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The migraine prodrome is the absolute most important phase of a migraine, in terms of treatment.
The earlier a migraine can be recognized the more likely we will be able to abort or lessen an attack.
In this article we will be talking about 3 urgent tools that you need to use ASAP for full effectiveness.
Recognizing your migraines prodrome will be your key to it.
What is a prodrome? / Migraine prodrome definition
The very first signs of a migraine, long before the attack phase, (or with migraine with aura) even the aural phase, is the migraine prodrome.
These are thought of as premonitory symptoms because they are slight and give you the "premonition" that something is off or wrong.
The International Headache Society defines a prodrome as:
"Prodrome: A symptomatic phase, lasting up to 48 hours, occurring before the onset of pain in migraine without aura or before the aura in migraine with aura. Among the common prodromal symptoms are fatigue, elated or depressed mood, unusual hunger and cravings for certain foods."
A prodrome does not happen in everyone but is estimated to occur between 30% to 80% of migraine sufferers.
Migraine prodrome symptoms
It's interesting to note that migraine prodrome symptoms are very similar to the regular ups and downs of the day that most people experience such as food cravings so we may actually be going in and out of the premonitory migraine phase regularly with it only actually resulting in a migraine occasionally.
There are many symptoms that the migraine is coming and many of them are the result of the damage done to the brain that cause migraines and the subsequent migraines effort to repair and protect the brain from damage.
The most common symptoms are:
- Fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating
- Neck or muscle stiffness
- Sensitivity to light, sound and smell(photophobia, phonophobia, hyperosmia)
- Nausea
- Blurred vision
- Yawning
- Becoming pale
- Irritability
- Depression
- Frequent urination
- Loss of words/difficulty speaking(aphasia)
- Depression
- Elation
It's easy to see how some of these symptoms can simply be brushed off and thought of as nothing more than a regular occurrence.
Warning: We can often end up blaming lights, smells and sounds for our migraine attacks when in reality it was the prodromal phase that increased our sensitivity to the smells and we mistakenly thought the sensitivity was a trigger.
This isn't always the case but using methods to prevent sensitivities like removing bad foods can go a long way to prevent environmental sensitivities.
How long does a migraine prodrome last?
A migraine prodrome usually lasts from an hour or two to one or two days and this can include the entire variety of symptoms but separate from any distinct aural symptoms like a scintillating scotoma.
But let's be honest, the 4 categories of a migraine:
Prodrome => Aura => Attack => Postdrome
Are only arbitrary rules we created to understand migraine and in reality these often all blend together.
Migraine prodrome without headache
Because there are no "rules" when it comes to migraines, we can commonly end up with a prodrome that never leads to a headache.
Or a prodrome that progresses into an aura only to have the aura disappear and a headache to never appear.
Or even to have the entire three other phases with a prodrome, aura and postdrome... But with no headache.
It's completely reasonable and as you get better at learning your body's signals and knowing exactly what it needs from reading our blogs, you will get better at stopping the progression in its tracks.
The standard migraine prodrome treatment approach is to take your abortive medication as soon as you think a migraine may be coming on.
But this is tricky because what if your prodrome would've never turned into a full on attack... What a waste.
Plus, the side effects of the medication might incapacitate you even longer than the migraine would've.
This is why we use natural techniques that are safe, effective and will only benefit you.
If it turns into a full blown migraine or not.
3 Urgent tools for migraine prodrome that you have to use ASAP
We have to change our thinking and understand migraine as a protective, helpful mechanism for our bodies.
Migraine doesn't seem to be what is damaging the migraine sufferers brain.
In reality and according to this study it may actually be protecting our brains.
And it makes sense...
Just like our pain reflex.
When something causes us pain, it brings our attention to it and triggers our reflex to get out of harm's way.
We can think of migraines this way too.
If our brain is getting hurt by something like oxidative stress, excitotoxicity, mitochondrial dysfunction or inflammation...
Then a migraine is the perfect way for our body to get our attention and make us stop doing what we're doing.
Does a migraine make you stop doing what you're doing?
But this is a very primal and old reflex so we have to be the smart detectives and figure out what's going on.
Read our articles on the foundation principles, what to do about complex and complicated migraines and what to do when a headache won't go away by clicking these links.
In the meantime, while we are healing, we need to be on top of a progressing migraine and stop it as soon as possible.
Here are three ways to stop some contributors to migraines that you have to try in the prodromal phase ASAP.
1. The antiinflammatory 1-2 punch
Oxidation, inflammation and chemical stress is a big and bad problem for the brain.
Utilizing turmeric and ginger together, as soon as you feel a prodrome is an awesome way to give your body an anti inflammatory and pain relieving boost.
Some even report ginger aborts their migraines.
But you want to make sure you get enough of each, and an easy way is to take capsule versions of turmeric curcumin and dried ginger powder.
Usually I get reports that 250mg-500mg of dried ginger powder is a great place to start and this study found 250mg of ginger was "just as effective as sumatriptan."
Turmeric is used in many studies for other conditions between 400-600 mg in a dried powder.
It's important to get turmeric as well as its active ingredient turmeric curcumin and piperene which makes it absorb and function much better. A combination of these three makes a great turmeric supplement in capsule form.
But everyone is different and dosage will widely vary based on your individuality. Always check with your doctor before making any changes and look for interactions with medications.
2. The pattern breaker
We all have a pattern.
Call this our migraine pattern.
Whether it be a food pattern, stress pattern, emotional pattern, movement pattern etc...
And this pattern is triggering our migraines.
We have to find it and stop it.
But we can't always be introspective and objective on our own lives so we need a way to break free from ourselves.
This is where the pattern breaker comes in.(Plus its golden for killing stress hormones)
It goes like this:
Sit down in a quiet dim lit space that's comfortable and helps you hold good posture.
Stop all your thoughts and bring your focus to yourself.
Now breathe.
Breathe slow, deep diaphragmatic breaths that are 4-6 seconds inhaling and 4-6 seconds exhaling.
Once you have your breathing pattern practised and on auto then transition into the next step but continue the breathing throughout.
Nice and slow.
Start at your feet.
Relax your feet, loosen any tension and lightly shake them out.
Then move on to your calves, relax them, let go and release any tension.
Then your thighs
Then your butt
Then your lower back
Then upper back
Then start from your hands
Work to your arms and finally into your shoulders
Focus on your shoulders, neck and head, continue breathing and relax them.
Purposely focus on relaxing , loosening and letting go of any built up stress in them.
Breathe and reconnect yourself, you got this.
Remember who you are and sit in your power.
Relax and let go, if only for right now and for yourself.
Continue breathing until you can honestly say you've dropped the stress you're holding on to and can take a look at what you are doing, objectively.
If you can do this as soon as you feel anything prodromal, you have a great chance to recognize and break the pattern.
3. The hot and the cold
This one's tough and not for the faint of heart. If you've never done a cold plunge then do not use full cold unless you are comfortable with it.
But it should be slightly uncomfortable because this switching between temperatures will cause your heart rate to speed up and your brain to fire altogether, helping to build new and stronger pathways that aren't pain pathways.
Start with a fairly warm shower.
Work your way up and make sure your whole body is feeling nice and warm so that your blood vessels are dilating.
Then flip it to cold. But use a preset cold that you know you can deal with.
Not lukewarm.
This has to be quite cool and will cause a change in the way blood is circulating through your body called the hunters reflex.
This will cause your lymphatic system to drain, your heart to pump more nutrients to your brain, your breathing to increase and bring in more oxygen, your blood vessels to dilate to warm you up and your brain to fire simultaneously to get your body's functioning up to par with the situation.
It's not easy, but it's an easy way to combat the overly comfortable, air conditioned, sedentary lives we live and help counter some of the inflammation running rampant in the regular migraine brain.
Then finish off with some warm again.
As always, this is not medical advice and you should consult your doctor before making any changes to your lifestyle.
These techniques are amazing ways to implement natural solutions into a world that's become so unnatural and caused half of all people to have a chronic health condition and over 1 billion people to suffer from migraine worldwide.
Join us on the journey to migraine freedom by becoming a part of the Migraine Professional community here.
How do you experience your prodrome? What do you do for it?
Share this article with someone else with migraines that may benefit.
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We want an easy way out of the migraine pain.
I suffered for years trying anything I could get my hands on to get relief.
After going through many health courses and learning what causes migraines and headaches I've been migraine free for 5 years now.
In this article I am going to share everything there is to know about tragus and daith ear piercings for migraines, along with reviews like the one below.
What is the tragus/daith ear piercing and how does it work to stop migraines?
There are two ear piercings that are gaining a lot of attention in the migraine treatment world because so little is focused on dealing with the actual causes of migraines like neuronal excitation and inflammation.
The two piercings are:
Daith
Tragus
There are some differences between the two but there is far too little scientific literature on either to make clear distinctions.
Daith piercing is the more popularly discussed method of preventing and relieving migraines and headaches.
The Migraine Professional community definitely vouches for daith piercings effectiveness more than the tragus.
There is also little known about why they work or if they are simply placebo but here is what we do know.
Acupuncture uses similar areas to treat diseases which we will talk about further down...
And
These areas go through arnold's nerve that is connected to the vagus nerve which has been implicated in migraine.
Some conditions like depression and epilepsy have been proven to be relieved by vagus nerve stimulation and some of the common devices for migraines like gammacore are specifically used on the vagal nerve for relief.
Acupuncture, acupressure and vagal nerve stimulation are the closest reasons we have that connects the possible migraine relief to tragus and daith piercings. But make sure to read our huge warning below.
It's fairly simple.
You find a reputable tattoo shop, get the piercing done and take care of it so that it heals well.
Some even advocate pulling on the piercing when you feel pain coming on to stimulate the vagus nerve further. See video below:
A Huge Warning
Adding metal into your body is not to be taken lightly.
Providing you take care of the hole and it heals up well without infection and with a quality metal that won't poison you...
It's important to understand that our bodies are electromagnetic and run on biological electricity.
When we add a metal into our bodies tissues, we turn that metal into an antenna for any radio, internet or other electromagnetic frequencies in the area.
Our cells use a very small amount of energy to communicate with each other so when we introduce a large amount of stimulation into an area we develop chaos in the system.
The best materials to use to avoid this include insulating and neutral substances such as:
- Bone
- Stone
- Porcelain
- Wood
See the video below on one of the world's most renowned health experts Paul Chek talking about the dangers of piercing, metals, implants and radiation below:
Which side is the best for tragus or daith ear piercings to help migraines?
Generally what is recommended is that you get the piercing on the side that you experience the most pain on.
If we take what we know from the information above then we would make sure that if we have a one sided piercing we get a piercing on the other side to help balance the pull of radiation.
For the musculoskeletal system, compensating for tension on both sides is easier than just one.
This is especially important if we have an imbalance like TMJ which can be made worse by one sided stress.
Is the daith or tragus ear piercing working through acupuncture?
There are some that say acupuncture is at work here and others not.
An interview on ear piercings with Dr. Foster says:
""Yes I have heard of that piercing," said Foster, an acupuncturist. "Whether it's effective for all people suffering from migraines is an interesting question."
Dr. Foster says it really just depends on the person and the type of migraine that they get. He says that point on the ear is associated with digestive organs. So if your migraine stems from digestive issues, the piercing could work.
"There are zones on the ear that correspond directly to zones on the body," he said."
And acupuncture is well known to work for migraines and headaches of all kinds.
Even sham acupuncture works really well because needles have a huge placebo effect.
This study on acupuncture for migraine prophylaxis found that, "the mean (SD) frequency of attacks decreased in the true acupuncture group by 3.2 (2.1),
in the sham acupuncture group by 2.1 (2.5),
and the waiting-list group by 1.4 (2.5);
a greater reduction was observed in the true acupuncture than in the sham acupuncture group."
My perspective is that it's far better to use a systematic approach to health than just take shots in the dark.
It works much better and you know what's happening so you can track and alter course for even more benefit.
How to change daith ear piercings, earrings and jewelry
By popular demand I've also attached a video on how to change daith ear piercings, earrings and jewelry below.
Reviews for tragus and daith ear piercings for migraine relief
Now we will talk about all the amazing and not so amazing reviews for these ear piercings and if they prevent migraines for others.
First let's start with what the Migraine Professional community says.
Now let's see some reviews left in the comments of tragus and daith piercing videos:
These reviews are amazing, but what do the studies say?
Daith Piercing migraine studies
First off let's start with one of the only actual scientific studies done on daith piercing. Sadly none have been done on tragus.
This study presents a case of a 54 year old man with "refractory chronic migraine with medication-overuse, who substantially improved after bilateral ear daith piercing."
Of his own free will he decided to get the daith piercing.
"After that, he experienced a reduction of migraine attacks, which became very rare, and infrequent, less disabling episodes of tension-type headache."
But this doesn't tell us much because it's only one case.
What we do have is some amazing graphs done by surveys through migrainepal and migrainebuddy.
First let's start with a survey done by migrainebuddy which involved 70 users who shared their experience, made simple in the graph below.
This shows that 41% experienced no change but the rest did.
Next we have a survey done by migrainepal which included a much larger 1107 participants.
This shows that 36% of people who participated and had the daith piercing had their migraines stay the same or increase since the piercing.
The rest reduced or eliminated their migraines.
These studies are basically showing that it's fairly 50/50 hit or miss.
What can we learn from this?
Taking all of this information into account, it's important to understand that this little and seemingly insignificant piercing in the grand scheme of migraine can make a huge difference in a person's life.
That said, it doesn't seem to be addressing the cause of migraine that often goes untreated and can create neurological damage later on.
In my personal practise I've seen much better results in taking a systematic approach where you address all the factors that are adding oxidation, inflammation, stress and tension into your life.
Doing this alone often relieves migraines by half or more unless there is a deeper pathology going on.
But it's simple, the body is always trying to heal and always attempting to repair damage that leads to pain.
If we can remove what's causing the damage and give the body the support it needs through its 6 foundation principles...
Then add in some supplements to fill in the holes and pain disappears.
When nothing else works, we need to learn simple steps we can take to stop a migraine.
I've teamed up with the association for a migraine free world to bring you 5 steps to stop a migraine. Click the picture below and learn the simple system that works without drugs or invasive procedures.
Have you ever had your daith or tragus pierced for migraine relief? Let me know in the comments below.
See our facebook discussion and what everyone has to say about their experience here.
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After I tamed my migraines the only thing that was left was these guys.
Cervicogenic headaches are a type of secondary headache that are caused by pain in the neck extending to pain in the head.
Cervico = neck
Genic = created
Cervico-genic-headache = neck created headache
In this article I'm going to talk about what a cervicogenic headache is and what you absolutely must understand if you want long term relief from it.
After that we will talk about some well known treatments for it.
What is a Cervicogenic Headache?
Cervicogenic headache is a type of secondary headache that comes from pain in the neck (usually C1, C2 or C3 vertebrae are blamed) and extends into the head creating a headache.(Link)
Those who suffer from this pain also have many trigger points in their shoulders and back that can aggravate the neck and cause a pain sensation in the head.
It's important to remember that our body is tied together so when a pain starts in one area it's very easy for it to aggravate other sensitive areas.
This is even more true with the neck and head because of the large amount of nerves that can convey the pain from the neck into the face or back.
Supporting proper functioning of the neck and everything that ties into it will yield the best results in treatment.
Who Gets Them?
"Prevalence estimates range from 0.4% to 2.5% of the general population to 15% to 20% of patients with chronic headaches. CGH affects patients with a mean age of 42.9 years, has a 4:1 female disposition, and tends to be chronic."(Link)
"People with cervicogenic headache often have reduced range of motion of their neck and worsening of their headache with certain movements of their neck or pressure applied to certain spots on their neck.
The headaches are often side-locked (on one side only), and the pain may radiate from the neck/back of the head up to the front of the head or behind the eye.
The headache may or may not be associated with neck pain."(Link)
The problem with cervicogenic headache is that neck pain is not enough for this diagnosis as tension type headache and migraine can both present with neck pain.
To really be understood as a cervicogenic headache there has to be a cause uncovered that is known to create cervicogenic headache.
The american migraine foundation states "there must be evidence of a disorder or lesion within the cervical spine or soft tissues of the neck, known to be able to cause headache. Such disorders include tumors, fractures, infections and rheumatoid arthritis of the upper cervical spine."(Link)
Cervicogenic Headache Symptoms
Some of the most common symptoms include:
Pain that only occurs on one side of your head or faceHeadaches that are triggered by neck movementAwkward head positions and a stiff neckPressure on certain parts of the neckPain lasting hours or days
Pain from Coughing, sneezing or taking a deep breath
Pain from the neck extending to head or down to shoulders and back
Steady pain that doesn't throb and stays in one spot(Link)
WebMD states that even though CGH and migraine are different, they can have many of the same symptoms such as:
Feeling sick to your stomach with nausea and vomitingPain in your arm or shoulderWorse in bright lightWorse from loud noiseBlurry vision
Cervicogenic Vs Migraine
Understanding the difference between cervicogenic headache and migraine is clear on paper but difficult in practise because they present with many of the same symptoms.
Here are the criteria for cervicogenic headache diagnosis as per the international headache society's guidelines:
Pain localized in the neck and occiput, which can spread to other areas in the head, such as forehead, orbital region, temples, vertex, or ears, usually unilateral.Pain is precipitated or aggravated by specific neck movements or sustained postures.At least one of the following:
Resistance to or limitation of passive neck movementsChanges in neck muscle contour, texture, tone, or response to active and passive stretching and contractionAbnormal tenderness of neck musculature
4. Radiological examination reveals at least one of the following:
Movement abnormalities in flexion/extensionAbnormal postureFractures, congenital abnormalities, bone tumors, rheumatoid arthritis, or other distinct pathology (not spondylosis or osteochondrosis)
Here is a video of what a physical practitioner might use to assess you:
Cervicogenic Headache Causes
These are some common causes and we will talk about how they are connected and stem from the same source:
- Forward head posture
- Osteoarthritis
- Nerve compression
- Slipped disk
- Tumor
- Fracture
When we want to understand cervicogenic headaches and any headaches coming from pain in the neck or shoulders we have to look at the rest of the body and how it's compensating.
The body will always try to protect itself and often does this by changing posture and creating pain.
If we have a muscle imbalance in the neck from let's say sitting all day(who does that?) then we can develop tight and weak muscles that will continue to put our neck into a posture that will create compression on nerves and aggravate pain.
Forward head posture is one of the most common causes of this and is becoming a huge problem because we are:
- Sitting at desks
- Sitting in cars
- Sitting on couches
- Not exercising
- Looking at phones
But we are doing them with poor ergonomics and not using exercise which usually resets these muscles and fixes imbalances.
Possible Red Flags If You Have Cervicogenic Headache
Sudden onset of a new severe headache;A worsening pattern of a pre-existing headache in the absence of obvious predisposing factors;Headache associated with fever, neck stiff ness, skin rash, and with a history of cancer, HIV, or other systemic illness;Headache associated with focal neurologic signs other than typical aura;Moderate or severe headache triggered by cough, exertion, or bearing down; andNew onset of a headache during or following pregnancy.
Patients with one or more red flags should be referred for an immediate medical consultation and further investigation from their doctor.
Cervicogenic Headache Treatments
Cervicogenic Headache ICD 10 code - [M99]G44.841
There are many treatments available for cervicogenic headaches but we want to find the root cause.
Yes you can get a botox injection that will block all nerve pain transmission and you won't be able to feel the pain, but that doesn't mean the cause isn't there and progressively getting worse.
Let's start with what one physical therapist who's dealt with many headaches has to say.
This breaks it down and makes it simple to understand.
The functioning and posture of all your limbs depends on your core because your core is what holds everything in place.
But there is a second piece to this that is at play every second of every day, either making your head and neck have to compensate or giving them the correct posture...
And that's breathing.
So with these three pieces we have a place to start:
1. Correct core abdominal functioning
2. Fix the breathing pattern
3. Stretch and strengthen the neck based on its muscles needs
The process goes:
Reactivate core => correct breathing pattern => integrate core and breathing into regular daily movement => assess neck and correct anything left over
First and foremost is the core and the weak area that often gives out from a variety of different reasons is the lower abdominals and inner core unit.
Here is a great video on correcting the lower abs:
As you can see this is really simple to do and is just focusing on reactivating the core so it's functioning properly and can hold the head and neck in the right position.
The problem is that you will not have proper neck mobility without a functioning core and proper breathing pattern.
Breathing is very simple but many of us do it wrong for a variety of reasons like bad posture and fear.
Here is a great video on respiration and how important it is to retrain your breathing pattern for deep abdominal breaths.
Once the breathing and core are corrected you can then continue to progress them into movements so that your brain learns how to breath right, engage the core and move properly all at the same time.
Once this clicks, the neck will unlock its tension and poor posture that is protecting it from injury and you will be able to breathe easier.
It's super simple but important you see a trained practitioner to teach you how to do it right.
You can use this to find one near you or get our 10 steps program to learn yourself.
Cervicogenic Headache Exercises
Here are three great exercises for the causes of cervicogenic headaches.
1. First off, if we have a bad breathing pattern and our breath is actually going up into our lungs, chest, shoulders and neck and not down into our abdomen then our neck is getting tons of extra tension. See breathing pattern correction video here.
2. Next off is our lower abdominals. When they don't engage, our head compensates and brings the neck with it. See abdominal engagement correction here.
3. To stretch tight muscles and strengthen weak muscles of the neck see the video here.
Cervicogenic Headache Home Treatment
Some very common natural home remedies (that may work incredibly well) include:
- Cold or hot therapy(or both)
- Get more of the relaxation mineral magnesium through a spray on, epsom salt and a supplement
- Supplement with sulfur like MSM
- Start adding turmeric and ginger to everything in your diet
- Use essential oils like frankincense
The above tips are just briefly touched upon and you should definitely do more investigation and ask your healthcare provider before making any changes.
As we correct the cause for neck pain like bad posture and breathing and we reduce the triggers for pain like inflammation caused by food and stress, headaches may disappear altogether.
The different causes like osteoarthritis, slipped disk, forward head posture, fractures, poor sleep position and nerve compression all have this; instability in the core, causing compensation in the head, leading to excessive strain on the neck in common.
When we can correct the underlying causes we give our neck and head more support and a break from all the tension.
This, coupled with a proper recovery plan that gives you anti inflammatory nutrients and the building blocks to repair sets you up for long term health and happiness.
To understand everything about headaches that causes inflammation and leads to trigger along with 10 steps you can start taking today to get pain free see our 10 steps program by clicking below.
If you're finding your headaches more complex and complicated than you or your healthcare provider can handle make sure to check out our article on 7 great tips for complex and complicated migraine here.
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Every once in a while you can end up with a headache and think no big deal, I'll just sleep it off...
But then you wake up and it's still there.
It just keeps growing and getting worse.
Building and throbbing until you feel like you are going to break.
It's really scary.
I've had a few of them throughout my life and even though they were doozies, I'm still here today and now migraine free for over 5 years.
In this article I'm going to be talking about the headache that won't go away and 9 things to do about it.
1. Double Check
First and foremost it's important to make sure we aren't causing the headache with rebound drugs or medications, because these can continue to create headaches no matter what we try.
When we take a substance that causes vasodilation or vasoconstriction, if the amount taken is more than the body can compensate for then we may experience a "rebound" effect.
Chronic migraine and other chronic headache sufferers know that medications can be life savers, but when we end up taking medication:
- In excessive doses
- The wrong type
- Too frequently
We can end up with rebounding headaches.
So first and foremost double check your medications and sources of vaso constrictors and dilators like chocolate, histamine, tyramine, caffeine etc.
Watch the video below to hear Dr. David Hills advice on how to make a headache go away.
2. Remove sensitive or trigger foods
One of the first places to look, and one of the biggest clinical relievers of headaches is removing sensitive foods.
There are different types of sensitive and trigger foods that can continue aggravating our brains and bodies.
But there's a catch, they are different for everyone.
Some people do well with coffee, others are sent into rebound by it.
Some people do well with high histamine foods, others cannot tolerate them.
But there are a few common links between most people with food triggers:
- The gut isn't functioning properly
- Immune system is aggravated
- Detoxification is overloaded or compromised
Now when we talk about sensitive and trigger foods we can get into an amazing discussion about the gut-brain connection and how the health of our gut is directly proportional to the health of our brain.
But that is beyond the scope of this article and if you'd like to learn how food triggers can make or break your head healing program, click here to join our food triggers guide.
To make it simple we can cover what are called the common 10 trigger foods.
These foods are what some food studies have found to be the most commonly aggravating foods to migraine and headache sufferers.
This list is definitely not an end all be all list but includes:
WheatOrangeEggsCoffee and TeaChocolateMilkBeefCornCane sugarYeast
If all of these are sensitive then it's important to remember that something deeper is going on that is disrupting gut function which needs to be addressed first.
See our article on 7 great tips for complex and complicated migraines here.
3. Have you checked your sleep ergonomics?
One of the common contributors to headaches that won't go away is what are medically known as cervicogenic headaches.
Cervico meaning neck and genic meaning created.
These neck-created headaches can continue giving us pain day-after-day-after-day if we don't address the source of their caused imbalance.
Musculoskeletal imbalances, poor ergonomics and bad sleep posture can all add to tension on our shoulders, necks and heads that can aggravate pain and keep it coming back.
If you have chronic headaches it's incredibly important to get a full physical assessment from an advanced physical practitioner like a CHEK practitioner.
They can not only help you determine imbalanced muscles but also help guide you to if they are being caused by poor organ function.
With more and more desk jobs, posture and ergonomics are at the forefront of creating health issues and helping us prevent them.
Sitting is the new smoking so we need to be wary of how we are positioning ourselves for hours a day.
If we are placing too much weight on a given area of the body we can end up with pinched nerves and this can lead to a host of problem including radiating pain, numbness, tingling, muscle weakness and even organ dysfunction.
See the picture below for sitting posture.
Then we have sleep ergonomics.
If your mattress has a crater in the middle of it, throw it out.
Your pillow should also be ergonomically designed so that you're comfortable and in a neutral position to not exert tension on any part of it while you sleep.
There are a few different sleep positions and your ideal position will be different from the next person depending on your needs.
Using tools like a pillow between your legs and towels rolled up under your neck and back can take 8 hours of stressful sleep off your body.
I have attached a video below from Dr. Axe that goes into some detail about sleeping positions and which ones work best and worst.
4. Do you experience abdominal fullness, bloating, gas or pain with it?
We know everything in the body is connected and each system works off of every other system.
When 1 system is compromised, the stress from that system can spill over to all the others and tax the body.
This is often the case with the digestive system.
If we are experiencing digestive symptoms throughout the day, even little things like frequent burping or gas, it can point to a compromised system, parasitic infection, dysbiosis or help point us to another system that may be causing the issues.
This is why I always advocate and teach that you need to listen to your body.
It cannot talk to us directly, instead it uses signs and symbols.
Mood swings, drops in energy, acid reflux, loose stools etc. are all pointing to systems that are having problems running their operations.
Start adding up the symptoms and see where they are pointing, do some research and if you need help then find a good holistic medicine practitioner that can connect the dots for you.
For a way to address all the different factors that go into the creation of high trigger levels that may lead to migraines start the 10 steps program by clicking here.
5. Is something else flaring at the same time?
This is a graph showing percentage of migraine sufferers with comorbidities in 2017.
There is no surprise here.
One of the most common triggers that gets reported to me is emotional stress.
When we are emotionally overloaded, everything else falls by the wayside.
Because of all the hormones like cortisol released during these stressful times, our body thinks we are dying and shuts off any cleaning or digesting which severely impairs our ability to prevent other triggers from sneaking up as well.
Now take a look at this graph showing all reported comorbidities.
These are huge.
If one of these is flaring at the same time, then you have a place to go and explore further for the cause.
Always look at the whole picture, what systems are compromised and where the big stressors are coming into your life.
6. Is there too much heat or too much cold in your body?
Do you find yourself getting really hot, have redness or inflammation anywhere?
Or are you cold, get cold easily, feel tired and fatigued?
These can both point you towards what you should work on.
When we go to far into either side of the picture above we can suffer.
But by using the opposite side we can create balance in our bodies again.
Workout a lot? Get better rest.
Feel tired often? Use energy building exercises and foods.
Think too much? Schedule time to not think.
These two forces will constantly impact us no matter who we are or where we go.
A simple trick for if you are too cold is to start regular infrared sauna sessions a few times a week.
If you are too hot and wound up then take some cold showers or try an ice plunge to help reset your body's parasympathetic nervous system.
7. Support the brains detox mechanism
The brain goes through a process of detoxifying all of the waste that gets created, every day.
There is a system in the brain called the glymphatic system which removes waste through the cerebrospinal fluid.
When we go to sleep and our stress hormones drop(if they drop) then the glymphatic system goes to work, opens up and clears the brain of waste that accumulated throughout the day.
This is why the brain looks like it's working just as hard during sleep as it is during the day.
It's working really hard to clean out waste that's linked to neurodegenerative diseases like alzheimer's and dementia.
How do we optimize our sleep so that our brain can clear the gunk?
Always sleep in complete darkness and if you are sleeping in make sure there is no morning light in your room. If light touches your skin, the stress hormone cortisol gets produced to wake you up, cut the light.Caffeine has a half life of 6 hours, this means it needs to be limited to the morning so that blood levels are low during sleep. Caffeine will prevent stress hormones from dropping and sleep hormones from rising.Have a balanced meal before bed, not just carbohydrates and dont have binge dinners. A fair amount of protein with some complex carbohydrates and healthy fats make for a deep sleep and no night waking.Exercise as early in the day as possible so that the stress hormones created from it will drop by bedtime.
Stay hydrated but don't drink loads of fluid before bed as this an cause you to have to pee in the middle of the night. Tip: Add some sea salt to your water before bed to prevent having to pee.
Keep a regular sleep schedule. Our body is run by circadian rhythms which work off of a 24 hour light/dark cycle. When we wind down with the sun setting and wake up with the sun rising, while doing it at the same time every day, our body can prepare all of our stress and sleep hormones accordingly.
8. Stop burning the wick at both ends
We are all guilty of it but there are a few key tips that can keep your brain from breaking while still taking on life at full tilt.
- Don't try to do more, try to be more efficient
- When stress is high, the foundation principles need to be as fine tuned as possible
- Plan your day and create outlines so that you can maximize any actual working time
- When you plan, make sure to schedule parasympathetic dominant, resting, relaxing and digesting time, you will get more done because of it not despite it
- Find out what type of burnout you are prone to
- Learn to say no
- Stop trying to be perfect, start satisficing
9. Head to the emergency room
If you are ever experiencing pain that you've never had before, aren't diagnosed for or that is not going away then go see a doctor immediately.
It can save you lots of stress and potential damage to your body if it's something more serious than a headache and needs to be addressed quickly.
But when you know its a typical headache or migraine that's just not letting up then going down the natural approach and finding a solution that doesn't cause a list of side effects is preferred.
Click the picture below to learn how the association for a migraine free world uses 5 steps to stop a migraine.
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