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Help for Migraines: How to Find the Root Cause and Treat Them Naturally
My head hurts!
[DrCorinneWeaver.com] Have you — or someone you know — ever had a headache and just popped a pill for it? Migraine headaches are one of the most common health conditions in the world — more prevalent than diabetes, epilepsy and asthma combined (1). Migraine headaches are also one of the top 20 causes of disability among adults. I wonder how we could change the world if all of these people received proper testing (blood analysis), food allergy testing, and upper cervical chiropractic care. How many of them would get great symptomatic relief and truly get their lives back? (Photo Credit: Dr. Corinne Weaver)
More than 37 million Americans suffer from migraines; nearly five million of them experiencing at least one migraine attack per month (2).
This condition is more prevalent among women, with about 15-18 percent of women worldwide getting them, compared to six to seven percent of men. About 60 percent of women affected have menstrual-related migraines, meaning they tend to coincide with their cycle.
Despite its prevalence, migraines are still one of the most poorly understood medical disorders out there.
Part of the problem has been the lack of specific diagnostic testing used in mainstream medicine to make a definitive diagnosis and the fact that the experiences of those suffering from migraines vary greatly. Aside from throbbing, searing pain -- which may be one-sided or distributed on both sides -- some experience "auras" prior to onset, while others do not. There may also be nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, sweating, and/or sensitivity to light, sound, and smells.
Those who have never had a migraine before can be quite frightened by the neurological symptoms, which can simulate a stroke where one starts to have visual disturbances, even short term visual loss and/or seeing spots or wavy lines, and/or tingling in your arm or leg. These findings can sound like many other neurological conditions and be difficult to sum up.
Hypothetical Explanations for Migraines' Existence
A meta-analysis of 29 genome-wide association studies recently identified five genetic regions linked to migraine onset and 12 genetic regions linked with migraine susceptibility (3,4). In addition to that, they also found a whopping 134 genetic regions that appear to heighten migraine susceptibility. Another study published earlier this year suggests that the searing, throbbing pain that is the hallmark of a migraine may be due to overactive pain-signaling from sensory neurons in your brain (5). (Photo Credit: Max Pixel)
Even with this information, one must ask what can be done to combat this problem?
Yet a third hypothesis is that a migraine arises as a result of a disorder of your nervous system, most likely in your brain stem (6). Although most regions of your brain do not register or transmit pain signals, a network of nerves called the trigeminal nerve system does. Pain is relayed through the trigeminal network to an area in your brain stem called the trigeminal nucleus. If this hypothesis is correct, it also is a likely explanation for why migraine sufferers respond well to neural input from an upper cervical chiropractic correction. Note: Because the correction is so close to the brainstem, the upper cervical doctor expects immediate changes in the overall function of the body.
Here is a story about a girl named Jamie that may help you to understand what I'm talking about. (Her mom wrote down the story for me.)
Jamie fell inside the house when she was taking off her shoes on March 14, 2008. At the time, she was 8½ years old and in 2nd grade. She had a 14-month-long migraine due to the concussion she had in conjunction with the fall.
Before meeting Dr. Corinne Weaver, Jamie tried adult migraine meds, in-hospital IV treatment, physical therapy, massages, swimming, and running. None of these treatments worked.
Ever since her fall, Jamie had had a daily headache and her eyes were always dilated. When Dr. Weaver took spinal X-rays of Jamie, the results made Jamie's mom think of a question mark.
After Jamie's first upper cervical correction, her headache went away and her eyes were no longer dilated. And after a few months of care, another round of X-rays was taken. Her entire spine was back in alignment without having made any adjustment to the rest of her back.
When Jamie got braces in January of 2010, the headaches and dilated eyes came back. After a quick appointment with Dr. Weaver and an orthodontic adjustment to take the pressure off her teeth, Jamie's headaches were gone, and her eyes went back to normal. Then Jamie sustained another concussion. Dr. Weaver's office was the first place her mom brought her, because she had learned from the last experience and didn't want Jaime to suffer again like she had before.
It's important to note here that no singular hypothesis has emerged to explain the occurrence of migraine in ALL sufferers. Besides those already mentioned, other theories include:
- Changes in the brain chemical serotonin. When levels drop, blood vessels including those in your brain become swollen and inflamed, which can lead to migraine pain.
- A disruption of the subtle energies circulating throughout your body, along with unresolved emotional issues that manifest in your body as headaches.
- Vitamin B deficiency. In one study, vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid supplements were found to produce a two-fold reduction in migraines over a six-month period (7). Previous studies, such as a 2004 study in the European Journal of Neurology, have also reported that high doses of B2 (riboflavin) can help prevent migraine attacks (8).
Are Food Allergies Causing Your Migraines?
Searching the medical literature in PubMed.gov using the search terms "migraine" and "food allergies" will provide you with nearly 160 different studies of this kind, so do yourself a favor and don't dismiss this potential connection (9). I have encountered several dozen patients over the years who relay to me that their neurologist doesn't see this as a valid connection. This should give us all reason to pause with concern …
One randomized, double blind, cross-over study published in 2010 found that a six-week long diet restriction produced a statistically significant reduction in migraines in those diagnosed with migraine without aura (10). Some of the top migraine-inducing foods identified included: wheat and gluten, cow's milk (yogurt and ice cream), sugar, yeast, corn, citrus fruits, eggs, aspartame, MSG, and even grain based cereals. (Photo Credit: Max Pixel)
If you are suffering multiple migraines I recommend getting a food allergy testing done. You must identify, address, and then eliminate the allergens within your body to calm down the inflammation triggers.
I had my first allergy testing when I was 11 because I was having so many asthma attacks. Once I had tested positive on all the skin tests they performed, the doctors concluded that I was allergic to basically everything in my environment. I also tested positive for some foods (shellfish was one). My parents had to get rid of the carpet in my room and put plastic on my bed—they were constantly running me back and forth to the hospital with asthma attacks. They almost wanted to put me in a bubble for protection.
The worst asthma attack I can remember was when I was 13 years old. I had lasagna and a big bowl of ice cream at an Italian restaurant. About 15 minutes after eating, my lungs completely shut down; once again, my parents had to rush me to the ER. Ten years ago, I found out when I eliminated dairy from my diet, my breathing got better because I wasn't so congested. Then three years ago, I eliminated gluten from my diet due to finding out about my thyroid autoimmune disease, and my overall health improved. I also lost 60 pounds and feel the best I have ever felt in my life.
There are a variety of allergy tests to determine potential IgE-, IgA-, and IgG-related immune responses. Positive reactions to skin or blood allergy testing can also be a helpful way to discover a particular allergen. In the case of food allergies or sensitivities, the best way to confirm a reaction for you is to do an elimination test and then re-challenge the food you suspect to be a problem.
How the Right Diet Can Benefit Migraine Patients
I recommend all our new clients do our No More Meds program, which includes a specific elimination diet for 30 days, and everyone notices a huge difference when we eliminate the most common food sensitivities. If you have not improved within two weeks, I suggest getting a food allergy test done. I test IgG and IgA through the blood. (If you would like to get a food allergy test done just let me know.) Food sensitivities may be caused by many factors, among them stress, infections, overeating, artificial preservatives, additives, molds, pesticides, antibiotics, and environmental pollutants. Unidentified food sensitivities can then contribute to chronic health conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome, small intestine bacteria overgrowth (SIBO), rheumatoid arthritis, headaches, autism, ADD/ADHD, eczema, chronic ear infections, gut absorption issues, insomnia, and many others.
Remember, when reintroducing a specific food, do so one at a time (and at least three days apart) so that we can check for any kind of reaction. The reaction could be a skin rash, bloating, joint pain, and/or just feeling tired again. Listen to your body—it will speak to you!
A Note on the Paleo Diet
Quite a few people have reportedly rid themselves of migraines on the Paleo Diet, which can be summarized as “any food that can be eaten without being processed.” That eliminates the following: grains, bread or pasta, and no pasteurized dairy. Fresh fruits and vegetables, some nuts and oils along with wild caught fish, organic poultry and grass-fed lean meats are all allowed on a Paleo plan.
As always, before setting out to correct an established medical issue it would be advised to seek out a qualified physician who utilizes third-party laboratory testing to identify the root cause(s) of any disease.
Our office looks forward to helping you get back on track as soon as possible. If you would like more information and my e-book on migraines you can sign up here. http://drcorinneweaver.com/migraine-relief-indiantrail/
I hope my column speaks to you and you can wake up each morning with a purpose. What I do every day is a calling, and I give God the glory for allowing His gifts to work through me. I do believe in miracles, because I get to see them every day! If you would like to contact me with your health concerns email me directly at Dr@drcorinneweaver.com. For more information you can go to www.DrCorinneWeaver.com or sign up for my closed Facebook group #NoMoreMeds-Community for more healthy tips https://m.facebook.com/groups/1845828392308723 .
Dr. Corinne Weaver
Dr. Corinne Weaver is a compassionate upper cervical chiropractor, educator, motivational speaker, mother of three, and internationally bestselling author. In 2004, she founded the Upper Cervical Wellness Center in Indian Trail, North Carolina. Over the last 13 years, she has helped thousands of clients restore their brain to-body function. When she was 10 years old, she lost her own health as the result of a bike accident that led to having asthma and allergy issues that she thought she would always have to endure. Then, after her first upper cervical adjustment at age 21, her health began to improve thanks to upper cervical care and natural herbal remedies. This enabled her to create a drug-free wellness lifestyle for herself and her family, and she also enthusiastically discovered her calling to help children heal naturally.
Dr. Weaver was recently named one of Charlotte Magazine's "Top Doctors" in 2016 and is now a number-one internationally bestselling author to two books: Learning How to Breathe and No More Meds.
Upper Cervical Wellness Center is known for finding the root cause of health concerns through lifestyle changes, diagnostic testing, nutraceutical supplementation, and correction of subluxation (as opposed to just medicating the symptoms). The practice offers cutting-edge technological care at its state-of-the-art facility, including laser-aligned upper cervical X-rays, bioimpedance analysis (measures body composition), digital thermography (locates thermal abnormalities characterized by skin inflammation), and complete nutritional blood analysis, which is focused on disease prevention.
- The Migraine Trust
- Nature Genetics 45, 912–917
- Huffington Post June 24, 2013
- Huffington Post April 22, 2013
- Scientific American July 21, 2013
- NutraIngredients.com April 2, 2009
- European Journal of Neurology 2004 Jul;11(7):475-7