A Natural Strategy to Combat Migraine

Migraine attacks can be devastating.  In addition to headache, you can experience sensitivity to light or sound, nausea, shrinking of your visual field that leaves you incapacitated, and an overall urge to withdraw from life and exist in a semi-alert state with all the lights out and the blanket pulled up over your head.

Though our scientific understanding of migraine is growing, it’s still limited. And there’s no definitive cure.  A few drugs have been developed to lighten the painful toll of migraine, but they’re far from perfect:

  • The relief is incomplete
  • The headaches can bounce back if you stop taking the drugs, and
  • The medication can have undesirable side-effects.

It’s natural to look for any simple, non-drug approach that promises relief.

Here’s a strategy that’s helped some people with migraine.

Three Reasons Why Magnesium May be a Migraine Sufferer’s Best Friend

  1. The brains of migraine sufferers have been found to have lower levels of magnesium, particularly during an attack.
  2. Glutamate is the primary excitatory signaling molecule in the brain. If you’ve ever had a migraine attack, you know what too much “excitatory signaling” feels like.  It’s practically the definition of migraine. That’s where magnesium comes to the rescue.  Magnesium blocks the glutamate-triggered overreaction of the brain.
  3. Magnesium supplementation has been proven to lower the frequency, duration, and intensity of migraine attacks.  In one study, those taking magnesium saw their incidence of headache drop 40%.

How Much Magnesium Should I Be Taking?

A good place to start is with a daily dose of 600 mg.  If you’re already taking a mineral supplement, check out the dose of magnesium you’re getting.  If you’re not getting an adequate amount, it’s time for an upgrade.

Excess magnesium is highly unlikely to be harmful, even in the long run.  Still, if you begin to see positive results – diminished headaches – try dropping your magnesium dose to 300-400 mg/day.

Your Individual Response

One firm rule in medicine is that everyone responds differently to potential interventions. It’s almost as if there are as many different varieties of migraine as there are migraine sufferers.

That’s why there isn’t any treatment or technique that’s guaranteed to work. You may want to try the suggestion described here.  If it starts to work for you, that’s great. If not, don’t give up. Continue to search for alternatives until you find the scientific approach that will help you alleviate your condition.

Dr. Lavine has been an innovator in the use of movement and touch to promote health since 1981. He practices in New York City and Princeton, NJ.


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