If you are one of the 37 million people who suffer from migraines in the U.S.1, you are not alone. In fact, there are a whopping 2-3 million individuals who experience chronic migraines1. Interestingly, migraine is 3x more common in women (18%) than men (6%)1.
Migraines are a collection of neurological symptoms including but not limited to throbbing headache or pain that usually affects one side of the head, sensitivity to stimuli, visual disturbances, vertigo and even nausea. Typical treatments include pain relievers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
But your migraines are not from OTC drug deficiency. We need to find the cause. Remove the cause and you will be headache-free.
If you are one of the people impacted by this debilitating pain, it’s likely that the first thing you’re seeking is some major relief. New research has shown that there are some highly effective natural treatment and preventative options that are now being used, even in medical settings. This is because these natural treatments tend to have minimal side effects and a high level of therapeutic relief. Read on below for a top list of natural migraine fighters.
What is a migraine?
Migraines may be due to irregular blood vessel function or a dysfunctional central nervous system (CNS). They have long been considered vascular events in which there was some sort of vasoconstriction or vasodilation occurring causing an inflammation of blood vessels in the brain. Yet, new studies have shown that migraines are actually more of a neurological disorder that results when neurons and nerve pathways become affected. Some of the pain may be due to the neuronal inflammation. Migraines are often also considered a hereditary condition, but we were not born to get migraines. Blaming genetics is a cop-out.
What are some of the main factors that can affect migraine development?
There are a variety of factors that can play a role in causing migraines such as
- There are established genes located in vascular, hormonal and neurological pathways that are associated with an increased migraine risk2
- But genetics can only show risk…something has to trigger your genes negatively. Our ancestors did not suffer from migraines.
- Nervous system dysfunction
- One of the main new root causes of migraines is nervous system misalignment. The nervous system is required to send signals to nerves to regulate the functions of the body, including blood vessels. If there is a misalignment of specific vertebrae, called a subluxation, this impairs the communication between brain and body and body back to brain. Ultimately inflammation and abnormal regulation of constriction/expansion of blood vessels are the result. Therefore, chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy (CSMT) is an effective technique to decrease migraine incidence.3
- Environmental toxins or allergens
- Dozens of studies point to air pollution as a trigger to migraines. Get an air purifier in your house NOW. One for the bedroom and one for the office/house.
- Turn off the WiFi and reduce EMF exposure.
- Excessive inflammation
- Neuroinflammation has been shown to be a prominent factor in migraines as it releases sensory neuropeptides which can cause an inflammatory cascade in the tissue.5
- Inflammation is caused from poor nutrition and environmental toxins.
- Low levels of Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
- Riboflavin is an important vitamin with neuroprotective mechanisms. Riboflavin has been found to significantly decrease oxidative stress and neuroinflammation and increase mitochondrial function, helping to protect against migraine development6. Additionally, riboflavin has been found to reduce incidence of MTHFR polymorphism hyperhomocysteinemia6. Interestingly, elevated CSF homocysteine levels have also been associated with migraine pathogenesis6.
- Low levels of magnesium
- A review of the literature concluded that numerous studies point to patients with migraines having chronically low magnesium levels7. When magnesium treatment was given it drastically improved migraine outcomes7.
- Imbalances in brain chemicals
- Imbalances in serotonin and 5-HTP leading to abnormal neurotransmission in the brain have been implicated in migraine pathology8.
- A recent finding was that patients with asthma are at double the risk of developing migraines9. Specifically, researchers believe that the inflammation underlying asthma is linked to migraine development9.
- Hormonal changes in estrogen
- Evidence has pointed to low estrogen levels, especially in women during menses, being related to increased risk of migraines10.
- Live the organic Paleo way and fix your hormones naturally.
- Psychophysiological causes such as stress
- Chronic stress can have a negative impact on the brain and result in detrimental physiological outcomes such as migraine11.
- Specific food allergens
- Diet seems to be related to stimulating migraines when there are allergen-type triggers present like dairy, alcohol, caffeine, food preservatives and flavor-enhancers such as glutamate12.
- Vertebral subluxations – SEE YOUR CHIROPRACTOR
Most effective therapies to fight migraines naturally:
–Incorporate an anti- inflammatory diet
- Make inflammation-fighting foods and herbs a part of your diet. Avocados are foods that are full of brain-healthy fats and are anti-inflammatory. Wild, caught salmon and sardines are full of omega 3 fatty acids that can help increase blood flow and reduce inflammation. Turmeric is a potent, anti-inflammatory spice that has mechanisms similar to pain killers and can thus decrease pain and inflammation.
-Utilize specific supplements
- Riboflavin (B2): Riboflavin is a precursor to key compounds involved in the mitochondrial electron transport chain. Mitochondrial function is imperative to preventing migraines. 400 mg daily.
- CoQ10: Studies have shown that dosing with both vitamin B2 and coenzyme Q10 have been shown to increase the activity of mitochondrial complexes and be preventative against migraines13. Try it: Co Q 10 Ubiquinol
- Magnesium: Some studies have suggested getting high doses of riboflavin (400 mg), magnesium (600 mg), and coenzyme Q10 (150 mg) per day for migraine treatment and prevention14. Try it: Brain Magnesium
- Omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA: These are vital to fighting inflammation. New research has suggested that intake of omega 3 fatty acids improves migraine symptoms and reduces migraine severity, duration and frequency15. Omega 3 fatty acids are central to brain activity and cognition and are abundant in the brain. They also increase blood flow, which is imperative. These are the key types of fat your brain needs. Try our: Omega DHA
- Butterburs: Butterburs are a group of flowering plants from the sunflower family. This herbal supplement is a newer treatment option based on research recently conducted. Surprisingly, it has the same science-based level of standard efficacy for migraine relief as several prescription drugs. Research has actually found it can slash the number of migraine attacks by 48%16.
-Seek out chiropractic care
- This will ensure proper nervous system alignment and function. Chiropractors can seek out which vertebrae (and nerves) are misaligned and can therefore correct them with proper spine alignment to ensure that everything is functioning properly. Chiropractic care has been proven to reduce the severity and frequency of migraine attacks.
-Engage in regular exercise
- This can aid in preventing migraines or relieving tension. Exercise helps to increase blood flow and reduce systemic inflammation.
–Strive for weight loss
- Preliminary studies have shown the potential for insulin resistance to be associated with increased migraine development17. While the mechanism isn’t entirely clear yet, it is speculated that obesity and inflammation are also associated with this pathology.
Migraine prevention/ treatment tips:
- Having a routine regimen for meals, hydration, sleep and stress has been shown to be helpful for migraine sufferers.
- Make sure to avoid food allergies as they can drastically cause a rise in inflammation markers and contribute to systemic inflammation.
- Keep a migraine diary to help reveal what is linked with your individual migraine development.
- Find some useful relaxation techniques to use such as meditation or yoga. These will help to fight inflammation, and provide proper blood flow to the brain.
- Utilize migraine-fighting essential oils such as peppermint or lavender oil. You can apply topically to side of the head where pain exists. These also work to fight pain and inflammation.
- Try cognitive behavior therapy. The goal of this is to help decrease one of the most common migraine triggers, stress.
- Look into biofeedback. This is a therapy technique that works to control physiological manifestations of chronic stress.
- Eat organic Paleo foods
- Get sunshine daily
- Sleep at sundown
- Get adjusted by a DC
- Walk/stand barefoot
- Get away from chemical toxins.
- Get stress out
- Yoga, meditation, garden, outdoor activity
Consider scheduling an appointment with one of our certified health coaches to come up with a customized plan to ride yourself of migraines forever.
- Gasparini et al., 2013: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3763681/
- Chaibi et al., 2017: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5214068/
- Hoffman et al., 2014: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3857910/
- Malhorta et al., 2016: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4888678/
- Marashly et al., 2017: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5517396/
- Grober et al., 2015: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4586582/
- Hamel et al., 2007: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17970989
- Martin et al., 2016: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26581563
- Sacco et al., 2012: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3311830/
- Maleki et al., 2012: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3475609/
- Rist et al., 2015: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4442763/
- Estemalik et al., 2013: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3663475/
- Gaul et al., 2015: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4393401/
- Harel et al., 2002: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12127385
- Lipton et al., 2004: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15623680/
- Bhoi et al., 2012: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3356472/