Conventional medicine for migraines
The conventional approach to the treatment of migraine (or any headache, for that matter) is typical of most modern medical therapies: Treat the symptoms. In this case, physicians find that headache pain is most responsive to medication. Aspirin and other over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen are usually suggested and do offer some mild temporary pain relief.
Prescription medications also are used with varying degrees of success. Commonly prescribed prescription is analgesics. These medications are generally effective in blocking the sensation of moderate to severe pain, but they also are known to cause negative side effects. Muscle relaxants also are used in the treatment of migraine headaches. These prescription drugs are considered effective in muscle contraction headaches and are believed to provide relief in the early stages of a migraine.
Unfortunately, despite the welcome pain relief it’s offers, drug therapy should not be used for long term treatment of any pain condition. Because migraine is a chronic condition, habitual use of drug therapy may begin the abysmal cycle of drug tolerance requiring increased dosage and thus potential negative side effects. Analgesic rebound headaches are a typical example of why drug therapy may be an appropriate treatment for chronic pain. When analgesics are taken frequently, the body adapts to the continual presence of the pain reliever in the system. When the analgesic effect begins to wear off, the awareness of pain becomes even greater. That’s why those who choose drugs as their primary source of pain relief may be increasing the disruptive effects of migraines. Analgesic drugs, both over-the-counter and prescription varieties, also are known to cause gastric irritation and ulcers and therefore should be used only on a temporary basis and with caution. Add to this the potential addiction problem characteristic of muscle relaxants, and it becomes clear that migraine sufferers need to explore alternative treatment options as a supplement to traditional methods.
Natural medicine for migraine
Natural medicine takes a holistic look at the problem of migraine headaches. By reestablishing a healthy flow of energy through the body and mind, the root cause of the migraine is addressed and the frequency and intensity of migraine pain is affected.
Acupressure/myotherapy can be used as an adjunct therapy in the treatment of migraine pain and the underlying cause of this physical disturbance.
Acupressure is the kind of therapy that I use in treating patient with migraine. I usually combine it with myotherapy. Myotherapy involves an entity known in medical circles as a trigger points. Just what a trigger point is, is debatable. That it exists is not. Trigger points are found in muscles that have been “insulted” which in medicalese means “damaged.”
If you want to self-administer acupressure, try using these techniques.
*The base of your skull in the hollow areas on either side of the vertical neck muscles, two to three inches apart depending on the size of your head.
*Slowly tilt your head back with your eyes closed, and firmly press up with your thumbs underneath the skull for one to two minutes as you take long, deep breaths.
*On the top of your foot in the valley between the big toe and second toe.
*Using either your thumb or your right heel, apply pressure on top of this spot and rub for one minute. Then switch and work the opposite foot.
*For headache on the sides of the head or temples: press on the forearm, three finger widths above the wrist crease, between the two bones.
Although continuous and strenuous exercise actually can be the cause of a migraine, it is believed that as a prophylactic tool, a moderate aerobics program can lessen the frequency and intensity of the migraine when it occurs. This belief is based on the fact that exercise is known to ease body tension and improve circulation; both of these physiological changes reduce the likelihood of migraine attacks.
Indeed, migraine sufferers who are placed on a regular aerobics training program and strength training cut the frequency of their headaches in half. Try this: Walk and/or run for thirty minutes a day, three times a week. As your body adjusts over several months to the increase in oxygen, nutrients and fitness level, you may experience a reduction in your migraines that echoes the study results that have concluded: “The fact that headache frequency significantly decreases following aerobic training suggests that it suppresses some trigger mechanism related to this disorder.” In doing strength training, I advise my clients to do a certain exercise called clean and press using dumbbells.
There is little doubt among the experts that the root of many people’s migraine headaches is in their diet. In fact, in some cases migraines can be classified as a food allergy. While each migraine sufferer needs to does some detailed detective work to uncover the particular food that serves as a trigger, it can be done and the results have been astonishing. Studies on the migraine headaches by Dr. Egger in London consistently support the view that there is a link between the foods we eat and the frequency of migraines. Egger studies eighty-eight children who suffered from frequent and severe migraine headaches. They were put on a diet that slowly eliminated foods associated with migraine and their symptoms were monitored. Amazingly, 93 percent of these children suffered no migraines so long as they avoided the foods to which they were allergic.
Food found to be closely linked to migraine headaches include; milk and other dairy products, chocolate, cola drinks corn, onions, garlic, pork, eggs, citrus fruits , wheat, coffee, alcohol (specially red wines and champagne), cheese (particularly aged and cheddar) chicken liver, pickled herring, and the pods of bread, beans. In addition two common food additives whose suspected link to migraine headaches deserves attention: monoisodium glutamate(MSG) and Nitrates, these additives may be present in almost any processed food but are found most notably in hotdogs, bacon, ham, salami, and the like. As a migraine sufferer, it is very important that you begin to read food labels and avoid foods containing these additives.
Migraines also can be caused by an intestinal disorder. Poor nutritional habits can severely disrupt the level of healthy bacteria found naturally in the gastrointestinal tract that are absolutely necessary to good health. Although all the bacteria you’ll ever need for a healthy gastrointestinal tract throughout your life are supplied in the first few moments of breastfeeding, the things you take into your body after that time can wipe them out , causing a whole array of health problems including migraines. Healthy bacteria are destroyed by processed unhealthy foods by pollutants such as caffeine, alcohol and nicotine and most specially by the many antibiotics we take.
As a migraine sufferer you need to increase your intestinal flora by changing your diet. So begin it’s important to reduce the level of acidity in your body because in order to reproduce themselves healthy bacteria need on alkaline environment. You should eliminate pollutants such as coffee, black tea, cigarettes, alcohol. You also must reduce your intake of acid based foods such as meats, cheese, white breads and processed foods. Replace these foods with those having a high PH level such as vegetables, fruits, grains and beans.
Next, you need to add bacteria to your gastrointestinal tract. There are six bacteria in the intestinal tract and all six must be consumed together. Some natural health advocates recommend acidophilus alone, but one bacterium cannot remedy the problem. Go to a reputable health food store and lack for a product that contains all six of the naturally occurring bacteria. Once you return the bacteria into your gastrointestinal tract to normal, you may find your migraines disappear.
Calixto S. Paquiao, A.B; B.S.E;P.E was the national coach of the Philippine weightlifting team from 1977 to 1985, based in Rizal Memorial Stadium and Sports Complex, Metro Manila. He is a Certified Coach of International Coaching and Refereeing Course and a U.S certified Fitness Trainer by Nautilus U.S.A specializing in personal fitness training, sports nutrition and weight management. He was enshrined in the Cebu Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. He was trained and certified by The PUM Netherlands Senior Experts based in Hague on International Therapeutic Massage and Pain Control. He specializes in natural therapy: chronic and acute back, shoulder, knee, sciatic nerve pain, sports injuries (no fracture), migraine. He is currently fitness director of Coach Pacquiao Fitness and Wellness Center.
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