You often hear about migraines being just a serious form of headache. But sometimes they don’t even show up as a headache at all! People can have ‘migraines’ in other parts of their bodies besides the head.
The reason is that migraines affect the entire nervous system. And the condition is not only present when the pain is there. It still lurks below the surface at other times as well.
Sadly, no one has a clear-cut 100% effective way to fix the problem. Some work for a while, but may not work all the time. In my practice I’ve had good success with acupuncture, diet changes and herbal supplements. Even so, every migraine is different. They each require a unique approach to the deeper imbalance.
Steps To Take
There are a number of things that can reduce, and sometimes even remove migraine pain.
The first is spotting and avoiding migraine triggers. Often these are foods. They vary from person to person, so each migraine sufferer has to find for themselves what factors act this way for them. Other triggers include weather changes, strong odors, allergies and hormone changes.
There are a number of common food triggers. These include aged cheese, deli meats, alcohol, nuts, soy beans, caffeine, chocolate, bananas, MSG, Italian green beans, broad bean pods, yeast and citrus fruits. Blood sugar swings can also trigger migraines, so it’s best to eat frequent small meals and never to skip meals.
Some people feel as though stress can also be a trigger. However recent studies show that stress doesn’t trigger the problem directly. Instead it makes a person more prone to other triggers. Even so, stress reduction can help.
Hormone changes can be triggers. This can happen at puberty, during menstruation, in pregnancy, or in menopause. Even taking birth control pills (HRT) can be a trigger. If any of these are triggers for you, consider acupuncture or Chinese herbal medicine to help bring your body back into balance.
Once you avoid triggers there are supplements that can help reduce symptoms even more. Here is a short list of useful ones to consider:
- Feverfew – a classic herbal migraine remedy.
- Peppermint – used for headaches since ancient times.
- Exercise – even something as simple as a regular 30-minute walk can go a long way to helping reduce symptoms.
- Massage – if pressing in the area relieves the pain, this is a good approach. Be aware, however, that sometimes direct pressure can make the pain worse. In this case, sometimes a foot massage will do wonders.
- Heat and cold – again, either can help or worsen the pain. Try wrapping a cold pack in a towel and putting it on your neck. If it helps, great. If not, then don’t use this. Another choice is putting hands in hot water. This sometimes does the trick.
- Supplements of magnesium, vitamin B2, calcium and fish oil can also be very helpful.
If these approaches don’t dramatically reduce the problem, you may be experiencing spinal misalignment or an underlying systemic imbalance. For these, chiropractic (for the spinal issues) and acupuncture for the underlying systemic imbalances can often correct the problem.
What’s your best advice?