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Treatment

Meditation for Migraines

Migraines, the most cyclical headache that affects people. With excruciating pain, sensitivity to light, shattering nausea, migraines can stop a person literally in their tracks. The triggers of a migraine can vary from stress to music, even a wrong twist of the body can bring one on. There is no known cure for migraines, but there are ways to provide symptom management beyond heavy medications and narcotics. One approach is meditation.

Meditation in its simplest form is considered to be a conscious state of mind. Giving one the power to focus their thoughts on their pain, confronting it, and ultimately being able to control it is the basic principle behind meditation for migraines. Emotionally, “owning” the pain gives the sufferers more opportunity to better understand their symptoms which empowers them to treat it effectively. This empowerment gives those with the condition more control over it, which leads to a healthier emotional outlook. While meditation is a therapy that approaches pain management from a mental stand point, there are some physical benefits to meditation.

Meditation is considered to be one of the best forms of relaxation that is easily approachable and reliable. Forming a meditation routine can help bring relaxation to those that suffer from the pain and discomfort from migraines. Relaxation can help eliminate some of the triggers that bring the painful headaches on. It can allow for less tension in the neck and jaw, shoulders, and upper back – common tension triggers for migraines. It can also create an overall relaxation of muscles, which can also provide symptom relief.

Meditation is an art form that in its most advanced forms can take years to master. However, in its simplest form and with proper breathing, simple meditation can help to alleviate migraine symptoms both emotionally and physically.

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Migraines – UK Statistics and Remedies

1 in 7 people in the United Kingdom suffer from migraines; that’s 610,000 people! Migraines affect twice as many women as men.

This image, from Napiers, suggests herbal and supplement remedies to relieve the affects of a migraine.

 

Migraine statistics


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Migraine Statistics

This infographic with migraine statistics shows the frequency and who is affected by migraines was found on A Health Blog

Migraine Statistics

 

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Migraine Infographic

Migraine's 4 stages and natural holistic remedies

Migraine’s 4 stages and natural holistic remedies

Read about Natural Holistic Therapies for Migraines that formed the basis for the infographic above

 


Supplements – 5 supplements (Riboflavin, Magnesium, Ginkgolide B, Coq10, Omega 3) have shown to benefit migraine sufferers.

Herbs – Feverfew and butterbur are popular herbs that are commonly used to provide relief from migraines.

Biofeedback – This relaxation technique uses special equipment to teach you how to monitor and control certain physical responses related to stress, such as muscle tension.

CranioSacral Therapy – CranioSacral therapy is a form of treatment which has its origins in osteopathy and can be very effective in the treatment of migraine headaches.

Meditation – Meditation, an age-old technique of mentally concentrating to have resolution, can help treat migraine symptoms both physically and emotionally.

Essential Oils – Lavender oil is touted as being one of the best for migraine pain management.

Heat & Cold Therapy – Apply hot & cold compresses to the head or neck can be helpful in relieving pain & tension.

Homeopathy – Delivered at small homeopathic dosages, the SNRA molecule has shown to be fast-acting in migraine relief.

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Treatment

Supplements

We all know how important a varied diet is to our overall health but sometimes even good eating habits can use a little boost. Fortunately that’s where supplements come in.

Supplements exist in a variety of shapes and sizes from pills and powders to beverages and bars. Contents run the gamut from vitamins and minerals to herbs and enzymes to fish oils, probiotics and more.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, use of dietary supplements increased by over ten percent from 42 percent in the late 1980s to mid 1990s to 53 percent by 2003-2006.

How It Works

Different supplements provide different benefits. Folic acid, for example, is important for pregnant women to take as it can lessen the chance of birth defects while calcium and vitamin D can help encourage bone health. Multivitamins which contain at least three vitamins are the most commonly taken supplement though many vitamins and minerals can also be purchased individually.

Supplements are not strictly limited to vitamins and minerals, however. Echinacea is an herb many swear by to help lessen cold symptoms and duration of illness. Fish oil can usually be found in a softgel tablet and may help with heart health. Probiotics may assist in improving digestive issues.

Benefits

Benefits of supplements vary depending on the type and its designated purpose. It is important to note that the best way to meet daily nutritional needs is through a healthy diet featuring a variety of foods. When eating habits fall short, however, supplements can provide a useful nutritional edge.

Precautions

Just because supplements can be purchased over the counter doesn’t mean buyers shouldn’t do their homework. Some can interfere with medications or increase the chance of bleeding.

Many are water soluble with extra amounts simply being excreted but a few exist that are not and can build up in the body to dangerously high levels. In addition, some foods like cereals and breads are fortified with extra vitamins and minerals so beware how much is being ingested through the daily diet before beginning supplementation.

Also, it’s important to keep in mind supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration in the same way over-the-counter medications are and are not intended to actually prevent or treat diseases. To ensure the supplement contains what it says it contains (and not harmful contaminants), look for the seals of approval from U.S. Pharmacopeia, NSF International or ConsumerLab.com.

If in doubt be sure to discuss use of supplements with a medical professional.

Summary

While there is no substitute for a healthy diet, supplements can be useful for a variety of purposes including providing a nutritional benefit and addressing a specific issue like building stronger bones or fighting a cold.

References

  • Dietary Supplements: What you Need to Know from the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements
    ods.od.nih.gov/HealthInformation/DS_WhatYouNeedToKnow.aspx
  • Dietary Supplements: What You Need to Know from the FDA
    fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm109760.htm
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Treatment

Biofeedback

Imagine being able to lower blood pressure or improve any number of health conditions ranging from urinary incontinence to migraines and even chronic pain simply by controlling the body with the mind? Biofeedback has been shown to help a variety of physical and mental challenges.

How It Works

Experts theorize that biofeedback's success is related to stress. Many of the ailments it has proven effective for are triggered or worsened by stress so learning to control it is key.

Biofeedback can focus on one or more techniques depending on the issue in question. Electromyography (EMG) biofeedback revolves around muscle tension, temperature or thermal biofeedback measures skin temperature, neurofeedback or electroencephalography records brain wave activity, galvanic skin response training uses the amount of sweat on the skin and heart rate variability biofeedback involves controlling the heart rate.

Often people work with a therapist in a healthcare setting. Sensors are placed on various parts of the body depending on the problem and type of biofeedback. These sensors then give responses from a monitor box in the form of a changing sound, varying brightness or line on a computer screen. The person undergoes a series of mental exercises that affect the feedback.

Individual sessions can vary from 30 to 60 minutes while the number is determined by how quickly a person masters control of his or her responses. People with headaches and incontinence often need at least 10 weekly sessions with follow up appointments while someone looking to control his or her blood pressure may need at least 20 before seeing improvement.

Another alternative is to use biofeedback at home. A variety of biofeedback options are available with many containing monitors along with audio and/or visual programs.

Benefits

One of the main benefits of biofeedback is the ability to become more attuned with the body. Many people prefer treatment without using medications while others have found drugs haven’t successfully addressed their problem. Biofeedback can be a viable alternative to explore in these situations.

It has shown success in helping a variety of physical ailments ranging from asthma, constipation, high blood pressure and heart issues to headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, incontinence, Raynaud’s disease, and pain among others. It has also been useful in emotional issues such as anxiety, stress and depression.

Precautions

Medically speaking biofeedback has been shown to be safe with no negative side effects.

However, as with any medical treatment, it’s important to seek a doctor’s advice and to find a qualified provider. Biofeedback practitioners can include doctors and nurses as well as psychiatrists and psychologists. To learn more and find a therapist near you, visit the website for the Association for Applied Psychology and Biofeedback at www.aapb.org

Summary

By learning to mentally control aspects of the physical body, people can use biofeedback to help treat a variety of physical and emotional ailments.

References

  • The Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback
    aapb.org
  • National Institutes of Health—Biofeedback
    nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/news-articles/002241.htm