Have you lost days trying to deal with a migraine attack? Always worrying if today is going to be the day? Exhausted and sick of popping pills week after week?
“Migraine medications do not cure migraines. Instead, migraine drugs treat the symptoms”
Migraines are a debilitating entity that only those who have ever suffered one can truly understand. They’re not a headache, they’re a shut-down of your brain, like a mini stroke.
Migraines knock you about and destroy your quality of life when you have them… and the groggy feeling for days afterward is just as debilitating for many!
But what triggers those debilitating moments is not as confusing as you may think…
Migraines are considered neurological expression of the trigeminal vascular system. Sounds more complicated than it is, so let me explain.
There is a specific nerve that comes from the face and jaw and stimulates a specific area in your brainstem known as your mid brain. This area helps control things like your vertical eye movements, your spatial awareness, your auditory processing and even your ability to get to sleep.
In migraine sufferers chronic stimulation to this area results in sensitization of it and it becomes easier for stimulation to wind it up. The result of this is not only migraines, in those predisposed, but other things such as light or glare sensitivity, sound sensitivity and insomnia!
Whilst there are many misconceptions about this area of our brainstem, the reality is that for those predisposed to migraine, calming this area down is very hard.
In fact, after a migraine attack, the brain takes some time but eventually winds down somewhat, but it’s only a matter of time before the wrong combination of risks and triggers occur to create that next migraine.
The reason this system has such a profound affect yon your brain is that it is the integration centre for many systems, ie hearing, balance, visual function, body mapping and even autonomic control, in short, your flight or fight systems!
In addition, the chronic stimulation has a further effect by stimulating the glial cells, immune cells of the nervous system. Once the glial cells become irritated, they themselves contribute further to the chronic wind up, even if stress is removed!
But hey, it’s not all doom and gloom for you, you can get better!
Migraines don’t have to be a life sentence. But from our experience, treatments need to be aimed at correcting the sensory nervous system and the aberrant input.
To do this, we need to provide solutions that can address this central brain wind up and its associated inflammation rather than trying to treat the symptoms.
If we reduce the stimulation to the mid brain and improve sensory mechanisms, we often see migraines reduce in frequency and intensity.
The key to this is to identify and address all the areas involved and balance them. The result for many is decreased mid-brain wind-up and reduced symptoms.
So why do I say Migraine medications generally don’t cure Migraine…?
There is no current medication that I’m aware of that has been shown to have such significant effects on these mechanisms as to permanently correct them.
Obviously, the best approach to helping you is to have a thorough assessment to identify the dysfunction causing your problems. But I want to help you get some relief right now.
So, are you prepared to take action to get rid of migraines?
If so, then here are my top 5 tips that you can do right now to start reducing your risks:
1. Decrease technology use – stop looking at those bright flashing screens. Keep your use under 1 hour a day.
2. Reduce stimulatory food – there are certain types of foods that have a stimulatory effect on the brain. These foods excite the brain and stress pathways and cause wind-up in the midbrain. The foods to remove are night shade vegetables (potato, tomato, capsicum, chilli, eggplant, goji berries, paprika), alcohol, caffeine and lollies.
3. Reduce auditory stimulation – too many auditory inputs put the brain under stress as it must filter and categorise the different audio sources. How do I do that you may ask? We realise that during the migraine you may already in a dark room so these things you can apply during the prodrome and post drome stages:
a. Don’t have the TV or radio on or music playing when you are talking to someone
b. If you’re watching TV, close doors to the kitchen, laundry or other rooms where there are machines running, music is playing or people are talking
c. Avoid noisy locations such as shopping centres
4. Stimulate your vagal nerve – the vagus nerve is the major nerve for running your para-sympathetic part of your autonomic nervous system (ANS). The para sympathetic system is the counterbalance to the sympathetic system which is complicit in migraines. The strategy is that by stimulating the vagal nerve you increase your parasympathetic outflow relative to your sympathetic system and thus reduce the overall stress and drive to the midbrain. The ways to stimulate your are:
a. Rhythmical abdominal breathing
c. Gag reflex stimulation
5. Consume chicken bone broth and cocoa nibs – strange as it seems, they’ve both been shown to help reduce migraines!
But if you’re truly ready, I mean truly ready to take action and take charge, then give me a call on 9318 7758 or click the message button and let’s have a chat. But if you’re not quite there yet, then check out my “Ultimate nutrient guide for migraine sufferers” where I’ll go through key supplements we use each day to help with migraines. Click here to download 👉click here👈
Dr. Michael Maeder