Right now in the United States, more than 37 million people suffer from migraine headaches. Certain migraine studies, cited by Migraine.com, claim that 13 percent of the U.S. adult population have migraines, with 2 to 3 million of those migraine sufferers reporting chronic migraines. Occurring most commonly in women between the ages of 35 and 55, migraine headaches are a reality for a variety of age groups and demographics, debilitating and excruciating in nature.
Abstract and hard-to-pinpoint in nature, migraine headaches can be caused by a variety of imbalances. As a result, an integrative approach to curing migraine headaches is critical in order to implement a solution that covers all bases.
What are migraine headaches?
Migraines are reoccurring, throbbing headaches that typically affect one side of the head. They are often accompanied by nausea and disturbed vision, making them totally debilitating in nature. Doctors typically attribute the feeling of migraine pains to changes in the brain and surrounding blood vessels. Migraines can last from 4 to 72-hours, and vary in frequency depending on the person.
Unfortunately for sufferers, the exact cause of migraine headaches is not clearly understood today. Though doctors know it’s caused by some kind of blood pressure change in the brain, they are unable to pinpoint what does it each time. Experts believe a combination of expansion of blood vessels and the release of certain chemicals combine to produce a level of inflammation and pain that is incredibly intolerable.
Dopamine and serotonin are among the secreted chemicals that are looked to during a migraine. These chemicals exist in normal amounts in the brain. When they are secreted in abnormal amounts, they can cause blood vessels in the brain to behave improperly, causing pressure changes that contribute to migraine headaches.
Presuming migraine triggers
Additionally, individual triggers have been identified, including certain foods, like chocolate and cheese, as well as foods high in MSG, fasting, stress or tension for a prolonged period, birth control, and smoking. It could be a combination of these triggers,
just one, or none of them depending on the person. Naturally, that leads practitioners to consider an integrative approach when properly addressing the headaches.
An integrative approach
We believe in approaching migraine headaches from an integrative perspective, one that factors in nutrition, lifestyle, supplements, and medication to ensure no extra triggers are causing the episodes. We start with a functional nutrition plan, one that eliminates food associated with inflammation. We then look at food sensitivities, imbalances, and nutrient insufficiencies in one’s diet.
Next, we review one’s lifestyle, looking at sleep cycles, as well as exercise. Though exercise is valuable in moderation for migraine patients, it’s important we review which strenuous exercises are permitted with the condition.
Lastly, we look at clinical considerations and supplements/medication plans, first distinguishing between primary and secondary headaches, as well as headache vulnerability. This is the longest part of our integrative evaluation.
Migraine headaches are a brutal reality for millions of Americans. We address the root triggers throughout an integrative analysis.