They’re debilitating, painful and one of the most common conditions in the world.
Migraines affect more than three million Australians, making them more prevalent than diabetes, asthma or coronary heart disease.
If you’ve ever had one, you know how they can impact your quality of life. Yet many people remain undiagnosed or untreated.
What are they?
Migraines are a severe form of headache, usually associated with sensitivity to light, sound and smell. Most migraine sufferers will also complain of nausea and/or vomiting, and prefer to rest in a dark room.
In some cases patients will actually experience an aura – flashing lights or a blind spot in one eye, or even symptoms of numbness in the body. This is often predictive of a migraine coming on.
Most migraine sufferers are female, and about 60% of women affected experience menstrual-related migraines.
What causes them?
The short answer – we don’t know for sure. The leading theory is that certain people have a genetic predisposition to suffering from migraines and that this genetic vulnerability causes them to react to certain triggers in their environment, resulting in a migraine. These triggers include:
- Hormones – for women, drops in oestrogen can trigger migraines, which means menstrual cycle, pregnancy, menopause or birth control can all be triggers.
- Sleep – not enough or difficultly sleeping can bring one on.
- Weather changes –some people get a migraine when there is a drop in the barometric pressure, usually before a storm.
- Exposure to stimuli like bright lights, strong smells and loud noises.
- Hypoglycemia, or a drop in blood sugar.
Food chemicals that may cause problems for some people include
- Amines – found in red wine and aged cheese
- Nitrates – the preservatives in smoked meats
- Artificial sweeteners like aspartame
- Some dairy products
The main thing to note is that migraines are not the same for everyone, and triggers and symptoms can vary from person to person.
Natural remedies for migraines
Preventing migraines begins with avoiding your triggers – keep a diary of when you get a migraine, possible triggers, symptoms and how long it lasts.
To reduce the frequency of migraines, my experience has shown that a holistic approach including diet, lifestyle and natural medicines achieves the best results.
Here are some specific nutrients that may help:
- Magnesium – a crucial mineral that a lot of Australians lack. This is my number one natural remedy for migraines. It is beneficial for stress, muscle tension and relaxing blood vessel responses. Found in beans, nuts, wholegrains like brown rice and green leafy vegetables. I’d also recommend our practitioner-only supplements which come in a powder form and boost your magnesium levels beyond the capacity of foods.
- Omega 3 fatty acids – possibly due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Found in flaxseeds, walnuts and cold water fish like salmon.
- Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin – an essential vitamin for production of energy. Increasing the dose to a therapeutic level over three month period has been shown to be as effective as migraine prevention medication in some cases. Found in eggs, green leafy vegetables, lean meats, legumes and nuts.
- Coenzyme Q10 – an antioxidant and nutrient for energy metabolism, which has been shown to reduce migraine attacks by up to 50 per cent in almost half the people who take it. Not all forms of CoQ10 are equally absorbable, so it is important to buy practitioner-strength supplements.
There are also a number of herbal medicines that can help with both preventing migraines, as well as reducing the symptoms while you are experiencing migraines. We make these on site, specifically designed for your needs.
If you or someone you know suffers from migraines, call us on (02) 4961 4075 to find out more about how we can help.
Yours in health,
Are you tired of experiencing debilitating migraines?
Click here for our free guide covering the causes of migraines and how they can be managed and prevented naturally.