Do you suffer from migraines or chronic headaches that are wearing you down and prevent you from doing your day-to-day tasks? Migraine attacks are experienced by one out of five people every year in the US. They are characterized as throbbing headaches, often on one side that can leave your stomach upset, your thinking cloudy, and feeling extra sensitive to light and noise. It is even more dreadful when migraines become a chronic condition and lead to impairing one’s quality of life. Although it is common, it’s still unclear why the nerves in your brain set off this pain.
There are many prescription and over-the-counter drugs available, but if you are all familiar with their side effects, there is always the option of trying out natural alternatives:
· Studies show that particular food and drinks are the most likely to provoke a migraine or headache. These are common foods to cause a reaction: wheat, eggs, tea and coffee, milk, chocolate, cane sugar, cured or processed meat, citrus, corn, cheese, wine, and beer. Also, high on that list are some food additives such as artificial sweeteners and MSG (monosodium glutamate). Keeping a food diary and investigating your food intake and symptoms can be a good start. Once you have an idea which food(s) could be an offender, you should start an elimination diet by avoiding that food for four weeks and then reintroducing it (on an empty stomach).
· Magnesium (magnesium threonate is the best option): People that suffer from headaches often show lower levels of magnesium in their blood. Supplements and intravenous injections are available, in addition to magnesium oil that can be rubbed onto the temples and forehead.
· Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): A deficiency of this vitamin can lead to inflammation and damaged nerves and therefore increase migraines.
· Vitamin D: People that are deficient in this vitamin tend to have migraines and headaches more frequently.
· Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): This supplement has been proven effective especially in children with migraines.
· Gingko Biloba: It might be especially, useful if migraines are caused by stress, as it increases blood flow.
Other “natural” treatments:
· Spending some time outdoors provides your body with extra oxygen. Regular exercise benefits are well known to avoid migraines and headaches, as it reduces stress and increases blood circulation. Add some breathing exercises as well to relieve pain.
· Adhere to a regular sleep schedule to enhance the quality of your sleep.
· Rub peppermint essential oil on your temples, neck, and bottom of feet.
· Make sure to avoid smoking and drinking alcohol as both are known to increase the severity and frequency of migraines.
· Another remedy to reduce migraine attacks is Acupuncture therapy, which has been used for centuries for headaches in Asia.
· Taking a bath with Epsom salt.
· Checking with your doctor on hormonal imbalances.
By trying some of these remedies or an elimination diet, you can find your own “cure” to keeping that pain at bay.
It’s always better to pin down the root cause of any pain or discomfort than merely swallowing a pill. It’s worth investigating why you might have any migraines or headaches or have them more frequently than others.
To enjoying days of migraine freedom!
Tanja Samalya, MNT