Nontoxic Treatments for Migraines
The international healthcare group Bupa estimates that around two million Australians suffer from migraines, making migraines the most common neurological conditions. Experts blame the modern unhealthy lifestyle that many people lead, with poor diet, chronic stress, irregular schedules, and pollution.
Many sufferers point to specific triggers, including bright light, loud noise, smoke and certain other smells, hormone fluctuations, certain foods and food additives, including MSG, nitrates, tyramine, chocolate, nuts, dairy products, or fermented foods. Some sufferers go to great lengths to avoid their triggers, which reduces the frequency of migraines in some sufferers, but rarely eliminates them.
Migraines fall into two specific classes, with and without aura. Migraines with aura are preceded by sensory disturbances. These are usually visual and may include blind spots, flashing lights, tunnel vision, or zigzag patterns. Not all auras are visual, however, any of the senses may be affected. Sufferers may experience ringing in the ears, phantoms smells or tastes, or numbness, tingling or weakness. Auras typically last less than an hour before the headache sets in.
A migraine without aura is much the same minus the sensory disturbances. With or without aura, the headache can last as long as 72 hours. In a small majority of sufferers, the headache is limited to one side of the head, but can occur on both sides. It is typically accompanied by a variety of symptoms, most commonly nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light, sound, and motion.
Many migraine sufferers find themselves turning to medication to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines, with varying degrees of effectiveness. However, it’s important to realize that these medications only treat symptoms, not the underlying cause. Overuse of these medications can lead to reduced effectiveness, dependence, and even toxicity.
Studies have shown that nontoxic treatment options are more effective at bringing about longer lasting relief. The exact mechanism behind migraines is not fully understood, and migraines cannot be cured in the usual sense of the word. However, these treatment options address the underlying causes of migraines that medication cannot, bringing about long term relief. In some cases, patients report having no migraine episodes for months or even years after treatment.
Some of these treatment options include:
- Chiropractic – Gentle manipulation of the spine has been shown to reduce both the frequency and severity of migraines for most sufferers. In studies, sufferers report significantly less pain and fewer episodes, while needing significantly less medication.
- Acupuncture and acupressure – Other studies have shown these methods to also be effective at reducing the frequency and severity of migraines.
- Cognitive therapy, biofeedback, relaxation – Stress is a big trigger for many sufferers, and helping patients to manage their stress levels using relaxation, biofeedback, cognitive therapy, or other methods may be able to stop a migraine.
- Exercise – Working out is known to lower stress levels and improve blood flow. In addition, exercise releases endorphins known to relieve pain.
- Diet – Eliminating foods and additives that are known to trigger migraines, such as chocolate, nuts, red wine, MSG, and others can reduce migraines. However, migraines can be complicated, so diet alone may not eliminate migraines.
- Hydration – Drinking plenty of water can help to flush toxins that may aggravate migraines.
The thing that makes these treatment options even better is that any of them can be safely combined, with no potentially dangerous interactions that can occur with many medications.
If you suffer from frequent migraines, call Eastern Chiropractic now on 9857 4503 to arrange an appointment to talk to a chiropractor about how we can help you get relief.