I was recently working with a client who had been suffering from migraines for years. It can be such a debilitating condition, resulting in sufferers confined to their homes for fear of a migraine attack kicking in. Once a migraine starts there is precious little that works for most people as far as medications or other interventions to stop the migraine developing in to the searing pain and nausea that most sufferers experience.
I am always aiming to find the cause behind someone’s health issue. It’s simply not enough to mask the pain, I want to understand the triggers and help my client find a way to allow the body to heal. Migraines happen for a reason, as with any body malfunction from PMS, feeling bloated, feeling tired all the time, eczema, asthma, achy joints – these are all symptoms due to something being out of kilter in the body.
So, back to migraines. It is commonly believed that certain foods can trigger migraines. Wheat, dairy and citrus are often the culprits and elimination diets are required to establish which foods can be tolerated and which cannot. However, there are other reasons for migraines. Structural issues with the neck can be responsible as can hormonal fluctuations. What is often overlooked is the effect of the stress hormones on migraines. Exposure to Cortisol, a powerful adrenal hormone triggered when we are exposed to long-term stress can cause levels of serotonin – the ‘feel-good’ brain chemical to drop, which in turn can trigger a migraine.
Having a migraine and the anticipation of getting a migraine is stressful in itself, so it can become a self-perpetuating cycle of feeling stressed, getting a migraine, feeling more stressed etc. So, if you are struggling to establish the cause of your migraines, go and see a qualified nutritional therapist (like my good self :)) who can help you with your stress levels, provide advice on ways to naturally increase your serotonin levels and help you to work out if you have any food triggers.