KEEP ACTIVE: Taking just three 40-minute sessions of moderate aerobic exercise a week can significantly cut the frequency, duration and severity of migraine attacks. The researchers put the beneficial effects of exercise down to the production of pain-killing chemicals called endorphins in the brain.
COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES: Acupuncture and Shiatsu have been shown to be effective in reducing frequency of attacks. Consider cranial osteopathy to correct any misalignment of the cranial and neck bones.
HOMEOPATHY: Homoeopathic remedies for migraine should be chosen based on the symptoms, but pay special attention to the following remedies that could be tried at potency 6 every half-hour in the ‘aura’ stage or every 10 minutes if a migraine starts: thuja and spigalia for left-sided onset or sanguinaria, thus tox and iris for right-sided onset.
HERBS: Butterbur is an extremely popular herbal remedy in Germany, where it is widely used as a preventative for migraines. Research has shown that it not only helps prevent attacks but can also ease migraine pain. It works by inhibiting toxic chemicals called leukotrienes, which are released during the inflammatory process. It has also been found to help regulate the degree of widening that takes place in the arteries of the brain. The recommended dosage is one 50mg standardised butterbur extract capsule taken twice a day with meals.
AROMATHERAPY: Essential oils of chamomile, lavender, peppermint, cypress, frankincense, sandalwood, rose, lemon, eucalyptus, basil, marjoram, and melissa can all be useful in different headache/migraine situations. Find an oil that suits you and mix 2-4 drops with a carrier oil such as grapeseed oil or almond oil.
HORMONE IMBALANCES: Correct hormonal imbalances. A natural diet and supplementation with essential fatty acids, B group vitamins (especially B6) and magnesium will help to avoid female sex hormone fluctuations, which can result in migraines. Herbs such as dong quai and agnus castus have also been shown to help. Natural progesterone cream (currently only available on prescription in the UK) has also been shown to prevent menstrual cycle migraines. Minimize hormone shifts by avoiding animal products, keeping vegetable oils minimal, and having plenty of high-fiber whole grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits.
SUPPLEMENTS: A nutrient that boosts cellular energy production is co-enzyme Q10 (Co-Q10) and it is effective at preventing migraines. B vitamins are also beneficial for warding off migraines. In particular, vitamins B2, B3 and B6 help prevent vasoconstriction (narrowing of the arteries) and also inhibit blood platelet clumping which can occur during an attack. Migraines have been linked to a deficiency in magnesium. Magnesium is important because it takes part in the transmission. The dose is 200mg of magnesium citrate capsules taken twice a day. Take with calcium. Essential fatty acids in fish oils reduce the production of inflammatory prostaglandins, which contribute to migraine pain.
ELIMINATE: Common food sensitivities (migraine sufferers have a reaction in the blood vessels and nerves) such as dairy products, chocolate, eggs, citrus fruits, meat, wheat, nuts and peanuts, tomatoes, onions, corn, apples, bananas - foods containing the amino acid phenylalaninefound in aspartame (NutraSweet), monosodium glutamate and nitrites (preservatives found in hot dogs and luncheon meats and bacon and ham) - foods that contain tyramine e.g. alcoholic beverages, bananas, cheese, chicken, chocolate, citrus fruits, cold cuts, herring, onions, peanut butter, pork, smoked fish, sour cream, vinegar, wine and fresh-baked yeast products (causes blood pressure to rise resulting in a dull headache).
HOT & COLD THERAPY: A Zhu-Zhu Migraine Hot & Cold Pack Wrap Therapeutic Gel Beads soothes and relaxes, delivers soothing relief, ease the discomfort of migraine, toothache, cosmetic procedures, sinus and tension headaches. Provides targeted cooling relief to the forehead during migraines and headache to help cool and sooth the discomfort. A drug free way to help ease pain and inflammation.
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