Are you putting up with chronic migraines? While it is common for people to experience migraines, that doesn’t make it normal.
There are a host of reasons why you might get migraines on a regular basis. But by looking at the underlying causes, you can work on putting together your own fast migraine relief toolbox.
What is a migraine?
Firstly, it’s important to know that a migraine is a type of headache (but not every headache is a migraine!)
Migraines are defined as recurrent, sudden attacks of headaches that are usually pounding and one-sided. They often have an ‘aura’ or visual or other sensory disturbance coming beforehand.
With a migraine, the pain is intense, throbbing, and often accompanied by other symptoms such as:
- No appetite
- Sensitivity to light and noise
- A desire to sleep
My personal experience with chronic migraines
Not many people realise that I speak from experience when I talk about managing migraines!
As a teen, I had weekly migraines throughout puberty and into my early 20s. I had a routine down pat – when I experienced the aura, I’d go make myself sick (beat it to the punch!) and go to sleep. What a treatment plan, hey?
Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, my GP never suggested there could be an underlying cause for these chronic migraines. The focus was suppressing symptoms, and the only solution given was drugs. I was given was very strong pain killers along with a migraine suppressing medication.
Side note – I looked both of those medications up recently, and now they are not recommended for teens! Who knows what impact they had on my long-term health.
Even after I grew out of the constant migraine phase, I still had occasional migraines during pregnancy and as I’ve moved through perimenopause. Looking back, I can see that the triggers for me were low blood sugar levels and hormonal fluctuations.
The most important thing I want you to take away from this is:
Daily, weekly, even fortnightly headaches are NOT NORMAL!
What can contribute to chronic migraines?
There are many potential causes of migraines. The first thing you want to do is track them, so you can start to figure out what is causing them.
Some of the questions I ask around migraines include:
- Where are you in your cycle? Prementrual hormone shifts can be a big trigger for migraine symptoms, post-menstrual could be due to temporary anaemia
- Where are you at your stage of life? For example, perimenopause, pregnancy/lactation or puberty
- What are your stress, anxiety and worry levels like?
- When was the last time you saw an osteopath, chiropractor or myotherapist? Tight back and neck areas could be impinging on nerves
- What have you been eating lately? Food intolerances and sensitivities, high histamine foods like chocolate, alcohol and cheese can trigger symptoms
- How is your water consumption? I bet you need to go and have a glass right now!
- Are you getting enough sleep? If you still feel exhausted when you wake up, the answer is no.
- When was the last time you got your eyes checked?
- Has there been any weather or pressure changes e.g. an approaching storm
- Have you had too much sun glare on a bright day?
- Could you have nutritional deficiencies? B2, B6, magnesium, Coenzyme Q10, and essential fatty acids (omega-3) have all been implicated in migraines
How to manage your migraines naturally
Alleviating your migraines will depend on the underlying causes. But there are some steps you can try as you figure out what is going on.
- Eliminate trigger foods like alcohol, chocolate, cheese, citrus and shellfish. Remember, only eliminate what you suspect, otherwise you risk nutrient deficiencies!
- Increase foods that keep blood flowing and reduce inflammation naturally. Some of my go-tos include flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, olives, olive oil, garlic, onions, ginger, and decaffeinated green tea
- Use food as medicine to address underlying issues such as blood sugar balance, insulin, liver function and hormone imbalances
- Acupuncture can be useful for pain relief during the migraine itself. My local faves are Nurturing Life Acupuncture & Upwey Acupuncture
- Consider appropriate supplements to address deficiencies and alleviate symptoms. Magnesium, feverfew, ginger and willow bark are a few examples of evidence-based options. But they do need to be taken long-term for prevention, so it’s best to seek professional advice around the right dose and form for your needs.
- Seek medical advice for diagnosis, particularly if they are frequent. That way, they can also ensure there are no red flags that suggest a more sinister cause of your migraines.
Chronic migraines are often only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your health
Are you ready to feel calm, in control, less stressed and able to put your own health first?
Book in for a free discovery call today, and we can explore how I can help you to support and nourish yourself – mind, body and spirit.