Healing Migraine Headaches with Naturopathic Medicine
Migraine headaches are a relatively common medical condition; that affects millions of Americans. Women are at a slightly higher risk than men of suffering from migraines.
What Are Migraine Headaches?
Migraine headaches are a recurrent throbbing headache that usually affects one side of the head only and may be accompanied by nausea and disturbed vision – known as an “accompanying aura”. People who suffer from migraines may need to lie down in a quiet dark room for several hours in order to experience relief. Chronic debilitating migraines may result in an ability to work, or even maintain healthy normal relationships.
While the actual cause is still unknown; migraine headaches have been linked to food sensitivities, viral infections, stress, and hormone imbalances.
When building a naturopathic program for patients— who suffer from migraine headaches—it is first important to find the underlining cause of the condition.
One of the first things that I like to ask all my patients to do is keep a food diary. This is especially important when trying to determine what foods may be triggering a migraine headache. Common food triggers for a migraine include alcohol, aged cheese, chocolate, fermented foods, soy, and gluten. After a period of 2 to 3 months, these foods may be reintroduced in order to determine if food triggers are a cause
Making sure you are drinking adequate amounts of liquid throughout the day can be very helpful in reducing your risk of contracting a migraine headache. This is because migraines are a symptom of inflammation: a common risk factor associated with chronic dehydration. I advise migraine sufferers consume adequate fluid daily to reduce the risk of dehydration and related migraine headaches.
Hormone Balancing May Also Improve Health
For many patients, migraines may also be caused by fluctuations in hormones, especially prior to menstruation, and is associated with Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS).
In migraines associated with changes in hormones, I encourage my patients to eat a nutrient-rich diet, avoid caffeine, and supplement as necessary.
A comprehensive treatment plan for PMS is also advised. And would include a good women’s daily multivitamin, like Basic Nutrients III by Thorne Research, as well as a good mineral tablet, rich in calcium and magnesium, like Bone Up by Jarrow Formulas to improve overall health.
Great herbal formulas for PMS related migraine also include PMS Formula by Vitanica. this product works rather quickly and is helpful to have around at the first signs of an oncoming migraine.
Additional Nutritional Support Considerations
Supplementation with vitamin B6, pyridoxine, has been found to be helpful in reducing migraine, as has supplementation with B2, riboflavin. This may be partly due to the effects of these nutrients on serotonin levels in the vasculature. A decline in serotonin levels has been linked to depression, anxiety and increased risk for chronic inflammation and migraine headaches.
B-6 Complex by Thorne Research
This product is high-quality B6; a vitamin that is important in the synthesis of serotonin. Because drops in serotonin have been associated with migraine headaches, B6 is prescribed as a supplement. I usually prescribe 1 capsule daily for migraine prevention. B6 Complex by Thorne is also high in B3; making it an ideal B-complex supplement for migraine headache sufferers.
5-HTP By Thorne Research
Tryptophan is an amino acid that is necessary for the synthesis of serotonin. As previously mentioned, a decline in serotonin levels is associated with an increased risk for migraine headaches. Tryptophan is also helpful in supporting healthy peristalsis; the wave-like motion that allows food to move through the digestive tract. When prescribing 5-HTP, I choose 5-HTP 50 mg by Thorne Research, because of its’ high quality and absence of additives; that many people with food sensitivities may have an adverse reaction to.
Because many people who suffer from migraines also suffer from weak digestion and leaky-gut, I will often place patients on a glutamine powder to help support gut repair. I usually advise taking 1 capful daily in a small glass of water first thing in the morning. I usually prescribe Glutamine Powder by Pure Encapsulations—especially if a migraine is accompanied by a previous history of food sensitivities and poor digestion.
Butterbur Extra by Vitanica
For the prevention of a chronic migraine, I also recommend Butterbur Extra by Vitanica. This product is highly popular with people who suffer from migraine headaches and may decrease the number of migraines that you experience; if you suffer from a chronic migraine.
While some people choose to take this product at the first sign of pain, I would advise taking it daily for prevention instead.
To find out more about my work, or to schedule an appointment. You can visit my website at DoctorWhimsy.com.
I look forward to helping you on your journey to health.