Migraine Prevention – How Holistic Medicine can relieve Migraines
Most people have heard of migraines. Heck, tens of millions of people the world over have endured the typically excruciating experience, and some people are even chronic sufferers. Before we dive into to the theme of this article and look at how a holistic approach to your health can significantly help your migraines, it’s important to distinguish a migraine from a standard headache. Headaches, while unpleasant in their own right, are usually less severe, and even bearable. Most people have had at least one headache in their time, be it from dehydration or accumulative stress, but because they are mostly fleeting, many can sleep it off and forget about it. While we at Sydney GP will always advocate natural remedies and holistic medicine (even for the modest headache) we know it can be quite the battle when it comes to the severity of migraines.
If you experience migraines often, we’re sure you know about how much they can impact your quality of life, and thus, understand the desperation of finding something that actually works. From a splitting, pounding pain, constant head pressure, to dazzling auras or even slurred speech, a serious or recurring migraine can certainly be scary. Some migraines can even mimic the symptoms of a stroke, and there have been times in recent history, where actual strokes have been mistaken for a migraine.
They can be that damaging.
Migraine sufferers can find themselves indoors for days, shielding their eyes from the light, while trying to find relief. If you have never experienced a true migraine, then sometimes, it can be a little difficult to sympathise, and even wrongly believe that a ‘simple headache’ isn’t capable of causing that many issues.
That’s why we at Sydney GP have produced this article, not only to educate and differentiate between migraines and standard headaches, but to also explore some holistic approaches to remedying and even preventing them from returning.
Let’s get into it.
Healing Migraines Holistically
While there are a plethora of pain relief concoctions and over the counter medication out there, Sydney GP are always looking for proven migraine alternatives that are much gentler on the body. While there are some conditions that will always require traditional medicine, the rise in integrative medicine and a heavier focus on holistic living, has helped steer the ship of restorative and preventive health. In fact, and in the last decade or so, we have seen many health issues significantly improved and even reversed completely as a result of the medical landscape shifting towards a more natural and holistic approach.
And the same can be said for migraines.
While we would never promote quasi-science or unproven medical advice, Sydney GP are happy to bring you a handful of easy ways to lessen the severity of your migraines, reduce the frequency, and in some cases, completely stop them from occurring again in the future. We understand that some cases of chronic migraine may still require prescription medicine to manage, but the following holistic approaches should also be implemented as part of an integrative approach.
Here they are, in no special order:
Probably one of the more specific ways of treating your migraines with a holistic approach is to monitor your diet. We all know that healthy food choices and regular exercise are integral components of improving the quality of your life, but migraines in particular can often come with specific food and beverage triggers. Through years of study and migraine research, there is now a list of certain foods and beverages that have be known to either trigger or prolong a migraine episode. As such, and while we’re keeping the conversation on holistic migraine treatment, the following foods and beverages have been known to aggravate and trigger migraines, and foods more importantly, that should be avoided if you’re prone to migraines.
- Chocolate – We know. This is a tough one, but chocolate can certainly lead to a migraine in people who are regular sufferers
- Cheese…but not all cheese. Cheese that contains the naturally-occurring compound tyramine, such as blue, feta, cheddar, Parmesan, and Swiss, are the types of cheese to avoid
- Alcohol, and in particular, red wine
- Foods with MSG
- Processed meats
- Pickled foods
- A variety of beans
- Dried fruits
- Cultured dairy products such as sour cream and yogurt
As you can see, it’s quite the list that crosses over different cuisines and mealtimes. To keep in line with this article, and when implementing a holistic approach for your migraines, we recommend keeping a food diary in which you can keep records of what exact foods trigger your migraines. This is a great way to naturally implement a preventive strategy for your head pain, and potentially treat them on your own instead of ingesting a mouthful of harmful pills.
As a side note, and while caffeine isn’t always a good idea, a small amount may in fact ease the severity of migraines in some people. To add to this, caffeine is also added to some migraine medications, but there is a fine line. Too much caffeine can also trigger a migraine, so caffeine, as with the other foods and beverages we have listed, should be looked at as a case-by-case proposition.
Find what works for you.
Natural oils such as lavender and peppermint oil
While prescription pills and generic painkillers can help, treating your migraines with a holistic approach will always be better in the long run. There are many natural alternatives out there when focusing on holistic migraine treatment, as it has been proven that inhaling lavender essential oil may in fact, ease the throbbing associated with migraine pain. Furthermore, people who inhaled lavender oil during a migraine attack (for at least 15 minutes) amazingly felt their pain reduce a lot quicker than those who inhaled a placebo. Peppermint on the other hand, with its menthol, has also been shown prevent a migraine from manifesting altogether.
Real results. Real people.
The use of feverfew
Feverfew, while perhaps not all that known in the realm of mainstream medicine, has been used as part of holistic migraine treatment for years. It’s a herb derived from flowers that can be purchased online or in health stores, and while official studies are yet to irrefutably declare feverfew effective as a holistic migraine treatment option, there is an almost innumerable amount of chronic migraine sufferers out there who swear by it. It’s certainly worth a look.
Why not ginger?
As well as being a handy ingredient in the kitchen, ginger is commonly known to ease the unsettling and unpleasant effects of nausea (and in wide variety of medical conditions) which also extends to migraines. As well as easing the uneasy swell in your stomach, ginger, as part of a holistic approach to migraines, has been shown to alleviate other unwanted aspects of your migraine episodes. From reducing the severity and duration, ginger has been shown to work almost as effectively as some prescription medication, but without the nasty associated side effects. Again, it’s another tool in the holistic approach to naturally preventing and treating migraines, and one that should be seriously considered.
Check it out.
Magnesium is now an almost famous component when we are talking about treating migraines from a holistic approach. As well as the abundance of research online, there’s also a general consensus amongst migraine sufferers that magnesium deficiency a significant factor in which can lead to head pain and eventual migraines. When we are trying to create the best holistic migraine treatment plan we can, supplementation is a good idea, but you can also include magnesium-rich foods into your diet to help the process. Things such as almonds and seeds, peanut butter and even eggs, choosing magnesium-rich foods can offer some much-needed relief.
Sign up for yoga
While we have suggested dietary changes and certain herbs and supplements, there are also physical changes you can implement as part of your holistic migraine treatment plan. Yoga comes with a whole host of benefits to both physical and mental health, but it has also been shown to relieve the troublesome traits of your migraine episodes. From reducing the frequency, the duration, and even the overall intensity of your migraine, yoga is a great addition to your holistic migraine treatment kitbag. With a heavy focus on breathing and mental clarity, yoga can ease anxiety, release tension in your muscles and in particular, the migraine-trigger points (such as your shoulders and trap muscles), as well as improving your overall vascular and physical health.
Book regular massages
We all love a massage, but most of us rarely include it in our weekly schedule. While the costs can add up, Sydney GP suggests frequent massages to holistically treat your migraines, especially if you are chronic sufferer. There are a lot of studies out there that suggest regular massages may reduce migraine frequency, as well as providing the catalyst for better sleeping patterns and even stress relief. The research suggests that regular massages helps monitor healthy heart function, lessen anxiety, and reduce cortisol levels, things that can all contribute to the body being out of balance.
Migraine Relief: The Holistic Way
As we bring this article to a close, we hope that you have found it informative and helpful. Holistic health practices are becoming a more utilised avenue in the world of modern medicine, and with the rise in integrative medicine and alternative treatments leading the charge, it can only mean good things for your migraines.