If you have experienced a recurring, pulsing headache with symptoms that include visual problems and sensitivity or even vomiting, you may be experiencing a migraine. Migraines are estimated to affect more than 10% of the population, according to the Migraine Research Foundation.
What Is a Migraine?
A migraine is a pulsating headache that is often confined mostly to one side of the head alone. While symptoms vary, they often include sensitivity to light and/or sound, nausea and blurred or double vision. Many sufferers experience a strange visual aura such as flickering lights, spots or lines in their vision.
How Is it Treated?
Traditional migraine treatments often include medicines designed either to prevent attacks or to treat the pain of an episode. To prevent attacks, your doctor may prescribe a beta-blocker (which affects the blood vessels in the brain), antidepressants or anticonvulsants. To treat the pain during an attack, drugs called triptans or ergots are often used to constrict blood vessels and treat pain, nausea and sensitivity to light and sound.
What Alternatives are There?
Because there is still uncertainty as to what causes migraines, it is also unclear how to treat them successfully. If you're looking for an alternative treatment for migraines, there are a few options to explore.
Chiropractic. Some studies have shown that migraine sufferers can benefit from chiropractic treatment. One Australian study found that 22% of patients reported reduced episodes after chiropractic manipulation and that more than 50% saw improvement in the intensity of episodes. Contact an established chiropractor at locations such as Gehrig Family Chiropractic Center for more information on this type of treatment.
Acupuncture. There is not a great deal of research into the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture to treat migraines, but some studies have shown that it can bring benefits when following true Traditional Chinese Medicine methodology.
5-HTP. 5-hydroxytryptophan (commonly called 5-HTP) is a natural amino acid used by the body to create serotonin. Since migraines may be caused by improper serotonin activity, many modern drugs also affect serotonin to treat migraines. For this reason, treatment with the natural amino acid may improve symptoms.
Magnesium. Magnesium levels in migraine sufferers is often reduced, so supplementing your diet with magnesium may reduce the frequency of migraines, particularly in women whose episodes coincide with their periods.
If you suffer from migraines, it may require some experimentation with different treatments to determine what works best in your case. Be sure to work with a doctor before trying a new procedure or supplement, as some can interact with other medicines or treatment.