Headaches are among humankind’s most common afflictions. About 15% in the US, around 45 million Americans, are stricken at least once a week. Migraine headaches are now ranked in the top 20 list of diseases causing disability worldwide.
The vast majority of these attacks, up to 90%, are tension or stress headaches; such as knotted neck muscles and dull head pain. The other 10% are the real bangers; migraines and cluster style headaches.
A migraine with an aura, a new name, refers to feelings and symptoms you notice right before a headache begins. In 2007-2010 there were over 51 million doctor visits for headaches, half which were migraines. Women are three times more likely to develop a migraine than men. Of those, 12 % have MRI scans done; but guidelines actually recommend to not use scans, unless absolutely necessary, due to dangers to brain tissues.
Factors causing migraines include genetics and overweight issues. Environmental and behavioral or emotional triggers can run in families. A headache is a common symptom of a migraine, but migraine pain usually occurs in front of head or/and on one or both sides of the temples. It produces a steady throb lasting from 4 to 72 hours. Localized neurological symptoms range from tingling, ringing of ears, weakness, flashing light, prickly skin, yawning and irritableness.
Premonition symptoms or warning signs can occur hours to a few days prior to a migraine; such as fatigue, concentration difficulty, muscle stiffness especially around the neck. Before and during a migraine blood flow in specific regions of the brain will drop causing disturbance in the brains balance and affecting neurological functions; similar to what occurs in a stroke! For women it can be before the menstrual cycle and may be related to shifts of estrogen levels.
Studies conducted by Stanford University, says 50 percent used prescription drugs and prayer to treat their pain, others relied on over the counter painkillers. All these mounds of drugs are used to kill the pain, but realistically have very little benefit.
To minimize Migraine attacks:
Mainstream medicine has turned to anti-epileptic drugs which has a strong similiarity between the brain chemistry of a seizure and a migraine.
Magnesium is essential in controlling brain electrical activity, especially in regard to brain blood flow. Studies show that up to 50% of migraine patients are deficient in magnesium during an attack. Therefore magnesium is increasingly being indicated for migraine prevention. Try magnesium rich foods like spinach, fish, avocado, almonds, brazil nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds or buckwheat, barley and quinoa grains.
Garlic plays a key role in inhibiting the activity of platlets, the blood components involved in triggering migraines. Their blood thinning effect could reduce the severity of the headache.
Ginger helps prevent the blood vessels from dilating, which precedes the headache and can help with the inflammation and pain. Danish researchers at Odense University found ginger can be as effective as standard migraine drugs without any adverse side effects!
Other suggestions found to help are Omega 3’s, Walnuts, Riboflavin, turmeric and mint.
BE careful what you eat! Headache or migraine inducing foods are rich in tyramine and sulfite substances. These include chocolate, beer, wine, ripened cheese, bananas, and cured meats like hot dogs and bologna!
Also watch for MSG flavoring in Chinese food and in many processed packaged foods which can induce headache pain. You may also want to watch your carbohydrate intake, lower intake gave relief to migraine sufferers; possibly due to allergens to gluten and wheat in those carbohydrate foods.
The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods