Some of the meds used for chronic migraine relief can have a long list of side effects. Because of this, patients look for natural remedies for migraines.
One of the more popular migraine support group type websites promotes the idea that migraines are genetically based and there is really nothing that can be done to “cure” migraines. The best we can do is hope to manage them successfully with medications and, to a lessor extent, dietary choices.
I personally think this is one of the most damaging thought processes to promote when it comes to pretty much anything in healthcare. This attitude removes personal responsibility for recovery and a solution. Some feel safer here, but will never achieve ideal health. Only until a sick patient adopts the belief that healing comes from within will they truly get better. Anything else is “management.”
So why they rant on locus of control? This particular study demonstrates how much power lifestyle can have on the experience of the patient who experiences chronic migraines.
Researchers looked at migraine sufferers who also experienced irritable bowel syndrome and checked them for 270 food allergies, including some of the most common food allergies, via IgG4 testing in the blood. Before we go into the results of this study we need to cover a very important aspect of this study.
To the uninformed, the presence of irritable bowel syndrome and chronic migraine headaches would be considered “comorbidities.” This means that they are occurring together in the same patient but are generally viewed as separate diseases that need to be managed separately (typically using two different sets of medications). An example would be high blood pressure and diabetes. These are absolutely, positively being caused by the same mechanism in the body (related to insulin affecting AMDA levels and driving up blood pressure) and can both be addressed by fixing the problem. But mainstream medicine does not share this viewpoint; rather, they medicate each separately, warning doctors to look for high blood pressure in diabetics and treat (i.e. “medicate”) if found.
In this particular situation, irritable bowel syndrome and chronic migraine headaches are not comorbidities. Rather, it is easy to see that something is wrong with the gut, thereby producing the irritable bowel syndrome. When the gut becomes inflamed there are direct connections between the nervous system of the gut and the cells in the brain. If the irritating factor to the gut is a food, then essentially this food can be a factor in the migraine.
Not two ships passing in the night, but rather one problem leading to another. Don’t think that identifying and avoiding some of the most common food allergies could play a role in chronic migraine relief? Then you need to look at the results of this study I mentioned earlier:
- The average number of reactions was 23
- An elimination diet led to a 44% reduction in the number of migraine attacks.
- The attack duration dropped from 2.6 to 1.4 days (46% drop).
- The migraine duration dropped from1.8 to 1.1 days (39% drop).
- Migraine headache severity dropped from 8.5/10 to 6.6 (22% drop).
- The number of needing rescue meds dropped from 4.0 to 1.9 (53% drop) (Tweet this).
- Overall, there were improvements in pain and bloating with the irritable bowel syndrome as well with an overall improvement in quality of life.
So basically, avoiding the most common food allergies for these patients who also had problems with his or her gut led to very strong improvements in all aspects of the chronic migraine headaches experienced.
I go back to my earlier statement. This demonstrates that the irritable bowel and the migraine headaches are not comorbidities. Rather, the dysfunction in one system (the gut) led to problems in another system (the brain). Let me emphasize this last line:
ANY PHYSICIAN WHO THINKS TO TREAT YOUR CHRONIC MIGRAINE HEADACHES WITHOUT LOOKING AT YOUR ENTIRE HEALTH PICTURE DOES NOT UNDERSTAND MIGRAINES.
And that means that it is time to find another one who does.