This article discusses migraine, what it is, various triggers and underlying causes, touches on some strategies to treat migraine as well as the emotional and metaphysical causes. This article is more a resource and support than a definitive A-Z; if you would like help determining the causes for your migraine or to know more about individual treatment approaches that may work for you and/ or to book an appointment for a comprehensive assessment please complete the contact form below.
Migraine 1: Andrea NIL
Migraine got the better of me this morning and left me floored for the whole day. I tried to chew on the reasons and emotions but sometimes it’s as simple as those pesky things called hormones or practical things like lack of sleep, bright lights, food triggers, low blood glucose levels, mobile phones and WiFi, flickering lights, even weather patterns, and as mentioned hormonal dips pre-menstrually.
People experience migraines with an aura, or without. I don’t know which is worse, the forewarning of the impending head pain or the sudden onslaught of the head pain without the warning from an aura.
I get an aura; I lose half of my vision and get crazy squiggles, lines and distortions in my field of vision. I struggle to read words as the letters get all jumbled up and half of them go missing. For others the aura can affect speech and senses such as touch and smell. Hyper sensitivity to smells is common and numbness or paralysis down the body on one side is noted by others.
All kinds of freaky stuff to be honest especially for a first time sufferer, but what the aura does give you is a little time to put some strategies into place to hopefully lesson the headache phase. I immediately take magnesium, paracetamol or ibuprofen if I have them, and get into a dark room. I also use aromatherapy oils provided that my sense of smell tolerates it and I massage my vagal nerve. I do also tend to think about where have I lost balance in my life and today I actually got down on the rumble roller and checked that my back muscles weren’t all tensed up.
This is a great photo of what an aura looks like;
and yes it moves just like this!
We live in a world of analysis. We are educated in the mind-body and are very self-aware, and so many of us now look to the emotional and metaphysical causes of an illness or symptoms and this is great. But it isn’t always that simple or straight forwards; before you consider adding your twopence worth to someone in the throws of a migraine.
Sometimes its good to analyse the WHYS and emotional reasons; sometimes it is good to just let go. And that is what I had to do, although I did try to do self-healing on the pain this morning, and to be honest I failed dismally; it was just too bloody sore spearing through my eye to even ‘see’ past it.
This here is a very interesting article about the metaphysical causes of migraine and while I do not agree with all of the proposed causes of migraine they certainly pose pause for thought. After all it is not about my opinion, but my prompting you to find your own answers within and so this little blog is just to bring your attention to a few possible routes to explore. METAPHYSICAL CAUSE OF MIGRAINES/HEADACHES
I do often believe that migraine is about being in the logical mind too much, and ignoring what we must see in life around us.
What is it that you are not seeing?
Do you need to connect back to your truth and intuition?
Have you been spending too much time in your head and worrying? Ruminating about the same things over and over again?
What if you sought your answers from a space of heart?
What is going on?
A migraine is not just a headache; which is hard for a headache sufferer to comprehend. If I can put this in context, when the migraine is gone and has eased to allow you to get on with the day, then you have something comparable to most headaches.
Here is an interesting article that describes a migraine:
“When a migraine is triggered, a wave of electrical activity — called a cortical spreading depression (CSD) — spreads over the surface of the brain, suppressing the brain’s normal electrical activity. If this suppression occurs in the part of the brain dedicated to vision, a visual aura will occur. If it happens in the part of the brain that controls tactile sense, a pins and needles type aura will occur. If it happens in the part of the brain that controls speech, an aphasic (language-related) aura will occur.
If the aura-causing CSD is the opening act of a play, the main event is sensitization of the nerve that controls pain in the face and head, the trigeminal nerve. “When this nerve and its tributaries and neurons get chemically primed, they start firing signals causing you to feel horrible pain,” says Bhatt.
The thing is that these nerves are sending out pain signals even though no physically painful stimulus (say, getting hit in the head with a hammer) is present, but rather because migraineurs have that lowered threshold for abnormal biochemistry. In other words, these nerves get sensitized as a result of exposure to a trigger or some combination of triggers, says Bhatt.”
And here is an article about headache versus migraine; if you are unsure.
We weren’t taught the pain of these things in college, only the symptoms. Unless you experience something yourself then you can never truly know. A headache is what you have after the migraine has gone!! Cluster headaches however are severe and are something that I would normally refer to a GP if repeating for further investigation.
Never ignore serious headaches, a change in how a headache is experienced, headaches that persist or pain that is more severe. I.e. if the headache seems unusual to you, get it checked. Especially if it is affecting things like your vision, balance, mood or emotions.
Headaches are one of the most common reasons people buy pain relief in the pharmacy. To be honest I loathe selling paracetamol-codeine or ibuprofen-codeine remedies as they breed chronic over use of codeine (and paracetamol). Two medicine examples are Nurofen and Solpadeine; they sells like hotcakes despite controls in place to regulate sales.
The codeine in these formulations is in a dose that rarely dose much for the headache but does seem to cause many other problems; rebound headache being one and under the radar codeine addiction being a second which I believe a vast percentage of the population here have (in Ireland).
Excess paracetamol use chronically depletes liver glutathione levels which has a serious impact on the health and function of your liver, cellular antioxidant reserves, and your ability to detoxify substances through the liver dependent on this detoxifying substance. You may not have overt liver problems or anything showing up on a blood test but daily use of paracetamol WILL be impacting your health and longevity via glutathione depletion. Depleted glutathione levels as a result of paracetamol have been linked with asthma and autism (in addition to many other environmental factors).
Similarly chronic over-use of non-steroidal medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen (nurofen) may adversely affect the stomach lining leading to an increased risk of stomach ulcers and bleeds.
ALL medication comes with a risk; please never forget this.
Start with the simple remedies and then investigate the causes:
That said, I see nothing wrong with the acute and occasional use of pain relief. If you are in migraine pain sometimes this is the only thing that will work. For many a simple ibuprofen or paracetamol taken immediately will help for migraine (single dose), to this I would add some magnesium (best as powder or liquid), WATER to ensure that you are hydrated, loosening out the muscles in the neck or temples, massaging the vagal nerve down the side of the neck, eating something if blood sugar levels low (but not if nauseous), and aromatherapy oils or acupuncture point work will also work very well. Get into a dark room and if you can quiet your mind. Cooling applications to the temples can be helpful also.
However I will add, because it happened me today, some migraines come with acute sensitivity to smells and nausea/ vomiting so if so avoid aromatherapy or smells that turn your stomach.
What might be going on in the background?
Speaking holistically if someone comes to me with headaches or migraine then it is important to unravel the causes which can be multiple and varied.
Diet and lifestyle are obvious ones, posture and spinal alignment, muscle imbalances, recent falls or accidents (I’ve had migraines after bike falls!), sinus congestion and infections, hormones (adrenal, thyroid, oestrogen: progesterone, low testosterone), nutritional deficiencies, allergies, gastrointestinal problems, toxic exposure (e.g. chemicals in the house, amalgams leaching mercury), to name a few. I would also check methylation status, gluten intolerance, food allergies, and microbial imbalances, infections, viruses, yeasts or parasites. I would probably come up with a few more in the clinic depending on the individual patient and their questionnaire, food diary and health history; also rule out pregnancy!
While it is always important to address the CAUSE several nutritional strategies can assist migraine prevention, notably B2, B6, magnesium and CoQ10 (possibly methylated folate also); but don’t just go and buy supplements you could have a shit diet that needs amending first! A diet that would be considered anti-inflammatory is recommended for migraine sufferers in addition to healing all system, organ and tissue imbalances.
Don’t suffer in silence ‘cos it really does suck; I recommend working with a professional as it takes out the guess-work.