Migraine Relief Without Drugs?
It may creep up on you in the middle of your day or it may arrive with lightning bolts and floating auras. Yes, it’s your migraine and it’s here for a visit. You’ve suffered through lots of these headaches and you know what to expect: hours of searing, unrelenting pain often accompanied by nausea, photophobia and a feeling of malaise. Like millions of migraine sufferers, you’ve tried a succession of pain killers, all with varying degrees of success. Fortunately there are effective natural remedies for you to choose from.
The first step in treating your migraines is to rule out the cause. This includes examining your dietary habits and environmental determinants. There are dozens of foods and additives that can cause migraines. Uncovering additives such as MSG can be a challenge since imported food labels may list it simply as “spices” or “flavoring.” With so many dietary triggers, it’s often useful to eliminate specific foods for six weeks to see if the headaches stop.
Migraines may also be caused by the menstrual cycle or stress or by misalignment of your spine.
Says Dr. Matt Gloin, director of Live Well Chiropractic and Pilates Center in Los Angeles, “Misalignment of the spine can result from physical trauma or stress or simply the demands of daily living. Whatever the cause may be, we find that by realigning the vertebrae through chiropractic, we’re able to restore healthy function to the nervous system. If the migraine is related to a difficult menstrual cycle, we can treat that by restoring proper alignment as well.” Patients such as this may find the double benefit of an improved menstrual cycle as well as the elimination of headaches. Dr. Gloin notes that profound changes can result from gently applied techniques and that maintaining proper alignment can prevent future migraines.
Another form of therapy that can help relieve and prevent migraines is acupuncture. In fact, many people find that this Eastern energetic approach blends well with chiropractic’s restoration of alignment, and that the two therapies enhance each other.
In Oriental medicine (which includes acupuncture and herbology), the migraine is viewed as the result of blocked physical or emotional energy. Or it may be related to liver, kidney or blood function. In terms of western medicine, acupuncture is useful in the elimination of migraines due to its ability to regulate serotonin levels in both the brain and the spinal cord, and for its demonstrated ability to increase a deficient level of blood magnesium.
Another approach to migraine elimination is therapeutic massage. A study in “The Annals of Behavioral Medicine” reported that migraine sufferers in a control group who received a weekly massage experienced improved sleep patterns and fewer migraines during the massage phase of the experiment and for several weeks after.
With the quieting of the central nervous system that massage brings, the restoration of physical functions that chiropractic provides and the freeing of blocked energy that is the hallmark of acupuncture, it’s easy to see how all three therapies work together to bring you a migraine-free life.