30 million people in the U.S. suffer from migraine headaches, women being three times more likely than men to get them. No one is absolutely sure why some people get them and others don’t, but it seems that people who get migraines have more sensitive brains. When the sensitive brain is bombarded by outside and inside stimuli, cells in the cortex of the brain become hyper excited and start a process of electrical discharge. This causes blood vessels to dilate, which inflames surrounding tissues, leading to throbbing pain, usually on one side of the head, nausea and sensitivity to light. Before the headache, about a third of people say they experience an aura–flashes of light, blind spots or zigzag lines, or tingling in the face and arm. In women, hormone levels are to blame.
Certain foods and substances (perfumes, food preservatives) can trigger migraines, so keeping track of what you eat may help identify some of these. Keeping regular hours and eating on schedule can help avoid blood sugar fluctuations that may also cause a sensitive brain to start aching.
Regular exercise stimulates the production of endorphins, the brain’s natural pain killer. Relaxation exercises, massage and acupuncture are helpful.
Ginger has been used for thousands of years as an anti-inflammatory. It helps with morning sickness, sea sickness, motion sickness and nausea. Drinking home-made ginger tea as you feel a headache coming helps. Ginger root is very available for making your own tea.
The mineral that has been shown to be of utmost importance when it comes to migraine headaches is magnesium. Studies have consistently shown that people with migraines are magnesium deficient. Oral magnesium supplementation over a four week period has been shown to help relieve migraines in 41% of the patients. In another study, a group of 3,000 patients were given 200 mg. of magnesium daily, with an 80% reduction in migraine symptoms.
It can be very helpful to massage the head and neck with magnesium oil. Keep the head elevated – this will decrease pressure and help ease the pain. A quarter teaspoon of powdered magnesium under the tongue, such as Natural Calm, can also ease the pain.
|Life-flo Pure Magnesium Oil and Natural Vitality Magnesium powder are available at the Co-op|