Natural solutions for Migraines
Migraines are a common modern day affliction. They present usually as a severe, throbbing headache in one or both sides of the head. There may be a warning sign of a change in mood a day or two before the migraine actually starts. The associated symptoms are varied but can include: nausea, visual disturbances, dizziness and fatigue. There are a few schools of thought around what the physical causes of migraine are – excessive dilation of blood vessels in the brain or abnormal nerve activity. Whatever the cause migraines can be extremely painful, severely debilitating and cause huge disruption in someone’s life. So if you suffer from migraines, do you just have to accept it or are there things you can do to prevent or stop the onset of a migraine?
There are measures we can take ourselves to limit these attacks. Firstly you need to identity what triggers the migraine, there are many possible suspects here: Food allergies, Stress Hormonal imbalance, Eyestrain, Sinusitis, Digestive issues, Pollution, High blood pressure, Constipation, Sleep patterns, Poor diet, Low blood sugar, Dehydration, Dybiosis, Back problems, and Lack of exercise.
If you have a suspicion that a food allergy is triggering your migraines then keep a food diary to identify trends and help you narrow down what foods cause this. By eliminating these foods you might not only stop the migraines but clear up some other related symptoms too. It is worth noting that an amino acid called Tyramine has been linked to migraines. Tyramine is in a great many of our most common food choices which include: aged meat, avocados, bananas, beer, cabbage, canned fish, potato, dairy, aubergine, wine, yeast, raspberries and tomato. It is worth eliminating these foods and introducing these back slowly, one at a time, to see if one or more of these are your migraine triggers.
Other substances often linked to migraines are caffeine, sugar, chocolate, alcohol, MSG and aspirin. Foods that can be beneficial to help prevent migraines are wholegrains, legumes, seeds, almonds, watercress, parsley, fennel, pineapple, cherries and garlic. A suggested diet lifestyle, for those who suffer with migraines, is one low in carbohydrates and high in protein.
Magnesium – this mineral plays a huge role in the health of our central and peripheral nervous systems. It can often be deficient in the western diet and if you don’t eat a lot of legumes, seeds and wholegrains, then it would be worth investing in this supplement in your local health shop.
Omegas 3 and 6 – these essential fatty acids are key to allowing us to maintain a healthy body. They nourish and soothe the whole body including our nervous system and are anti-inflammatory.
Calcium – works in tandem with Magnesium.
Co-enzyme Q10 – this increases circulation in the brain which can help unblock any stagnation occurring.
Vitamin B3 – Essential for our nerve and brain function. If you suspect a migraine is coming on try taking 100-200mg of B3 as a preventative measure.
Evening Primrose – this can be especially useful in cases where a hormonal imbalance is suspected.
A sedentary lifestyle can be linked to migraines so try introducing a moderate level of exercise into your lifestyle – this can be walking, swimming, cycling – any activity you can enjoy and relax which will also counteract any build-up of stress. Other stress relieving activities are yoga, Pilates and meditation.
The herbs you could consider using to support these suggested diet and lifestyle changes are:
• Anti-inflammatories and antispasmodic herbs such as Cramp bark, Feverfew, Devil’s Claw, Meadowsweet and White Willow to try to alleviate the pain of a migraine.
• Nervous system soothers such as Skullcap, Melissa, Lavender, Wood betony, Lime Blossom and Chamomile.
• Circulatory stimulants to improve the flow of blood through the brain and improve the flow of both Qi and blood stagnation which in Traditional Chinese Medicine could be causing the migraine – Rosemary and Gingko biloba.
Peppermint, Lavender or Rosemary essential oils – either inhale or 1 to 2 drops in a carriers oils and massage into the temples.
Acupressure – try pressing firmly up underneath the skull at the back of the head on either side for two minutes to see if this alleviates the pain.
Important Note** If your migraine is linked to any of the following please seek professional medical advice:
Coughing or bending
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