Natural Migraine Treatment

What is a Migraine?

A migraine is a type of headache that is very severe. The pain associated with a migraine is throbbing or pulsing in nature, and often occurs on only one side of the head. Migraines can last for hours to days and can be extremely debilitating. The frequency of migraines and the specific symptoms associated with them can vary from person to person. Individuals with migraines may have to stay home in a quiet, dark room until the pain passes. 

The cause of migraines is unknown; however, genetics and environmental triggers are thought to play a role. You have a higher likelihood of suffering from migraines if you have a family member who also experiences migraines. Triggers for migraines can include hormonal changes (particularly in females, associated with pregnancy or menses), particular foods or food additives, fasting, stress, inadequate sleep, weather changes, medications, specific stimuli (such as bright lights, loud sounds, or strong smells), and intense physical activity (1). 

There are four stages to a migraine, but you may not experience all of them. A prodrome is a collection of subtle symptoms that often precedes a migraine and is a warning to the sufferer that a migraine is coming. Warning symptoms can occur 1-2 days before the onset of a migraine. Auras may or may not be associated with migraines. They also may occur before a migraine or accompany one. Auras typically come on gradually and last approximately 20-60 minutes. The migraine attack is the third stage and typically lasts 4-72 hours. The final stage in a migraine is the post-drome, which may last about 24 hours after the migraine attack (1). See below for a more detailed description of the symptoms associated with each stage. 

Common Signs & Symptoms of Migraines

Before an Attack (Prodrome):

  • Constipation

  • Mood changes (depression or euphoria)

  • Food cravings

  • Neck stiffness

  • Increase in thirst or urination

  • More yawning than usual

Aura Symptoms:

  • Visual symptoms (such as flashes of light, wavy vision, or bright spots)

  • Temporary loss of vision

  • Pins and needles sensations

  • Weakness or numbness in the face or one side of the body

  • Difficulty speaking

During a Migraine Attack:

  • Pain on one side or both sides of your head

  • Throbbing or pulsing pain

  • Sensitivity to light, sounds, smells or touch

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Blurred vision

  • Lightheadedness, sometimes with fainting

After an Attack (Post-drome):

  • Feeling drained or having lots of energy

  • Confusion

  • Irritability

  • Weakness

  • Dizziness

  • Sensitivity to light and sound

Naturopathic Treatment for Migraines

Naturopathic treatment for migraines initially involves identifying and removing triggers. This involves tracking symptoms while making lifestyle and diet adjustments. Investigating food triggers often involves removing suspected offending foods for a trial period of a few weeks and then slowly re-introducing them while monitoring symptoms. Discussions on sleep patterns, stress management, and appropriate exercise habits are also important in preventing migraine attacks. 

Depending on your individual triggers, treatments may include herbs and nutrients to help balance hormones, relieve inflammation, or modulate blood flow to the brain. Some treatments can be used to prevent migraines and others are used to relieve pain and related symptoms when a migraine does occur. Herbs, supplements, acupuncture, and homeopathy can all be used to prevent migraines, as well as relieve pain during an attack. Hydrotherapy (the use of hot and cold water) may be used to prevent a migraine attack if utilized during the prodrome phase. Treatments are selected for each individual based on efficacy, patient preference, and safety. 

Dr. Melyssa Hoitink, ND

The Lakeside Clinic

Phone: (705) 726-0923

Email: info@thelakesideclinic.com

Location:

570 Bryne Dr., Unit F

Barrie, Ontario, Canada

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© 2019 by Dr. Melyssa Hoitink, ND