Opinion

I have migraines, why is that? | Column

Most migraine sufferers and doctors know migraine headaches are really hard to treat. Why is that?

The majority of conventional treatments are designed to relieve the terrible pain that migraine sufferers experience, which, if you have ever had a migraine, you know you want it gone now!

Migraines are difficult to treat primarily because the underlying root causes vary. Some root causes are due to muscular tightness of the neck, shoulders, jaw and small muscles of the scalp. Others are associated with imbalances of the hormones or neurotransmitters with additional contributing factors being food or environmental sensitivities as well as simply a drop in blood sugar or mild dehydration. Root causes lead to contraction or relaxation of the blood vessels in the brain and release of neuropeptides, such as substance P. “P” means pain!

Natural medicine treatment depends on careful investigation of the migraine triggers and determination of which of the above factors may be involved. Migraines may be a result of a combination of factors and effective treatment needs to be comprehensive. Think of this as a boxer in the ring. One punch hurts but is sustainable. After enough punches landed in the right spot, the boxer goes down and stays down. Many migraine sufferers live with what feels like the first few rounds of that boxing match and one wrong food or one bright light is enough to give that knockout punch forcing them into bed with excruciating pain. Innovative migraine treatments, both naturopathic and conventional, are now looking at each individual punch and using combination therapies to treat the root causes. In this way we can decrease the severity and the frequency of the attacks rather than just mask them.

Naturopathic medicine and acupuncture together are especially effective because they address these different kinds of migraines simultaneously. A fully comprehensive assessment includes testing of hormones, neurotransmitters and food sensitivities.

Here are some things to try at home for migraine prevention and treatment:

• Keep neck and scalp muscles loose by regular stretching and stress management.

• Drink plenty of water to avoid getting dehydrated.

• Eat small frequent balanced meals to avoid blood sugar swings.

• Complete an elimination diet for two weeks and add common trigger foods in one at a time to test for reactions.

• Heat packs on the neck with cold packs on the forehead and temples.

• Resting in a dark quiet room.

Dr. Lanika Buchanan is a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist at Health Moves in Woodinville. Contact her at (425) 402-9999.

 

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