4 Factors That Trigger Autoimmunity, Migraines and Headaches

4 Factors That Trigger Autoimmunity, Migraines, and Headaches

There is an incredibly complex process going on in our bodies, both leading to migraines and headaches as well as to autoimmunity. Luckily, by understanding what causes it, triggers it and “throws gasoline on the fire” we can take steps to avoid falling into this vicious cycle. In this article, I will be covering 4 factors that trigger autoimmunity, migraines and headaches. Let’s start with what autoimmunity is and how we can understand it.

What is autoimmunity?

Autoimmunity is a process by which our adaptive immune system targets substances in our body and attacks them.

Often these substances are made up of proteins which are chains of amino acid sequences.

Our actual immune cells will target sections of these sequences and create millions of antibodies that are targeted to find this specific sequence of amino acids and attack it.

Throughout this process there are millions of immune cells that are brought in so that the combination of each of them finding and attacking that specific sequence can actually make a difference in the grand scheme of our body.

But we can run into problems because these immune cells only know that they need to target the specific sequence of amino acids. They aren’t necessarily keen to the idea that there may be helpful tissues, chemicals and substances that contain these same sequences.

This is where molecular mimicry comes in.

Molecular mimicry is where the same sections of amino acids on substances such as gluten are found on bodily tissues like those of the thyroid.

This can set us up for a problem if we have something like leaky gut which I will get into below.

If our immune cells find that gluten is a problematic food that keeps being found in our blood because of a leaky gut then it can begin targeting them and develop billions of immune cells that will be specifically targeted to attack gluten.

Now, if this system begins making immune cells for the sequences of amino acids found in gluten and one of them happens to be the same sequence as is found in our thyroid….

Then our immune cells can begin attacking our thyroid creating inflammation, destroying our thyroid and subsequently developing metabolic issues and diseases like hashimotos.

But our body is not dumb, there are systems to regulate the immune cells targeting, creation, as well as double check to make sure that they are not destroying friendlies.

This is where we understand how the body goes into dysfunction where the fail-safe systems backfire and the destruction continues.

4 Factors That Trigger Autoimmunity, Migraines and Headaches

There are 4 factors that will predispose us and push our body over the edge to the point that there is more dysfunction in the system than there are fail-safes to keep us protected. The first is our genetic susceptibility.

1. Genetic Susceptibility

This is the hand of cards we’ve been dealt in life. But it’s also the way our parents have lived, how we spent our childhoods and the beliefs we hold.

I’m not one to leave you believing that just because of your genes, you are stuck sick, unhealthy and unwhole for your entire life. It’s simply not true because of epigenetics.

Epigenetics are the controllers of genes and even though our genes might be the blueprint to the tissues made in our body, it is our epigenetics that decides what gets acted out and which genes are activated.

This is why Bruce Liptons work on the power of belief has been so amazing.

The behaviours, attitudes and emotions that you hold are constantly turning on and off genes and their ability to support your functioning.

Genes are not a static thing, they are constantly changing.

On top of understanding that by changing the way we feel about our health and how we show our body we feel about our health we can also change the way our childhoods have programmed us.

Childhood is the period of our lives where we act like a sponge and absorb all of the information necessary for our body to assess how we should function in the world.

If our body and mind gets the idea that we live in a world of scarcity, fear and a massive lack of safety and security it will be programmed differently.

We will literally program into our genes and bodies expression that the world is not safe and that we have to be highly vigilant all of the time incase something bad happens.

But this is not true. We live in the most abundant world to date and have all of our needs taken care of with the push of a button. We are far from the wild natural world full of predators and actual life threatening fears.

We just need to learn it consciously and then take the time to program it into our bodies subconsciously.

Using journaling, mindfulness, meditation, affirmations and gratitude to change the way our body is responding to stress.

Not only is stress a major part of how well we rest, digest and repair our tissues but it’s also a determining factor in how our genes function and which ones are on or off.

If we are on high alert all of the time, so will our immune system be. This will give us a much higher chance of developing the immune antibodies that are destroying just a little too much ending up in the detriment of our own tissues.

But it is up to you to choose and set the course.

2. Environmental Stressors

There are over 100,000 brand new chemicals in our air, food, water and soil with thousands more added every year.

The problem is only a few hundred have been tested for safety in humans and many are being found to be unsafe.

The creation of them is progressing much faster than the regulation and we’ve seen with substances like glyphosate, BPA and lead that we need regulation before it gets into everything we use.

We want to make sure we check over our surroundings and the areas that chemicals are coming in to them.

This includes a few key areas that I will list below but the big troublemakers here have been the petroleum products and synthetics.

Things like iron, cotton and ceramics have been around a long time. It is the newer additions like alloys that contain heavy metals, fibres and their colorings that contain endocrine disruptors.

Not only are these substances aggravating our immune system but they are also clogging up our systems of detoxification like the liver, kidneys, lungs, skin and intestines.

The average woman will put on over 100 chemicals before she goes to work in the morning and this is largely from hygiene products, fragrances and makeup.

Ever heard the term obesogens? Its a term used to describe endocrine disruptors like BPA which are found in many fragrances that deregulated the way your hormones function and literally make you obese.

These chemicals are not without reprecussions and even though we cannot be completely free of them because of the world we live in we have to do our part to reduce our intake especially in the directly absorbable areas.

New products are well known for their offgassing(that new car smell) which is full of tens of thousands of chemicals that have adverse effects on our bodies. We inhale litres of this every breath and during the first year a car is manufactured this is the worst.

The biggest tips here are:

  • Everything you put on your skin needs to be assessed as your skin absorbs 60% of what’s put on it

  • Makeups are massively unregulated and one of the largest contributors to toxicity in women

  • Look at ingredients and understand that things like “fragrances” are industry protected terms that can contain hundreds of different unregulated chemicals

  • It can be incredibly annoying to look at ingredients and have to decipher everything so its much easier to choose trusted and reputable brands that have safe products and high standards

  • Anything you put into your body – Know where your water is sourced from and what is in it, avoid plastics – Only eat pastured and grass fed meats along with as many organic fruits and vegetables as you can find to decrease how much your microbiome is affected by these and avoid things like contributing to leaky gut which we will cover in #3

  • Cleaning products are anything but easy on the body especially because they are specifically there to kill bacteria of which we have 100 trillion of that we need and depend on – Many of the natural and old school cleaners like vinegar and baking soda will do the job well if not better than the new stuff, without clogging you up

  • Reduce ALL EMF exposure and distance yourself whenever and wherever possible

  • See the Environmental Working Group (EWG)

We want to reduce our exposure in our environment to foreign substances which interact with our immune system and add to the burden on our bodies. It is only in the last 50 -100 years that we have completely shifted our entire exposure and now our genes have to scramble to make sense of things.

Our genes expect a certain way of living based on the million years it took to get here, give it as close to what it expects and it will thank you.

3. Leaky gut

Leaky gut is the newer kid on the blog because it has only been in the last 20-30 years that it was discovered and 5 years that it has become more main -stream.

But it is anything but second priority.

Our gut contains 80% of our immune system and 30% of our nervous system. This ranks it very high on the list of priorities of the body to protect because it knows that this is where we interact with the outside world the most.

A substance that we eat is technically not inside of our bodies until it is absorbed. The long tube from our mouth to butt is designed this way to protect us from any pathogens or organisms that should not be in the body while still being able to break down food.

But then we have leaky gut.

This is a mechanism by which the cells that form the tube in our intestines get spaced apart because of a process of disease and because of a substance called zonulin.

When the space between cells opens up, it allows molecules that should not be in the body to get through. Anything from microorganisms to food particles to toxins to genetic material to nutrients.

They can all get through because the space between these cells is unregulated.

When these substances get into our body, they get flagged by our immune system because they are not supposed to be here.

If we are lucky we only get a few immune cells to come in, break them down according to the right sequences in their amino acids and that’s that, problem over.

But especially if we are high strung, if our immune system is on high alert and we are being bombarded with toxins and substances we are not digesting then many particles get into our body.

With foreign particles getting into our body our immune system starts to target them and then develop reserves of antibodies that can target them if they ever come back.

If even one of these substances they begin attacking has the same sequence of amino acids as our bodily tissues, queue the tissue destruction and rampant inflammation.

Or if the particles are landing in our joints and our immune system is attacking them there then we can set ourselves up for massive joint pain and inflammation.

There are many systems that have to go wrong and go through dysfunction and this is why the body needs support through lowering toxic burden, and healing leaky gut.

Healing leaky gut requires that we address what is causing the leaky gut in the first place and this is often:

But we can also go about supporting the healing and recovery of our gut using substances like:

4. Trauma

This is one of the least talked about causes of autoimmunity and migraines but it absolutely needs to be talked about.

Trauma and specifically anything in the category of ACEs or adverse childhood events should be considered when we are dealing with healing and recovery.

These are events which change the way we behave, act or perceive in the world.

They are the basis for making massive epigenetic changes to our systems which can wire us up for our entire lives.

Do you ever find yourself put into a situation where you feel incredibly thankful and happy only to be triggered by thoughts or emotions that make you feel like you should be doing something about perceived problems?

A tell tale sign is finding that you worry about things going wrong when everything is actually okay.

You want to look deeper into this and see a tension, stress and trauma therapist(TRE), see the work of Byron Katie or try some EFT.

It is important to combine these 4 factors in your own life to add to the ability to calm down and regulate the immune system and cool any inflammation that may be going on.

  • Understand that your current perceptions and behaviours are insights into how your body is wound up

  • Reduce the load that the environment, everything on us, in us and around us has on our physiology

  • Look at and address the causes of leaky gut while supporting its repair

  • Release those deep emotional wounds with some help

See our video below on the 4 Factors that trigger autoimmunity, migraines and headaches here:

Click here to join the migraine professional community and learn more about migraines and headaches than you’ve ever known before.

Do you struggle with one of these 4 areas? Which one?

TMJ Migraines Headaches

5 Profound clues for TMJ migraines and headaches

TMJ is bad enough when it only causes mouth issues. The problem is that our body is highly integrated and certain systems take priority over others, causing dysfunction that just needs the right perspective to look into. In this article I will be covering 5 profound clues for TMJ migraines and headaches.

What is TMJ and how can we understand it in context with migraines and headaches?

TMJ or TMJD which stands for Temporo Mandibular Joint Disorder is a disorder where we experience issues with the temporo mandibular joint which is the join where our jaw meets our skull.

See picture:

I love God, my wonderful husband, and my lovely family!

This is right near our brain as well as vestibular and auditory systems so there are many connections in dysfunction between all 4 of these.

This disorder can come from a number of different issues including just tension in the muscles around it that need some massage and release.

But, because of its presence with all of these other complex systems, it’s often a much more complex reason for why we are experiencing this pain and dysfunction, which absolutely requires we understand these 5 profound clues.

5 Profound Clues for TMJ Migraines and Headaches

1. Short middle “third”

So first and foremost we have to understand that in the last 1-200 years there has been massive changes in our facial and dental structures.

Where we used to have strong and wide dental arches we have started to develop shorter and smaller ones. This is one of the largest reasons for jaw issues and as everyone knows its incredibly common to get your wisdom teeth removed.

But this is a much newer occurrence and if it were to happen in native and indigenous peoples they would not be alive today.

So what has caused this shortening and shrinking of our faces?

There is two parts to it.

The first one is functional.

We were never before bottle fed and we never before ate as many soft foods as we do today.

When a baby is sucking on a nipple there is a full-body life-giving contraction happening within the baby to pull the mothers milk out. During this contraction our jaw is going through massive rotations and strain, giving it proper development and building strong musculature that supports a strong and wide jaw.

As soon as we are able to chew, traditionally we would be given roots, tubers and meats that all required a massive amount of jaw strength and effort to break down and digest properly.

But today we don’t have the same. We eat soft and easy to masticate foods that hardly push our jaws to their muscular capacities.

The body doesn’t waste resources, if you don’t use it, you lose it.

It’s critical to have at least one meal of a maximum stimulation and near exhaustion of your jaw muscles so that it gets enough nutrients to grow and develop properly.

The second one is nutritional.

In Weston A Prices book on Nutrition and Physical Degeneration he clearly showed how the changes in indigenous peoples diets from their traditional ones, to those of westerners caused massive changes to their facial and jaw structures ending in crowding and a poor “fit” of the jaw.

Not only was many indigenous peoples food unaltered but it was void of the white flour, white sugar, pasteurized foods and table salt that lack any nutrition.

On top of that, traditional diets are higher in vitamins and minerals that support dental and bone growth like Vitamins A, D, E and K as well as calcium, magnesium, zinc and potassium.

The combination of these two massive factors has lead to the crowding of our middle “third.” This middle third is found if we cut our face into horizontal sections. The bottom third is the jaw and mouth, top third is the brow ridge and forehead and the middle third is the nose and cheek bones.

This middle third has become much smaller and with it we’ve developed a smaller arch and smaller more crowded jaw.

When the jaw doesn’t fit together well we cannot complete our muscular chain.

We have a band of muscles that goes from the toes, up the front of the body to the bottom jaw.

As well as a band of muscles that goes from the heels, up the back of the body, over the head and to the top jaw.

Our jaw is what “completes the circuit” and when it doesn’t function properly, the tension gets put on the jaws musculature and ligaments.

Queue the dysfunction.

So what can we do about it? We have to work with what we’ve got, strengthen our jaw and make sure we have a strong nutritional profile.

There are techniques we can used to widen our arch even in adulthood.

Towards the bottom of the article I will present advanced practitioners you can see if you want specific help in this area.

2. Parasitic and inflammatory tension

When we look at the jaw we need to understand there is a deep connection here with the rest of the body.

Especially with the brainstem and the vagus nerve.

Whenever our brainstem is experiencing an overload of afferent messaging through the nerves(whenever too many messages are coming back into the brainstem) then it can release this extra tension onto the trigeminal nerve.

Not only can this cause migraines and headaches but it can also be a massive contributor to temporo mandibular dysfunction.

One of the main afferent(towards the brain) sources of energy and information is through the vagus nerve.

The vagus nerve has a 9:1 (sending to brain:Brain sending to body) ratio and the vagus nerve connects directly into our organs of digestion and detoxification.

This means that if we are experiencing an overload of toxicity and inflammation in the gut, or liver or organ in this area then it will all be communicated to the brainstem through the vagus nerve.

This vagus nerve will pump energy trying to communicate its problems to the brainstem and if the brainstem is overloaded it will simply dump this extra tension and energy into the trigeminal nerve and muscles of mastication(TMJ).

This is a big recipe for non stop tension and problems even with therapies like massage and pain killers.

It will keep coming back until the issues being communicated through the vagus is resolved.

What does this mean?

Fix your gut. Health begins in it and even if we palliate the ways it tries to communicate to us that there is a problem, we will still continue to suffer the slowly progressing chronic disease of that problem.

Whether that be a parasitic or fungal organism, gut dysbiosis, food sensitivities, over burdened liver, problems with digestion etc etc.

It needs to be addressed because the body does not function in isolated systems.

Something like a comprehensive stool test from genova diagnostics or a GI map may be a good idea but…

It begins with the food you eat, even if you kill the harmful organisms, they are usually there for a reason.

Why is the gut weak? Why is the microbiome allowing this organism to live here?

Sometimes it may even need it to deal with an excess of calories it cannot process and use itself.

Follow these simple steps for good gut health:

  • Eat whole foods and balance your macro nutrients(proteins/fats/carbs/fibre) based on your bodies moment to moment needs

  • Make sure you eat enough fermentable fibers to feed the microbiome

  • Add bone broth, collagen and gelatin to form a strong gut lining

  • Supplement with deficient gut nutrients like glutamine, zinc, magnesium, glycine and proline

  • Get the parasites out!

3. Trigemino-cervical reflex

Along with the vagus nerve we also have to take into account that our body is always trying to keep us level.

Specifically, its always trying to keep your head and eyes level.

This takes priority over many other systems.

The problem here is that we have a delicate team of cervical vertebrae called the atlas and axis that function together at the top of our spine to keep us and our bodies level.

But they are also very prone to be shifted out of place during accidents, in estrogen dominance or as a byproduct of higher systems needing them to compensate to keep the head level.

If this complex(atlas/axis) is out of place, we can develop a massive amount of stress here because it sits on all of our other vertebrae.

This means it can shift the entire body, cause a shoulder to be higher than the other, hip to be lower etc.

And where can this tension go?

That’s right, into the trigeminal nerve and create TMJ dysfunction.

It’s a very tight knit system.

This is why we want highly qualified professionals assessing our entire body, not just our jaw.

If the problem keeps coming back, make sure to see a CHEK practitioner level 3 or higher.

For specific atlas and axis issues it would be important to see a NUCCA chiropractor.

4. The jaw will add stability for other systems that lack it

The next and one of the most important aspects especially for migraine and headache sufferers is how the body compensates for stability or a lack of it.

When our core function is off, the entire body scrambles.

Our core is primarily the transverse abdominus(the muscle inside of our abdominals that supports our spine)

When our core is not functioning properly and in tune with our breathing and especially if its being shut off by inflamed organs like above then we run into other systems of the body that will try to do its job.

Some of the most common systems that will tense to compensate for this include the neck(think neck tension with your migraines) or the jaw(think TMJD).

This is the bodies natural desire to remain stable but while compensating for deeper issues.

But it can simply be that our breathing mechanics and core were shut off during a period of stress or illness or pregnancy and were never synced back up again.

Ideally you would see a therapist trained in core and breathing rehab but you can also use this technique.

Lie on the floor on your back and breath through your nose the entire time.

Flatten your back so that you cannot fit your hand under your lower back between it and the floor, this makes sure that your core is engaging.

Then put one hand on your abdomen and one of your chest.

Through a slow breath of 4 seconds in 2 seconds held and 4 seconds out…

Expand your abdomen for the first 2/3 of the breath and your chest for the last 1/3

Focus on making sure that your abdomen is expanding but your back is remaining flat on the floor.

Repeat this for 5-10 minutes for 3-4 weeks to retrain your brain.

To advance the exercise, with flat back engage the core a little more by almost lifting your butt off the floor.

Continue nose breathing, 2/3:1/3 ratio with 4 seconds in 2 seconds held and 4 seconds out with a flat back.

5. Limbic/Emotional Tension

The final and actually one of the higher priority systems is our limbic and emotional one.

The limbic system is described as,

Part of the brain involved in our behavioural and emotional responses, especially when it comes to behaviours we need for survival: feeding, reproduction and caring for our young, and fight or flight responses.”

Because of its deep connection to our emotions and levels of safety, security and stress, the limbic system is deeply connected to our entire bodies physiology and especially its level of tension.

When we go through experiences that charge us emotionally without a release, this can cause years and decades of changes physiological responses to stresses.

We can be sent into states of overreaction so easily and over things that we do not necessarily register consciously because of the patterns and behaviours that have been wired into us.

In essence we can be living in a state of sympathetic response to everything that happens, we can be living in fight, flight or fright mode.

Our normal and natural nervous system functioning will be predominantly parasympathetic where we rest, digest and repair. It is only in times of great stress or tension that we fully switch over to the sympathetic side that burns resources and prepares us for battle.

But if we go through traumatic experiences, if our childhood is full of stress and we learn that the world is not safe at a young age then we will be much more inclined to live in a sympathetic state.

This will ruin the quality of and delay the resting, digesting and repairing mechanism that we need to live normal and healthy lives.

Often all of this extra stress can end up in our jaw because of its close relation to our brainstem and connection with the trigeminal nerve.

This has to be cooled, we have to find a way to develop safety and security and feed whatever feeling gives us the sense of being at home and at ease.

This is easier said than done but simple techniques like mindfulness, meditation, restorative yoga, breathing practices, journalling, visualization and affirmations can help us flip the switch.

When we need more help than we can do for ourselves as our own selfhealers we need to look into these great TMJ practitioners:

– TMJ specialist dentists

Neuromuscular Dentists

Cranio-Sacral Therapists


Neurosomatic therapists

CHEK practitioners level 3 or higher

By addressing our:

– Middle Third

– Inflammatory Stress

– Trigemino-Cervical Reflex

– Dysfunction with stability

– Limbic/Emotional Tension

We can look deeper into and actually address some of the root causes of TMJ and how they contribute to migraines and headaches.

To learn more about migraines and headaches see our article on 7 crucial questions for tension headaches here.

If you are looking for more information on migraines and headaches get the inside scoop by joining the community here.

Do you experience TMJ migraines or headaches? How do they affect each other and how do they trigger each other? Let me know in the comments below.

Can Menstrual Migraines With Aura Be Prevented_

Can Menstrual Migraines With Aura Be Prevented?

One of the most common and regular triggers out there is the first day of a woman’s cycle, her period. Luckily these are largely caused by hormones which regulate themselves quite well when supported. In this article I will be answering the question, can menstrual migraines with aura be prevented?

What is a menstrual migraine and why can auras come with them?

A menstrual migraine is one that comes with the menses.

Menses are the first few days of your period when you bleed.

The reason this time of the month is usually such a problem is because estrogen and progesterone are at an all time low.

The menstrual cycle begins with day 1 being the first day of bleeding. Days 1-14 are when estrogen generally rises the highest with day 14 being around the time of ovulation and the best time to conceive. Days 14-28 there is a small spike in estrogen but a large increase in progesterone followed by a drop in both progesterone and estrogen by day 28. This is followed by the period once again.

The large fluctuations during this time can be enough to push us over our threshold and cause our brain to shut down.

If the weak link in our brain is our visual centers then we can experience a visual aura when this shut down occurs.

If it is in our auditory brain centers then we may experience an auditory aura etc.

To see our full presentation on the 3 Linchpins That Destroy Hormones and Leave Your Brain in Pain click here.

4 Huge factors that impact our menstrual migraines during our cycle and their auras

The first factor we need to consider is our progesterone.


Progesterone is one of the most important and protective hormones that women have. It not only balances the effects of estrogen but it can also become estrogen or testosterone based on the bodies needs.

But progesterone is fragile because of its reaction to stress and its need for a safe environment to work properly.

The body has a hierarchy of priorities.

It always chooses Survival over Sex.

It’s actually a feedback mechanism it uses to keep you from becoming pregnant when there is famine or war or too much scarcity around you.

The body makes survival and sex hormones out of the same resources.

But it will always choose survival.

This means that whenever we are in chronic stress or even if we may not necessarily think we are but our body feels like we are through the feedback of all of its systems and how well they are functioning…

Then it will divert all of its resources into creating survival and stress hormones leaving sex hormones dry.

Progesterone is especially susceptible to this which means we want to make sure that we are relieving stress on a few different levels:

  • Mental and emotional stress in the form of fears and safety issues

  • Physical stress in the form of musculoskeletal imbalances, tightness or overtraining

  • Dietary stress in the form of too many sensitive and inflammatory foods

  • Chemical stress in the form of off gassing products and polluted air space

  • Electromagnetic stress causes by electronic pollution

The 5 most common mistakes guide goes into more depth for addressing these stressors and how they affect the nervous system which you can get free here.


Estrogen is a critical part of women’s health but it also has its negative effects. It is responsible for releasing nitric oxide into the blood which triggers vasodilation and may aggravate sensitive blood vessels in the brain because of it.

The key with estrogen is not having too much or too little.

In terms of too much estrogen we want to make sure that our body is not creating too much of it and that we are not taking in too much environmental estrogen.

Estrogen is wide spread in our environment because of our reliance of rubbers, plastics, oils and other synthetics which is causing many changes in the wildlife around us as well as in ourselves.

Some of the largest sources are:

  • High estrogen foods

  • Makeups and other hygiene products

  • Plastic containers and synthetic fibers(BPA)

  • Cleaning products and fragrances(Obesogens)

But we also want to make sure our estrogen isn’t falling too low and this is where our doc may suggest taking the birth control pill to supplement a little bit of estrogen every day and avoid harsh drops.

This needs to be carefully monitored and you should make sure that before you start taking any estrogen that you get tested at different times in your cycle.

See this pin on how your estrogen and progesterone fluctuate throughout your cycle.


Testosterone has been shown to be a massive success in helping with migraine headaches.

One study found that 92% of patients improved on subcutaneous testosterone and 74% had a 0 severity headache score in 3 months time.

Testosterone is not just a male hormone as women create it as well but just much less than a man.

Both men and women can benefit from testosterone but again this is a hormone and affects every system in our bodies so it needs to be regulated through testing as there may be side effects.

The fourth and final factor that changes with these hormonal up and down swings is glutamate.

Glutamate is a neurotransmitter in the brain and is completely normal for brain function. It helps carry thoughts between neurons in the brain.

Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter and excites nerve cells in the brain.

But there are also glutamate scavengerd and glutamate transporters which make sure any excess glutamate is picked up and being taken to where it needs to be used instead of exciting cells where it shouldn’t be.

During the menstrual cycle glutamate will fluctuate and reach its highest points around the end and beginning of the cycle.

The problem is that women have far less glutamate scavengers and transporters than men and this leaves it out causing it to excite cells.

If we have neurons that are already having issues producing energy, if they aren’t able to maintain normal concentrations of minerals and process oxygen and glucose properly then this excitation becomes too much.

It may actually lead to the over excitation and death of nerve cells called excito-toxicity but once this starts it can spread to surrounding nerve cells creating a wave of over-excitation followed by a blackout.

This is known as cortical spreading depression or CSD and implicated in the creation of migraine auras which you can read more about in our article on 7 essential skills for how to stop a migraine aura.

So what can we do about it?

Glutamate is most well known as MSG or mono-sodium glutamate.

But glutamate is found in almost every food at least in small amounts so what makes MSG so bad?

MSG is a form of free glutamic acid which means it’s not bound up to other nutrients like amino acids and fibre.

This makes it get absorbed and enter the blood stream very quickly and gives it the chance to enter the brain. We are especially susceptible if we have leaky brain like I describe in this video.

Some of the most common sources of free glutamic acid are the same ones that have high histamine and tyramine levels which are also migraine triggers in some people.

These foods include:

  • Matured, cured, preserved foods

  • Fish sauce

  • Soy sauce and protein

  • Bone broths and meats cooked for long periods of time

  • Malted barley used in breads and beer

  • Dairy casein

  • Wheat gluten

The best way to go about removing free glutamate would be to first remove processed and packaged foods as they can contain numerous forms of hidden glutamate such as the ones in the pin below.

Then if that’s not enough you can go ahead and remove some of the natural sources of it like those above and once symptoms have settled start introducing them one by one into your diet until you find specific triggers.

It’s important to note that glutamate may only be a problem if there is also chronic inflammation going on so this needs to be addressed as well with something like turmeric or ginger.

By supporting your progesterone’s natural protective effect and making sure your estrogen and testosterone are balanced with glutamate you can make amazing strides with your menstrual or hormonal migraines and auras.

See our video on why do menstrual or hormonal migraines happen and what to do below.

Make sure to read our article on 7 essential skills for how to stop a migraine aura here.

Do you experience menstrual or hormonal migraines?

Let me know in the comments below and make sure to share this with someone who needs the information.

5 Massive Tips to stop rebound migraines and headaches

5 Massive tips to stop rebound migraines and headaches

Migraines and headaches are bad enough without rebounds. Once rebounds have started they can be very tricky to deal with as the body is trying to bounce back from the suppressing effect of some medications, luckily there’s a lot we can do. In this article I will be covering 5 massive tips to stop rebound migraines and headaches.

Definition of a rebound migraine or headache

A rebound migraine or headache is one that is created from the use of symptom-relieving medicinal substances.

This is most often caused by strong pain-killers like opiates but because of their widespread use can also be caused by the common migraine medication family the triptans.

What we want to understand here is that it is often the masking of symptoms that causes the body to bounce back with another head pain in response.

In some areas we could simplify it to say that our blood vessels are dilating during a migraine so then when a triptan that causes blood vessel constriction wears off there is a rebound of dilation again.

But it does not appear to be so simple as many migraine medications which either constrict or dilate blood vessels can cause the rebound which is why we will talk about primary and secondary symptoms of a medication below.

This is why rebound headaches or migraines have been reclassified as medication overuse headaches.

Medication overuse is one of the hardest headaches to deal with and get rid of partly because more medication will only make it worse. If you are experiencing headaches over 15 days a month then this may be an important area to investigate further.

Let us dive in.

Rebound migraines and headaches

The 5 Massive Tips to stop rebound migraines and headaches

1. Get an expert opinion first

There is a lot you may not take into account because of a lack of knowledge of medications and conditions so it’s incredibly important to first ask your doctor the questions below.

There are many different medications that may be used for both migraines and headaches, some of which will rebound easier than others. This is where your primary healthcare provider is the most important source and it may be as easy as changing a medication, frequency, dosage etc.

Prevention always works better than having to deal with the snowball already rolling.

When we can distinguish between primary and secondary symptoms we can understand our migraines, headaches and medications much better.

A primary symptom is one caused by the effect of a drug whereas a secondary symptom is caused by the reaction of our body to that drug… The rebounding of our body to the effects of the drug.

For example; if we take a laxative and experience diarrhea, after the effects of the laxative have worn off we will experience constipation until our body balances out.

When consulting with your doctor make sure to ask:

  1. What is the exact dosage and frequency I should be taking of the medication I am on?
  2. What is the maximum frequency and dosage I can take before rebounds are expected?
  3. Are there other medications that I can use which may not create a rebound but still help me with my situation?
  4. How do I go about preventing or stopping a rebounding headache?

We need to educate ourselves and our doctors about our situation so that we can make the most informed choice possible while still continually looking outside of the mainstream as many solutions will not be found through medication.

2. Deficiencies may cause as many headaches as excesses

There are two states here that need to be taken care of; the migraines or headaches you’ve been medicating for and the headaches that have resulted as a byproduct of the medication.

If you only deal with the medication you may be leaving pieces out of the puzzle but there are also two types of deficiencies that need to be taken into account.

  1. The kind that comes from lacking diets and excess stress, methylation issues, parasites etc… (See Food Triggers guide)
  2. The kind that comes from medications

It’s incredibly important these are supported during our time on a medication. The problem is they are almost never looked after and this puts a huge strain on our system, compounded by the increasingly low food quality available to us.

You can use this website to search your medications and supplements to see if there are interactions or nutrient depletions caused by them.

See our posts on medication deficiencies and medication interactions here.

3. If you had to wean up, make sure you wean off

Your doctor is the pro in this area and they should be the ones consulted for any medication changes.

Even though it is very common to feel like you should stop a medication immediately because it’s hurting you, it may cause even more damage if you stop abruptly and this is the last thing you want.

Topamax or topiramate is notoriously well known for causing massive side effects from its use on migraines and headaches which is exactly why it needs to be carefully managed by your doc.

Slow and steady with the guidance of your doctor you can ensure that your body adjusts to a medication and then readjusts to its reduction.

See the list of the most commonly rebounding medications below:


4. Up-regulate your bodies ability to stop headaches

Your body is always trying to maintain homeostasis which is its natural, normal and healthy state.

The more stress we put on it through:

  • Chemical

  • Physical

  • Mental

  • Emotional

  • Electromagnetic

The farther outside of homeostasis it will be able to maintain itself.

Not only are nutrients superb at dealing with headaches but they are absolutely necessary to keep headaches at bay. As I said above we are simply not getting the required nutrition out of our diets and especially not if we are eating processed, packaged and fried foods.

The closer we can get the food to its natural state in nature the more intact the nutrients in it will be and the easier for our body to absorb and use them.

For example:

A fortified food is not a food at all and the mere idea of having to fortify a food to make it nutritious should alarm you to how empty of nutrition it really is. Most fortified nutrients do not get utilized and instead have to be processed through the liver and detoxified.

Keeping away headaches is a combination of reducing inflammation, oxidation and stress, especially structural stress.

This means you need to:

  • Eat more anti-inflammatory foods than you do inflammatory ones(Whole food)

  • Eat plenty of antioxidants and sulfur-containing vegetables

  • Cut out any sensitive foods you may have developed from gut issues, overeating, eating too often etc (See the Food Triggers Guide to understand it all)

  • Fix the tension in your musculature and fascia which can be done with a well trained physical therapist like a CHEK practitioner

These steps are the crucial foundation to making sure your brain is not overloaded but if you still have problems after these areas are addressed then a skilled holistic health practitioner is necessary and will be able to guide you through the dozen+ areas that headaches may be coming from.

5. Fix your risk factors for rebounds

The risk factors I will list below are not only a risk for rebounds but also a massive sign that you are already sick and progressing into chronic disease. These have to be addressed holistically if you want to have the health and resilience to keep head pains at bay and have control over your life.

They include but are not limited to:

  • An increasing frequency of headaches

  • Overweight or a stomach measurement over 80% of your hips

  • Smoking and other poisonous drug abuse

  • Comorbid conditions or pain disorders

  • Mental instability such as anxiety or depression

  • Sleep difficulty

  • A sedentary lifestyle

It is also more common to get rebounds if you use multiple abortive medications called polypharmacy or combine abortives with excedrin. See our article comparing excedrin migraine vs CBD

It’s important we address our brain from multiple areas of health because disease is not one-sided. All of our systems are interconnected and things like digestive disorders are some of the most common sources of headaches.

It is multifactorial and our body depends on our threshold to keep migraines at bay.

If we can keep the level of stress from our triggers lower than the threshold which is our bodies tolerance to stress then we will have a much easier time staying trigger free.

See the video below to learn threshold theory and how the body uses 3 key factors to determine if we will trigger or not.

When we want to steer clear of rebounds we have to:

  • Make sure we consult with our doctor to see what else we can do with our medications and how much is too much

  • Fix deficiencies from medications and lifestyle

  • Wean to avoid damage from stress

  • Increase the most powerful tool we have which is our bodies ability to heal itself

  • Correct our risk factors for rebound

By keeping these in check we will be much better off and healthier overall in our journey toward being pain-free.

If you are struggling with head pains and migraines that medications are not working on and last forever make sure you read our article on understanding status migrainosus and intractable migraines here.

If you would like to learn more about migraines than you ever have before join our community and get the free E-guide The 5 mistakes of hormonal migraines here.

Have you ever experienced a rebound or almost started rebounding? Let me know in the comments below and share this with someone struggling with headaches.

Is psilocybin a good idea for chronic migraines and cluster headaches?

Chronic pain sufferers will do anything to get relief, even illicit drugs. But they can’t be blamed, the system that’s supposed to serve them has failed to bring them ease. In this article, I will be exploring some of the oldest, but now becoming more mainstream approaches that chronic pain sufferers are using to remedy their situations.

Of course, before the article I just want to make it clear that Migraine Professional does not endorse the use of any illegal drugs.

What are chronic pain sufferers that have not found relief using to self medicate?

The largest buzz, especially in the migraine community has become cannabis and CBD. Cannabis’ far reaching affects can improve appetite, sleep, treat endocannabinoid deficiency and has even been found to relieve migraines…(1)

CBD is cannabis’ non psychoactive and much more “culturally appropriate” cousin. It is one of the many proteins inside cannabis that has medicinal effects but can be extracted from hemp into a concentration that makes it safe and easy to use. You can see one of our articles on CBD and migraines here.

The main substance I will be covering in this article because of its specific anecdotal use in migraines and cluster headaches is psilocybin which is a single drug isolated from the commonly known magic mushrooms.

Some other substances that are often used as last resorts like psilocybin are lysergic acid diethylamide(LSD) lysergic acid amide(LSA) and the class of psychedelic tryptamines like DMT or dimethyltryptamine.

These substances are similar to the common migraine medications like triptans because they are indole alkaloids except triptans are only used for aborting migraines whereas some reports have found psychedelic tryptamines useful for not only aborting but also preventing and reducing in pain levels.

One survey done on cluster headache patients found that,

The indoleamine hallucinogens, psilocybin, lysergic acid diethylamide, and lysergic acid amide, were comparable to or more efficacious than most conventional medications.”

It also found that,

These agents were also perceived to shorten/abort a cluster period and bring chronic cluster headache into remission more so than conventional medications.”

This is huge, but a survey is very low quality compared to an actual clinical study.

The problem is the legality of psilocybin which, in the US, places it under schedule 1 meaning its use is illegal and all research on it is highly restricted.

How safe are psilocybin and other tryptamines?

Their massive and sweeping illegalization has restricted some of the most necessary research on them, primarily for us to know how safe or unsafe they are.

Magic mushroom use may date back thousands of years and throughout many different cultures use of it for its medicinal and psychedelic effects.(2)

But just because something has been used for a long time does not necessarily make it safe.

A 2007 global drug survey found that out of 10,000 people who used the main source of psilocybin(magic mushrooms) only 0.2% required emergency medical treatment.

Even still, psilocybin is classed in the same category as heroine and crack cocaine. This does not mean it is completely safe and this article is not encouraging or promoting its use.

An article in the guardian writes,

Psilocybin mushrooms have been found to have minimal harmful effects and could potentially benefit those with depression.

One population study found that,

We failed to find evidence that psychedelic use is an independent risk factor for mental health problems. Psychedelics are not known to harm the brain or other body organs or to cause addiction or compulsive use; serious adverse events involving psychedelics are extremely rare.”

But there are many different types of mushrooms, even other psychedelic mushrooms that are poisonous and taking the wrong kind can result in injury or death.

This makes it especially difficult for those who have run out of options and are looking for a source. Eventually they will find one, but will it be safe?

According to an article in popular science you should look for a mycologist who can properly educate you on species and safety.

What are the benefits of Psilocybin?

With all of the above said it’s also important to understand that psilocybin does seem to come with other benefits as well such as:

In one study they found that,

a single dose of psilocybin significantly helped cancer patients with the anxiety and depression accompanying their life-threatening diagnoses.”

There also seem to be pain relieving effects from taking doses that are below actual psychoactive or psychedelic effect levels which makes it much easier to do if you’re not willing to dive into your mind.

A study that used a psychoactive dose of psilocybin mushrooms combined with a therapy session found that benefits lasted over 6 months and even 15 years down the line patients reported, “I remember that experience for the rest of my life as a touchstone experience,” and which they, “remember and continue to draw upon.”

See the video below to get a stronger understanding of how severe cluster headaches are and why cluster headache and migraine sufferers are turning to them.


So is psilocybin effective for migraines and cluster headaches?

Anecdotally it seems like there are multiple benefits and some even experience reduction in frequency, intensity and severity of both migraines and cluster headaches.

There are also reported positive changes in behaviour, epiphanies, anti anxiety and depressive properties all of which can help us turn the tide in our battle against neuro-inflammation that causes so many of the pains we experience.

With this said, it doesn’t make it any easier to acquire or use safely.

The laws prohibiting its use are world wide other than a few select countries and being caught with them may even come with jail time make this a highly risky route to take.

How is psilocybin used for migraines and cluster headaches?

This is another early area because we really don’t know how to take the best advantage of its medicinal properties but there are a few main ways that have been experimented with, none of which are recommended as it is illegal in most countries.

The first is simply taking a psychoactive dose which is north of 3 dried grams of the mushroom.

Then we have the most commonly reported method for migraines and clusters which is by taking what are called micro-doses. These are doses that are under 0.5 grams of the dried mushroom and done every day. Taking it daily prevents the actual psychedelic effects after a few days because your body builds up a tolerance.

Microdosing magic shrooms is now the next big thing among professionals who need to gain a competitive edge in the world of innovation, creation, and problem-solving. You may not be familiar with the concept of microdosing. This is the process of consuming very small amounts of psilocybin from magic mushrooms. This dose is sub-perceptual.

There is also the option of finding a way to isolate psilocybin and take it orally as a powder which is incredibly difficult to do, time consuming and highly illegal.

The right way(if there was a right way) would be to find the dose that works best for you as it will affect everyone differently just as medications, foods, supplements and other therapies do.

The important note here is that the body up-regulates enzymes to break it down faster which make it impossible to develop a habit/addiction because the same dose that would give you a high on your first day would do nothing on the second.

Reportedly some may only need one dose to reap the benefits for months or even years but some may require it micro-dosed every day which means knowing your own body is the best bet.

Will psilocybin ever be a legal medicine?

It’s very possible. Many will travel out of the country to destinations where it’s legal so that they can understand if this is something that will get them out of the hole that migraines and cluster headaches can feel like.

Right now there is legislation all over the world pushing for the legalization of cannabis and the movement for legalization of magic mushrooms is also growing.

Colorado and Oregon are giving a hard push for its legalization or at least rescheduling to something that is more in line with how safe and beneficial it may actually be.

It is completely within the foreseeable future that we will have more clinical studies run to understand its effects and safety.

It is also a large possibility that it may one day become an approved medical treatment for these conditions given how safe it is and how the anecdotal reports are presenting it.

But until then we have to use the methods that work best even when medications may fail and that is addressing the root causes of dysfunction in the body. If our brain is pushed to the edge by stress, deficiencies and trauma then it will not be able to function like it should, continually triggering pain.

But if we can lower our trigger levels and increase the speed at which our body is removing waste from brain cells while providing the necessary nutrients to develop strong and resilient brain cells with more connections, there is no reason we should have these “power outtages” in the brain.

To understand the threshold theory behind migraines see our video here.

If you are experiencing head pain that is not ending and medication is not working for then see our article on the 3 secrets of understanding status migrainousus and intractable migraines here.

Have you experienced or tried any psychoactive compound and found relief from your pain? Let me know in the comments below.

Share this article with someone who is running out of hope by using the buttons below.

Tic Douloureux Headaches and Trigeminal neuralgia

3 Secrets of tic douloureux headaches and trigeminal neuralgia

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Neuralgias can be some of the most painful and suicidal experiences we ever go through. Luckily we are beginning to understand a lot more about what causes them and how inflammation plays a massive role in all sorts of head pain.

In this article, I will be covering 3 secrets of tic douloureux headaches and trigeminal neuralgia which will give you a far more in-depth understanding of what is going on than just seeking a diagnosis may.

Definition / What are tic douloureux headaches and trigeminal neuralgia?

These conditions are one and the same, just different names.

Tic douloureux means a painful tic because of the sudden and severe pain that may cause you to wince.

Trigeminal neuralgia is a form of neuralgia(pain along a nerve) which specifically affects the trigeminal nerve.

It often presents as extremely severe and one-sided, usually coming suddenly in spurts and lasting only minutes but sometimes hours.

Generally, they are experienced in clusters over days, weeks or months followed by pain-free periods. (Link)

As we age, these pain-free periods tend to get shorter and the painful periods tend to get worse.

This would lend itself to suggesting that the body is having a harder and harder time coping with whatever physiological stress is causing the problem and taking resources away from healing it such as all of the nutrients needed to rebuild myelin sheath.

Trigeminal neuralgia or tic douloureux headaches are more common after 50 years of age as the body becomes less adept at recovering from injury, absorbing nutrients and maintaining normal function in the nerves.

The jaw, cheek or lip are the most common areas to experience the pain which is usually triggered by small things like touching the face or mouth during routine habits like:

  • Washing the face

  • Eating

  • Shaving

  • Brushing teeth

  • Eating

  • Putting on makeup

  • Drinking

  • Talking

  • Smiling

See the video below to get a better understanding of what tic douloureuxe headaches and trigeminal neuralgia are.

Trigeminal Neuralgia - Explained!! - Worlds most painful disease! Causes and Treatment

3 Secrets of tic douloureux headaches and trigeminal neuralgia

There are many different perspectives we can take on what is causing trigeminal neuralgia but there is likely no one single cause and this means we need a multi-factorial approach.

We need to approach it from a number of different areas including nutritional, inflammatory and systemic which means we need to look at the whole body and understand what’s going on.

1. Understanding the trigeminal nerve

The trigeminal nerve is the fifth cranial nerve and directly enters the brainstem through the pons.

This means it connects right into some of the oldest and most basic functions of the brain.

The brain stem controls all of our basic survival functions and is called the reptilian brain because of it.

Heart rate, breathing, digestion, sleep, equilibrium, facial expressions etc are all controlled here and lead it to be coined the main area for:

– Sex

– Survival

– Sustenance

The trigeminal nerve is composed of three main areas, the ophthalmic, maxillary and mandibular or more simply the eye/forehead section, the cheek section and the jaw section.

But this part of the brain, because of its constant need to pump out energy to run all of our base functions is also susceptible to overload.

The trigeminal nerve is essentially a slave to other more important systems of the body because the body puts systems into priorities.

Just like muscles, arms and legs are a much lower priority than our organs.

See the picture below on the trigeminal nerve:


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2. Brain venting

If we are under a huge load and our body is constantly strained in simply running the most basic of functions then our brainstem can actually end up having to vent and will use nerves as a sort of “breaker” to let off steam.

This is often seen when organs are overloaded and cause problems like viscero-somatic-inhibition where the musculature around the organ is shut off or put into pain as a sign of a problem in the area. (ie. During periods the abdominal muscles will turn off and back will hurt)

But it also happens with the brainstem because of its key role in all of the body systems regulation.

Even though there is a massive amount of “energy” and “information” coming out of the brainstem, there is much more going from the organs back up into the brain. (It’s actually 9:1 through the vagus nerve)

This can become too much and the closest and easiest way to vent is to go through the cranial nerves.

This means we want to bring down our brains and nervous systems total load which ill talk about towards the end.

3. Body excess on brainstem

I covered it briefly above but the body and brain are always communicating and when an area of the body, for example, the liver or intestines or uterus are having trouble, going through inflammation and increasing its level of activity to speed up healing, it will also increase its output to the brain.

Because of the brainstems role in regulating autonomic functioning, there is a massive demand on it to provide enough support and keep everything running at full capacity.

Stress compounds and so if for example liver function goes down, then toxic load will go up which will cause energy production to go down making adrenaline go up and as adrenaline goes up intestinal circulation will go down causing endotoxin production to go up eventually circling back and causing liver function to go down even more.

It is a vicious circle and we want to lower the load that is put onto our nervous system but this has to be done holistically, mind and body.

Our mental and emotional stresses and the way we react to things take priority because they control everything all the way down the chain.

When we are in a good place mentally and emotionally, in tune with our body then we can address:

  • Electromagnetic stress from EMFs

  • Chemical stress from offgassing products, clothes, furniture, cleaning agents, foods

  • Dietary stress from an imbalanced diet (See the food triggers guide)

  • Musculoskeletal stress from structural imbalances

  • Hormonal Stress

  • Visceral Stress from organ issues

  • Immune Stress

  • Infections

  • Tensions

  • Exhaustion

To read into more depth about some of these see our articles on

What are the most common migraine triggers?

The foundation principles

3 Ways of understanding trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias

If you need help with what you are experiencing right now and want more specific information then join the Migraine Professional community here.

Have you ever experienced tic douloureux headaches or trigeminal neuralgia?

If so, let me know below what worked for you and what your experience was like.

Remember to share this post with others to help those in need by clicking the social media links.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_team_member name=”Mark Canadic” position=”Holistic Health Practitioner” image_url=”https://migraineprofessional.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Zoomed.png” facebook_url=”www.facebook.com/migraineprofessional” _builder_version=”3.13.1″ header_font_size=”22″ body_font_size=”18″ border_radii_image=”on|1000px|1000px|1000px|1000px” saved_tabs=”all”]Mark Canadic is a writer, speaker, holistic health practitioner and migraine community leader. Read Mark’s inspiring comeback story, “My Burnout and Brain Fires that Lead me to the Root.” Feel free to send Mark a message here.

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sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia and ganglion nerve block

3 sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia and ganglion nerve block differences

There are many large and confusing words within the medical community that can help us unlock and understand more about our migraines and headaches.

One of these is the sphenopalatine ganglion.

In this article, we will cover 2 differences between sphenopalatine ganglion nerve block which may be used for headaches or migraines and sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia which is something completely different.

What is sphenopalatine ganglion nerve block?

The Sphenopalatine ganglion is a hub for nerves that stem out from it.

It is located near the sphenoid bone and palatine bones. This is just above our palate and inside our sinus which makes it easily accessible through the nose.

This nerve has been blamed as the central point for some types of head pains and neuralgias so the basic concept is to block the action of this nerve with an anaesthetic so that it stops transmitting pain signals and we experience relief.

This ganglion(hub of nerves) is connected to the pons of the brainstem through cranial nerve 7 which can be seen here:

Sphenopalantine Ganglion Block for Migraines

It is important to note the pons and brain stems involvement as they are key regulators in all of our autonomic functions.

Autonomic functions are all of the systems in the body that function without our conscious control like breathing, blood pressure, digestion, sleep, heart rate etc.

So we may even be able to draw some connections between how much pressure the regulation of these systems causes on our brain stem and certain types of pain that radiate out of the sphenopalatine ganglion.

Migraine anyone?

So the sphenopalatine ganglion nerve block is simply a nerve block that is done to this specific nerve.

It can be a very simple procedure involving only some lidocaine/bupivicaine and a long cotton swab placed into the sinuses.

It’s much less invasive than other nerve blocks but still doesn’t address the root of what’s causing the headaches which is what we should always strive for.

See the video below for a visual demonstration of a sphenopalatine ganglion nerve block:

Sphenopalatine Ganglion Block for Treatment of Headaches

What is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia?

Sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia is something completely different.

Simply put, it’s a brain freeze or ice cream headache.

A brain freeze is when you ingest a cold food or drink quickly.

When the temperature of the arteries on the back of your throat quickly drops because of quick ingestion then the arteries constrict.

The constriction of these arteries causes a drop in blood flow to the brain and signals pain nerves to trigger.

Remember: pain is a protective mechanism in response to a stimulus

In migraines that stimulus may be food triggers or nutrient deficiencies causing chaos in the brain but in sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia it is the cold of a food or a drink that constricts blood vessels, restricts blood flow and triggers an alarm.

Lots of cold food/drink ingested quickly ->

= Cold arteries at the back of the throat

= Constricted blood vessels

= Restricted blood flow

= Alarm

See the video below to understand why ice cream headache, brain freeze or sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia happens:

What causes brain freeze? | #aumsum #kids #education #science #learn

Why it’s blatantly clear they are different but why they are also similar.

  1. A brain freeze is different from a nerve block.
  2. You would never get a nerve block for an ice cream headache.
  3. You may use a brain freeze as a method to reduce a preexisting migraine or headache but a nerve block would mostly be to prevent a future occurrence.

The most interesting piece of this for migraine and other chronic headache sufferers is that the cause of the ice cream headache is because of a constricting of blood vessels and the reduction of blood flow to the brain.

When blood flow is lowered the brain is starved for oxygen and cannot produce energy to run itself.

Supporting the brains energy generation systems and all of the different nutrients it needs like oxygen, magnesium, coQ10, B vitamins, butyrate etc may be one of the most important methods by which we can prevent our brain from turning on these pain responses.

This helps us understand why supplementation with nutrients works so well for migraines and other head pain conditions.

Want a deeper understanding of what’s going on?

Join the migraine professional community because you do by clicking here.

If you want to understand more about migraines then read our article on the headache that won’t go away and what to do about it here.

Have you ever experienced a brain freeze or ice cream headache?

Have you ever had a sphenopalatine ganglion nerve block?

Have you ever used a brain freeze to take the edge off a migraine?

Let me know in the comments below and share this with someone else suffering who may benefit.

3 Turmeric Curcumin Recipes For Migraines And Headaches

3 Turmeric curcumin recipes for migraines and headaches

Food is one of the most essential pieces of our health program.

When we can get food right, our body breathes a sigh of relief.

But when we can use super-foods like turmeric the right way, we can get an edge in our healing journey that can support us every day, safely.

Turmerics anti-inflammatory benefits are one of the many benefits it has and in this article, we will be talking about 3 turmeric recipes to supercharge your health.

1. “Golden Milk” Recipe

  • 1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 Tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Touch of cinnamon
  • Honey to taste

This first recipe is a fusion of my own and Colin from Natura Training Institutes.

It’s a daily dose of warm sweet goodness and really simple to make.

Mix the coconut milk, water, black pepper and turmeric powder together.

Heat them up in a pot so that the turmeric gets activated and black pepper mixes to increase the absorption of turmerics active ingredients…

Then simply add the cinnamon and honey to taste, pour it into a cup and enjoy.

2. “Golden Paste” Recipe

This is an adaptation from the wonderful people at Turmeric Life.

  • 1 Tsp Fresh Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup Turmeric Powder
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Water

Put the coconut oil into a small pot and melt it down.

Add the water, turmeric powder and fresh black pepper.

Let simmer for 7 minutes.

Pour into a container, store and use as needed.

Many start with a 1/4 tsp a day and work their way up.

3. “Golden Smoothie” Recipe

  • 1 Tsp Fresh Ginger
  • 1 Tsp Fresh Turmeric
  • 1 Frozen Banana
  • 1/4 Cup Carrot Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Orange Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Almond Milk

Grate ginger and turmeric.

Add banana, carrot juice, orange juice, almond milk turmeric and ginger to smoothie.



Always check with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle. Turmeric may increase the blood thinning effect of some medications.

See our turmeric curcumin for migraines post to learn all of the amazing benefits and studies around turmeric and its active ingredient curcumin here.

Have you ever tried turmeric or do you have a favorite recipe?

Let me know in the comments below and share this post with someone who needs a boost.

3 Turmeric curcumin recipes migraines headaches

9 Easy remedies for cervico occipital neuralgia

9 Easy remedies for cervico occipital neuralgia

It’s very common to experience tension and different types of muscular pain with migraines and headaches of all kinds.

But Cervico occipital neuralgia is another beast altogether.

These pulsating, stabbing, shooting or lightning like pains can be anywhere from a mild disturbance to an incapacitating and crippling pain.

In this article, we will talk about cervico occipital neuralgia and 9 easy remedies for pain.

What is cervico occipital neuralgia?

Cervico occipital neuralgia is a condition in which the occipital nerves which run from the top of the spine up the back of the head get triggered.

When they are triggered they can create pain which can present in a number of different ways but is most often intense and sharp.

Some other symptoms include:

  • One sided pain
  • Sensitivity to external stimulation like light
  • Scalp and occipital nerves that are tender to the touch
  • Pain from moving the head or neck

Cervico occipital neuralgia is very commonly confused with tension headaches and migraines but there are differences and proper diagnosis is important for the right drugs.

That said, when we really want to understand why our body is triggering these pains, the diagnosis may not be as important because they are often just a label put on symptoms and don’t give us any value in understanding the etiology and cause.

Some of the most common causes of this condition are when the nerves get pinched, trapped or damaged, triggering pain sensations throughout the entire nerve.

Contributors and causes of this can be:

– Trauma to the head (falls, whiplash etc)

– Chronic tension in neck muscles

– Osteoarthritis or damage to your vertebral discs

The key difference that separates cervico occipital neuralgia from other types of headaches is that on physical examination if someone presses up against the nerve it is usually painful.

See the infographic below to understand what the occipital nerves are and the vertebrae that impact them:

9 Easy remedies for cervico occipital neuralgia

As with most conditions we have to make sure we address the deeper underlying causes to our dysfunction otherwise we run the risk of continuing superficial therapies for life and spending thousands of dollars and hours on just palliation.

We want to make sure that:

  • Postural patterns are corrected
  • Core function is fixed
  • Gut or viral infections are resolved
  • Stress is managed in a meaningful way to improve quality of life
  • As well as fixing the foundation principles that without, our body will struggle through any healing or repair

This is not medical advice and is only for informational purposes so seeing your doctor should always be the first place to go to make sure there isn’t something more serious going on.

1. Stabilize your head holder

Our neck needs balance to be able to function properly and take any pressure off our nerves.

In a normal, balanced and functional individual there is harmony between front and back neck muscles but the more and more our culture leans forward with their heads, the more common neck dysfunction becomes.

The advent of electronics has increased the speed at which we hump over and lose our postural integrity so it is always important to correct posture as one of the first areas to go and it is often helpful to see people like an alexander, feldenkrais or eldoa practitioner.

What often ends up happening is that because we lean forward so much, the muscles on the back of our head and neck get increasingly tight, to hold our heads on our bodies.

And inversely, the muscles on the front of our neck get weak because they are never used. This causes them to not be able to keep our head up and back.

The simplest place to go from here is stretching the muscles on the back of the neck and head to release any tension they have and then using exercises to strengthen the muscles on the front of the neck.

See this video to get an idea of the simple exercises you can use with your health-care provider.

Fix Ugly Forward Head Posture

2. Kill inflammation

Whenever we are dealing with a chronic pain we need to look for inflammation.

Inflammation is the sister of pain and when inflammation is present it causes the body and nerves to become aggravated, often triggering pain.

Healthy inflammation is acute, comes for a short while until the problem is solved and then leaves.

But unhealthy inflammation is chronic and signals that the issue is still there or the body does not have the resources to deal with the problem effectively.

Long term inflammation means we need to take action and add support.

One of the all stars in the inflammatory game and especially in the headache arena is turmeric.

Turmeric is an amazing herb used for thousands of years because of it color, flavor and benefits.

But it can also be used therapeutically for inflammation in the right doses.

See our article on turmeric curcumin for migraines and headaches here.


3. Relieve the stress

Stress is a leading killer and should never be underestimated.

Especially when it stems from issues in our childhood.

Patterns of stress from our childhood can create an almost permanent epigenetic expression of fight or flight system activation in our bodies.

This means our body will always be wound up, tense and not healing properly.

This is a recipe for inflammation and chronic pain.

And it really messes with our posture…

When we are healthy and happy, we have a much easier time staying up right, breathing properly and avoiding any infections.

But when stress creeps in, it lets all of the other non optimized systems in our body loosen up and provides holes for problems in our life to leak in.

Do you feel overwhelmed or stressed?

Do you feel like you have to be doing things and productive 7 days a week?

Are there unresolved emotions that you can’t fully get out but you find creep into your life whenever you’re not distracted?

These are all possible signs you need to significantly lighten your load and do some emotional releasing therapies.


4. Undo poor posture destroying patterns

There are some very common patterns that contribute to excessive strain on your neck and head.

They are fed by a dysfunctional core.

See infographic on kyphosis and lordosis here:

How to Improve Posture? Posture Exercises to Correct Bad Posture.

The body is interconnected, like a web so that if anything happens in one part, it affects and is felt in others.

When our core destabilizes, our feet aren’t functioning or our hips or shoulders are off etc…

Our neck and head take the burden because our body prioritizes senses like seeing and chewing over others.

This shift can put unnecessary strain on our vertebrae and lead to trapped nerves, creating pain.

Take a picture of your profile or get someone to assess your posture and see if and how you are compensating. If you don’t know, then you won’t even know you need support in this area as it can often go on and build over years.

Read our article on 1 big tip for cervicogenic headaches to understand the biggest cause of poor posture, creator of poor posture and contributor to strong posture and health here.


5. Cool it down

Inflammation is synonymous with heat, redness and swelling.

The body is showing there is too much heat here, it is bringing more blood flow to the area to resolve the issue and filling it will water creating swelling to cool it down and take away waste.

We can support this.

Increasing water intake is essential to supporting the hydration of our vertebral sponges and the flushing of lymphatic fluid.

Our vertebrae are separated by these sponge like structures that are constantly exchanging and requiring water to stay springy and supportive…

Give them what they need.

Our lymphatic system is the waste management system of our bodies and is filtered out through our kidneys, constantly requiring clean fresh and pure water to do its job properly.

You can also physically “cool it down” and it’s very common to do so with ice packs.

Even more effective is a cold shower and using alternating cold and hot.

This is a great way to increase circulation and resources to the area for free and without taking time out of your day.

Pro tip: Do not use excessive cold immediately after injuries

20 seconds at a time, alternate hot and cold for 10 repetitions each or until you feel pulsing in your body or relief.


6. These homeopathics

When drugs don’t work we can often be given injections…

When injections stop working we can often be pushed into surgery…

Surgery is a major decision and we should try whatever else we can before we go to these ends and this is where homeopathy may provide some solutions for us.

The homeopathic Magnesium Phosphoricum is commonly used for:

  • People with very sudden and violent neuralgias
  • As well as those with cramping pains that come with menses and are better the more menstrual flow there is and worse as the flow subsides
  • Generally the magnesium phosphoricum individuals will have pain on the right side that is relieved by warmth applied externally like a hot pack
  • The pain is generally worse 10-11am

The homeopathic Sanguinaria is commonly used for:

  • Individuals whose headaches begin in the back of the head and spread upwards, sometimes settling in the eye
  • They wants lots of pressure in the area of pain and are better from a quiet dark room, lying down and being perfectly still or from sleep
  • Generally the pain comes with nausea, vomiting and lots of bodily heat

The homeopathic Bryonia Alba is commonly used for:

  • Those with sharp stabbing pains whose heads feel bruised and are worse from even the slightest eye movements
  • The headache is usually only in the back of the head or will always end up in the back of the head
  • They are usually worse from motion, moving their eyes and warmth but find relief from resting

Taking homeopathic medicine shouldn’t be done long term unless under the supervision of a homeopath or naturopath.

7. Use post isometric stretching

Post isometric stretching is how we should all be doing stretches.

It ensures that all of our muscle fibers, tendons and ligaments are engaged before we put the stress of stretching on them so that we get a more even and therapeutic stretch.

Post isometric stretching simply means a stretch after a flex.

So whatever muscle it is we want to stretch, we need to flex and contract it, ideally as hard as we can first, before letting go and loosening it.

One of the first reflexes when we get the pain and tension in our necks is to stretch it, but this is minor if at all effective.

Really, we want to go into a strong flex and then release into the stretch, holding for a few seconds, longer if we are trying to take the kinetic tension out of the muscle completely.

If we need to use our neck, its better to use shorter stretches, if we are getting ready for bed then a longer one may work better.

8. Heal your nerves

Nerves are always trying to repair themselves and function properly.

Sometimes we can get into an accident or have a viral infection that attacks and damages our nerves.

In these cases, the more we can fire the pathways of the nerves and provide the nutrients they need to repair, the better our chances.

Our entire head has muscles and fascia and we can flex it, forcing our body to create new connections through the neurons in the nerves.

But we also need to provide the proper nutrients.

The basis of this is good healthy fats, sufficient amino acids and nutrients for the building blocks.

To support this we want to avoid all hydrogenated and spoiled fats like vegetable oil, canola oil and rancid fats like old fish oils.

But making sure we get enough omega 3s in the forms of EPA and DHA is paramount.

We need lots of them and the best sources come from fish, ideally wild caught as farmed fish are not raised well and fats have a tendency to hold onto poisons. Nuts and seeds also provide a great supplement as well as healthier oils like olive oil and coconut.

Amino acids are crucial and getting enough of them is easy. But getting them in the right proportions means we need complete sources of protein (like those found in meat) and the digestive capacity to break proteins down into amino acids.

Nutrients are found all throughout the two areas above but we also want to set a foundation of 9 cups of vegetables a day.

This is best done through:

– 3 cups of leafy greens

– 3 cups of cruciferous vegetables, the onion family and mushrooms

– 3 cups of full colored fruit or veg, not the ones with white insides like potatoes

Following this simple formula is a great way to begin nutritional support for your nerves.

9. Tackle the three big systemic causes of injury to nerves

Gout, diabetes and arthritis are massive problems for out entire body and need to be dealt with by an experienced holistic or functional health practitioner.

If your health-care provider has only recommended drugs for these conditions, fire them and find someone more educated in the many daily things you can do to ease off the stress on your body.

These are complex diseases so any one or two things I would list here would not be doing them justice but they are primary sources that need to be addressed and supported first.

At the very least, they need to be stabilized or we will continue experiencing nerve damage and problems running rampant and out of control.

As we add more resilience to the system and take off the burden caused by the many different areas that can be compromising our spinal and nerve health we may see how amazing the healing systems in our body actually are.

To get a deeper understanding of how our most vital system, breathing is, read our article on 1 big tip for cervicogenic headaches here.

If you want to learn more than you ever have before about migraines and headaches because you want to benefit from the information then join the Migraine Professional community here.

Do you experience cervico occipital neuralgia or know someone who does?

Share this article with someone who may benefit by using the buttons below.

THunderclap headaches vs migraines

3 Huge distinctions between thunderclap headaches vs migraines

Head pains can be some of the worst pains known to man.

Some, like cluster headaches can even be called suicide headaches because of their persistence that may lead to madness and dark thoughts.

But they can be hard to differentiate.

In this article, we will cover thunder clap headaches and how they are distinct from migraines.

What is a thunderclap headache?

The international classification of headache disorders defines a thunderclap headache as:

A headache of high intensity that comes on quickly and has the characteristics of a cerebral aneurysm but without one”

These headaches come on quickly and reach their peak within 60 seconds.

They last for longer than 5 minutes

These headaches are associated with a brain hemorrhage and have similar symptoms except brain imaging is normal.

The conditions they resemble that need to be ruled out include:

  • Intracerebral haemorrhage
  • Cerebral venous thrombosis
  • Unruptured vascular malformation (mostly aneurysm)
  • Arterial dissection (intra- and extracranial)
  • Reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS)
  • Pituitary apoplexy

Some other organic causes of thunderclap headache are meningitis, colloid cyst of the third ventricle, spontaneous intracranial hypotension and acute sinusitis (particularly with barotrauma)

Watch this quick video to understand what a thunderclap headache is and the implications it has on your health:

Thunderclap Headaches Explained


Receiving the diagnosis of a primary thunderclap headache is very rare and everything should be done to rule out other possible causes that can be creating the pain. Only once they have all been exhausted is thunderclap even thought of.

Some other headaches similar to thunderclap are:

  • Primary cough headache
  • Primary exercise headache
  • Primary headache associated with sexual activity

What is a migraine?

Migraines are a headache disorder that generally lasts between 4-72 hours, are one sided, pulsate, are moderate to severe, are worse from physical activity and present with environmental sensitivities like a sensitivity to lights, sounds or smells.

Migraines generally have 4 phases but you may not experience each phase distinctly.

The initial phase of a migraines can happen hours to days before the attack and is called the prodrome.

The prodrome can present with symptoms like:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of concentration
  • Yawning
  • Fatigue
  • Cravings
  • Increased urination, etc.

After the prodrome we have a phase called an aura which differentiates the migraine with aura sufferers from the migraine without aura sufferers.

The aura is a set of symptoms that happen before the head pain phase and the most pronounced aural symptom is a visual blur, spots, dots or colors.

There may be other symptoms that present with the aura including:

  • Photophobia
  • Phonophobia
  • Photopsia
  • Allodynia
  • Increased or decreased alertness
  • Cravings
  • Other sensitivities, etc.

The aura is most often associated with cortical spreading depression which can be thought of as a power surge throughout sections of the brain followed by a blackout.

This is most often caused by instability in neurons because of oxidation, inflammation and a lack of energy generation.

If this “blackout” goes on in the visual centers of the brain, we may experience visual symptoms and so we should work towards improving nutrient availability to the brain and reducing stress on it.

The aura is usually immediately followed by the head pain phase but many experience an aura without ever having head pain.

This can be seen in cases of mild stress where our trigger levels do not rise high enough above our threshold for the heads pain receptors to be triggered.

The head pain phase is generally the most exhaustive phase of the migraine but everyone’s is different.

After the head pain ends there is a post-dromal phase or “hangover.”

The hangover is a series of symptoms thought of as a burn out or exhaustion phase.

For the average migraine brain there are a number of factors that are going on which contribute to the high levels of stress on the brain and lack of nutrients being delivered to deal with that stress.

Recent science has actually been finding that the migraine is a protective mechanism by the brain which is triggered by the body to protect the brain from damage that is already being done to it.

It is not so much that we are doing fine and our brains are fine until a migraine is triggered at which point our brain is put under stress.

Actually, our brain is continually being stressed out, raising our trigger levels.

Then once we are subjected to a stimulus that is more than our brain can handle and maintain balance or homeostasis with, a migraine triggers.

The body says it cannot maintain a normal state and goes into protection mode, revving up the body to bring repairing and growth factors to the brain.

Pain has been used as a protective mechanism by the body since the earliest of times.

When something is hurting us, our pain receptors are triggered and our reflexes pull us away from the danger.

For example when we put our hands on a hot stove, we don’t even have to go through the process of thinking to come to the conclusion to pull our hand away. Our body and its reflexes automatically do it for us and we instantly jerk.

The entire body is wired this way and our brains are the same.

What better method is there to make us stop what we are doing than to put us into migraine pain?

With all of the hormonal imbalances caused by bad lifestyle habits, food allergies and chronic burnout our culture is experiencing… Migraines are just our bodies way of saying “no,” enough is enough.

How are symptoms different between thunderclap headaches and migraines?

1. There are a few main differences between thunderclap headache and migraine but because thunderclap is really rare and mirrors many other types of head pain causes, it is not often diagnosed.

The biggest difference is in time duration.

2. A migraine may come on slowly, with pro-dromal symptoms, and aural symptoms long before the head pain. The head pain will also come on slowly and last between 4-72 hours.

But a thunderclap headache is very sudden and severe with no warning.

It rises to its peak pain within 60 seconds and can last from a few minutes to hours.

3. Migraines can be incredibly severe and crippling but a thunderclap headache is regarded as the worst headache you’ve ever had in your life and a notch above migraine.

Thunderclap headache vs migraine infographic
Understanding thunderclap headache, its signs and related conditions can be the difference between minutes of minor brain degeneration and days of unrecoverable brain damage.


If you are constantly experiencing headaches and migraines of all sorts then make sure to read our article on status migrainosus and intractable migraines here.

To get the most current holistic information on the mind and body causes of head pains then join the migraine professional community here.


Have you ever experienced a thunderclap headache? What was it like? How long did it take to get diagnosed? Let me know in the comments below.


Share this article with someone who may be experiencing a thunderclap.

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