Natural Migraine Treatment
Migraines can be very debilitating to people and while modern meds do seem to help some people, these interventions usually don’t resolve the issue. Natural migraine treatment addresses the root causes of migraines, which may include the following:
- Structural Causes:
- A lot of patients who have migraines have chronic muscle tension or imbalances in the stomatognathic system (cranium, TMJ muscles, upper trapezius, sternocleidomastoid). This can be caused by trauma to the head or neck (concussions, whiplash, etc.) or any kind of chronic stress.
- Ligament laxity / loose ligaments after injury, chronic stress, or in genetic disorders like Ehler’s Danlos syndrome can cause shifting of the bones in the neck and skull. This causes the muscle to have to take more of the structural load, which can create tightness/trigger points and pain.
- The above issues can cause changes in blood flow which some think is the cause of migraines.
- Interference Fields (disruptions in the body’s electrical signaling) are another common contributor to migraines. Each scar, burn, break, bite, implant, tattoo, piercing, and nerve injury has the potential to take up the nervous system’s bandwidth and lower the threshold for a migraine to be triggered.
- Migraine treatment focused on the body’s structure includes craniosacral work, spinal adjusting, the treatment of interference fields, and regenerative injection therapy to stabilize the structures if there is ligament laxity or injury.
- Metabolic Causes
- Brain autoimmunity caused by traumatic brain injury (TBI).
- Hormone imbalance (especially high estrogen and low progesterone).
- Nutrient deficiency (esp. magnesium, B2, zinc, melatonin, omega-3 fatty acids, and methylation defects)
- Immune Responses to Allergens / Chemical Sensitivity -> Chronic Inflammation.
- Subclinical infections like those commonly found under root canals.
- Migraine treatment focused on metabolism includes making sure that the body’s detox mechanisms are working, balancing hormones, removing allergen exposure / desensitizing people to their allergens, and supplying what the body needs to reduce inflammation.
- Mental/Emotional Causes
- Chronic stress can cause torque to build up in the covering around the spinal cord (dura mater) and cranium and can pull structures out of place.
- People who are empathetic (feel what other people feel) can be affected by migraines more than others.
- Common States of mind which can contribute to migraines include: Dislike of being driven, resisting the flow of life, and sexual fears. (Louise Hay)
- Migraine treatment for the mental/emotional contributors include Neuro Emotional Technique to remove the emotional response to a trigger in the environment, homeopathy, and finding and optimizing stress reduction techniques.
Naturopathically, not all patients get the same treatment. For example, a patient with migraines who has had a history of concussions and car accidents usually needs structural work. This may include craniosacral therapy, regenerative injection therapy, and neurologic rehabilitation and facilitation of normal muscle function. They also usually need metabolic support to reduce brain inflammation, balance the immune system, and provide the nutritional building blocks to rebuild and repair healthy connective tissue.
On the flip side, consider the patient whose migraines started or worsened around the time that their menstrual period began or around a pregnancy, has a history of toxin exposure and allergies, and is generally nervous and stressed out. This patient will still probably need the structural work, but the deeper cause of the issue is probably going to be improving detoxification, balancing hormones, and addressing the chronic stress in her life.
Overall, the success of migraine treatment with naturopathic medicine is great. Once we find the cause and address the factors that are contributing to it, lasting change is possible.