Pain in the (um-hmmm) Head?

Headaches are universal.  Some people will need some strong medicine for pain control. The “stronger medications” offer relief of suffering but can have adverse side effects like constipation and addiction.

Here are a few ways to prevent,manage or treat using some of the more readily available non-prescription botanicals.

  1.  Butterbur (other uses:  seasonal allergies), is used by many people to help prevent migraines.  It has the highest level recommendation form the American academy of Neurologist and the American Headache Society (2012).  Cautions:  The pyrrolizidine and alkaloids are considered hepatotoxic and carcinogenic.  Look for products that have these removed.
  2. Magnesium (especially menstrual migraines), most americans are magnesium deficient and this deficiency needs to be corrected to prevent  the cortical spreading depression induced by glutamate.  Adding l-carnitine improves the efficacy of magnesium.  This combination has been shown to decrease number of attacks.
  3. Riboflavin (B2), supports mitochondrial function, plays a role in Kreb’s cycle and providing adequate energy for cellular function.
  4. CoQ10, also thought to work to support mitochondrial function, studies demonstrate that it can decrease headache frequency and disability.
  5. Feverfew has a recommendation that is likely to help by the American Association of Neurologist.  This botanical is contraindicated in pregnancy and can cause miscarriage.
  6. Ginger did very well in a study comparing it to sumatriptan.  At 2 hours time, there is no difference in the response and both test groups improved.  BUT- there were less adverse reactions in the ginger powder group versus the sumatriptan group.  Ginger combined with feverfew there was greatly  improved therapy.
  7. Ginko used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for years is also thought to have benefit as part of a multi-supplement protocols.
  8. Vitamin D levels greater than 57 ng/ml are associated with decrease in number of migraines.
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