Treating Migraines with Naturopathic Medicine
Migraines are something I have treated very frequently in my NW Calgary Naturopathic Medicine practice. This condition is one that can severely impact my patients quality of life and so it is very important to determine the root cause of this painful condition and treat it accordingly.
Migraines are usually described as a pounding, throbbing pain that is worse with physical activity and movement. It can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, and sensitivity to light and/or noise. Some people will experience warning signs of an impending migraine, which is called an aura. Some people will even experience an aura without a headache following the aura symptoms. These headaches can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days, with some patients experiencing them for longer periods of time. I see this condition mostly in adults but have treated them in children and young adults as well.
Migraines can have many potential root causes, including stress, fatigue, food sensitivities, food additives such as MSG, foods such as wine, chocolate or cheese, hormones, weather changes, tight neck and traps, medications, and so much more. Therefore part of my approach as a Naturopathic Doctor is to investigate my patients lifestyle to determine what could be contributing as a trigger. Once we determine the potential root causes, there are a variety of treatment options we can use to treat this debilitating condition. Read below for more information!
Nutrition for Migraines
A major cause of migraines can be blood sugar fluctuations and dehydration. I always ask my patients to ensure that they are eating protein with every meal and every snack starting from breakfast, as this maintains a steady blood sugar through out the day. Minimizing refined sugars as well as refined grains such as white rice, white pasta and white bread is helpful as well. Drinking plenty of water through out the day is also important in minimizing headaches in general. Sometimes inflammatory foods can contribute to migraines as well. Looking at a patients diet diary can be a helpful way to identify which foods may be contributing to their symptoms. You can read more about Nutrition here.
Vitamins and Supplements
Sometimes nutrient deficiencies can contribute to headaches. By doing a thorough health history and looking a patients medications I can determine which vitamins and supplements can be helpful to my patient. I always ensure the vitamins and supplements I prescribe are safe for the patient considering their health history and any other medications they are currently taking. You can read more about professional grade supplements here.
Food Sensitivity Testing
This is definitely a very helpful method of treating migraine headaches. By testing for these foods and eliminating positive foods from my patients diet we tend to see significant results in frequency and intensity of symptoms. You can read more about Food sensitivity testing here.
This modality is one of the most common ways to treat headaches in my practice and I tend to get great results with it. We typically require 3 to 5 sessions to obtain significant results and treatments are spaced one week apart. The treatments are very relaxing and I find the results to be longer lasting. The Bowen treatments tend to focus on the upper body, head, neck and jaw. You can read more about Bowen Therapy here.
Acupuncture can be helpful for migraines, especially when the root cause of them are tight muscles and /or stress. Depending on the cause, the acupuncture points will either be inserted on the front of the patients body or the back (neck and traps). Patients find the treatments very relaxing and tend to fall asleep during the treatments. You can read more about acupuncture here.
This modality is useful when the cause of the headache is tight muscles. The homeopathics are injected in the muscles in the neck and upper back to release areas of tension. You can read more about Mesotherapy here.
Stress management is a very important part of treating headaches. Many patients find yoga to be very helpful in relaxing tight muscles that can contribute to headaches, along with cardiovascular exercise (except for during a headache of course). Read more about this here.
As you can see, Naturopathic Medicine has a lot of treatments to offer a patient suffering from Migraine headaches. Successful treatment is dependant on determining the root cause of the condition and treating it accordingly. Please don’t hesitate to contact me at my NW Calgary Naturopathic Medicine practice at (403) 719-2594 if you have any questions about how Naturopathic Medicine can help you!
Dr. Ramona Charikar
Naturopathic Vitality Acupuncture and Wellness Clinic
#205-5403 Crowchild Trail N.W.
Calgary, AB T3B 4Z1
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