Can nutrition help migrate away from migraines?

As the weather continues to change here in South Florida, the increase in temperature has led to an increase in headache complaints, especially migraines, in the office.  Migraines are something near and dear to my heart due to my own experience with them. If you or someone you know has ever experienced a migraine, you know that the symptoms can be stabbing on one side of the head, being sensitive to light and noise, and you might have heard that the only thing that helps is being a dark quiet room or, my favorite remedy, sleep. Migraines are no joke and can be debilitating for people who suffer from them.

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Migraines have a prevalence rate of 11.7% and one of the leading causes of disability according the World Health Organization.  Migraines are typically one sided around the side of the head and eye and can last from several hours to 3 days. They are described as a throbbing, pulsing, strong and steady ache. Many people may have nausea or vomiting, vertigo or trouble with balance.  Along with these symptoms, a migraine can be broken down into two types - one with aura and one without. An aura is considered a blind spot in vision (scotoma) or flashing lights (scintillation). Triggers of migraines include, but aren’t limited to, change in weather, alcohol, chocolate, dairy, and caffeine.

The etiology of migraines may be cerebral artery spasm. Migraines are considered “neurovascular” in nature, meaning that changes in nerve condition may lead to spasm of arteries in the brain resulting in migraines.  Recently, there has been discussion about magnesium and its possible benefits to help migraines. Magnesium helps maintain blood vessel tone and prevents neuronal over-excitability.

Pain Physician Journal published a meta-analysis looking at the effects of intravenous and oral magnesium on reducing migraine. Twenty one articles, with 10 focusing on oral treatment of magnesium for 789 participants, were examined. Patients who were administered oral magnesium amounts between 300-500 mg/day for an average of 4-12 weeks showed a decrease in the frequency of migraines and, in some cases, decreased intensity.  Another interesting fact is that the form of magnesium used (i.e. magnesium 2-propylvalerate, magnesium citrate, magnesium oxide) all had similar effects.

The question of “what causes a migraine” is still undetermined, but we are finding more treatment options for these debilitating attacks.  This does not mean that magnesium is the answer for all migraines, but it is something that can be beneficial with other therapies such as chiropractic. For example, Tuchin et al. (2000) reported that chiropractic spinal manipulation over the course of two months (max of 16 treatments) showed significant improvement in migraine frequency, duration, disability and medication use. As summer rolls around, be sure to protect yourself against migraine attacks with chiropractic, proper nutrition and water intake. Always check with a healthcare provider before supplementing magnesium into your diet. For any other questions regarding migraines call Stumpff Chiropractic at 954-368-4054.

Other presentations of headaches compared to migraines. 

Other presentations of headaches compared to migraines.

http://www.who.int/healthinfo/...

Chiu, H.Y., Yeh T.H., Huang, Y.C., & Chen, P.Y. (2016). Effects of intravenous and oral magnesium on reducing migraine:
A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Pain Physician Journal; 19(1):E97-E112.

Souza, T. Differential Diagnosis and Management for the Chiropractor: Protocols and Algorithms.
4th ed. Sudbury:Jones & Bartlett Publishers.2009; 909-94

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