I can’t explain the weirdness and pain of a migraine, but as your here, I gather you probably know what they feel like.
I remember my first one. I was out with a friend in a busy shopping centre in Melbourne. There’s no other way to describe it than scary. I developed tunnel vision, and while I could see Sarah’s lips moving and hear a muffled, far away sound, I couldn’t made out what she was saying. I had pain in my left arm, felt sick, and I progressively developed a feeling of wonkiness. Thank goodness Sarah didn’t live far away, so although in hindsight I shouldn’t have driven, we met back at her house. I felt terribly guilty, because she’d just returned from a great overseas trip and was so excited to show me her video clips. But the light from the TV felt like it was simply boring a hole through my skull and trying to keep my eyes open was incredibly painful. Bed, a dark room, an ice pack and painkillers was my only option.
I am one of the blessed people though. I’ve discovered migraine strategies that really help me, and I would now tentatively call myself predominantly migraine free. I’ve also helped many migraine sufferers over many years to kick this terrible syndrome to the curb.
So what might help you?
1) Chiropractic care
This is a powerful approach! I have watched as some sufferers migraines simply melted away in my hands immediately following an adjustment. It doesn’t always happen this quickly, but a large number of migraine sufferers can reduce, even eliminate, migraines by regular 2 – 4 weekly adjustments. Research supports this approach. I have articles in the garage in boxes, but if you’d like them, let me know and I’ll go and fish them out for you.
2) Fix your PCOS hormones
One of the reasons I wanted to discuss migraine on this website is that oestrogen dominance can cause migraines. And women with PCOS are more likely to suffer from oestrogen dominance, as are those suffering from endometriosis and fibroids. PCOS migraines are the same as the regular type, but the trigger maybe hormonal. Read my article 6 Top Steps To Reduce PCOS Estrogen Dominance to discover ways to tackle this problem.
3) Lifestyle awareness and change
A study in The Clinical Journal Of Pain found a detailed nutritional history could help with identifying foods that trigger migraines in an individual. Although the triggers can be controversial, certain subsets of patients “may be sensitive to phenylethylamine, tyramine, aspartame, monosodium glutamate, nitrates, nitrites, alcohol, and caffeine.” I have found my clinical experience backs this up, and that patients would often react to some sort of food.
The study concluded: “The identification of food triggers, with the help of food diaries, is an inexpensive way to reduce migraine headaches. We also recommend the use of the following supplements in the preventative treatment of migraines, in decreasing order of preference: magnesium, Petasites hybridus, feverfew, coenzyme Q10, riboflavin, and alpha lipoic acid.”
I wanted to make a separate note on magnesium for two reasons. Firstly, I have found that many patients gain great benefit from supplementing with magnesium for their migraine. It’s wonderful stuff! Secondly, that women with PCOS have been shown to be more likely to have low magnesium levels, which may well be a trigger from migraines in this syndrome. Try to choose a high quality magnesium supplement, in powder form for easy absorption. With migraine, gut motility slows down, so when taking magnesium to help lessen a current migraine, powder-to-liquid supplements can be absorbed more effectively. Isotonix magnesium or Metagenics are my preferred brands.
4) Feverfew and Capsaicin
My lovely G.P. before he retired told me that feverfew and capsaicin have been shown to help with migraine. The study in the British Journal of Anaesthesia showed promise in an intranasal application of capsaicin, which could be a Godsend for those who suffer vomiting with their migraine.
5) Avoid triggers for a cervical problem
Cervical, or neck, problems can trigger migraines. So avoiding the things that cause cervical issues may just help you with your migraines too. Think regular Chiropractic care, practicing good posture, drinking enough pure water, taking rest breaks during the day, avoid tummy sleeping, stretch regularly.
Migraines can be utterly disability. When my vision starts to go wavy, and my nose starts to feel numb, I know it’s time for an adjustment, a lay down and a dark room – ASAP. Before the headache hits (you can have a migraine, and not have a headache. As strange as it may sound!) If you can, take the preventative steps outlined above. Then, if and when, one creeps upon you, take action quickly. I’ve discovered over the years, putting off action in the hopes ‘it might just go away’ usually only lead to a poorer experience.
Dr. Rebecca Harwin
The PCOS Expert
Nutritionist, Author, Chiropractor