Here are some simple ways to help you say goodbye to migraine headaches:
1. Always ensure you are drinking lots of water throughout the day. Although this seems obvious, it becomes more difficult to remember to drink water as we move into the colder months of the year. Everyone’s needs are different, but your two main goals should be to attain clear urine, and drink water even before you start to feel thirsty. Herbal tea (caffeine-free) is an easy way to increase your consumption if you have difficulty drinking water on its own. Also try squeezing a couple lemon slices into your water – it adds flavor and aids with digestion, particularly if you add the lemon in the morning.
2. Avoid foods that commonly trigger migraine headaches. Along with the more obvious culprits such as caffeine, chocolate, peanuts, and alcohol, you should also be mindful of aged cheeses, dried fruits, gluten- and/or wheat-containing foods, those with refined sugar, and processed or canned meats and fish. The best way to isolate the aggravating foods is to completely eliminate them from your diet, followed by individual reintroduction. Allow at least 3 days for symptoms to appear. Furthermore, if symptoms do occur, allow 2-3 days to pass before you reintroduce the next potential offender.
3. Cayenne pepper, Peppermint and Ginger – nature’s painkillers. Cooking with these spices and making them into a tea are two easy ways to treat migraine headaches when they occur. As a tea they are most effective when used all together:
1 tsp of dried peppermint, 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, and a pinch of cayenne pepper into 2 cups of boiling water. Steep for 15 minutes, remove the herbs, and sweeten with honey if desired.
Peppermint and ginger can also be used to treat the nausea that often accompanies migraine headaches.
4. Replace artificial sweeteners and food additives with natural ones. An easy replacement for sweeteners such as aspartame and splenda, which are common migraine triggers, is stevia. Stevia is a zero-calorie and naturally sweet herb that has no known side effects. Honey and maple syrup, although higher in calories, are needed in smaller amounts due to their natural sweetness and provide the added bonus of antioxidants, enzymes, and minerals.
Food additives and preservatives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) can also trigger and/or aggravate migraines, and should be avoided as much as possible even by those who do not suffer from migraine headaches.
5. Increase your consumption of Tryptophan-containing foods. As one of our 10 essential amino acids (i.e. we can only obtain it through our diet), tryptophan can be found in foods such as legumes, turkey, eggs, nuts and seeds, and red meat. The presence of tryptophan in the brain stimulates the production of an important neurotransmitter known as serotonin. A lack of serotonin in the brain can lead to disorders such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Serotonin also elevates mood and alleviates tension. Adequate levels of tryptophan will maintain serotonin levels, in turn preventing migraine headaches and elevating overall mood. Do not take tryptophan as a supplement without consulting your healthcare practitioner. Why not come in and consult with Dr. Mingay at the Bayview Chiropractic Health Centre!
6. Surround yourself with Lavender. According to the University of Maryland Medical Centre (UMCC), the scent of lavender decreases inflammation and spasms in the blood vessels and small muscles of the scalp, neck, and around the eyes. Similar to serotonin, lavender lowers anxiety and depression and can reduce feelings of stress. All of these conditions can cause and/or aggravate migraine headaches.
Place dried lavender leaves into sachets, some of which can be left near your pillow to promote relaxation before bed and sleep.
A teaspoon of lavender leaves added to a cup of boiling water (steep for 15 minutes before removing the leaves) can also be sipped throughout the day.
7. INTRAVENOUS THERAPY is also a very effective treatment for migraine headaches. The magnesium in particular induces a muscle relaxation effect, and a reduction in blood vessel spasms which is what causes the pain in the first place. Rehydration of the body's cells that are constantly undergoing physiological stressors will also aid in reducing the incidence of migraine headaches. Phone 416-481-7901 to make an appointment today!