Based on my calculations 6% to 18% of adults suffer from recurrent migraines, about 6% of men and about 18% of women. Sorry ladies.
As a chiropractor it’s part of my job to find the best natural ways to treat a migraines. I regularly get my hands dirty trying to eradicate these pesky suckers from my patients’ lives. Not actually dirty, I have very good hygiene, just ask my mother. I’ve watched as the throbbing, pulsing pain of migraines coupled with vision changes, sensory sensitivity, nausea and vomiting, lack of coordination, trouble sleeping, mood swings wreak havoc on my patients’ quality of life. In most cases, they aren’t able to go to school or work and have constant anxiety that a migraine attack could happen at any moment.
Seeing patients in pain is the worst feeling. That’s why we work hard to identify the underlying cause of issues so that we can correct them and prevent pain in the future. With migraines, there are many underlying cause options to choose from.
- High levels of inflammation
- Poor diet and nutrient deficiencies
- Hormonal imbalances
- Chronic stress
- Brain stem dysfunction due to injury or illness
- Lack of sleep
- Poor posture affecting spinal health
- Reactions to medications
- Family history
Many doctors will recommend conventional migraine treatments like:
- Triptan medications
- Ibuprofen and NSAIDs
- Anti-nausea medications
- Sleep aids
- Calcium-channel blockers
- Anti-seizure medications
I’m not a huge fan of those either. I never like to recommend a solution that carries with it other side effects or potential addictive issues. As chiropractors, we believe that the most powerful healing agent is the body itself. When there’s interference in the nervous system the body isn’t able to heal or fight off infection as it should, so we focus on removing that interference so that the body is as powerful as it was designed to be.
As ferocious as migraines are, they don’t need to be knocked out with bottles of pills. Medications may provide temporary pain relief, but they won’t get to the heart of the matter nor will they prevent migraine attacks in the future. There are plenty of natural migraine solutions that pack an even feistier K.O. punch.
Our brain loves Omega-3s, can’t get enough of them. Nuts, seeds, and wild-caught fish can help control blood flow and lower inflammation. Try a nut-crusted fish to really impress that latest match on Hinge. Just make sure they don’t have a nut allergy.
Organic, Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Organic is more expensive and doesn’t always look as pretty, but that’s because they’re REAL. There’s a botox/plastic surgery joke in here somewhere, but I can’t find it at the moment.
Organic fruits and veggies are high in magnesium and other electrolytes that help control blood flow and muscular functions. They are also packed with antioxidants that decrease inflammation, balance hormones, and combat the effects of toxins.
Whenever I try to push magnesium on people they always get weird on me.
I think they think it’s metal. It’s actually an important mineral that plays a role in over 300 chemical reactions in the body and helps to support muscle and nerve function, regulates blood pressure, and supports the immune system. So roll that stank eye back lil’ miss thing.
The best foods to find this non-metal, essential nutrient are spinach, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, almonds, black beans, avocado, figs, dates, bananas, and sweet potatoes.
Clean, Lean Protein
Grass-fed and wild-caught, forever and always.
Vitamin B in all its various forms helps the body metabolize fat and protein to convert food into energy. Food is for more than making bad late-night decisions.
A great source of vitamin B2 is organ meat.
Yes: green leafy vegetables, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, and certain dairy products. And also organ meat.
40% of migraine headaches are triggered by eating certain foods. A diet that is high in processed grain and salt is a migraine breeding ground. Try to avoid:
- Added sugar
- Refined grain
- Conventional dairy products
- Aged Cheese
- Picked or cured fish
- Gluten and yeast
- Red wine and alcohol
- Food additives and artificial sweeteners
- High amounts of sodium
- Very cold food
- Fried and fast food
There are some fun foods on this list, but don’t get discouraged. Keep track of which foods are triggers and try to avoid those. It may be that chocolate is not an issue, but cured fish is. What a miracle that would be!
Supplement When Needed
If getting the necessary nutrients – like magnesium, vitamin B2, and omega-3s – through diet is difficult, then supplement. Here are some other supplements and herbs that might be useful as well:
- Capsaicin cream
- Medicinal mushrooms
Lube Up with Essential Oils
Essentials oils are great for spa nights and natural migraine pain relief. So
As natural painkillers, essential oils help to lower stress, reduce inflammation, improve circulation, balance hormones, and relieve muscle tension.
- Peppermint Oil – reduces pain and inflammation, inhibits muscle contractions, and stimulates blood flow when applied topically
- Lavender Oil – relieves stress and anxiety, this natural antidepressant can improve sleep quality and decrease muscle tension
- Eucalyptus Oil – improves blood flow and reduces toxicity in the body
- Frankincense Oil – reduces inflammation and boosts immune function
- Rosemary Oil – decreases withdrawal symptoms from caffeine or medication, aids digestion, and regulates blood flow
Security footage of me after drawing a bath and realizing I’m out of lavender oil…I love baths.
Not being able to manage and adapt to physical and emotional stress is a migraine trigger and also the cause of many other headaches, like the popular tension headache. Stress contributes to poor sleep quality, bad circulation, and it also weakens the body’s immune system.
Meditation, deep breathing, massage, exercise, these are all things we should be doing regularly to maintain our health, but particularly if migraines are a chronic issue. Meditation and deep breathing aren’t some crunchy, hippy-dippy thing. They are powerful ways to focus your thoughts and decrease one of the most dangerous things for a healthy immune system: stress.
Chronic stress prevents the body from functioning properly and is the reason many people seem to be in a constant state of sickness. Not to toot my own horn, but chiropractic adjustments are also a way to reduce stress. Adjustments release serotonin and endorphins, key hormones in stabilizing our mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness.
Serotonin getting ready for his senior portrait
Chiropractic care is an incredible natural treatment for migraines and many other types of headaches, especially ones that are caused by subluxation in the spine. Misalignments of the spine will interfere with our nervous system’s ability to do its job which results in pain and dysfunction. Through chiropractic adjustmentS and our other modalities, we can work to correct those misalignments and restore proper function throughout the body. Not to mention, when function is restored the body turns off its pain alarm system. Life can be good again. Call us or schedule a time to meet with one of our amazing doctors. Migraines may be common, but they are not normal. A healthy, pain-free life, now that’s normal.