Category Archives: Migraine Headaches

Can you treat a migraine without pain medicine?

migraine, headache, medicine, painIf you have ever had a migraine headache, you know the pain is so intense that a trip to the hospital may be in store.  In this case, the ER staff may use an opioid  pain medicine as a first resort. However, a recent study has shown that this commonly used drug, also known for its addictive qualities, may not be the best choice for migraine relief.

What is a migraine?

A migraine headache involves a throbbing pain, usually on one side of the head, usually along with other symptoms. Nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light are some of the most common symptoms of such headaches. Pain can occur for hours, or even days, and warning symptoms such as  constipation, mood changes, neck stiffness, increased thirst, or frequent yawning may precede a migraine.  In rare cases, right before a migraine you may get aura symptoms such as flashes of light or blind spots.  In the 24 hours after, you may have symptoms such as confusion, moodiness, dizziness, and weakness.

Aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or a combination of acetaminophen, aspirin and caffeine may be used for treatment of most migraines. More severe cases may require medications such as Triptan or Ergot, which help constrict blood vessels and block pain pathways.  However, opioids are used if a person cannot tolerate such medicines.

Migraine Relief Research

A recent study in the journal Neurology looked at 127 patients who had at least trips to the New York emergency department for migraine headaches.  Half of the patients received the opioid hydromorphone and the other half received an IV of the dopamine-releasing drug prochlorperazine.

After 48 hours of treatment, sixty-percent of people from the prochlorperazine group versus thirty-percent of the hydromorphone group felt relief.  In addition, the prochlorperazine group was 30-percent less likely to ask for more pain medicine after treatment than the opioid group (6-percent versus 36-percent).  This study suggests that anti-dopaminergic drugs may provide more relief to migraine headache sufferers than opioids. However, you should be sure to talk with your healthcare provider to find the best treatment for you.

Natural Ways to Relieve Migraine Pain

  • Learn to cope (LTC) : This treatment gradually exposes patients to headache triggers to help them become desensitized to such triggers.
  • Practice consistent overall wellness: Be sure to get a good night’s sleep of at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night and eat healthy, balanced meals every day. Also, be sure to find healthy ways to manage stress such as doing yoga, engaging in relaxation breathing, or taking a walk daily.
  • Stay active: Regular exercise can help not only manage stress, but can also prevent migraines.  Exercise reduces such headaches by reducing tension in the body. Furthermore, staying active can help reduce body weight.  Since obesity is thought to be a risk factor for migraine headaches, weight loss could reduce such risk.
  • Other medicinal treatments: Cardiovascular or anti-seizure drugs, antidepressants, and Botox may be prescribed to help prevent migraine headaches. However, for the more natural route, reach for Migravent by Vita Sciences.  Migravent contains natural ingredients such as PA-free butterbur, CoQ10, magnesium,  and riboflavin. This formula has been found to help prevent migraines and support reduced frequency of such headaches and related symptoms.

Disclaimer: Please be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before starting any new medication.

-written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

Sources:

Mayo Clinic (April 26, 2017) “Migraine”

Medline Plus (October 18, 2017) “Skip Opioid Treatment for Migraine in the ER”

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With or Without Migraine Aura, It’s Still Migraine

Migraine aura: A question that many migraine patients have about chronic headaches is whether or not experiencing an aura (flashing lights) is important for diagnosing migraine disorder. There are many different types of migraines, and they can vary for each individual…and for each migraine headache episode.

With or Without Migraine Aura, It’s Still Migraine

Migraine types

According to the International Headache Society (HIS) Classification System, migraines are primary headaches. Other primary headaches include tension-type headaches and cluster headaches.

Classifications for migraine headaches include migraines with aura, migraines without aura, migraines without headaches, childhood migraines, and so forth.

To define which type of migraine you have, it’s important to take into account all the various symptoms you experience, such as nausea, headaches, neck soreness, eye sensitivity, stomachaches, vomiting, diarrhea, mood swings, visual disturbances, speech slurring, vertigo, and extreme crushing fatigue.

Anatomy of a migraine attack

There are four main phases that occur when you have a migraine attack. They include:

  • Prodrome- unusual cravings, loss of appetite, excitability, fatigue, thirst; these happen about one day earlier.
  • Aura- migraine aura phase (see below)
  • Migraine headache
  • Postdrome- migraine hangover, recuperation following migraine attack

Migraine aura

Approximately one-third of all migraine patients experience the aura phase of a migraine attack. This is a set of symptoms that develops gradually minutes before a migraine strikes and can last as long as one hour. Sometimes, migraine aura occurs without headache, and ends with a feeling of hangover.

To diagnose migraine with aura, you would have to have experienced at least one of the following symptoms minutes before a migraine attack, at least twice that you can remember. Symptoms are temporary, and cannot be attributed to any other underlying health problems.

Visual disturbances:

  • Flashing bright lights
  • Oscillating arc image
  • Zig-zagging line
  • Light specks that flicker
  • Temporary loss of peripheral vision
  • Dark void in vision
  • Double or blurred vision

Sensory disturbances:

  • Hallucinatory scents
  • Vertigo
  • Distorted spatial awareness
  • Faces appear grossly large or small
  • Loss of sense of time passing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Numbness
  • Partial paralysis

Speech disturbances

  • Dysarthria speech distortion
  • Apraxia- paralyzed speech
  • Slurring
  • Numbness in tongue

Migraines with aura

Migraines without aura follow the prodrome phase, as opposed to an aura phase.  A migraine without aura can be just as debilitating as a migraine with aura, and can last for hours or days.

If you experience migraines without the aura, don’t hesitate to ask your physician to refer you to a migraine headache specialist.

Treatments

Migraine abortive medications, preventatives, and pain treatments are often prescribed, in addition to migraine trigger avoidance.

Some helpful natural supplements for migraines are butterbur, magnesium, riboflavin, and coenzyme Q10.

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pediatric migraine headaches, Vita Sciences

Pediatric Migraine Tips for Parents

Pediatric migraine symptoms are frightening and debilitating, Worse, many doctors don’t know how to treat pediatric migraine in small children or teens.

Pediatric migraines are different

When children get migraines, their symptoms are often much different than the ones experienced by their parents or other adult migraine sufferers.

With children, migraine attacks usually occur in the stomach. Most of the time, kids with migraines report feeling suddenly sick to their stomach, fatigued, and feeling the urge to vomit right away. Most- nearly 80 percent- have a very hard time focusing on school work because of a migraine attack, and their grades and attendance suffer as a result.

How common are pediatric migraines?

Migraines seem to increase with age, although it’s hard to be certain, as children under the age of five have difficulty explaining symptoms to their parents that may indicate migraine.

Only about 3 percent of preschool kids get migraines, but that number escalates to 11 percent by the time they reach grade school. Among high school students, nearly a quarter experience frequent migraine headaches, fatigue, dizziness, stomach pain, and extreme sensitivity to bright lights.

Just as with adults, most teen migraine sufferers are females.

Do migraine drugs help children?

Currently, there is no clear evidence that migraine preventive medications for adults can help children, as well. Though the FDA approves the use of antiseizure drugs (Topamax), antidepressants (Elavil), and calcium channel blockers (Covera) to help prevent migraine attacks in adults, many studies show that for pediatric migraines, prescription medications aren’t always the best option.

Recently, scientists studied the effects of migraine prophylaxis medications on children with “episodic migraines,” migraine attacks that occur fewer than 15 times per month.

For the study, researchers focused on anticonvulsant medications, antidepressants, calcium channel blockers, antihistamines, NSAIDs, and drugs for high blood pressure- all of which are often prescribed for adult migraine prevention.

In most cases, the placebo was most effective at reducing the rate of migraine attacks in children, while the migraine preventive treatments had virtually no effect.

Study co-author Dr. Jeffrey Jackson concluded that despite the amount of research we have collected over the years on the best ways to prevent migraines, we really know very little on how to help children who suffer debilitating migraine headaches.

“It’s very discouraging. I was rather shocked to see, quite frankly, how few studies were done among children with headaches, and that the handful of studies we have suggest that the benefits of these drugs, if any, aren’t really big.” -Jackson

When asked to comment on side effects associated the migraine prophylaxis meds, Dr. Jackson agrees that parents shouldn’t rush to administer the pill right away.

“These medicines are kind of nasty. Some cause dry mouth, or fatigue, or problems with concentrating. They’re not really medicines you would want your vibrant teen to be on if they’re not working.”

So, what does help?

Experts agree that natural prevention is your best defense against migraines, for children as well as for adults.

As a parent, you can best help your child by helping her to become familiar with common migraine triggers in food. Caffeine can sometimes make headaches worse, or it can provide relief; it’s different for each individual. Overripe fruits, chocolate, and deli meats are typical menu items that can guarantee a migraine attack. To find out which foods should be cut out, try putting your child on an elimination (restrictive) diet.

Irregular eating and sleeping patterns are common culprits. Does your child sleep the same hours each day, or does she go to bed late on weekends? Does she ever skip meals? The migraine brain hates change, so instilling a rigid sleep and eating schedule is a good way to prevent migraine attacks from occurring.

Stress is a big contributor to migraines, as well. While stressful situations don’t actually cause migraine headaches, they do make them more likely to occur.

If your child gets migraines with aura, then teach her how to recognize the symptoms and use them to her benefit. Flashing, twinkling or shifting light patterns, dizziness, and speech slurring are all cues that a migraine is approaching. At school, your child should ask to see the nurse and explain that she is having a migraine aura, and needs a few minutes to lie down with the lights turned off.

Many parents have also found that natural supplements help with pediatric migraines. Herbs such as butterbur are safe for children and adults alike, and cause no harmful side effects. Other helpful nutrients for migraines in children include magnesium, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), and coenzyme Q10.

Nevertheless, please consult in a doctor before trying out any new migraine treatment for your child, including natural vitamins, minerals, and herbs.

Migravent

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What medications have you found to be most helpful for preventing migraines in your child/children? Do you and your child both suffer from migraine attacks?

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Vertigo and Dizziness with Migraines

Experiencing vertigo and dizziness with migraines? Migraines affect millions of Americans with crushing headaches and other devastating ailments that make it difficult to work or function normally.

Migraine headache and vertigo dizziness

Vertigo and Dizziness with Migraines Headaches

Migrainous vertigo, a vestibular disorder causing dizziness, nausea, and balance problems strikes a large percentage of migraine patients.

Migraine associated vertigo (MAV)

Though it’s not always accepted as an indicator of migraine illness, dizziness and vertigo are common vascular side effects that occur often in people with a history of migraine attacks. Many doctors use a patient’s headache frequency as the measuring stick of chronic migraines, not taking into account other comorbid conditions that occur even without the prevalence of strong head pain.

Vertigo associated with migraines can point to a deeper underlying problem that requires medical attention, or at least signify the need for a change in migraine treatment.

Vestibular migraine

Nearly 35% of migraine sufferers experience vestibular disturbances such as dizziness, vertigo, and other balance issues. Scientists have seen high correlations between migraine disorder and a variety of illnesses that cause wooziness, unsteadiness, light-headed sensations, and confusion.

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) and Ménière’s disease are examples of vestibular dysfunctions that occur often in people with chronic or episodic migraines.

Vertigo symptoms

Symptoms of vestibular disorders that may occur with migraine include:

  • Dizziness
  • Vertigo- a sensation that the room is spinning, similar to intoxication, even while lying, sitting, or standing still
  • Sensitivity to movement of the head
  • Motion sickness
  • Extreme sensitivity to bright lights and loud noises
  • Vision problems
  • Difficulty keeping balance, disequilibrium
  • Tinnitus or Ménière’s disease- ear ringing, headaches, ear fullness
  • Neck pain and muscle spasms
  • Confusion
  • Loss of spatial awareness
  • Anxiety

Testing and treatment

If you experience vertigo or dizziness before, during, or after a migraine attack, then speak to a physician immediately. He may want to order diagnostic tests to rule out stroke, concussion, or brain tumor.

For help, your doctor may recommend a visit to a neurologist, osteopath, or vestibular rehabilitation therapists.

Lifestyle modifications can help improve your tolerance for pain and help with migraine management. These include light exercise, meditation, reducing migraine triggers in diet, and supplementing with vitamins, minerals, and herbs that benefit migraine-specific neurological functioning.

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If you suffer from migraine, do you also experience severe dizziness, even without headaches?

What helps to relieve dizziness and nausea?

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Is it Migraine or Tension Headache? Comparison Chart

Do you always know if you’re experiencing migraine or tension headache symptoms? Both can occur from extreme stress and fatigue. To prevent rebound headache and find the best treatment possible, it’s important to know exactly what’s causing your headache to begin with. Here is a handy chart to help you learn different symptoms and treatments for migraine and tension headaches.

Is it Migraine or Tension Headache? Comparison Chart

Migraine or Tension Headache: Quick reference

  • Migraines are a neurological disorder causing a vast array of symptoms, including debilitating head pain that last for hours, sometimes days. In addition, sufferers experience tiredness, nausea, stomach pain, dizziness, and the need to vomit.
  • Tension headaches are primarily caused by stress and fatigue. Headaches from tense muscles are much easier to treat than migraines, as they respond to medication much better.

Head pain type

Tension headache: Dull pressure, the sensation of a band strapped tightly across the head or neck. Pain is mild or moderate.

Migraine: Throbbing, intense pounding on one side of the head, often at the temple or eye areas. Pain is moderate to extreme, making it difficult to concentrate or think about anything else.

Location of head pain

Tension headache: Scalp, forehead, neck, temples.

Migraine: Temples, eyes.

Pain duration

Tension headache: Pain increases and subsides over the course of the day, or for several days.

Migraine: Headache comes on strong, stays intense for hours. For people with chronic migraines, headaches return repeatedly- more than 15 times per month.

Comorbid symptoms

Tension headache: Insomnia, neck stiffness, stress.

Migraine: Sensitivity to lights (photophobia), scents, and noise; nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, vertigo, distorted speech, partial paralysis, feebleness, loss of consciousness, visual distortions.

Headache triggers

Tension headache triggers: Stress, tiredness, bad posture, eye strain, hunger.

Migraine headache triggers: Food ingredients, scents, noise, bright lights, weather, allergies, air pressure, stress, tension headaches, hunger, irregular sleep patterns, dehydration, cigarette smoke, hormonal fluctuations.

Warning signs

Tension headache: None.

Migraine (with aura): Prodrome phase that occurs hours before, causing symptoms such as euphoria, olfactory hallucinations, unusual cravings, and edginess. Minutes before, some migraineurs experience aura- strange visual disturbances and stroke-like symptoms.

Migraine Aura and Prodrome- What’s the Difference?

Prevalence

Most headache sufferers- from tension type and migraine combined- are female.

Treatment

Tension headache: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are usually sufficient to get rid of a tension headache, although it may take a few days.

Migraine: There are many different types of migraines, so only your doctor can prescribe the best possible course of treatment for symptoms of migraine attacks.

There is no cure for migraine illness, but by using daily migraine preventative treatments, many are able to thwart off the majority of migraine headaches and symptoms of nausea, dizziness, and fatigue.

Popular natural herbs and vitamins for migraine help include PA-free butterbur root, magnesium, riboflavin, and coenzyme Q10. Find them here.

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Just How Many Types of Migraine Are There?

Which types of migraine do you suffer? There are different types of migraine headaches, each requiring special treatment and migraine trigger avoidance strategies.

Just How Many Types of Migraine Are There?

Types of Migraine

Migraines are generally defined by the specific symptoms, plus the assumed migraine triggers or cause. Migraine attack symptoms vary for each individual, and can be inconsistent.

Migraines with Aura

Basically, migraines are divided into two groups: those that follow a “migraine aura” and those that don’t.

The migraine aura is a warning signal that happens mere seconds before a migraine strikes.  Symptoms can be frightening and debilitating: sudden vertigo, partial paralysis, distorted sense of spatial awareness, speech slurring, strange flashes of lights or colors, and sometimes brief loss of consciousness.

Sometimes a migraine aura gives you time to prepare and quickly take an abortive medication, but not always.

Ocular Migraine

An ocular migraine refers to a migraine with aura, and defines the specific phenomenon that occurs during this migraine phase. Other names includeophthalmic migraine or retinal migraine.

There are different types of ocular migraine, depending on which type of visual distortion you experience before a migraine attack occurs.

Symptoms of ocular migraine include blurred vision, bright specks of light, zigzagging lines, oscillating arcs, temporary partial blindness in one eye, floating lines, and dark void that increases.

Acephalgic Migraine

Also called “silent migraines,” an acephalgic migraine includes all the symptoms of a migraine attack, minus the headache.  Somebody suffering from acephalgic migraines may experience frequent dizziness, nausea, stomach cramps, visual distortions, vertigo, and extreme fatigue- all symptoms that occur often with migraines with aura.

Migraine Auras without Headache: Silent Migraines

Seasonal Migraines

Sometimes, your migraine headaches occur only with changes in climate. Migraines are characteristically hypersensitive to changes of any kind (e.g. hormones, blood sugar, and sleep schedules), so fluctuations in the weather that occur with the change of seasons can trigger strong headaches for many people who are predisposed to migraines.

Other reasons for season migraines can include allergens in the air, arid weather, or even seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that afflicts some people in the winter.

Cyclic Migraine Syndrome

Also called unspecified migraine, cyclic migraines don’t follow any pattern that can be traced easily. You may go through a phase of chronic migraine headaches- more than 15 per month- and then experience a weeks-long respite, only to have the vicious cycle repeat all over again.

Abdominal Migraine

Abdominal migraines are usually the earliest sign of pediatric migraine, as they’re mostly common in children who have inherited migraines from their family. Still, abdominal migraines can occur with adults.

Symptoms of abdominal migraine include intense stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.

Natural Options for Helping Migraines

Prescription migraine pills can help to reduce migraine attack frequency, but can also cause harmful side effects, such as memory loss, dizziness, change in appetite, and even headaches. Please ask your doctor about some natural ingredients that, when taken daily, can provide positive results without side effects, and can be taken safely with most migraine headache medications.

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Natural Migraine Relief- At Last

Natural Migraine Relief- At Last

Migraine headache specialists recommend combining natural migraine relief tactics with conventional medicine for best results. Many popular natural herbs, vitamins, and minerals have beneficial properties that have been used for centuries to combat everyday ailments. These have also been proven to help with chronic migraine attacks.

Natural migraine relief supplements

In a study published in 2003 by the Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association, researchers noted exceptional benefits when migraine sufferers used a variety of natural ingredients as part of their daily migraine management regimen.

Listed are some of the best supplements recommended by migraine clinics worldwide.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E helps to maintain normal blood flow and is helpful for your immune system. For migraines, researchers found that vitamin E supplements are particularly helpful for women suffering from menstrual migraines. Out of 72 female migraine sufferers, the participants who took vitamin E noticed positive results in relation to migraine sensitivity to bright lights, noises, and nausea.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is a nutrient that requires constant replenishment. Vitamin B6 is necessary for the immune system and the assimilation of serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters. Vitamin B6 deficiency is linked with depression, anxiety, and increased risk for neurological illnesses, such as migraine. Researchers have noted abnormally low serotonin levels in migraine patients, possibly as a result of low vitamin B6 levels.

In a 2009 study on migraines with aura, patients who took a combination of vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and folic acid saw a 50% difference in the brain’s response to migraine triggers, noting an allover improvement in health and comfort.

Butterbur

Butterbur (Petasites hybridus) is an ancient herb that has been used for centuries to help with common debilitating symptoms. Today, butterbur supplements are advised for people who experience frequent migraines and allergy symptoms. Beneficial properties include muscle spasm reduction and a proper biological response to inflammation, both of which are helpful for migraines.

Only PA-free butterbur supplements are safe for human consumption.

Riboflavin (vitamin B2)

Riboflavin is a popular ingredient in migraine vitamins, as it is helpful for producing red blood cells and maintain good mitochondrial health. Doctors have seen vitamin B2 deficiency in people who complain of frequent migraine headaches. In a 2004 study, patients who took riboflavin reported substantial benefits, compared with those who took a placebo pill. Factors considered included number of headaches per month and the amount of painkillers needed to provide relief.

Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 helps your body produce healthy cells, and also boosts energy. Doctors often recommend CoQ10 for people suffering from cardiovascular problems and migraine attacks. In several placebo-based studies, scientists noticed positive results in migraine sufferers who took Coenzyme Q10.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is necessary for healthy bones. Many of us don’t utilize vitamin D well as we age, resulting in osteoporosis. Vitamin D is also helpful for immune system integrity and your body’s inflammation response. In 2008, the American Headache Society published a report shedding light on a 42% vitamin D deficiency in people with migraines. In 1991, a separate study found that vitamin D is helpful for daily pain symptoms that don’t respond to common painkillers.

Magnesium

Magnesium is an essential mineral for many biological responses throughout your body; it supports your immune system, enzyme production, and nervous system health. For migraineurs, magnesium helps to maintain a normal neurological response to common migraine triggers. Doctors have also noticed unusually low magnesium levels in people who experience frequent migraine headaches with aura. Scientists are currently investigating the healthful properties of magnesium in supporting good heart health and blood pressure.

Takeaway

For advanced migraine care, try a supplement containing all of the most effective natural ingredients in one pill.

Speak to your healthcare provider before beginning any natural migraine relief regimen. The information stated here is not meant to take the place of a doctor’s advice.

 

References:

http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitaminb6.asp

http://www.neurology.org/cgi/content/abstract/63/12/2240

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR601201

http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitamind.asp#h3

http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/magnesium.asp

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/coenzyme-q10/NS_patient-coenzymeq10

 

 

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What Works for Migraines? New Study

In a recent study, patients tell researchers what works for migraines, comparing prescription migraine drugs with natural, alternative vitamins and lifestyle changes. The results may surprise you.

What works for Migraines

Migraines are a neurological illness that inflicts sufferers with frequent crippling headaches, nausea, stomach cramps, vertigo, and all-over body pain. Doctors have been working on a “cure” for years, but it seems that some of the most effective treatments that help don’t require a prescription at all.

What works for migraines?

Disclaimer: Please don’t ever consider stopping your current migraine medication or starting a new one without your doctor’s consent. This does not constitute medical advice, but rather a general awareness of what researchers have discovered when interviewing patients of chronic migraine attacks.

Eighty percent choose natural therapy.

Results are based on a survey by Cure Together that is available online.

Of the top ten best-rated treatments for migraine headaches, only two are migraine prescription medications; that’s an 80% success rate for natural preventative medicine and migraine trigger avoidance.

Top 10 list

1. Sitting in a dark, quiet room.
2. Taking a nap.
3. Avoiding red wine.
4. Waiting it out.
5. Eliminating MSG.
6. Avoiding smoke or quitting smoking.
7. Wearing sunglasses, even indoors.
8. Intravenous dihydroergotamine Injection (DHE)
9. Imitrex (sumatriptan) injection
10. Pressing an ice pack or cool towel on head or neck.

Popularity vs. effectiveness

Interestingly enough, some of the most effective treatments for migraine headaches are also the least practiced. According to the infographic on Cure Together, the most oft-prescribed migraine drugs are rated by patients as the least helpful in relieving migraines. Conversely, natural migraine strategies that work, such as lifestyle changes and nutrients such as butterbur, riboflavin, CoQ10, and magnesium seem to be the least prescribed and the bottom of the go-to list for migraine prevention.

Is it any wonder, then, that so many people continue to suffer from excruciating migraine attacks?

Natural vitamins, herbs, and other nutrients

Out of all the treatments rated in this survey, the one that got the best response- lying down in a quiet room- garnered 893 points. Using that number as a guideline, you can see that vitamin supplements for migraines get a huge thumbs-up for simple effectiveness without side effects.

  • Magnesium- 556
  • Vitamin B2- 380
  • Coenzyme Q10- 296
  • Vitamin B12- 247
  • Vitamin D3- 130
  • Butterbur-  115
  • Vitamin B6- 106

Hint: Migravent has all of the top-rated ingredients!

Migravent for Migraines

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What treatment do you believe works for migraines better than anything else?

Did you like this article? Please tweet, blog, or share this on Facebook with anybody who suffers from migraines or is otherwise involved with migraine awareness. Feel free to leave your comments below.

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Migraine Triggers in Food that will Surprise You

The single most important preventative treatment for migraine headaches is to simply avoid all migraine triggers that affect your nervous system. Easier said than done, you may say, as there are hundreds of things in food, weather, and daily life that increase your chances of having a migraine attack.

Migraine Triggers in Food that will Surprise You

Can you spot the migraine triggers here?

What’s in a migraine?

Migraines are a neurological disorder that is often inherited from your family. Most migraine sufferers are women, but not exclusively. Common symptoms include, but are not limited to, excruciating pounding headaches, stomach pain, nausea, eye pain, vertigo, and overwhelming fatigue. Chronic headaches happen more than 15 times each month.

It’s worth noting that not all migraine attacks include headache. You may experience all the other symptoms of migraine, such as dizziness, stomach cramps, and extreme sensitivity to bright lights and strong scents without ever suffering from head pain. Even “silent migraines” can be very debilitating, especially as they are often connected with migraines with aura, a condition that scientists have linked with increased risk for stroke, heart disease, and epileptic seizures.

Migraine triggers

Migraine triggers don’t necessarily cause migraines, as much as they increase your likeliness of having one. Just as stress lowers your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight off infections and bacteria, so do migraine triggers make it harder for your nervous system to control overstimulated, trigger-happy nerve cells of the brain.

Some of the most well-known migraine producers exist in food. Chocolate, coffee, hot dogs, aged cheeses, and MSG are all considered “red light” foods on a migraine diet. Still, every person is wired differently, so what triggers a five-alarm migraine attack in one person may actually provide significant relief to another. Caffeine, for example, is both a migraine trigger and a painkiller, depending on your migraine brain.

To find out exactly which foods are triggering your migraine headaches, it’s important to keep a migraine diary, and fill in all foods, feelings, medications, daily weather, sleep cycles, and other relevant facts.

How many of these unusual migraine triggers can you identify?

  • Leftover food from restaurants, likely to contain tyramine, a common migraine trigger.
  • Bananas- along with avocados, fruits that are eaten when very ripe also contain tyramine.
  • Citrus fruits, although healthy for preventing the common cold, are rich in citric acids that interfere with your pH blood level, and also contain histamine, a migraine trigger for some.
  • Artificial flavorings, colorings, and preservatives contain chemicals that increase your chances for frequent migraine headaches.
  • Packaged goods containing hidden monosodium glutamate (MSG) can include mixed nuts, soup mixes, sauces, and even mayonnaise. To avoid migraines, always read food labels, even on food products that you wouldn’t expect to find migraine-triggering MSG.

Scientists have compiled a list of hundreds of migraine triggers, not all of which are from food. In addition to the ones listed, can you list any other other headache triggers that you currently avoid?

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10 Natural Ingredients that Help Migraine

While there is no 100% cure for migraines, a neurological illness, doctors agree on certain natural ingredients that help migraine headache sufferers reach their optimal level of nervous system functionality. The following herbs, vitamins, and minerals have been the focus of the most studies, and are highly recommended by natural migraine treatment physicians.

10 Natural Ingredients that Help Migraine

Please note that many natural supplements have powerful properties that can rival those of prescription medications. Please consult your doctor before taking any new treatment for migraine disorder.

Natural ingredients that help migraine

Here are some natural ingredients that are most often cited as beneficial for migraine headaches, nausea, stress, and other forms of chronic pain.

1- Butterbur (Petasites hybridus)

Butterbur root extracts have been featured in numerous scientific studies on natural migraine prophylaxis. Scientists noted optimal results when migraine sufferers used 75mg of safe, natural butterbur supplements each day for at least three months. Test subjects who also suffered from severe asthma and muscle spasms reported good health after taking butterbur daily. Note: Read the label when purchasing butterbur capsules- only use extracts free of pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA’s), which can have a toxic side effect. Look for “PA-free” on the label.

2- Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant that aids migraine patients by supporting healthy blood flow to the brain, sustaining good circulation, regulating blood-sugar levels, and promoting normal cellular metabolism. Doctors recommend 60mg-100mg of coenzyme Q10 daily for best results.

3- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)

Practitioners of CAM (complementary alternative medicine) recommend taking 400mg of riboflavin each day for at least three months. Riboflavin helps to sustain ideal cellular metabolism, while also controlling the effect of oxidative damage that can occur with chronic migraines.

4- Magnesium

Magnesium deficiency is a common trigger of chronic migraines, so experimenting with at least 200mg of magnesium each day is a good way to eliminate that as a cause of your migraines. Most patients do not need to exceed 1,000mg doses of magnesium, which is also naturally helpful for neurological functioning. Some migraine patients suffer from magnesium deficiency, a common trigger of migraine attacks. Health experts recommend beginning with 200mg of magnesium per day, to be increased to 1,000mg if needed. Magnesium helps to sustain health neurological functioning.

5- 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)

5-HTP is helpful for serotonin management. Doctors suggest 5-HTP as a natural ingredient for migraine headaches caused by vascular disorders resulting from low serotonin.

6- Coffee

Coffee can sometimes trigger migraines, but for many other migraine patients, a caffeinated drink can actually provide relief.

7- Valerian

Valerian is helpful for reducing stress that triggers migraine attacks.

8- Peppermint

If your migraine attacks occur with gut-wrenching nausea and cramps, then try chewing on a raw peppermint leaf. Or, sip a cup of healing tea seeped with peppermint.

9- Cayenne

Topical pain creams containing cayenne are helpful for neck stiffness, back pain, and sore joints that occur with migraine.

10- Kava

Kava contains therapeutic phytochemicals that promote relaxation in the nerves and muscles.

 

Can you add to our list? Can you recommend any other great natural ingredients that help migraine headaches? Please list below.

 

Image by Praisaeng

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