For educational purposes only and not intended as medical advice. Consult with your Health Care Provider before making any changes.
Migraines: One in 4 households in the US has a migraine sufferer. The majority are undiagnosed. Half of all migraineurs miss at least 2 days of work a month. Migraine victims suffer in many ways: they get fired, miss job promotions, flunk out of school, and get divorced as a result of being out of commission with headaches, often times with no warning. Some end up on disability, because migraines have ruined their life.
Only 48% of those evaluated by a physician will receive the correct diagnosis. Many migraineurs, during an attack are in too much pain to work, drive or function. Many times they resort to hiding in a dark room, waiting for their migraine to go away. In adults migraines usually last at least 4 hours and as long as 3 days.
What causes migraines?
Foods can trigger migraines
Migraineurs have much higher levels of histamine than non headache sufferers. Migraine triggers are foods that cause your body to produce more histamine which causes more headaches. You should avoid all known migraine triggers.
- Added sugar, artificial sweeteners, aspartame, etc
- Aged cheeses
- Aged meats (hot dogs, salami, pepperoni, bacon, ham)
- MSG, (sometimes called hydrolyzed vegetable protein)
- Alcoholic beverages, red wine
- Any liquid other than water
- Any food you are allergic to
- Any food you note triggers a migraine
As you avoid migraine triggers your histamine levels will decrease, and your headaches will become milder, less frequent and may stop altogether. For diet help go here.
Less exercise=more migraines
Endorphins are produced by your own body and are similar to narcotics: they relieve and prevent pain and headaches, but without the side effects.
Migraineurs have about half as much endorphins as non headache sufferers. The good news: multiple medical studies show that aerobic exercise causes a rapid increase in endorphin levels. As endorphin levels increase every aspect of the headaches improve: headaches go away or decrease, remaining headaches don’t last as long and are less painful.
One recent study showed a 50% drop in migraine intensity and frequency after just 6 weeks of exercise. For exercise to be aerobic your heart rate needs to increase, or you need to get a little short on breath.
As you engage in aerobic exercise, your endorphins will increase and your headaches will decrease. For exercise info go here.
Controlling your migraines.
To control your migraines you should simultaneously lower your histamine and increase your endorphins.
Lower your histamine:
- Avoid all Migraine Triggers (see list above).
- Take CBR by Source Naturals, 4 tablets three times a day. Go here for more info about CBR.
- Take magnesium 250 mgs, one each morning, two at bedtime.
- Have protein (eggs, meat, fish, almonds, etc) at all meals, particularly breakfast.
- Drink lots of water, and drink only water.
- If you smoke, QUIT. NOW. Smokers go here.
Increase your endorphins:
- Exercise at least 15 minutes per day, and work up to 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Go here for aerobic exercise information.
- Make sure the exercise is aerobic (increased heart rate, slightly out of breath).
- Get 8 hours of quality sleep each night, going to bed and arising at the same time daily. Go here for help with improving your sleep.
- Any medicine you take to stop a headache that has already started is a Rescue Medicine.
- All Rescue Medicine, OTC or Rx, must be limited to 2 days or less per week.
- Ginger is an exception to the 2 day rule! Just 250 mg of powdered ginger was shown in a medical study to stop migraines as effectively as Imitrex with much less side effects. Take powdered ginger capsules as soon as you notice a headache starting. Natural Pantry has a good selection of ginger capsules (Natures Way, 550 mg, 180 caps for $13.99, these caps are twice as strong as the ginger caps in the study).
Other natural medicines:
- CoQ-lO, 100 mg three times a day caused about half of the patients to experience a 50% reduction in migraines; in a double blind, placebo controlled study.
- Riboflavin (B2) 400 mg per day resulted in 59% of patients experiencing a 50% or greater reduction in headaches in a double blind, randomized trial.
- Petadolex, an herbal extract, is used for migraine prevention. Two randomized, double blind, placebo controlled trials have shown that this herb works. The first one was published in the very prestigious journal NEUROLOGY and showed a 55% reduction in the use of Rescue Medicines to treat migraines. The last one was published in the journal HEADACHE and demonstrated that 71% of the people using Petadolex had at least a 50% reduction in migraines. Take 75 mg of Petadolex twice per day for 1 month and then reduce to 50 mgs twice a day. We have samples if you would like to try Petadolex. Go here for more information about Petadolex or to order Petadolex (about $57.00 for a month supply). Or go to Natural Pantry, Enzymatic Therapy, 50 mg, 60 softgels for $51.99.
PLEASE NOTE: After reviewing a decade of clinical research on the safety and effectiveness of migraine prevention therapies, the American Academy of Neurology issued new guidelines that recommend Petadolex to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. Petadolex outperformed 48 other therapeutic choices. Petadolex is also receommended by the American Headache Society.
Questions? Schedule an appointment if you need help with your headaches.
CW Jasper ND, FNP-BC, DAAPM
- Member of the International Headache Society
- Member of the American Headache Society
- Diplomate in Pain Management by the
- Academy of Integrative Pain Management
Purchasing these products: our first recommendation is to use local suppliers. Natural Pantry has a huge selection and has always been our favorite. Other health food stores will also have some of these products, and patients report that Costco carries some of these products. If it is hard for you to get out, or you prefer to shop online the following link has some excellent products.
Within 2-3 weeks of starting this program your endorphin and histamine levels will be normalizing and your headaches will be much improved. After a month or two, most people will have their headaches under control. Some people will still have headaches but they will be milder, shorter, and much less frequent.
Any headaches that might persist at this point will be much easier to treat. Hence previous ineffective medications might