What It Is: A severe, painful headache that can last anywhere from several hours to several days. Migraines differ from traditional headaches in that they are usually accompanied by other symptoms such as sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, or flashes of light.
Who It Affects: Migraines can affect adults and children, but are most often reported by adults. Women are three times more likely to suffer from migraines than men.
Migraine Versus Headache: Which Do I have?
To better understand headaches and to differentiate migraine headaches from other types, see common signs, symptoms and frequencies of headaches listed below. Our certified wellness counselors recommend keeping a headache diary—noting when your headaches occur, what your headache signs and symptoms are, and any diet or lifestyle triggers you can identify. This detail will help our professionals provide a personal assessment of your unique situation and make recommendations for natural relief of your headache or migraine.
Are the headaches dull and achy?
Tension-type headaches, the most common variety of headaches:
- Often feel like a tight band around your head
- Cause mild to moderate pain on both sides of the head
- May be triggered by stress, neck strain, missed meals, depression, anxiety or lack of sleep
- May occur occasionally or more than 15 days a month (chronic)
- Can last from 30 minutes to an entire week
Are the headaches throbbing, sharp, and severe?
- Often are accompanied by nausea, vomiting, or increased sensitivity to light or sound
- May affect only one side of your head
- May include head pain that worsens with routine activity
- May be triggered by stress, weather changes, environmental factors (like strong perfumes and other smells), certain foods and menstrual cycles or fluctuating estrogen levels
- Untreated, typically can last from four to 72 hours
Common Headache & Migraine Triggers:
- Low serotonin levels
- Food allergies/food sensitivities
- Chemicals (MSG, nitrates)
- Caffeine withdrawal
- Stress/emotional changes
- Hormonal changes
- Lack of sleep
- Poor posture
- Muscle tension
- Weather changes
- Eye strain
Managing Headaches & Migraines with Natural Supplements
Magnesium is one of the most important minerals that you can take to help relieve your headache symptoms. Studies have shown that magnesium relaxes muscle tension and manages tension headaches better than over-the-counter pain relievers. Migraine sufferers also tend to be magnesium deficient; in fact, some studies show that more than 50% of patients during an acute migraine have lowered levels of magnesium.
Migraine sufferers may be able to reduce the frequency and severity of their headaches by taking melatonin, shows a promising study. Researchers gave 34 migraine sufferers (29 women and 5 men) a 3-mg dose of melatonin, 30 minutes before bedtime, for three months. Of the 32 patients who finished the study, more than two thirds experienced at least a 50% reduction in number of headaches per month. Additionally, the intensity and duration of headaches decreased. The scientists believe that melatonin’s anti-inflammatory effect and free-radical-scavenging effects contribute to its headache-relieving benefits.
Research suggests that 5-HTP may be particularly effective in reducing both the severity and frequency of migraine headaches. 5-HTP increases the body's production of serotonin, and low serotonin levels have been associated with migraines.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
CoQ10 is an important antioxidant that may help prevent migraines. Studies, including a double-blind, randomized trial showed that more than 60 percent of patients who took 150 milligrams of CoQ10 daily experienced a 50 percent or better reduction in the number of days with migraines.
Schedule a consultation with Village Green’s naturopathic doctors and certified nutritionists for a personal assessment of how to naturally manage migraines.
Holistic Support for Headaches & Migraines
At Village Green Apothecary, we have many natural headache remedies and migraine treatment options. We believe in using a holistic approach that includes:
- Diet recommendations
- Lifestyle recommendations
- Exercise tips
- Natural supplements
We’re here to help!
Schedule a consultation with one of Village Green’s naturopathic doctors or certified nutritionists for a personal assessment of your unique situation. During your appointment (either by phone or in-person), our professionals will:
- Review your migraine symptoms and health history
- Examine your diet and lifestyle
- Recommend specialized testing
- Assess possible drug-nutrient interactions or depletions
- Answer any questions you may have
- Evaluate headache treatment options
- Create a holistic treatment for migraines just for you
Contact a Village Green nutritionist by calling 800-869-9159.
Learn more about our nutrition counseling and wellness services.