensitivities
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Environmental sensitivities or chemical exposures
- Hormonal imbalances
So what can be done?
Natural Migraine Treatments
When a patient comes to me for help for migraines, I start with a diet diary and a symptoms questionnaire. The diet diary tells me if there are any obvious dietary triggers such as sulfites, nitrates or foods or additives high on the migraine causing list. The Symptoms questionnaire will help me pin point if there is a toxicity problem, a hormonal imbalance or other organ system dysfunction that may be contributing to the migraines. Luckily there are low-tech, natural ways to deal with any of these causes:
- Elimination diet to find and cleanse the system of food triggers is often a good start.
- Correcting any organ system dysfunction with proper foods and supplements can also correct some of the causes of migraines.
- Proper food choices and/or supplements address any nutrient deficiencies.
- Proper hydration improves blood flow to the brain and “de-concentrates” trigger substances
- Chiropractic adjustments reduce nerve and musculoskeletal stress
Common Nutrient Deficiencies That Trigger Migraines
- riboflavin (known as vitamin B2)
- CoQ10 which is an energy molecule your cells need
Low magnesium levels in your body can cause some neurotransmitter (brain chemical) imbalances that can trigger a migraine. Things that deplete magnesium include: drinking a lot of caffeine, alcohol, nicotine. Medications that can deplete magnesium include diuretics (fluid pills), medications for treatment of diabetes, asthma, and blood pressure among others.
Foods that are high in magnesium are nuts, beans and peas, whole grains, and leafy green veggies such as spinach. If you take a medication that depletes magnesium, diet alone probably won’t be enough and you need a supplement. I will usually start a patient who needs it with a magnesium malate supplement as that form is less likely to cause loose bowels.
Low Vitamin B2 levels affect your cells’ energy centers which can trigger a migraine among other health issues. If you have suffered long term stress, your B vitamins can go low. If you suffer from un-controlled Celiac, irritable bowel or Chron’s disease, you may also have low vitamin B levels. Green leafy veggies and whole grains are high in B’s. But, it is hard to eat enough to get in all the B’s you need when stressed. I generally suggest a good high-quality stress B complex for patients who need extra vitamin B. I only offer hypoallergenic supplements that that do not contain preservatives, coal tar coloring or tableting agents that can be toxic.
CoQ 10 is made by your body for use in its cells’ energy centers. Some medications, most notably the statin medications used to lower cholesterol can decrease your body’s ability to make all the CoQ 10 it needs. In a large scale study, slightly more than 60% of people taking 150 to 600 mg of CoQ10 a day saw at least a 50% reduction in their migraine frequency by the end of the 4 month trial. The supplement was helpful for migraines with and without aura.
We Can Help
If you would like help with some natural treatments for treating migraines, please give us a call at 978-535-6155 or contact us through our web site www.blomerthchiropractic.com. Let the receptionist know you are seeking care for migraines.
Some of the information above is from an article in Chiropractic Economics Feb. 23, 2015 edition by Brenda Slovin, DC. Dr. Slovin’s references included:
Goadsby PJ. Recent advances in the diagnosis and management of migraine.BMJ. 2006;332(7532):25-9.
MacGregor A. (2006). Understanding Migraine and Other Headaches. Poole: Family Doctor Publications BMA).
Smith CB. The role of riboflavin in migraine. Canadian Medical Association Journal. 1946;54:589-91.
Evans RW, Taylor FR. “Natural” or alternative medications for migraine prevention. Headache. 2006;46(6):1012-18.
Sandor PS, Di Clemente L, Coppola G, et al. Efficacy of coenzyme Q10 in migraine prophylaxis: a randomized controlled trial.Neurology.2005;64(4):713-5.