Most people just take a pain pill, but how safe is that?If you are worried about taking potentially dangerous medications for your migraine headaches maybe you should try one of the many safe and effective natural approaches that are available today.
There are many new migraine headache treatments available that can be both safe and effective. Natural treatments for migraine headaches are usually safer and cheaper than traditional pain medications. And in many instances they can relieve pain just as well or even better than prescription or non-prescription drugs. The possibility of a negative reaction to a safe and natural migraine headache treatment is still there, but it is less with most natural treatment methods than it is with pain-relieving medications.
Every person on the face of the earth is unique. Their body chemistry is different than anyone else’s. One person may find relief from their migraine headaches with one type of treatment while someone else may try that same treatment and find no relief at all. No two people will experience the same reaction from the same treatment. But why is that?
Every body is made up of a mixture of chemicals. Every person produces certain chemicals in their body so that they will be able to function at their best. Histamines will increase gastric secretion and dilate the capillaries. Insulin is secreted by the pancreas and helps regulate the blood sugar levels. Hormones are produced by the body for many different functions. Adrenaline (epinephrine) is produced in response to stress. Every body is unique and produces different chemicals in differing amounts. When a person takes aspirin (a chemical) for their migraine headaches it changes the chemical make-up of that person’s body.
You’ve always heard that when two chemicals, in the same amounts, at the same temperature, etc. are mixed together they will cause the same reaction. That may be true, but when one chemical (such as aspirin) is taken by two separate people their reactions will never be exactly the same because no two people have identical chemicals in their body. One person taking aspirin will not have the same reaction as someone else taking aspirin. And it’s the same with natural migraine headache treatments. Since no two people are identical no two people will respond exactly the same to a treatment method for migraine headaches.
So just because one migraine headache treatment does not work for one person does not mean it won’t work for your migraine headaches. There are many effective alternatives to taking medications when it comes to relieving migraine headaches. You just have to try one for yourself to see if it will work for you.
One natural and popular treatment method for migraine headaches is chiropractic care, or chiropractic manipulations. Studies have shown that over 80% of headache patients find some type of relief for their headaches with chiropractic treatment. And chiropractic treatment has been shown to be extremely safe. Spinal problems cause headaches and when these spinal problems are treated by chiropractors a high percentage of their patients experience relief from their pain.
Another natural way to relieve migraine headaches is biofeedback. This is a safe and potentially effective way to eliminate pain. Biofeedback is not actually a treatment, but a training program designed to help a person develop the ability to control their autonomic (involuntary) nervous system. Functions that are normally automatic in the body, such as blood pressure regulation or heart rate can be controlled voluntarily. This technique makes it possible for a person to control their own heart rate, blood pressure, skin temperature or relaxation of their muscles.
It’s no secret that stress causes muscle tension. And nobody will deny that muscle tension causes pain and headaches. And it’s also a fact that by relaxing this muscle tension, especially in the neck and head, it is possible to relieve the migraine headaches or neck pain that is being caused by the tension. With biofeedback the machinery is not always necessary. Once the biofeedback technique is learned there is no longer any need for the equipment. The patient with migraine headaches can now produce the desired effect at any time. A person that has been trained with biofeedback can control some of their bodily functions, such as muscle relaxation, which can help relieve their headache pain.
Another cause of headaches can be the intake of too much salt. Some people just can’t get enough of it. They pour it onto their food with wreckless abandon. And too much salt can and does cause headaches. What’s the solution? Simply lessening the salt intake can sometimes prevent the headaches from occurring.
Food sensitivities have also been shown to cause migraine headaches in some people. Foods such as cheese, alcohol, MSG (monosodium glutamate – a food additive), yeast, wheat, nuts, avocados, beans, bananas, oranges (and other citrus fruits), pork, vinegar (and pickled foods), dairy products, caffeine, chocolate, onions and others can cause migraines. Foods that cause migraine headaches are called “migraine triggers.” People who experience migraine headaches because of food allergies can reduce or eliminate their pain by eliminating the foods that cause the headaches.
It sounds simple, but it takes a little detective work to figure out which foods, if any, are causing the migraine headaches. So how can you determine which foods are the culprits? The logical way is to keep a diary of what you eat and when. Get a small notebook, with each page representing one day, and make three columns on each of the pages. The first column on the left side of the page will contain the hours in the day. The second column down the middle of the page will be a list of the foods eaten that day. And the third column on the right side of the page will list the symptoms (headaches) that you experience.
Here’s how the food diary works: if you had an orange, cereal and milk for breakfast at 8 AM you would write “orange, cereal, milk” in the middle (food) column directly to the right of 8 AM in the left (time) column. Make a note of everything that you eat on this list and at what time you ate them.
Next, whenever you experience a migraine headache write “migraine headache” or “headache” in the right (symptoms) column that corresponds with the time (in the left column) your headache began. For example, if you started feeling pain from one of your migraine headaches at 2 PM you would write “headache” in the right (symptoms) column directly across from 2 PM in the left (time) column.
Once you’ve had enough time to experience a few migraine headaches you will be able to examine your food diary to determine which foods you ate shortly before you began experiencing your pain. For example, if you had 3 migraine headaches over a one-month period, and you had milk shortly before each of the migraine attacks, milk may be the culprit. It may take a few weeks or even a few months to come to any conclusions, but over time, by figuring out which foods or ingredients in these foods, are causing your pain, you will be able to eliminate these ingredients and relieve your pain caused by these foods.
Probably the most common cause of headaches is just plain old stress. People who experience tension in their lives can get headaches from their increased tension. Stress can be caused by many things including work-related stress or family-related stress. And although it’s not always possible to eliminate the cause of the stress it is often possible to relieve the muscle tension and pain that originates from the stress.
Biofeedback training (as explained above) is one way to help reduce stress. Other ways are taking a warm bath or shower, lying down and relaxing in a quiet dark room, having someone massage your neck and head (temporal region) muscles to help relieve your tension and muscle spasms or placing something cold (ice) on the back of the neck (at the base of the skull). When using ice it should not be placed directly on the skin. Some wet paper towels that have had the water wrung out of them should be placed between the ice and the skin. Regular exercise can also, over time, reduce tension.
We have discussed 5 natural treatment methods that are available to migraine headache patients. They are all considered safe and are effective for many people. There are many other natural treatment methods out there for you to try. If you have headaches it may be beneficial for you to try some of these treatments or search for others on your own. But as a word of advice, it is always a good idea to talk with a chiropractor or medical doctor before treating yourself for a health condition.
By: Dr Larry A. Johnson, D.C