June – is Migraine & Headache Awareness Month
photo by AHMA
Have you ever had a migraine? If not, you are a lucky one. I used to get them frequently. At one point they became part of my daily life – I didn’t know when one ends and another starts. I also did’t know that it could be my hormones, especially thyroid and mineral imbalances in my body to blame for my suffering. The World Health Organisation has classified headache as a major health disorder and found it to be the sixth highest cause worldwide of years lost due to disability.
Migraine affects people from all age groups (even young children), but it affects twice as many women as men. Is it than female hormones to blame?
Researchers are not sure what causes a migraine, but they know it involves changes in the blood flow to the brain. At first, blood vessels narrow or constrict, reducing blood flow and leading to visual disturbances, difficulty speaking, weakness, numbness, or tingling sensation in one area of the body, or other similar symptoms. Later, the blood vessels dilate or enlarge, leading to increased blood flow and a severe headache. The link between migraine and female sex hormones is well established. The hormones estrogen and progesterone play key roles in regulating the menstrual cycle and pregnancy and may also affect headache-related chemicals in the brain. Endocrine hormones are also extremely important in headache aetiology. Thyroid diseases, including hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, are among the hormonal conditions now known to often coexist with headaches and migraines. Any disease of the thyroid gland can impact virtually every organ in the body so it is not surprising that headaches are often intensified when a person also suffers from thyroid disease.
Migraine symptoms can include: visual disturbances (flashing lights, blind spots in the vision, zig zag patterns and many more), nausea, vomiting, debilitating head pain, pins and needles, numbness in the limbs and even paralysis.
1. If you suspect that your headaches may be related to hormonal problems, you should see your doctor. Correcting your hormones (sex or endocrine) will likely help get your menstrual cycle, thyroid and headaches under control.
2. Eliminate migrane triggers. The best way to find out what triggers your headache, keep a diary. Download your free diary now!
Migraine triggers can include the following :
- Alcohol, especially beer and red wine
- Certain foods, such as aged cheeses, chocolate, nuts, peanut butter, some fruits (like avocado, banana, and citrus), foods with monosodium glutamate (MSG), onions, dairy products, meats containing nitrates (bacon, hot dogs, salami, and cured meats) fermented or pickled foods
- Skipping meals
- Fluctuations in hormones, for example during pregnancy, before and during your period, and menopause
- Certain odors, such as perfume or smoke
- Bright lights
- Loud noises
- Stress, physical or emotional. The headache often happens when a person is relaxing after a particularly stressful time.
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Smoking or exposure to tobacco smoke
- Some medications
- Heat, high humidity, and high altitude
- Headache medications. Using headache medications excessively can lead to more frequent and more severe headaches. Called medication overuse headaches, these headaches may complicate every type of headache, including migraine.
3. Supplement with magnesium.
In a double-blind controlled study  looking at prevention, the treatment group receiving 600 mg of magnesium for a 12 week period experienced a 41.6% reduction in headaches as compared to only 15.8% reduction in migraine headaches in the placebo group. Magnesium deficiency is very common for people with thyroid disease.
4. Coenzyme Q10 up to 100 mg three times daily.
There have been limited studies of the effectiveness of Coenzyme Q10, but smaller studies have found 2-3 times more likely than a placebo to reduce the number of migraines.
Dietary sources of Coenzyme Q10: soybean oil, canola oil, chicken, herring, mackerel, beef, roasted peanuts, sesame seeds, pistachio nuts, broccoli, cauliflower, orange, strawberries, and boiled egg.
5. Exercise, massages, breathing, and relaxation training.
Making a routine of all of these aforementioned practices could possibly help, because these activities all help to build a regular, improving blood flow, and also aids one in managing stress more successfully. These results can all help in protecting against some identified migraine causes.
- Heat or cold. Use ice packs. Lie down and put an ice pack or cold compress on your head. Close your eyes while doing that. Place few drops of Peppermint essential oil at the bottom of your tub or shower before bathing or showering. This will produce a Peppermint aromatherapy steam to deliver some headache pain relief. Or try hot half bath with peppermint or lavender essential oils and Epsom salt (great source of magnesium). Soak for 15 – 30 minutes.
- Use acupressure to momentarily relieve pain. tap three times on your temple, your shoulder and then the inside of your wrist. Repeat.
- “Mint therapy” – Combine essential oil and acupressure point therapy, like pure therapeutic grade Peppermint essential oil on temples, back of your neck and wrists. Diffuse peppermint essential oil and breath in the vapours.
- Relax and destress with Lavender. It’s particularly beneficial when addressing headaches that stem from occasional anxiety-related sypmtoms. The reason Lavender is so effective in these areas is because it is a calming oil that has sedative properties. It’s often called the “gateway oil,” due to it’s many uses. Add 5 drops of Lavender and diffuse throughout the room. Apply directly to your temples or wrists to ease tension and anxiety. If you’re headaches are due to insomnia, Lavender is good for helping you get a good night’s sleep.
Remain proactive in your healthcare. Always discuss your symptoms or concerns with your doctor, even if you do not think they are relevant. There might actually be a connection and treating one condition may help or cure the other.
To your health, ~ Vilma
Dr. Vilma Brunhuber, CHHC is a health coach for Woman’s Health & Thyroid Wellness. She is most passionate about helping others discover the gift of holistic health, showing others how to create healthy lifestyle. She suffered with thyroid disease for many years which lead her look into alternatives how to feel better because medication was helping only partially with thyroid condition.
Vilma offers a limited number of free coaching sessions per month in person, over the phone or via Skype. Book a FREE no obligation session with me firstname.lastname@example.org and see how I can help and support you to achieve all your Health & Lifestyle goals!
- Peikert A, Wilimzig C, Kohne-Volland R. Prophylaxis of migraine with oral magnesium: results from a prospective, multi-center, placebo-controlled and double-blind randomized study. Cephalalgia. 1996;16(4):257-263
Information in this document is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice or medical care of a qualified health care professional and you should seek the advice of your health care professional before undertaking any dietary or lifestyle changes. Please understand that you assume all risks from use, non use and misuse of this information. The material in this document is for educational purposes only.