Migraine

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Killer headache

You’ve got that blinding headache again. It’s (probably) one-sided and pounding or throbbing. It pins you to the spot. You don’t want to see anyone or be disturbed, can’t stand the light, noise or smells  and it might go on for days. Yes, it’s another migraine.

I’ll come clean here. I’ve only had one bad headache in my life in my twenties, but I remember at the time thinking I’d rather be dead than go on in that sort of pain for any longer. I am truly in awe of people who have migraines and somehow get on with life.

What’s a migraine?

It’s defined as a recurring, one-sided headache, typically accompanied by visual disturbance like flashing lights, zig zags or a pixelated blind spot. Just under a quarter people get a warning or aura before them like irritability, sleepiness, mood changes (depression or euphoria), cravings for sweet or salty foods.  Some people get the visual disturbance and or nausea without the headache but the same systems are in play.

I’ve had patients say that it feels like you’re completely alone with a migraine and that they are behind a wall that no one can get through, but there are about 8 million people in the UK who suffer from migraine.

What causes them?

No one knows exactly what causes migraines, but the constriction in the blood flow in the back of the head and neck has been put down to a disturbance of the central nervous system, the blood vessel system of the brain not working well, a genetic influence ( a lot of people who get migraines also have a family member who does) or an endocrine problem causing serotinin to create this fierce headache. There are other causes too, like the contraceptive pill, dehydration, stress and tiredness. For some people it is diet. You might remember that they used to say chocolate, cheese and red wine were the cause. If you think that food might be causing your migraine attacks, you could do an elimination diet.

What’s that?

And elimination diet is when you cut suspect foods out of your diet for a month or so and see if your symptoms reduce. You might start with chocolate, cheese or red wine, but if you suspect something else might be the problem cut that out instead. If you have no change at the end of three weeks you can assume that that wasn’t the problem. Move on. It’s a hassle. But if it ends migraines it would be worth it. If your migraines go away when you eliminate something from your diet and return when you reintroduce it, you might well have found the culprit.

alt=migraine causesWhat to do

When headaches occur three or more times a month, treatment is needed. I would suggest that you seek homeopathic help, mindfulness training, stress reduction or an elimination diet  but it is reported that regular exercise and eating plenty of oily fish can also reduce the number and severity of migraines too.

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If you want to try treating yourself have a look at these homeopathic remedies.

Glonoin:If the symptoms come on from exposure to sun or radiated heat; from mental excitement or sunstroke. Pains are throbbing and pulsing all through head with every pulse beat; Headaches; severe bursting or crushing pain. Worse from noise, motion, jarring, stooping. For women these headaches come around period time.

Belladonna: Is often thought of as a child’s remedy because of the fevers involved.   Super painful headaches and almost everything (light, noise, movement, smells) aggravate the headache. Belladonna causes dilatation of the pupils so look out for shiny looking eyes with large black pupils. I would expect the person who needs this to feel chilly, but be very hot. A common aggravation time for Belladonna is 3pm and 3am

Nat Mur: Might be used in hammering, blinding headaches, chronic or periodic,  which feel worse on motion, heat, bright lights and mental exertion and better in a semi recumbent position.

Bryonia: Very thirsty with all problems people who need Bryonia are likely to drink a lot of water is great gulps (Ars Alb patients sip at it). Headaches similar in nature to Nat Mur but with the added modality of being worse around 9pm and better for firm touch (so they might press their temples with their hands for instance for relief).

Lachesis: A key feature of people needing Lachesis is aversion to touch of any sort. Headaches often come on as they wake up. Often come on before period and ease up when the period starts or migraines when women are menopausal. This does not mean it is a remedy suitable only for women though.

Nux Vomica: Great irritability is a feature of this remedy. Irritability at being disturbed in any way. Headaches often caused by stress or eating too much rich food, or simply too much food. The headaches can be accompanied by constipation. Unlike a lot of the remedies mentioned here Nux Vomica people usually feel worse for cold air.

Pulsatilla: Where Nux Vom feel irritable, Pulsatilla is weepy and better for comforting and sympathy. A peculiar symptoms is that sometimes they have dry mouth but don’t want to drink. Like Nux Vom the headache might be the result of eating too much rich food (particularly pork) and too much tea. Like Lachesis it is often called for in hormonal problems but more likely to be around puberty than menopause. People needing this want open air and even gentle walking.

What you can do if you don’t have homeopathic remedies

Immediate home remedies I’ve heard help a lot:

Acupressure points. The Yin Tang is a point in between the eyebrows above the bridge of the nose. My acupuncturist friend suggests ‘using the middle finger of one hand press this point firmly or do small circles gently. Also, if you have a friend close by ask them to firmly massage your ankles all around the joints. There are acupuncture points there that help clear the head. look for tender points and press them!

Herbal remedies: rosemary, lemon balm or peppermint tea.

Heat and cold compresses on your forehead and neck. Start with cold and the hot and end with cold.

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