How You Can Help Avoid Those Painful Migraines
By Liz Barrington, Natural Body Healing
is a recurrent severe headache that is often accompanied by
sensitivity to light and/or sensitivity to sound; in most cases
occurs only on one side of the head. They tend to occur at
intervals; there may be days, weeks or months between attacks
and sufferers can be totally incapacitated for anything from 4
to 72 hours. It‘s estimated that almost 6 million people in the
UK are affected by migraine. In some cases, it appears to run
are different from tension headaches. With a migraine, some
people experience an ‘aura’ (visual disturbance) sometime before
any symptoms begin. A migraine without an aura is known as a
‘common’ migraine. They can start at any age, but occurs more
often in women than men and usually starts from the early to mid
teens (puberty) to well into the forties. In addition, children
can also be affected by migraine however this is less common.
of migraine is unclear however; it is thought it can be
triggered by fatigue, stress, tension, food allergies and high
toxicity levels in the body. It is believed that migraine may
occur when there is a decrease then increase in
to part of the brain,
probably caused by
blood vessels narrowing then opening again.
The stretching of the
wall can cause the associated
addition to any
blood vessel changes, it is thought that the
activity of some chemicals in the
increase during a migraine. For example, levels of serotonin,
or 5HT (a chemical that is important for
function and has an effect on the size of
decrease at the
onset of the headache but revert to normal in
the periods of time between attacks.
trigger an attack?
attacks occur for no apparent reason, but some people notice
such as dairy products (particularly cheese), chocolate,
alcohol (particularly red wine), caffeine, citrus fruits,
nuts, fried foods and foods containing monosodium glutamate
(MSG) such as Chinese food, processed meats and frozen
Insufficient/infrequent food or missing meals to cause blood
sugar levels to plummet.
Certain medication such as sleeping tablets or
smells (osmophobia) and perfumes.
Changes in the weather.
and back pain,
strain, nasal congestion, hormonal fluctuations.
or anxiety and
high blood pressure.
Tiredness, not having enough sleep or oversleeping.
Hormonal fluctuations - migraine may be linked to a fall in
be more than one trigger for a migraine, so it would be useful
to keep a diary of your symptoms so you can look for a pattern
in order to avoid your specific triggers. The
diary may identify cyclical patterns, but also any food
triggers, dehydration (by noting fluid intake) and stressors
that may lead to tension (in which case therapies such as
reflexology or massage, may provide some relief, along with
the date of the attack, what time of day the attack began, what
the warning signs were, your symptoms (including the presence or
absence of an aura, what medication you took and when the
So what can you do if you suffer an attack? Most people find
that sleeping or lying in a darkened room is the best thing to
do when having a migraine attack. Others find that eating
something helps, or perhaps using a cold compress, whilst others
start to feel better once they have been sick. How can you
avoid it happening in the first place?
remedies that can help combat migraines
some natural remedies and therapies that may be useful to
prevent and treat migraine.
plenty of filtered WATER throughout the day – at least
2 litres a day and practice deep breathing exercises to help
relieve you of stress.
a practitioner of kinesiology to help identify possible food
allergies and eliminate these from your diet. Avoid exposure to
pollen, dust, mould etc.
to help alleviate any liver and bowel congestion. Eat
plenty of high-fibre food on a daily basis such as peas,
lentils, psyllium husks, flaxseeds.
a healthy diet; eating small meals/healthy snacks regularly
throughout the day to keep your
sugar levels up as hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar)
can often trigger migraines.
your diet include plenty of wholefoods, vegetables, oily fish,
high quality protein,
apples, onions, garlic,
seeds, berries and fruits. The only dairy permitted in small
quantities is butter and bio-yoghurt. A small starchy snack
last thing at night may help.
stimulants to help rebalance your hormones. Eliminate
foods such as tea, coffee, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, soft
drinks, grains, processed foods, foods containing MSG
(monosodium glutamate), nitrite preservatives found in hot dogs,
ham, bacon and salami, plus simple sugars and simple starches,
can be restored.
addition to the above, AVOID the following common migraine
food triggers: Rich, fatty or spicy foods, pork, maize/corn,
rye, citrus fruit, wheat, coffee, cheese, chicken, liver,
pickled herrings, broad bean pods, tinned figs and also eggs,
avocados, tomatoes, strawberries, spinach, plums, bananas,
raspberries and yeast extract. Try to eliminate these one at a
time to see which is at the root cause.
plenty of fresh vegetable juices.
Multivitamin & Mineral,
Vitamin B-Complex 200mg
B3 Niacin (vasodilator) 100mg and B6 25mg
and B 12 10mg),
Vitamin C 1000mg,
Omega-3 Oils and also
St. John’s Wort and
Valerian and Passion Flower are traditional remedies
for anxiety and stress
that can help the body relax and unwind, with no side-effects.
useful herbs include: Bayleaf, cayenne pepper, ginger,
peppermint, ginkgo biloba, passion-flower.
taking aspirin or migraine drugs as these constrict the blood
TOO MUCH STRESS, try to get a balance in life with plenty of
rest and relaxation - take up yoga or pilates.
Importantly, avoid too little or too much sleep.
to take regular exercise, swimming is especially effective.
an ice cold compress on the forehead that contains any of these
essential oils: chamomile, lavender, thyme or basil.
the assistance of a chiropractor, osteopath or cranial osteopath
to realign bones in the neck and skull.
is very helpful and regular treatments prevent the recurrence of
the condition. Try the treatment once a week for a month,
reducing to fortnightly and then monthly.
is another treatment for headaches and migraine - so consult a
qualified practitioner so that the ‘prescription’ can be
tailor-made to match your specific symptoms.
and also shiatsu massage, Indian head, neck and shoulder massage
is also recommended.
use of magnets or natural crystals
can often provide relief from migraines and
restore balance, stability and harmony within the body.
As you can see,
your diet and lifestyle always play a major part, so do be prepared to make
some long-term changes if you want to avoid the recurrence of those
debilitating migraines. Take
control and get on with your life!
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The above information should not be treated as a substitute for the
medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care