I have suffered from migraines for as long as I can remember. All you want to do is climb into bed, blackout all the light and wake up once it’s over. You honestly don’t know whether you want to throw up, pass out, cry hysterically or run away from the pain. I pretty much want to do all 4 simultaneously. I don’t think its something that has a magic cure, well at least not from my experience, but you can definitely handle it better.
Migraine headaches are relentless headaches that are usually accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and/or sound. People with reoccurring migraines may not be able to proceed with normal day to day activities during an attack. Attacks typically persist for several hours, and sometimes continue for several days.
How do I know I have a Migraine?
Migraines can start at any life stage and can progress through four stages. These stages are known as a prodrome, aura, attack and post-drome. You don’t necessarily encounter all four stages when experiencing a migraine.
A Prodrome can occur one to two days before the onset of a migraine. You may notice subtle changes that warn of an upcoming migraine such as constipation, changes in mood, food cravings, stiffness of the neck, increased thirst and frequent yawning.
An Aura might occur before or during a migraine. A migraine aura can be seeing various shapes, bright spots, flashes of light, loss of vision, pins and needles, weakness or numbness of the face or side of the body, difficulty speaking, hearing things or uncontrollable movements.
A migraine attack can usually last between 4 to 72 hours if untreated. The recurrence of a migraine attack varies from person to person. Migraines can be a random occurrence or several times a week. During a migraine, you might experience pain on either one or both sides of your head, pulsing/throbbing pain, sensitivity to light/sound/smell, nausea and vomiting.
After a migraine attack, you might feel drained, confused and elated for up to a day. This is known as the post-drome. Swift head movement has a chance of inducing the pain again momentarily.
What causes a Migraine?
The exact causes of Migraines aren’t fully understood, but genetics and environmental factors have been known to play a role. Variations in the brainstem and its communications with the trigeminal nerve, a major pain pathway, might be connected. Imbalances in our brain chemicals, such as serotonin, which helps to regulate pain in our nervous systems, has also been connected to migraines.
Most individuals who experience migraines have migraine triggers. These triggers include:
- Hormonal medications (oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy).
- Alcohol, especially wine.
- High amounts of caffeine, such as coffee.
- Sensory stimuli like bright lights and the glare from the sun.
- Loud sounds.
- Strong smells.
- Changes in your sleep pattern.
- Intense physical exertion.
- Changes in the weather.
- Foods such as aged cheeses and processed foods might trigger migraines.
- Skipping meals or fasting.
- Food additives.
- Hormonal changes in women.
What DIETARY and LIFESTYLE changes can I make?
- Avoid headache triggers.
- Reduce your stress levels.
- Improve your sleep patterns.
- Try boost relaxation.
- Massage therapy can relieve tension.
- Chiropractic manipulation.
- Exercise sufficiently.
- Stretch frequently.
How can I treat Migraines NATURALLY?
- Butterbur root – this possess analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, and vasodilatory properties. It has been known to help prevent migraines.
- Coenzyme Q10 – this is an important component in the production of cellular energy. Areas that are highly active, such as the brain, may rapidly deplete stores of coenzyme Q10. Using a CoQ10 supplement has shown to prevent and reduce the frequency of migraines.
- Riboflavin – is effective for preventing migraines due to its ability to enhance the production of mitochondrial energy.
- Feverfew – inhibits the production of several inflammatory mediators that may be involved in the onset of a migraine.
- Magnesium – a magnesium deficiency has been associated with multiple processes involved in the pathology of migraines. Therefore it can have a direct effect on the onset of migraines.
- Melatonin – levels of melatonin are usually low in migraine sufferers, especially during an attack. Supplementing with melatonin has been known to improve ones symptoms and reduce the number of attacks.
- S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) – may relieve pain as it has the ability to increase serotonin levels in the body.
- L-tryptophan – a deficiency of L-tryptophan can exacerbate ones migraine symptoms and can help prevent migraine attacks.
- Other natural options that may benefit migraine sufferers include
- Ginkgo Biloba, lipoic acid, vitamin B6, and ginger.
I’m not saying that these tips are a magic cure, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. Most people who suffer from Migraines have triggers, so try and find your triggers in order to help prevent the onset of a migraine unnecessarily. I find that a cold ice pack against my head helps a lot to ease the pain a bit when nothing else will. So chin up buttercup, there is hope!