Are you a migraine sufferer? Do headaches affect your daily life, including work, family and social life? Be assured you are not alone. Migraine is the third most common disease in the world (behind dental caries and tension-type headache) with an estimated global prevalence of 14.7% (that’s around 1 in 7 people).
This is a type of headache where the pain is usually throbbing, pulsating and bursting in character. Migraines are specific to the sufferer. The pain can be one sided or involve the whole head. In some cases, may alternates sides or travel from the base of the neck to the face.
Symptoms of Migraine Headaches
As I mentioned above, the symptoms are specific to the sufferer.
The symptoms of migraine are –
- Pain may last for hours or even days.
- It is episodic in nature. The pain happens every once in a while, with frequency varying from patient to patient. There are often long periods when there is no pain.
- As mentioned earlier, the pain may be throbbing or pulsating.
- Nausea and vomiting is often present along with other symptoms.
- At the same time, sensitivity to light and sound increases. One is unable to bear light in any form, that is natural or artificial. The medical term for this is photophobia. Patients prefer being in the dark rather than bear any light.
- Some patients feel relief after sleeping while others may not feel so.
- In some cases, warning symptoms like flashes of light, temporary blindness or tingling sensation in the limbs precede the pain. This is the aura of the headache. Some patients get such aura or warning signs while most of the patients do not have any such aura.
What causes Migraine or Headaches
While the medical profession do not know the exact cause of migraine headaches, there are a number of factors which trigger headaches.
- The most common trigger is stress. This may be due to any reason. Mental stress triggers headache in almost all of the patients.
- Other triggers include going out in the sun. It is a very common factor that triggers headaches.
- Dehydration or an electrolyte imbalance.
- Improper sleep can also cause an episode of migraine.
- Another common trigger is staying hungry more than usual. Disturbance in eating routine of a patient can cause headache.
- Food intolerance or caffeinated foods can be associated with migraines.
- Loud noise is also another common trigger.
- Females may get it just before or during menses or during the menopause.
- Whiplash or an injury to the spine.
Long term Relief for Migraine Headaches Opposed to Treatment or Pain Relief
Most migraine sufferers will have consulted their GP and have been prescribed painkillers that may have initially provided some relief. Over time the strength of the medication has to be increased to reduce the intensity of the headache. In some cases, anti-emetic medication is also prescribed to alleviate vomiting that accompanies the migraine.
There is a difference between getting relief and finding a long-term solution. I often get patients who have been taking painkillers for years altogether to get relief from migraine headaches. Such medications are just that - painkillers that provide temporary pain relief. The headache becomes a part of their life. They learn to live with the regular pain. It is difficult for them to even imagine that there can be a cure for migraine. They cannot even think that one day they will be able to lead a normal life, completely free from headaches.
But this is before they consider consulting a homeopath who will look at the problem holistically to establish the underlying cause and start the process of resolving migraine headaches. Once they overcome the mental barrier and start using homeopathy in conjunction with herbs, nutrition and dietary supplementation, it is just a matter of a couple of months and they start forgetting that they used to have migraines. The body is amazing at healing itself when given the appropriate resources.
Managing Migraines the Natural way
In addition to homeopathy, many natural medicine approaches can help to both prevent and treat migraines. Most are individualized to the person and should be recommended—both the item and the dosages—by a reputable provider. Some approaches that I use with migraine patients include:
Proper hydration. The actual amount of fluid necessary varies from person to person based on constitutional type, activity level, and other dietary considerations, but for many people, being adequately hydrated is essential and can make a big difference.
Stress is usually a major trigger of migraines. Magnesium is the first supplement to consider when managing migraines as it is a natural relaxant.
Vitamin B Complex. The B vitamins are important for neurological and brain function. I often suggest taking a multi vitamin and a B Complex as a preventative measure.
Stress Reduction. I suggest trying techniques like biofeedback, massage, breathing exercises and other stress reduction approaches, such as mindfulness meditation. Regular exercise should not be forgotten. I generally recommend these techniques as a preventive way to reduce a person’s overall stress level; but some people can use these tools to good effect during a migraine.
Epsom Salt Baths – Epsom salts baths and essential oils are a great way of pampering ourselves whilst receiving the health benefits. Epsom salt contains important minerals including magnesium that are readily absorbed through the skin.
Electrolyte Rebalance – Headaches can be an indicator of an electrolyte imbalance especially when there is an intolerance of the sun. When we sweat the body excretes salt and electrolytes. A Himalayan Salt Sole is shown to be highly effect for rebalancing mineralization in the human body and helps stabilize pH for a healthier acid-alkaline balance.
The first migraine that I personally suffered from was a result of spending too long in the hot sun and becoming dehydrated. These days headaches are very rare with stress generally being the trigger. Patients regularly come to my clinic seeking help with migraines and no one individual will suffer the same symptoms. My own experience of how debilitating migraines can be ensures that the greatest care is given to help them on the road to recovery.