Let’s talk about the worst of the worst headaches… The Migraine.
Unfortunately, Migraine headaches are known to be complex in nature. That’s because the origin or root causes are often difficult to diagnose, leaving many sufferers in a painful predicament without a true north. Although migraines remain a poignant focus of clinical studies, there are still a lot of unanswered questions.
If there’s one thing we are learning, it’s that each migraine headache is like a snowflake. In other words, each one is unique in its own nature and varies with each individual’s DNA and family history.
On the other hand, what we can find are patterns that can help create a basis for understanding our own pain, so we can form collective solutions. First, let’s dive into some of the most frequently asked questions to decode and understand migraines. Then, let’s explore some natural remedies that you can use to treat your migraines holistically.
1. What are the common root causes of chronic migraines?
To understand migraines, let’s start with some of the most common root influences of chronic migraine sufferers.
Many studies have shown that women are nearly 3 times more likely to suffer from migraine headaches than men. Some doctors claim this is related to hormone changes in the body, especially tied to a sudden drop in estrogen or serotonin, which causes the trigeminal system to release substances called neuropeptides, which cause headache pain. Some women who suffer from migraines often found that headaches have a pattern of recurrence just before or shortly after the onset of menstruation. The occurrence of migraines may also fluctuate or change during hormonal changes during pregnancy and/or menopause. Migraines associated with hormonal fluctuations could also be a red flag for some women that they have undiagnosed Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
One thing that’s become evident is that inflammation is significant in triggering migraines. Most prescription medications are formulated to constrict blood vessels, creating pressure and tension in the head.
A significant majority of migraine sufferers have a family history of persistent or chronic migraine occurrences. The likelihood rises substantially for a person who has one or more first-degree relatives with migraine headaches.
Certain medical conditions including depression, anxiety, stroke, epilepsy, PCOS, and high blood pressure are all associated with migraine headaches.
2. What are some common migraine triggers?
Outside factors can influence migraine headaches. The most common triggers include:
- Red wine, alcohol
- Aged cheese ( and foods that contain tyramine: fava beans, aged cheeses, soy products, etc.)
- Nitrites (found in hot dogs and deli meats)
- Food additives (for example, MSG)
- Low blood sugar
- Neck and shoulder tension
- Allergies leading to sinus congestion
- Hormonal changes (menstruation, menopause, etc.)
- Perfume or other environmental odors
- Sleep disturbances
- Weather changes
- Bright lights and loud noises
- Foods that contain aspartame
3. What are the best natural remedies to prevent and relieve migraines?
We know that migraines are often associated with hormonal imbalances, sensitivity to specific foods, and stress, which makes it important to monitor and avoid triggers. If you’re looking for a more proactive approach, here are a few things you can do to support your system & reduce the occurrence of migraines.
Remember, the first thing to do before any major diet or supplement regimen is to speak to a doctor. Getting your bloodwork done will inform you of your vitamin deficiencies so you’re not guessing.
Natural Remedies for Migraines: Supplements
Incorporate supplements known to reduce the frequency of migraines:
- Vitamin B12
- Coenzyme Q10
Natural Remedies for Migraines: Herbs & Foods
Incorporate herbs and foods that are known to help migraines into your diet:
Natural Remedies for Migraines: CBD & Cannabis
CBD and THC are known to exhibit anti-inflammatory effects and can help with your migraines. Before trying any new medication for your migraines, it’s important to understand your specific triggers as everyone’s are different. A migraine journal is a good way to start.
We’ve written more in-depth on how cannabinoids can help in another blog post. Explore how CBD and Cannabis can remedy your migraines below.
While generally low risk, these supplements may interact with other medications you are on. This is why it’s important to consult with a doctor before you start a new vitamin or supplement regimen. Furthermore, migraine headaches may remain a complex and misunderstood ailment, but learning how to avoid and treat them is partially in your control if you take ahold of it.
4. What Lifestyle changes will make the biggest impact?
- Start a Migraine Journal to understand your triggers
- Reduce inflammation
- Cleaner diet (avoid blood sugar irregularities/spikes, and remove processed foods)
- Micronutrient-rich foods
- Herbal remedies
- Better sleep habits
- Less stress
- Yoga is thought to help improve blood flow and reduce muscle tension
- Massage therapy or chiropractic treatments for stiff muscles and misaligned bones
By Bri Smith