I’m an osteopath – from Botox to LEDs here’s 13 surprising tips to help beat migraines

If you have migraines, you know how debilitating they can be.

You’ve probably spent hours, days, or even weeks waiting for the pain and other migraine symptoms — like aura, dizziness, and nausea — to subside.

Plagued by migraines? They are a brain disorder - but there is help

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Plagued by migraines? They are a brain disorder – but there is helpPhoto credit: Getty

Meanwhile, all you can do is lie in bed in the dark and keep the noise down.

Although migraines can feel very isolating, if you suffer from them you are not alone.

Almost 9 million people in the UK – 14 per cent of the population – suffer from migraines, with around 200,000 cases of migraine occurring every day.

Migraines are a leading cause of disability worldwide and the most common among working people.

So, if you suffer from migraines, what does the latest research say about your best treatment options, and what does the future hold?

What is a migraine?

Migraine is not an ordinary headache, but a neurovascular disease.

Migraines can be hereditary – meaning if one or both parents have it, you most likely will too, although you can still get migraines even if your parents don’t have them.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, migraines occur when certain nerves in blood vessels release substances that send pain signals to the brain.

What we don’t fully understand yet is why they do this. This is an area where further research is being conducted with treatments aimed at preventing these pain signals from being released.

Research is made more difficult because there are hundreds of different types and symptom variations for headaches and migraines, and over 200 different genetic variations associated with migraines.

So, identifying the underlying causes and the best treatment for your particular migraine is a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Keeping a migraine diary, either on paper or using an app, is a great way for you to spot patterns.

If you need a little more help and support identifying the particular triggers and treatments for your migraines, I would recommend seeing a doctor who specializes in this condition – osteopaths, medical acupuncturists, and chiropractors are all good options.

While everyone’s migraine experience is unique, researchers are increasingly identifying factors that appear to help or hinder groups of migraine symptoms.

While it’s a bit of trial and error, it’s worth trying these research-backed tips to see if your migraines get better…

Newer treatment ideas you may not have tried yet:

1. Botulinum toxin, also known as botox

Also known as Botox, this treatment isn’t just for wrinkles.

It can also be used to reduce activity and tension in the muscles of the face, head and neck, which can lead to migraines and headaches.

Botox is useful for chronic migraines (headaches more than 15 days a month and at least eight of those are migraine headaches), but it hasn’t been proven to work for the more common episodic migraines.

It can also be helpful if your headaches are caused by jaw disorders – there is a subcategory of headaches caused by temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ) that affect the jaw and would also respond well to Botox.

Results last three to six months, but can also help sufferers break the migraine cycle so you experience fewer episodes over time.

This treatment option is especially helpful for chronic migraines, which are difficult to treat with medication alone.

2. Portable Devices

Migraine devices that are worn on different parts of the body (e.g. forehead, neck, arm or head) are permitted.

They work by delivering electrical impulses to nerves that can cause migraines, changing the signals the nerves send to the brain and changing the brain’s response.

You can combine these devices together as they have different mechanisms.

New medications to prevent and treat migraines are constantly being researched, but long-term use of medications can have adverse effects, including side effects and addiction.

Finding ways to reduce the occurrence and severity of your migraines by monitoring your migraine patterns and testing the effects of lifestyle changes will improve your overall health and hopefully your migraines, too.

3. LED light therapy (Light Emitting Diode).

Usually used in facial treatments, there is some evidence that light therapy masks can reduce migraine pain and frequency.

In particular, green light therapy appears to reduce the effects of other lighting on the retina, which can be a major trigger for migraines caused by photosensitivity.

Although more research is needed, people who have tried LED light therapy have reported promising results.

LED therapy devices don’t come cheap, but if migraines are a major impact on your life, they might be worth trying.

4. Daith piercing or acupuncture

There is promising evidence of a reduction in migraines in the months following a piercing in the daith part of your ear (the middle protruding part), but the effects seem to fade over time.

An alternative is to try acupuncture in the daith area, which is a traditional acupuncture point.

That way, the treatment can be repeated when the benefits wear off.

5. Blue light filter glasses

If you spend a lot of time in front of the screen, blue light filtering glasses can help reduce light stimulation and also support your circadian rhythm and sleep.

While these aren’t a direct solution to migraines and don’t help photophobia as much as regular sunglasses, blue light blocking glasses can be helpful if you’re making several lifestyle changes to help relieve your migraines.

Lifestyle habits with proven benefits:

6. Nutrition

The best current evidence relates to a balanced diet and stable blood sugar levels.

Many sufferers saw improvements while keto was a stunner.

Keto is too strict to be sustainable for most people, but the lower carb content was good for preventing the yoyos in blood sugar that can trigger migraines.

Following a low-carb, high-fiber diet and swapping out heavily processed foods like white bread and frozen pizzas for healthier carbs like whole wheat bread and sweet potatoes is great for your overall health and your migraines.

Caffeine and alcohol consumption can also be triggers.

7. Supplements

With busy lives, rising food prices and the gradual reduction in vitamin levels in our food, it can be a good idea to supplement your diet (ask your doctor or nutritionist if you are pregnant or have a health condition).

There is good evidence for riboflavin (B2), co-enzyme Q10 and magnesium for migraines.

Magnesium must be combined with other B-group vitamins and minerals (B3, B6, and zinc), known as co-factors, in order for it to enter the bloodstream.

Other supplements sometimes recommended for migraines include melatonin, vitamins B6, B9, and B12, vitamin E, and vitamin C, but more research is needed on these.

8. Sleep

Migraines are a brain disorder and people with brain disorders need a lot of sleep.

While you sleep, your glymphatic system is active, filtering toxins out of the brain.

You must aim to get eight hours of sleep a night. If you’re far from it, you need to gradually increase your sleep time.

Many people find sleeping in or suddenly sleeping more than usual as a trigger, so try to make the adjustment gradually.

If sleep is a big issue for you, check out sleep hygiene information to help you fall asleep more easily.

9th exercise

Regular, moderate-intensity exercise like a brisk walk is good for migraineurs, but some people find strenuous exercise a trigger.

If you want to do more strenuous exercise as a migraine sufferer, you need to make a slow effort to trigger it minimally.

10. Spend time in nature

Ideal for training and mental health.

Research on trigger factors and protective factors for migraines has found that time spent outdoors is helpful in reducing migraine attacks.

In the warmer months, I often recommend that people take their meals or breaks outside.

If possible, go for a walk in natural surroundings.

11. Mental support and relaxation

Stress can trigger migraines, but unfortunately it is a part of life and cannot be easily eliminated.

Therefore, we need to be proactive to minimize the effects of stress on us.

We need to find out where most of the stress in our lives comes from and try to come up with strategies to deal with it.

This could be an attempt to make practical changes to reduce stress – such as B. changing your work patterns or dealing with relationship issues.

It could mean finding ways to process the stress — like going for a walk to clear your head, journaling to process your emotions and reflecting on your stressors, getting psychotherapy, Reiki, or massage.

It can also mean starting medications to help you manage your stress.

There is no perfect remedy for stress, but you need some strategies to deal with it.

12. Stimulants

If you suffer from migraines and also have ADHD, recent research shows that the stimulant medications (amphetamines) sometimes used to treat ADHD may also be beneficial for your migraines.

Stimulants can also be helpful if you suffer from depression or chronic fatigue, as well as migraines.

13. Painkillers

Migraine sufferers can endure many over-the-counter or prescription medications.

Long-term use of these drugs can cause unwanted side effects including addiction and they can even trigger migraines or headaches again.

For these reasons, it is not ideal to use this type of medication continuously.

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A combination of lifestyle changes and complementary therapies will likely benefit your overall health and help you reduce your migraines to the point where you are less dependent on pain medication.

Katie North is an osteopath with a special interest in headaches Disorders and Migraines at coreclinics.co.uk

https://www.the-sun.com/health/7031212/osteopath-botox-beat-migraines/ I’m an osteopath – from Botox to LEDs here’s 13 surprising tips to help beat migraines

Emma James

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