Migraines are nasty, intense throbbing pains in your head commonly accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. A World Health Organization report described migraine as one of the four most disabling chronic medical disorders. Migraines are disabling but they can also take everything from you your work, family life and even your life. Individuals who suffer migraines are 2 to 3 times more likely to suffer a stroke or heart attack, a review of 21 different studies published in the American Journal of Medicine now confirms this connection.
Most individuals do not see migraines as the serious systemic disorder that they are. Most sufferers and doctors focus only on symptomatic relief of the headaches; however the headache is just one manifestation of this serious brain health problem. It is vital that individuals who suffer from migraines find a doctor who understands and treats the underlying brain health issues and not just suppress the pain with drugs.
Recent studies have established the underlying cause of these of disabling migraine headaches; scientists call it glutamate mediated neuronal excitoxicity. Simply this means that a neurotransmitter or brain messenger called glutamate is at high enough levels to be toxic to the neurons in your brain. This causes too much excitement in the wrong place at the wrong time, leading to a migraine attack. Therefore, the symptoms we refer to as a migraine headache are the signs that the brain is suffering from this excitoxicity. The devastating symptoms of a migraine are like the red check engine light on your dashboard telling you something’s wrong with your engine. Covering up the check engine light with a piece of black electric tape is not a good approach. Neither are drugs with their dangerous side-effects a good approach to these brain health problems.
Here's what happens inside your brain during a migraine attack. Neurons are at low levels of ionic magnesium with high levels of glutamate in the synapse causing them to become very excited. Just as in many other chronic brain health issues there is also a reduced production of energy in the nerve cell. This all leads to an uncontrolled spreading wave of brain hyperactivity causing flashing lights, arterial dilation, pain, nausea as well as other symptoms. Interestingly, this exact same mechanism occurs in many other neurological disorders. This is why migraine sufferers are also more prone to anxiety, panic attacks, depression, seizures, Parkinson's and Alzheimer’s. The good news is that there are simple natural solutions to these killer headaches. You can not only prevent and stop migraines, but you can greatly reduce your risks for these other serious disorders. These natural solutions will also reduce your risk for heart attack and stroke!
So how can you fix this disabling problem? First you will need to increase your cellular levels of magnesium. The best way to determine if you have a magnesium deficiency at the cell level is to have a lab test done, known as a red blood cell magnesium. One problem is that many individuals are sensitive to magnesium and develop digestive symptoms from it. Therefore they may need to use a specialized form of magnesium to optimize absorption and uptake into the brain cell. Also different factors can affect brain levels of magnesium; diets high in sugar and low in magnesium as well as intestinal malabsorption. Next you then need to greatly reduce your blood levels of glutamates, and reduce inflammation without harsh drugs that have harmful long-term side effects. Than any hidden food allergies must be identified through proper laboratory tests. Food allergies can lead to increased inflammation and glutamate levels.
About Dr. Greg Fors
Dr. Fors is a 1982 graduate of Northwestern College of Chiropractic, a Board-certified Neurologist, nationally certified in acupuncture and certified in Applied Herbal Sciences. He is a recognized expert in the field of chronic pain and brain health and lectures internationally. He is the clinic director of Pain & Brain Healing Center in Blaine, Minnesota.