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Migraines are considered by many to be both headaches and chronic conditions that are long-lasting, recurring and painfully debilitating. Because migraines have such a variety of triggers- food allergies, environmental, hormonal, physical etc. – and are characterized by a number of symptoms -nausea, severe throbbing or pulsating pain and sensitivity to light and sound, the exact causes of migraines is still not fully understood by the western medical community. As such, most people opt to take strong prescription medications to help ease the suffering and mask the symptoms.
This band-aid approach with medication does nothing to address the root cause of a person’s migraines. Like many other ailments, migraines are symptoms of deeper imbalances within the body’s systems.
In my work, I am passionate about working closely with patients to discover the root causes of their discomfort. I see quite a few migraine patients in my office and it has been my experience that in most cases the root causes stem from 3 areas in the body:
1. The Detoxification Mechanism
When detoxification channels such as the liver, kidneys, and lymph system are not functioning at their optimal state, a multitude of symptoms can occur. These include skin issues, headaches and migraines, to name a few. Often, people are eating certain foods in their diet that can be contributing to migraines. Chocolate, cheese, seafood, and wine are some of the well known “triggers” for migraines. However, I frequently see additional correlations between wheat, dairy, and sugar. The key is for you to get off any foods that could be insulting the system while focusing on restoring and optimizing your body’s overall detoxification ability.
Migraines can be triggered by tight muscles and structural imbalances. We all engage in activities that can have a detrimental affect on our body’s alignment and function. These can range from sitting or slouching on a desk all day, slumping on the couch, or straining the body with manual labor or a rigorous workout. Restoring proper muscle balance, function, and overall posture is an essential part to address when dealing with chronic migraines.
3. Stress / Emotions
Stress is another well-known trigger for migraines. When the body undergoes high levels of stress, a myriad of biochemical reactions occur in your body. If this stimulus (stress) continues for a prolonged period of time, numerous issues start to arise such chronic fatigue, insomnia, aches and pain, systemic inflammation, anxiety, depression, headaches and migraines, and list goes on. As a doctor and healer, I’m a firm believer in addressing the emotional well-being of the patient next to the more typical, and exclusively, physiological approach of many of my colleagues. In my practice, I utilize a variety of techniques to allow the patient to eliminate any stressful triggers or, it that is not possible, to change how the mind and body reacts to the stressful event or trigger. Of course, utilizing protocols to address any endocrine or other biochemical imbalances is of utmost importance too.
Occasionally patients are able to overcome decades of migraines by addressing only one of the above mentioned areas, but in my experience the results are much more desirable and long-lasting when all three areas are addressed simultaneously. The bottom line is putting an end to chronic migraines does not come from a pain killer. Instead, ending migraines means being willing to dive deep within your nutrition and lifestyle habits to find and ferret out the root causes and eliminate them. When you do this, over time your body’s systems regulate and balance, bringing you lasting relief from your pain.