A migraine is a type of headache, generally one sided which can cause severe throbbing pain or a pulsating sensation. Nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound accompanies the one-sided pain in head. An attack of migraine can last for hours to days, and the severity of pain can interfere indaily activities.
There are different types of migraine like periodic migraine, menstrual migraine, vascular migraine etc. depending on the type of presentation.
Each patient has a unique presentation, certain types of headache are specific to different individuals. There is no apparent visible cause for these types of headaches. In conventional system of medicine people resort to different types of pain killers, opioid’s, anti-epileptic drugs, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers etc. without any permanent relief.
In functional medicine we look into what all factors that are driving into the migraine. Cell mitochondria play an important role in initiation of migraines. Mitochondria are store house of energy, where energy is released in the form of ATP from nutrition. Mitochondrial dysfunction can be associated with increased neuronal excitability resulting in increased susceptibility to migraine. Any mitochondrial impairment in the brain leads to a deficit in mitochondrial energy, which in turn can be a migraine trigger.
The Gut relates to brain, so one can have abdominal migraine. History of sickening vomiting is common. Small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) has been associated with migraine. Presence of H pylori can also trigger migraine. Certain types of foods like coffee, chocolates, eggs etc. can trigger migraine. Doctors generally do advice to stay away from certain protein stuffs depending upon the history of triggering foods. Gut health is very important, leaky gut and food sensitivity play a major role in development of migraine. The connection between leaky gut and brain is huge. Patients with leaky gut has increased risk of migraine. Some of the foods which trigger migraine are affecting the gut microbiome. Gluten, dairy, eggs, are among the major triggering food allergens. Eliminating such foods after food sensitivity tests is the way forward. All processed foods have the tendency to trigger migraine.
Stress in itself is a huge trigger for migraine. So learning how to detoxify oneself from stress plays an important role in treatment of migraine. Yoga meditation as tools for relaxation are big help in treating migraines.
Hormones are another important factor in women having premenstrual migraine. The hormones are detoxified through certain specific pathways in the body. When women have genetic problem in these pathways, they increase sensitivity to migraine. Thus, excess levels of oestrogen due to delayed metabolism predisposes to migraine. Things which promote oestrogen production like sugar, stress, certain type of foods, lack of exercise all adds up to this.
Intake of important nutrients like Magnesium is very helpful in relieving migraine. Vitamin B-2 , Vitamin B-6 , are also very important in fixing the migraine.
Mercury toxicity has also been linked to migraine.
Patients having allergies have malfunctioning histamine detoxification and synthesis pathways. Histamine is a naturally occurring compound in the body is a neurotransmitter. It is found in food, made by gut bacteria and white blood cells. Blocking of histamine makes you feel sleepy with decreased sensitiveness of body. Excess of histamine predisposes to migraine. Reduced consumption of foods rich in histamine helps in fixing histamine sensitivity.
Some patients are genetically resistant to the effects of serotonin a calming neurotransmitter resulting in stress. In such patients specifically relaxation techniques go a long way in relieving migraines.
Sleep is another thing that plays a huge role. Sleeplessness is a huge triggering factor, therefore sleeping properly having good sleep cycle is very necessary for cure of migraine.
So in order to treat migraine we must think in a comprehensive way explore and attend all aspects including diet , sleep, stress, exercise, nutrient’s, toxicities and gut health. Investigations in a case of migraine will include hormone levels, allergies, nutrient deficiencies, toxicities, food sensitivity, gut micro biome and genetic predispositions.
Functional Holistic Treatment focuses on sleeping properly, learning management of stress, adding magnesium to diet, elimination of food triggers, avoiding gluten, dairy, processed foods and sugar and exercising regularly.