Migraine is a constellation of symptoms rather than one specific etiology. Clinically diagnosed, migraine includes headaches lasting 4-72 hours, usually unilateral, pulsating and of moderate to severe pain intensity. The headaches are made worse by activity and can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and photophobia.
Migraine headaches take an extraordinary toll in terms of cost as well as the burden of pain and suffering. Affecting 17.1% of women and 5.6% of men, it is estimated that health care costs in 2010 were 4.3 billion dollars exclusive of drug costs and indirect costs such as loss of productivity. Most if not all migraines have a trigger that initiates the attack. This trigger induces a neurological event which then triggers downstream events such as vascular changes and hypersensitivity of one or several cranial nerves.
Food can trigger migraines and two thirds of patients who experience migraines respond to elimination diets. Hunger or low blood sugar is a trigger in at least one half of the cases and alcohol is often reported by 32% of patients as a trigger. Menstrual migraines have been reported and iron deficiency anemia is a potential contributor as well as fluctuating levels of sex hormones. Natural treatment modalities include Butterbur extract which decreased migraine frequency in one clinical trial by 50% when used prophylactically. Magnesium, riboflavin, and vitamin B12 also have been used with relief in 45-50% of patients. Increased water intake, exercise and omega 3 fatty acids have all benefited patients who suffer from migraines. For additional information on natural treatments, contact the clinic.