A migraine is more than your typical headache, and if you’re familiar with the pounding pain, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sounds that come with a full-blown migraine, you are not alone. The American Migraine Research Foundation reports that the condition affects 39 million people in the United States.
A previous post here on Doc Wellness blog discussed a powerful solution to the condition. But wouldn’t it be great if you can avoid suffering migraines in the first place?
While the exact causes of migraines are unclear, forming healthy habits and using nonmedical remedies have been proven to help prevent attacks. Here are some simple steps to do so.
Know and avoid your triggers
If you have a history of getting migraines, you will notice that there are certain dietary, environmental, or psychological factors that can trigger the condition. Patient.info explains that triggers can be due to a number of things, from eating certain cheese, chocolate, or citrus fruits to being exposed to loud noises, smoke, or strong scents. Others may suffer from migraines because of specific medications, a shift change in work, or changes in sleep patterns.
Do your best to avoid known triggers. While this might not always be possible, especially if your trigger involves weather patterns or other uncontrollable phenomena, try and mitigate its effects by limiting exposure or quickly moving away from the headache-inducing circumstances. If you don’t know your triggers yet, start a headache diary that records the times and severity of your headaches, along with several factors that might be related to your migraines. These include what you eat and drink, how you exercise, what the weather is like, and what sort of emotions you were feeling before the onset of your migraine.
Maintain good posture and move around
In addition, it’s also good to be conscious of how you move (or don’t move) throughout the day. At work, be mindful of your posture and check if your neck is remaining stiff. It also helps to study the ergonomics of your work area to see what you can improve in the long run. Make sure you move around frequently as well, even if it’s just a short walk or stretch in between bouts of desk work.
If you haven’t eaten anything in a while, low blood sugar can be a contributing factor to the onset of your migraine. Researchers have found that it’s better to eat small meals throughout the day instead of just three large ones to keep blood sugar levels stable and migraines at bay. Food rich in magnesium, such as spinach, tofu, or pumpkin seeds can be especially helpful in both filling your stomach and preventing migraines.
On the other hand, do your best to avoid food containing the flavor enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG). A study published on the Journal of Headache and Pain reveals that just a single intake of MSG can produce headache and migraine symptoms, and most people cannot build a tolerance for the substance.
Last but not least, it’s very important to get the appropriate amount of sleep. Too much or too little can leave you with your head pounding, and irregular sleep hours have been found to cause migraines.
If you feel a migraine coming in, the best thing to do is to take a break and rest. American Headache Society President Dr. Elizabeth Loder told Time Magazine, “Many people are very busy and reluctant to take the time, but if you consider the tradeoff of spending 10 minutes to close the blinds, lie down, and relax… that might be a better use of your time than being incapacitated later on.”
Migraines can be a painful and something that can impact your everyday life, but with a healthy lifestyle and constant monitoring, you can find ways to lessen your chances of getting this terribly common illness.
Calcium aspartate anhydrous is the new, latest, greatest form of calcium. Or so the manufacturers claim. They cite absorption as high as “92%.”
While this all sounds promising, looking for the research and proof that that percentage is accurate, none exists. There are a couple of unpublished reports
Searching the information further, the claims stated by said manufacturer are nearly identical to those claimed by “coral calcium.” These calcium products were fined by the FTC and federal courts.
Let’s give our friends here the benefit of the doubt for the moment. What if 92% is accurate. Sounds good? Maybe not. Here is why:
Few things are more distracting or more energy draining than chronic pain. According to a study in The Journal of Pain, chronic pain affects over 30% Americans. Not surprisingly, this has had the negative effect of heavy use, over-use, and abuse of prescription painkillers and other substances. Addiction to said substances is rapidly approaching dangerous levels.
If prescription meds are not the answer, then what is?
A study from a few months ago provided the clear solution. There is strong evidence that diet and pain are interconnected.
Here are the top 4 food groups that contribute to inflammation and thus, increase of pain.
Lactose is the main type of sugar found in cow’s milk. Some 75% of people worldwide have intolerant of this to one degree or another. This intolerance contributes to digestive issues which in turn, creates additional inflammation systemically.
Nightshade vegetables are a group of plants which include tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes, and certain peppers. While healthy for most, they can also start a chain reaction of negative symptoms ranging from joint issues to muscle soreness which can last for long periods of time.
You knew this would be on the list. Gluten is a type of protein found in specific types of grains. Simply stated, many simply cannot process this substance and the results are pronounced when this occurs. At the top of the list is initiating or worsening of chronic pain.
Is there a “negative list” where sugar is NOT on? Sugar is associated with negative effects on wellness ranging from tooth decay to obesity to cancers. Those you probably are aware of. What you may not know is that because sugar disrupts the gut (called the microbiome), it promotes inflammation and weakens immunity.
This healthy fat from coconut oil can greatly boost energy, fight off pathogens, promote a healthier heart and a lot more. Of all of the fats that can be consumed, there is one is has emerged as perhaps, the healthiest of all.
It is called MCT Oil. MCT stands for medium chain triglycerides. They are found in, among other things coconuts.
Here are the top reasons why it is the top oil:
Introduce it slowing into the diet at first and once you recognize that it is compatible with your chemistry, you can then consume the full dosage.
Choice is a great thing but too many choices can sometimes be a huge problem, particularly when it comes to supplements. (Students of Dr. Orman’s Wellness School have a great grasp on this issue though via the many lessons on the subject.) In any event, more most they walk into the health store and. . . freeze.
Here are a couple of “This” and “Not That” choice that people can benefit from:
This: Astragalus. Used properly, this is one of the very best immune boosters known. It will strengthen the lungs, the kidney energy and improve one’s overall vitality.
Not This: Echinacea. Too much uncertain exists within the scientific literature. My patients have had mixed results at best too. The dosages need to be really effective are somewhere around 12-15 caps per day. No one would take this amount and as such, the effectiveness is erratic.
This: Popular brands such as Vitamin Shoppe, Nature’s Way, Solaray and Doc Wellness Supplement are consistently outstanding brands. They work and have been proven by testing to be safe and effective.
Not This: Centrum and other “drug store” brands. They are so compressed that little if any of the substances are actually absorbed. Most is wasted. Also, they do know how to blend a formula correctly, mixing contrary substances such as magnesium with zinc.
This: Elderberry or Black Seed Extract for treating cold and the flu. They are the top of the line anti-microbial substances around. Oregano oil is also on this list. All can be used for preventive measures too.
Not This: Flu shots. Unless you are 80 and have a very weak immune system, flu shots are not very effective and as one of my teachers put it, “makes the immune system stupid.”
You may not be able to pronounce it, but you may find it extremely helpful. It is called Ashwagandha (pronounced: ‘ash-wa-ghan-dah’) and is commonly referred to as Indian Ginseng.
Indian Ginseng is in the category of tonics which means it is used to strengthen the system or part of it. It is commonly used in Ayurvedic Medicine and is known as “winter cherry.”
In its raw form, it is a small, green flowers and fruit that is orangish-red when fully mature.
Now the real good stuff. . . .
The leaves and fruit are used externally and applied to the skin to treat wounds, welts, growths, back pain, and various skin growths.
In capsule or liquid form, it is used to help improve the function of the brain (memory in particular), alleviate worry and anxiety, reduces pain and helps clear inflammation and swelling.
Ashwagandha is considered an adaptogen; that is, a substance that enhances the body’s adaptive response to stress and balances normal body functions. Give it to 10 people and you may have 9 different positive reactions. In other words, it literally “adapts” to the needs of the body.
Doc’s Thoughts: I LOVE this herb. It is in my Top 5 list for sure. I have used it extensively for post-marathon recovery and for times when I am dragging. It is one of the substances I have used very frequently with patients as the cost and the effectiveness when used properly has been consistently outstanding.