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This week is Migraine Awareness Week, so we are focussing this blog on some practical tools that could help relieve the symptoms and occurrences of migraines.
It is estimated that 15% of the UK population suffer from migraines, with more women being susceptible than men.
There are 2 main categories of migraine:
1. Migraine with aura – about 1 in 5 migraine sufferers experience aural symptoms during their attacks. They are identified by impaired vision, inability to speak and numbness of the hands or feet.
2. Migraine without an aura – most people who suffer from migraines do not experience auras during the attacks.
Everyone has a different experience of migraines. Symptoms can vary from:
• Severe headache – usually experienced as an intense throbbing pain at the front or side of the head
• Nausea and vomiting
• Sensitivity to light
• Abdominal pain
• A need to lie down in a dark place
Causes and Triggers
• Hormonal – many women will experience a migraine around the time of their period due to oestrogen fluctuations.
• Serotonin levels may have a role to plan. This hormone is often thought of as the ‘feel good’ hormone, but in excess it can lead to reduced blood flow to the brain, which has been linked to migraines.
• Stress and anxiety .
• Low blood sugar levels.
• Gut problems and low immune system – an overgrowth of unfriendly bacteria in the gut can result in a high toxic load and a compromised immune system, which can sometimes trigger a migraine.
• Food Intolerance – foods such as alcohol, nuts, caffeine, chocolate, citrus fruits, onions, fatty foods, fermented foods, aged cheese and those high in tyramine can all be common problem foods.
• Processed foods containing monosodium glutamate, aspartame and sodium nitratecan.
• Certain lighting.
• It’s important to balance your blood sugar levels by eating regular meals – including a little protein with every meal and snack. This is a key focus of the Chiray Health Programme.
• Remember to never skip breakfast – Chiray Power makes a great breakfast smoothie.
• Identify which foods are your triggers and avoid them as much as possible – especially for women around the time of menstruation. A food diary can help to do this or consider having a food intolerance test – contact us for more information.
• Eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit – although avoid citrus fruits as these have been linked to headaches and migraines.
• Reduce inflammation and promote circulation – Ginkgo biloba can be useful for this.
• Ginger – this contains more than 200 substances in its oils. It is believed that ginger may block prostaglandins, which stimulate some muscle contractions, control inflammation and impact some hormones. Therefore migraines may be prevented and stopped by ginger stifling the action of prostaglandins. Ginger is also good for combating nausea. We suggest making a ginger shot by putting a big chunk of ginger and half an apple through a juicer.
• Relaxation – stress busting techniques such as yoga, meditation and listening to relaxing music can really make a difference. Try out wonderful range of relaxation CD’s.
• Balance your hormones – foods rich in phyto-oestrogens such as sage, hops and alfalfa can be helpful for this.
• Support gut health – coconut, garlic and oregano act as natural antibiotics against unfriendly bacteria and fungi.
• Magnesium – this important mineral relaxes the nervous system and research has found that migraine sufferers can be deficient in this mineral. Foods rich in magnesium include beans, seeds, bananas, wholegrain foods and avocado. We also recommend Cytoplan’s Biofood Magnesium and topically rubbing Magnesium Oil around the neck area and the forehead and temples (make sure you avoid the eyes).
• Coenzyme Q10 has been shown in some studies to cut down the number of days with a migraine.
• Fish Oils / Krill Oil – research suggests that since fish oil prevents constriction of blood vessels, it can prevent the actions in the brain that lead to migraine attacks.
A 2002 study of 27 adolescents who took fish oil found that they had fewer migraines, shorter headaches and less severe migraine headaches.
• Probiotics – these help boost the friendly bacteria in the gut.
There are also useful herbs such as Ginkgo biloba, betterbur and feverfew.
For more information please do not hesitate to contact our experts at Chiray via our website – www.chiray.co.uk.