A natural approach to migraines:
Migraines are severe, often disabling headaches that can cause throbbing head pain and may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, and other symptoms. Classic migraines are preceded or accompanied by an aura, which is a sort of “warning system”. An aura may include symptoms such as visual disturbances –flashes of light, blind spots, or blurred vision –fatigue, or tingling of the extremities. A migraine without an aura is known as a common migraine, but can be equally as incapacitating.
If left untreated, the intense symptoms of a migraine can last from a few hours to several days. Some people experience migraines just a few times per year, while others have migraine attacks weekly. More women than men suffer from migraines. This may be due in part to fluctuating levels of estrogen during the menstrual cycle.
Scientists are still researching the exact cause of migraines, but there is a strong association between migraine headaches and vascular instability in the head. Some researchers believe migraine sufferers have platelet or nerve disorders. Another major hypothesis is that migraines are caused by a deficiency of serotonin, a brain chemical that plays a role in pain tolerance.
Lifestyle factors seem to play a role in migraines. Food sensitivities are a common trigger. According to a study in British medical journal The Lancet, avoiding food allergens results in a dramatic drop in the number of headaches people experience. Food intolerance testing can identify specific foods that a patient may be sensitive to.
At Boulder Natural Health, we treat migraines in men, women and children using natural medicines to address the underlying causes of the headache. We start with lifestyle changes, diet modifications and use herbs, nutrition, homeopathy as well as other natural therapeutics to rebalance the circulatory system and, if hormonal, treat the hormonal imbalance. Overtime, we commonly see the frequency and severity of the headaches diminish and in some cases disappear without the long term use of drugs.
Photo credit: r.nial bradshaw www.flikr.com
Written by: Dr. Cheri King, ND.