Headache disorders are the most common neurological condition worldwide. In addition to being painful, they can be highly disabling. Headache disorders are an invisible neurological illness and sufferers are often stigmatized.
The unpredictable nature of attacks can impact relationships, career pathways, and quality of life. Migraine sufferers are more likely to experience anxiety and depression than the general population.
Unfortunately, headache disorders are under-diagnosed and under-treated. This results in years of unnecessary suffering.
Interesting facts about headache disorders
1. Women between the ages of 35 to 45 are the most severely affected by migraine.
2. Migraine is the most common headache disorder that will lead a person to seeing a healthcare professional for their headaches.
3. Only 40% of migraine sufferers receive an accurate diagnosis.
4. Common misdiagnoses for migraine are tension type headache and sinus headache.
5. 70 to 80% of migraine sufferers will experience neck pain as part of their attack.
Understanding your headache diagnosis is essential to getting the right type of care. There are several evidence-based strategies to help reduce frequency and severity of migraine and headache attacks.
Naturopathic Approaches for Headache Disorders
Trying to live a normal life when you suffer from migraines can feel like Russian Roulette. Weather, dehydration, stress, nutrition, sleep and hormones can all affect migraines.
As Naturopathic Doctors, we to look at all of these factors and help identify triggers, so you can take control over the factors that can make you more susceptible.
Along with optimizing diet, sleep and hydration, a few evidence based nutrients can help decrease frequency or duration of attacks. The beauty is you can still use an acute prescription or over-the-counter medication to help manage your migraine attack. Always consult your Naturopathic Doctor for guidance with nutrients and concurrent use with medications.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
A powerful antioxidant, has been shown to boost neurological blood flow and energy produced within cells which both help decrease migraine attacks. Best taken with a meal to help absorption and ideally away from bedtime, as it can be stimulating for some.
B2 has been shown to decrease the frequency and duration of migraine attacks in studies. There are a few hypotheses as to how it may work. It seems to help with energy production in cells, and it may be that migraine sufferers have an inherent need for more B2. Whatever the mechanism of action, it’s safe due to the water-soluble nature of B-vitamins and well-tolerated other than bright yellow urine!
This amazing mineral is found in all of our leafy greens, nuts and beans, magnesium is used throughout our bodies for enzymatic processes. It helps improve sleep quality, reduce anxiety and muscle tension and is well tolerated by most people. Migraine sufferers may have lower levels of magnesium or higher needs for magnesium. Studies show that compared to placebo, patients who were given magnesium for 12 weeks reported the frequency of attacks were reduced by 41.6 % during weeks 9 through 12 with respect to 15.8 % in the placebo group.
Whatever your migraine pattern (or lack thereof), we’re always here to help safely guide you to help manage migraines alongside your medications. Book in with your Naturopathic Doctor to discuss your unique patterns and discuss optimized treatments to help stabilize your migraines and headaches.