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How You Can Help Avoid Those Painful Migraines
By Liz Barrington, Natural Body Healing

A migraine is a recurrent severe headache that is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and/or sensitivity to sound; in most cases the pain occurs only on one side of the head.  They tend to occur at intervals; there may be days, weeks or months between attacks and sufferers can be totally incapacitated for anything from 4 to 72 hours. It‘s estimated that almost 6 million people in the UK are affected by migraine. In some cases, it appears to run in families. 


Migraines are different from tension headaches. With a migraine, some people experience an ‘aura’ (visual disturbance) sometime before any symptoms begin.  A migraine without an aura is known as a ‘common’ migraine.  They can start at any age, but occurs more often in women than men and usually starts from the early to mid teens (puberty) to well into the forties.  In addition, children can also be affected by migraine however this is less common.


The cause of migraine is unclear however; it is thought it can be triggered by fatigue, stress, tension, food allergies and high toxicity levels in the body.  It is believed that migraine may occur when there is a decrease then increase in blood flow to part of the brain, probably caused by blood vessels narrowing then opening again.  The stretching of the blood vessel wall can cause the associated pain.


In addition to any blood vessel changes, it is thought that the activity of some chemicals in the brain increase during a migraine.  For example, levels of serotonin, or 5HT (a chemical that is important for brain function and has an effect on the size of blood vessels) decrease at the onset of the headache but revert to normal in the periods of time between attacks.


What can trigger an attack?


Most attacks occur for no apparent reason, but some people notice triggers including:


  • Dehydration.
  • Foods, such as dairy products (particularly cheese), chocolate, alcohol (particularly red wine), caffeine, citrus fruits, nuts, fried foods and foods containing monosodium glutamate (MSG) such as Chinese food, processed meats and frozen pizzas. 
  • Bright lights (photophobia).
  • Insufficient/infrequent food or missing meals to cause blood sugar levels to plummet.
  • Long journeys/travelling.
  • Certain medication such as sleeping tablets or HRT.
  • Loud noises (phonophobia).
  • Strong smells (osmophobia) and perfumes.
  • Changes in the weather.
  • Neck and back pain, poor posture.
  • Eye strain, nasal congestion, hormonal fluctuations.
  • Stress or anxiety and high blood pressure.
  • Tiredness, not having enough sleep or oversleeping.
  • Hormonal fluctuations - migraine may be linked to a fall in oestrogen levels.


There can be more than one trigger for a migraine, so it would be useful to keep a diary of your symptoms so you can look for a pattern in order to avoid your specific triggers.  The diary may identify cyclical patterns, but also any food triggers, dehydration (by noting fluid intake) and stressors that may lead to tension (in which case therapies such as reflexology or massage, may provide some relief, along with exercise).  Also note the date of the attack, what time of day the attack began, what the warning signs were, your symptoms (including the presence or absence of an aura, what medication you took and when the attack ended.

So what can you do if you suffer an attack?  Most people find that sleeping or lying in a darkened room is the best thing to do when having a migraine attack.  Others find that eating something helps, or perhaps using a cold compress, whilst others start to feel better once they have been sick.  How can you avoid it happening in the first place?

Natural remedies that can help combat migraines

Here are some natural remedies and therapies that may be useful to prevent and treat migraine.

§        Drink plenty of filtered WATER throughout the day – at least 2 litres a day and practice deep breathing exercises to help relieve you of stress.

§        Visit a practitioner of kinesiology to help identify possible food allergies and eliminate these from your diet.  Avoid exposure to pollen, dust, mould etc.

§        Follow a regular detox programme to help alleviate any liver and bowel congestion.  Eat plenty of high-fibre food on a daily basis such as peas, lentils, psyllium husks, flaxseeds. 

§        Eat a healthy diet; eating small meals/healthy snacks regularly throughout the day to keep your blood sugar levels up as hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) can often trigger migraines

§        Change your diet include plenty of wholefoods, vegetables, oily fish, high quality protein, apples, onions, garlic, seeds, berries and fruits. The only dairy permitted in small quantities is butter and bio-yoghurt.  A small starchy snack last thing at night may help.

§        Eliminate stimulants to help rebalance your hormones.  Eliminate foods such as tea, coffee, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, soft drinks, grains, processed foods, foods containing MSG (monosodium glutamate), nitrite preservatives found in hot dogs, ham, bacon and salami, plus simple sugars and simple starches, so that hormone balance can be restored.

§       In addition to the above, AVOID the following common migraine food triggers: Rich, fatty or spicy foods, pork, maize/corn, rye, citrus fruit, wheat, coffee, cheese, chicken, liver, pickled herrings, broad bean pods, tinned figs and also eggs, avocados, tomatoes, strawberries, spinach, plums, bananas, raspberries and yeast extract.  Try to eliminate these one at a time to see which is at the root cause.


§         Drink plenty of fresh vegetable juices.


§        Useful herbal supplements: Feverfew, 5-HTP, Calcium Magnesium, Antioxidants, Multivitamin & Mineral, Vitamin B-Complex 200mg (especially Vitamin B2 Riboflavin 25mg, B3 Niacin (vasodilator) 100mg and B6 25mg and B 12 10mg), Vitamin C 1000mg, Omega-3 Oils and also St. John’s Wort and Hops, Valerian and Passion Flower are traditional remedies for anxiety and stress that can help the body relax and unwind, with no side-effects.


§     Other useful herbs include: Bayleaf, cayenne pepper, ginger, peppermint, ginkgo biloba, passion-flower.


§      Avoid taking aspirin or migraine drugs as these constrict the blood vessels.


§        AVOID TOO MUCH STRESS, try to get a balance in life with plenty of rest and relaxation - take up yoga or pilates.  Importantly, avoid too little or too much sleep.


§        Try to take regular exercise, swimming is especially effective.


§        Use an ice cold compress on the forehead that contains any of these essential oils: chamomile, lavender, thyme or basil.

§        Seek the assistance of a chiropractor, osteopath or cranial osteopath to realign bones in the neck and skull.

§        Reflexology is very helpful and regular treatments prevent the recurrence of the condition.  Try the treatment once a week for a month, reducing to fortnightly and then monthly.

§        Homeopathy is another treatment for headaches and migraine - so consult a qualified practitioner so that the ‘prescription’ can be tailor-made to match your specific symptoms.

§        Acupuncture and also shiatsu massage, Indian head, neck and shoulder massage is also recommended.

§       The use of magnets or natural crystals are very powerful and can often provide relief from migraines and can help restore balance, stability and harmony within the body. 

As you can see, your diet and lifestyle always play a major part, so do be prepared to make some long-term changes if you want to avoid the recurrence of those debilitating migraines.  Take control and get on with your life!

The nutritional supplement product links stated in this article can only be purchased from this website in UK and in Europe; however all other health product links stated on this page are available worldwide from Natural Body Healing.  


The above information should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional.







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