If you’re someone who suffers from migraines, this article is for you. Migraines effect about 14% of the world’s population and the cost to individuals, their families and the community is high in terms of quality of life, loss of time at school and work, lost productivity and medication expenses.
The common signs and symptoms of a migraine include (but are not limited to):
- Moderate to severe pain on one or both sides of the head, particularly of a throbbing or pulsing quality
- Sensitivity to light, sounds and sometimes smells and touch
- Nausea and/or vomiting, stomach upset and abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Blurred vision, flashing dots or lights, blind spots, among other visual disturbances
- Slurred speech
- Lightheadedness and dizziness
- Sensations of being very warm or cold
Not everyone will experience all of these symptoms, nor will each migraine consist of the exact same pattern. Migraines are believed to be due to a combination of environmental and genetic factors and onset tends to begin in puberty with changing hormone levels. Migraine onset can also occur with brain and neck injury later in life. While the underlying mechanisms of migraine are not fully understood, it’s believed to be involved with the nerves and vasculature of the brain.
It’s important to receive treatment for a migraine at early onset in the form of medications/supplements, infusions, physical therapies or lifestyle measures like lying down in a dark room. Long-term, it’s important to implement an anti-migraine management protocol to lessen the frequency, duration and severity of the condition. However when a migraine hits, it’s important to take immediate action to decrease the likelihood the pain is going to knock you out for a few days.
Here are my top three acute migraine management recommendations (tried and tested by yours truly):
- Procaine – procaine is an analgesic that helps diminish neuronal pain almost immediately. It can either be gently pushed into the nasal cavity, where it can help calm down cranial nerves in the area or injected into tight muscles or tender points along the neck and traps to quickly diminish pain. Procaine can also be added to an infusion bag where it helps to activate glycine receptors in the brain, inducing a state of calm.
- Magnesium – intravenous magnesium is the bee’s knees for acute migraine. This wonderful mineral is a muscle relaxant and can help calm any tense muscles. In addition magnesium is also what’s referred to as an “NMDA-receptor antagonist”, meaning it tells the brain to chill out. Adding magnesium to an infusion and dripping slowly over one to two hours will help calm down any frazzled nerves and tight muscles, inevitably decreasing pain and migraine symptoms.
- Hydration – it’s easy to forget to drink your water during the day. Dehydration can lead to both headaches and migraines but when you’re to the point of dehydration causing pain, it’s best to rehydrate intravenously to get immediate relief. Intravenous hydration is commonly performed in emergency rooms when patients arrive with migraine, in addition to other pharmaceutical painkillers if necessary. A naturopathic doctor administers hydration infusions with the addition of magnesium and procaine, yielding similar results.
Migraines can significantly impact overall quality of life but when they’re caught at their early onset, symptoms can be managed quickly. The next time you have a migraine, do something about it before it knocks you out of commission for longer than it should. Two hours in the infusion room at Cornerstone to get rid of a migraine seems like a lot better of a deal than two days living in pain. We all have busy lives and demands on our time; let’s not allow migraines to get in the way.