A Quick Guide to Migraines Approximately 95 percent of the population have experienced headache disorders at some point. Two percent of all emergency room visits in the United States are diagnosed as headaches. The World Health Organization defines headache disorder “as a recurrent headache that is one of the most common disorders of the nervous system.” The three primary headache disorders are migraines, tension-type headaches, and cluster headaches. Headaches are a worldwide issue affecting all races, ages, income levels, and areas of the world. This article will focus on migraine headaches.
Migraine Quick Facts: Migraines are classified as primary headaches. Migraines and tension-type headaches account for 98 percent of all headaches. The World Health Organization (WHO) includes headaches in the top-10 causes of disability in both genders, and in the top five for women. Among people that experience migraines, 75 percent report functional disability. In the United Kingdom, 25 million working days are lost yearly because of migraine headaches.
Description of a Migraine: During a migraine, thirty-three percent of Americans will have a visual disturbance, called an aura, that is characterized by zig-zag lines and diminished sight for five to 60 minutes before the actual migraine. A migraine headache is described as a one-sided, recurring, throbbing, pulsating condition. It can be moderate to severe in pain intensity. It can last for four to 72 hours. A migraine can be triggered by light, smell, or sound, causing vomiting and nausea. When a person experiences a migraine, he or she often wants to lie still in a quiet, pitch-black room. The headache usually wears off with sleep.
Nutrition and Migraines: Make sure that you are putting the right foods in your body. Birmingham chiropractor Dr. John Palmer has written a blog post addressing the five foundations of health. We are covering foundation number three in this post: micro and macronutrients. Your body requires the right fuel to power it through the day. Macronutrients are the whole foods you are eating on a regular basis. Are you getting plenty of greens in your daily meals or are you eating more of a processed foods diet? You may have deficiencies in micronutrients that are showing up in the form of migraine headaches. The top five micronutrients for preventing migraines are:
1. Vitamin D3
2. Coenzyme Q10
4. Omega 3 fish oils
Vitamin D3: is important for cellular level processes in the body. Every cell in your body has a receptor for Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3’s most important role is absorbing calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D3 also promotes a healthy immune system. If you are not getting enough Vitamin D3, you may have trouble fighting disease, have weak bones and teeth, and be more likely to be depressed. You should check your Vitamin D3 levels twice a year, to make sure you are not deficient. The best way to get Vitamin D3 is to get some sun for a few minutes every day. If you are not able to get some sun each day, supplementation is the next best way to acquire Vitamin D3. Foods that are rich in Vitamin D3 include salmon, egg yolks, oranges, and yogurt.
Coenzyme Q10: is important for producing cellular energy. One study found that Coenzyme Q10 can both prevent and treat migraines. It also regulates free radicals. It has been proven to prevent congestive heart failure. The American Cancer Society says that when Coenzyme Q10 is used in conjunction with other vitamins, it helps fight cancer. In another study, an improvement in tissue repair was seen in those with gum disease. Foods rich in Coenzyme Q10 are pork, beef, chicken, trout, sardines, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, oranges, and pistachios, to name a few.
Riboflavin: is a B vitamin that is necessary for normal cellular growth. Riboflavin is used to address acne, muscle cramps, carpal tunnel syndrome, cataracts, glaucoma, and migraines. It can be taken orally, in supplement form, or can be found in common foods such as milk, yogurt, fruits, and vegetables.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids play an important role in the body. They provide energy, help build cell membranes, and serve as raw materials for many specialized roles in the body. Omega 3s have been shown to decrease inflammation and reduce the risk of arterial diseases. The best source of Omega 3s are fatty fish, such as salmon or sardines, as well as flaxseeds, walnuts, chia seeds, and plant oils such as flaxseed oil. Omega 3s can be supplemented in the form of flaxseed oil or krill oil, among others.
Magnesium is a vital mineral used by just about every cell in the body. Organs that use it are your heart, muscles, and kidneys. Foods that are rich in magnesium are dark leafy greens like spinach and chard. Other foods that have magnesium are pumpkin seeds, almonds, tuna, avocado, figs, and bananas. The most absorbable form of magnesium is magnesium chloride. Benefits of supplementing with magnesium chloride include lower risk of developing migraines, better heart health, lower blood sugar levels, improved bone health, better digestion, and improved sleep. Friends and Family Health Centers offer spinal manipulation with chiropractic care and nutritional consultation at our Birmingham, Alabama, center, which can help provide some relief for migraines. We suggest collaborating with your primary physician before initiating chiropractic and nutritional care