Migraines are a neurovascular disorder that produce a number of symptoms including:
- moderate to severe pain on one side of the head that is worse with physical activity
- throbbing sensation
- nausea, vomiting
- sensitivity to light, sound or smell
- an aura, which is a focal neurological symptom before the migraine (i.e. double vision)
Migraines can last from 2-72 hours and can negatively affect a person’s quality of life. Often people turn to over the counter or prescription pain medications, which help relieve symptoms. However, some individuals may experience adverse drug reactions.
Migraines have a genetic component that make an individual more susceptible to internal or external migraine triggers. These triggers include: fluctuation in hormones, certain foods or food additives, stress, bright lights, perfumes, sleep deprivation (including jet lag), physical activity, changes in barometric pressure and certain medications. Naturopathic medicine can help to identify your personal triggers and provide natural solutions to help reduce the severity and occurrence of migraines.
Here are a few ways naturopathic medicine can help:
- Identifying food sensitivities (IgG) and food triggers. Certain foods can trigger migraines. Common food triggers include red wine, dark chocolate, caffeine, and food additives. Your naturopathic doctor can perform lab testing to identify food sensitivities and provide an individualized dietary protocol to reduce the severity and occurrence of your migraines.
- Detoxing and balancing hormones. Many women experience migraines before or during their menses. Estrogen levels decline prior to menstruation and can trigger migraines in predisposed individuals. Acupuncture and supplements can help reduce migraines associated with hormone fluctuations.
- Balancing blood sugar. Missing meals can lead to a hypoglycaemic states that is accompanied by a migraine. Try eating 5-6 small meals during the day.
- Improving sleep. Individuals that are sleep-deprived can experience more migraines. Your naturopathic doctor can help identify factors that are affecting your quality of sleep and provide natural solutions.
- Reducing stress. Coping mechanisms, acupuncture and supplements can be beneficial in supporting your body during stressful periods. Stress can also lead to hormonal imbalance and vitamin deficiencies.
Dr. Christina Lukasko is a naturopathic doctor practicing at Ocean Wellness in North Vancouver. She has a general family practice with a focus in skin conditions and hormonal health. She has clinical experience treating a variety of health concerns, including digestive and autoimmune conditions.
Please note that this information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice nor does it replace the advice of your medical doctor or other healthcare practitioner. Never delay seeking medical assistance.