If you get recurrent attacks of throbbing or one-sided headaches accompanied by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sensitivity to light and sound followed by drowsiness, it may not be a regular headache that requires painkillers, but the diagnosis of a Migraine headache.
What causes Migraines?
Migraines are caused by excessive dilation of a blood vessel in the head. Genetic disposition is usually suspected, including a number of “trigger factors” that can set off a headache.
Some of these triggers are:
- Drug interactions – withdrawal or a rebound headache
- Food allergies and intolerances
- Emotional or physical stress
- Sleep disturbances
- Cigarette smoke
- Hormonal changes
- Lights and odors
Depending on the nature of a headache, migraines are classified as common, classic or complicated.
Foods to avoid
Many people with a migraine are not aware that their headaches may be due to certain food intolerances. Some foods that can precipitate an attack are:
- Chocolate and nuts
- Beer, Wine, especially Red,
- MSG (Monosodium Glutamate),
- Aspartame – artificial sweetener,
- Food coloring agents like hydrazine dyes ( yellow color),
- Coffee or caffeine products,
- Cow’s milk,
- Pressed meats like sausages, ham etc.
*The nutritional suggestions in this material are not offered to treat, mitigate, or cure disease, and should not be used as a substitute for sound medical advice. This information is designed to be used in conjunction with the services of a trained, licensed healthcare practitioner.
- Exercising every day increases endorphins in the body which elevate mood and health.
- Reduce animal fats like butter and lard while increasing vegetable and fish oils.
- Increase intake of vegetables and fruits for their Vitamin C and Magnesium content.
- Get yourself checked for food allergies and avoid those trigger foods.
- Manage your stress ( yoga, music, deep breathing etc.)
- Quit smoking.
- Maintain a regular sleep pattern
- Put yourself first at least once a day!
Supplements that can help
Individuals under a physician’s care should seek the advice of their physician before taking nutritional supplements or beginning a new exercise program.
- Magnesium: 250-400mg three times / day
- Vitamin B6: 25mg three times / day
5 – HTP (Hydroxytryptophan) :100-200mg three times/day.
- Feverfew herb : 0.25-0.5 mg twice daily
- Ginger : fresh ginger 10g / day.
Physical Medicine and Drugs
Many forms of physical medicine have been used to treat a migraine headache. While they may not reduce the frequency of attacks, they do reduce the intensity and duration of an attack.
Some methods that can be used as Alternative Medicine are:
- Cervical manipulation
- Biofeedback and relaxation therapy
Almost all drugs prescribed for a migraine headache have side effects that can create more problems with long-term use. None of them, (including the prophylactic medications) have found to be 100% effective. Research reveals that even the over the counter medications (like aspirin) can cause rebound headaches, while withdrawal from these medications results in prompt improvement.
- PIZZORNO, J. and MURRAY, M. Textbook of Natural Medicine. Pg 1193-1216, Churchill Luivingstone,2000
- Migraine Action Association – www.migraine.org.uk