Scintillating scotoma causes with and without migraine headaches

Scintillating scotoma causes with and without migraine headaches

Migraine symptoms can be incredibly scary especially because they can be confused for a stroke.

Some will even get a visual aura without ever having a full-blown migraine or headache.

About 20-30% of migraine sufferers experience an aura but luckily, it doesn’t always have to be this way.

In this article, we will talk about what a scintillating scotoma is, how we can understand what is going on in the brain when it happens and how we can go about supporting our brain so that this doesn’t happen.

What is a scintillating scotoma? / Definition

A scintillating scotoma is defined as:

Scintillating:

Sparkling or shining brightly”

And

Scotoma:

A partial loss of vision or a blind spot in an otherwise normal visual field.”

A scintillating scotoma is generally seen as a small flickering blur in your visual field usually near the center.

This shining, flickering blur usually grows and can sometimes occupy as much as half of the visual field.

In a standard migraine, this blur will start, grow to a certain size, and then disappear. After it disappears, the pain phase of migraine will usually start.

But the scintillating scotoma may also happen as part of a “silent” migraine or acephalgic migraine where the aura happens by itself and you never cross over into the pain phase. This can be understood as a less severe form of damage going on in the brain with no reflexing of the pain going into the trigeminal nerve which is usually associated with causing the head pain.

Watch this video to get an idea of what one example of scintillating scotoma looks like:

Is there a stroke risk with scintillating scotoma?

As with all types of migraine and chronic pain, there is an increased correlation between them and stroke.

One meta-analysis of studies found that:

Schürks et al. showed that individuals with migraine had nearly a twofold increase in the risk of ischemic stroke over people without migraine.”

The important understanding here is that migraine is just a label of certain symptoms that happen.

But what we want to understand is what is causing the brain to produce these symptoms. This happens when our trigger level, crosses our threshold level at which point the stresses on our body is more than they can handle and they can no longer keep us in a “normal” state.

Once it’s too much to maintain normal, our body goes into this protective mode we call migraine where it revs up its healing systems, activates pain and forces us to batten the hatches and heal.

The lower we can keep our triggers and the higher we can keep our threshold, the less damage is being done to our brain and the faster our brain is healing, reducing both migraine and stroke risk.

Scintillating scotoma treatments

Treatment for a scintillating scotoma through mainstream avenues will be the same as treatment for any migraine with aura.

It’s usually drugs.

But covering up symptoms by using pain killing drugs and drugs that stop the natural systems of the body is just asking for more problems.

When the body is asking for help and we silence it…

We haven’t changed its need for help, just its ability to ask for it.

So we want to give it support, heal our brains metabolism, build stronger brain cells, take stress off of our brain and look at the root causes of the biggest strains on our bodies.

See our post on 3 powerful steps for acephalgic migraines to learn more.

What causes scintillating scotoma? With and without migraine headaches

The most commonly attributable cause for migraines with aura is cortical spreading depression(CSD).

Cortical spreading depression can be understood as a “wave” of “depression” covering the cortical part of our brain which is the outside of it and called the cortex.

The outside of our brain goes through a wave of depression which we can think of as a “blackout.”

These blackouts are like power outages and resets.

But we are a living organism so having live tissue go through a blackout can be very dangerous because our tissues constantly need nutrients like oxygen to stay alive.

When this blackout goes over the visual processing part of our brain that deals with all of our visual processing, we can experience weird visual symptoms.

This is where the scintillating scotoma comes from.

If the blackout goes over another susceptible area like our scent system, we will hallucinate with odd smells known as phantom smells.

Watch this video to see what cortical spreading depression looks like:

How do we stop CSD?

Cortical spreading depression is a wave.

It’s a surge of activity followed by a mini-blackout where all electrical activity stops.

This is generally started in one small area and if it’s large enough, it will start spreading, affecting more and more of the brain.

We can think of our brain like our house.

If we were to create a power surge in our kitchen, if it was strong enough and we didn’t have breakers in our house to prevent them, it could start affecting other rooms like our bedrooms, washrooms, etc.

This is like our brain.

When it becomes unstable because it can no longer maintain a normal state, brain cells will get excited.

These excited brain cells will stimulate others creating a wave of excitement.

Our brain cells are not prepared for this because they are unstable which means their resources have been drained and they aren’t running optimally.

So when the wave of excitation comes, it’s followed by a wave of inhibition.

Everything goes dark.

So we want to prevent this entire mess in the first place.

We want to:

  • Avoid the biggest exciters

  • Stop the brain cell stress from getting anywhere close to this

The big exciters

One of the main causes of brain cells getting over excited is too much glutamate.

Glutamate is a neurotransmitter used in the brain to communicate. But it has also been implicated in migraine.

What’s one of the biggest migraine triggers and a huge source of glutamate?

MSG.

MSG is monosodium glutamate and is a form of glutamic acid that is “free.”

Many foods have glutamic acid and it poses no problem because it is bound inside nutrient complexes.

But when that glutamic acid is “freed” then it can absorb rapidly and make its way into our brain in large amounts.

This can create a huge artificial “boost” in our brain cells functioning that can create a lot of damage and is one of the reasons we get the well known “Chinese food headache.”

Even menstrual cycles have been found to increase our bodies own levels of glutamate when estrogen and progesterone drop which is at every period.

Generally, most whole foods have their glutamate or glutamic acid bound together to other amino acids and nutrients so that digestion and release of them into the body is slow.

But some foods are high sources of these unbound forms of glutamic acid.

Let me know if you notice anything peculiar about this list in the comments below.

High sources of free glutamic acid to be careful with:

  • Tofu
  • Corn (corn starch, corn syrup)
  • Yeast
  • Cheeses especially aged
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Soy sauce
  • Soybeans
  • Sourdough bread
  • Wheat
  • Anything hydrolyzed
  • Calcium caseinate
  • Gelatin
  • Proteins extracts, concentrates, isolates or protein fortified
  • Carrageenan
  • Bouillon
  • Broth
  • Stock
  • Flavors” and “flavoring”
  • Maltodextrin
  • Citric acid
  • Pectin

We want to be wary of any of these foods triggering a headache or migraine-like symptoms so that we can pinpoint if it’s a food sensitivity, excess glutamate etc.

See this pin for symptoms of MSG sensitivity.

My Natural Family – A Healthy Recipes Blog with Real Ingredients

Of course, there are other causes for cortical spreading depression which we go into depth in our article 3 truths of frequent ocular migraines with images here.

But we also want to stop the level of stress on our brains before we even get close to triggering a migraine. The closer we are to the “threshold” of trigger, the more volatile and susceptible our brains are.

Stopping it before it starts

Like the age-old saying, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, for migraines, this is truer than ever.

We need to:

  1. Prevent leaky brain
  2. Lower nociceptive stress
  3. Support with brain nutrients that stop excitation

Preventing leaky brain

It has become quite common to hear of the term “leaky gut.”

This is where the spaces in our intestinal tract that usually let in nutrients and keep toxins out get too large and can no longer police what’s going on.

This lets a number of harmful substances into our blood and sets us up for many chronic inflammatory and painful conditions.

Our brain has a protective film between it and our bloodstream as well.

This is called the Blood-Brain Barrier.

When this barrier gets leaky, our brain cannot keep things like glutamate out of the brain space and this means lots of problems.

We have to avoid this and support the repair of the blood-brain barrier.

Simple things work well like:

  • Avoiding electromagnetic fields especially putting our phones to our heads
  • Taking cold showers and using cold plunges to stimulate our vagal nerve
  • Proper deep sleep every day where we wake on our own accord and sleep in complete darkness
  • Avoiding gluten and sensitive foods

And more can be found out about the leaky brain in our article on the 3 truths of frequent ocular migraines here.

Lowering nociceptive stress

Nociception is the stress sensing mechanism of our nervous system.

Our nervous system connects our entire body together.

If something is stressing our nervous system in our toes, our gut, our hands or anywhere else… It will add to this nociceptive stress perception.

This all gets added up by the nervous system and if it thinks it’s too much to handle, it gets triggered and a cascade of negative stress reactions can happen even if we aren’t consciously/emotionally stressed.

So we want to lower the total nociceptive burden.

This means, avoiding heavy exercise, avoiding too much mental stimulation, avoiding emotional stress, keeping our environment and diet clean of chemicals pesticides/herbicides, balancing our hormones etc.

These all play a part and self-care is a must. If you only take breaks when you get sick, you are feeding your own illness.

Brain nutrients that stop excitation

There are some amazing nutrients that keep our brain calm and cool.

One of the most well known, most useful and most highly recommended is magnesium. See our article on magnesium glycinate for migraines to understand the studies, why magnesium works and how to use it.

Then we also need to think of zinc which is a key mineral and many people are low on especially with hormonal issues… and GABA which is a neurotransmitter the brain uses to calm down.

GABA is like glutamates calm, cool, and collected cousin in the brain.

Where glutamate excites, GABA calms.

When we can feed our brain the nutrients it needs, lower the nociceptive stress it feels and prevent leaky brain from creating chaos, we can make huge gains in stopping brain excitation and blackouts before they start.

These are some of the key areas that we have MASSIVE impact with when we use the right diet, lifestyle, nutrition, exercise, supplementation and other therapies that your doctor simply doesn’t know to recommend.

We are empowered through knowledge and education and this is one of the main reasons clients come to Migraine Professional for consulting and assessments. If you feel lost or stuck then reach out and someone from our team will be here to teach you more about your brain and what makes it healthy than you will learn anywhere else.

Do you experience scintillating scotomas? What do they look like to you? Let me know in the comments below and share this with someone who may benefit from this article.

5 Remarkable Causes of Fortification Spectra Migraines

5 Remarkable Causes of Fortification Spectra Migraines

20-30% of all migraine sufferers experience the aural phase which can include a fortification spectra.

Luckily, science has been advancing rapidly and we are starting to understand what is going on with our brains when this happens.

In this article, I’m going to be talking about 5 remarkable causes of fortification spectra migraines, what it means and what can be done.

What is a fortification spectra/fortification spectrum migraine?

A fortification spectra migraine is a type of migraine with aura that has the characteristic visual image seen below.

teichopsia – Barely Worth The Headache

Migraine with aura is a unique type of migraine in that before the head pain phase, there is a set of symptoms that precede which usually end right before the migraine head pain phase starts.

The 4 phases of a migraine with aura are seen in the pin below:

Migraine Symptoms: The Stages of a Migraine — Migraine Buddy

It’s important to note that the fortification spectra will come in the aura phase of the migraine attack.

See this video on what a fortification spectra looks like:

Migraine aura (fortification) – computer simulation

Let’s get into the details.

5 Remarkable causes of fortification spectra migraines

 

1. Trigger level + threshold level = migraine?

Before we start we have to know what we are trying to do, as well as the 50,000 foot view of what is causing the spectra.

Above all, we need to understand that if our trigger levels go over our threshold level, we are in the high risk and extremely fragile zone of our brains. This is trigger central and the likelihood of trigger is high.

Our trigger level is the sum total of stress load on the body. The body uses what is called nociception to tally up all of the stress on the nervous system. This stress can come from anywhere because our nervous system is connected to our whole body.

Everything from:

  • Mental/Emotional Stress
  • Food sensitivities
  • Gut infections
  • Dysbiosis
  • Electromagnetic fields
  • Physical Stress
  • Structural imbalances
  • Lack of hydration
  • Breathing imbalances
  • Poor sleep quality
  • Non-alkaline urine
  • Trauma
  • Cultural and social stress
  • Even spiritual stress

These are all taken by the body and perceived by the nervous system as harmful. The higher our trigger levels, the more sensitive our brain becomes.

Then there is threshold level. Our threshold is the level of tolerance our body has to stress. It’s the upper limit that it can take before the stress becomes too much to be able to maintain normal functioning.

Its a simple equation between these two.

If our nervous system’s total perceived stress(trigger level) is higher than our body’s ability to tolerate stress(threshold level) then we will trigger a flare-up.

For some, it may only be a flare of their migraines, for others with comorbidities it may also be a flare-up of IBS or their lupus or their rheumatoid arthritis or their depression or anxiety etc.

The body is completely interconnected by the nervous system and when stress is more than it can tolerate, we get symptoms.

2. Hypersensitivity

Next, we have to understand hypersensitivity of the brain and central sensitization.

When our stress level from all of the different areas is constantly high, our brain takes a beating.

Our brain is always trying to produce enough energy to deal with the stress that is going on in the environment.

But this energy takes dozens of different nutrients to produce.

If we have the reserves of nutrients then dealing with stress is just a blip on the radar.

But going through chronic levels of stress non-stop means our brain needs to constantly produce more and more energy.

This means there is a constant need for more and more nutrients.

We have to provide these or else the nutrient generating pathways of the brain start breaking down.

This means whole foods, pastured and wild meats and organic vegetables that we aren’t sensitive to.

But when these pathways don’t have a certain nutrient, they start getting backlogged, just like a factory line that is missing one piece of the manufacturing process.

Everything will start piling up and these half made products can actually become incredibly damaging and oxidizing to our brain cells. If enough pile-up and the brain doesn’t have antioxidant nutrients to stop the damage, the brain cell may die.

If this is happening within all of our brain cells because of too much stress and not enough nutrients being delivered…

Our brain goes into hypersensitivity.

Remember that pain is a protective reflex and studies have actually shown that migraine is used by the body to bring more nutrients to the brain. What is one of the first things that happens when a migraine comes on? Your heart begins to race which increases blood flow and nutrient delivery.

So then the brain becomes highly sensitive to everything. It becomes hypersensitive and will trigger at any little thing that adds stress.

This becomes the lights or sounds or smells or weather changes…

These are all fairly normal occurrences we’ve dealt with for millions of years but when the brain is hyper-sensitized, it will trigger for the smallest things.

And then central sensitization comes in.

This is a process like hypersensitivity where the entire nervous system gets wound up.

It gets very tense and because of frequent triggers, it develops a pathway.

Just like every thought that we have, created a pathway of neurons in our brain, our frequent triggers go through a pathway as well.

But when we become centrally sensitized, this pathway has been frequently reinforced. Every time we trigger, the brain will go through this pathway.

Because it is using the pathway so often, it will make the pathway stronger. More energy through the pathway means it needs to reinforce it.

Just like a road, if there is lots of traffic, eventually the road will be expanded to more lanes to support more traffic.

But this is bad for us because it means it becomes easier to trigger.

So we want to prevent this by using other pathways whenever we can.

Stimulating our vagal nerve with things likes cold showers, exercising, meditation, learning new complex tasks etc.

These all help us get out of that pain pathway and stop reinforcing it.

Instead, our brain has to use other pathways that are healthier for us and reinforces them.

We want to avoid making the brain hypersensitive as soon as we can and develop new pathways for the brain to go through to avoid reinforcing pain.

3. Cortical spreading depression

Then we have cortical spreading depression which has been implicated in migraine with aura.

Cortical spreading depression is a series of events where our brain goes through a “blackout.”

If the brain isn’t creating enough energy to deal with its needs and if it’s being overrun with tasks it will function like a car or a hose.

If you slowly give a car gas, it will slowly rev up and speed up along with it. But if you give the car more gas than it can comfortably rev up with it will overrev and put much more strain on the engine than it normally would with the same amount of stress but with a slower increase.

Or if you have a garden hose, it’s connected but hasn’t been used in a while. You turn it on and the water rushes through the hose. But what happens is that the air has to go somewhere so it goes through this sputtering effect.

This is just like our brain.

The stress on it is high and there aren’t enough nutrients in the brain cells to deal with it. The body triggers the migraine cascade as a way to protect the brain and increase the energy coming to it.

This causes a sputtering effect throughout the brain where a wave of “blackout” goes through it known as cortical spreading depression.

If this blackout goes over a visual processing area of the brain then we will likely get visual symptoms like a classic migraine with aura with a fortification spectra.

But this is usually just temporary as the brain reboots and the protective pain phase of migraine ensues.

This means we want to avoid over-stressing the brain and make sure that it’s receiving enough of the nutrients it needs to deal with the stresses at hand.

4. Failing brain metabolism

This all points to bad brain metabolism. It is one of the most common causes of inflammation and oxidation in the brain that leads to excitotoxicity or brain cell death.

Too much stress + not enough nutrients to deal with it + not enough stress management + not enough of our foundational systems working properly = Serious brain problems

We want to support this, first and foremost by reducing stress load. But that is a given.

You have to take out as many areas of stress on your mind/body as possible.

Stress does not do anything for you except feed more problems.

But we need to support our nutrient intake as well and this means getting enough nutrients.

We have to make sure we get enough minerals through high-quality vegetables, bone broths, nuts, and seeds. If we need more like is commonly found with magnesium, calcium and zinc then we go out of our way to eat more of the foods high in them and supplement where necessary.

We have to feed our gut microbes because they help us create butyrate which is a type of fat. This gets produced when our body is fasting, in ketosis or when we feed our gut bacteria high-quality resistant starches.

We need to get enough vitamins and this is really crucial for the brain. But there are so many vitamins, we have to make sure we have base amounts of.

Just taking a multivitamin usually isn’t enough if your diet is SAD.

This is where we want to add in superfoods to our diet like organ meats and mollusks.

Again, supplementing where necessary as food may not always be enough especially if you are chronic.

Using whole food nutrition gives you the actual cells of other organisms which contain millions of nutrients all bound together as opposed to just pills and powders which the body has a harder time using.

5. Inflammatory/oxidative storm

This all leads to the one common cause that has been found to connect all head pains.

Oxidation and inflammation are running rampant in the chronic migraine brain.

But stopping it isn’t very straightforward because if this has been happening for a long time, the brain is wiring itself to keep producing it.

It’s on high alert and wants to protect itself as much as it can but the mechanisms it has to do so are very primal, like pain.

So we need every tool we can get that helps stop the inflammatory and oxidative storm.

Along with all of the above techniques mentioned, we need to provide a host of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods.

These provide the building blocks our body can use to protect itself and repair the damage.

Foods high in antioxidants are:

  • Purple, red, blue grapes

  • All of the berries

  • Dark green veggies

  • Orange vegetables

  • Organic tea

  • Wild fish

Some foods high in anti-inflammatory compounds are:

  • Turmeric

  • Kale

  • Seaweeds like dulse

  • Sauerkraut

  • Carrots

  • Green leafy vegetables

  • Celery

  • Broccoli Sprouts

  • Dark Chocolate

When you can address the cause you will be much better suited to actually fix the issue and won’t have to rely on quick-fix medications that do nothing for your long-term health and can actually make everything worse.

To learn more about severe migraines see our post on status migrainosus and intractable migraines here.

Have you ever experienced a fortification spectra? Let me know in the comments below and share this with someone else who’s had them and may want to learn more.

Opthalmoplegic Migraines

3 Massive Keys for Ophthalmoplegic Migraines

We can all agree that getting a migraine is bad enough.

But when this migraine causes a type of paralysis of our eye, it can make everything that much worse…

Luckily if we can understand how our brain is reacting to stress, we can take measures to prevent the build up of getting so bad that we trigger one of these.

In this article, I will cover 3 massive keys for ophthalmoplegic migraines.

Opthalmoplegic Migraines

What is an ophthalmoplegic migraine?

Ophthalmoplegic migraines have actually been reclassified and are no longer labeled as a migraine at all.

This review goes on to say that,

The recent revision of the International Headache Classification has reclassified ophthalmoplegic migraine from a subtype of migraine to the category of neuralgia.”

And this review says that a better name might be “ophthalmoplegic cranial neuropathy.”

But for the purposes of this we will use the term ophthalmoplegic migraine.

Ophthalmoplegic migraines are a rare type of neurological disorder that comes with a one sided headache. What makes this type of “migraine” characteristic is that the affected side also comes with a paralysis of the eye muscles giving it the name “ophthalmoplegic.”

These symptoms usually come on slowly and present similarly to a migraine except the paralysis of the eye muscles and after affects can last for days or even weeks before returning to normal. The eye symptoms have been known to take 14 days to develop after the actual headache.

Any signs of a new set of symptoms similar to ophthalmoplegic migraine are considered an emergency as they could be an aneurysm or brain tumor.

Watch this video for a representation and description of an ophthalmoplegic migraine.

Recurrent Painful Ophthalmoplegic Neuropathy

Common symptoms of ophthalmoplegic migraines

  • Double vision(diplopia)
  • Dilating Pupil(mydriasis)
  • Droopy Eyelid(ptosis)
  • Weakness or paralysis of the third fourth or sixth cranial nerves
  • Sensitivity to light(photophobia)
  • Sensitivity to sound(phonophobia)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Misalignment of the eyes(tropia)

Most patients recover from symptoms within days to weeks but some have permanent neurological deficits.

What treatments are used for ophthalmoplegic migraines?

It is crucially important that you get an MRI to rule out anything more serious as having an ophthalmoplegic migraine like episode may be something much more serious.

Once that is ruled out the standard route usually uses steroids and patients have been found to respond well to them.

But we also want to support the brains metabolism, reduce inflammation, bring down our trigger levels and improve our brain’s ability to deal with stress.

How do we understand ophthalmoplegic migraines?

Ophthalmoplegic migraines are rare, newer and not very well understood.

Because of their rarity, there isn’t much information available to pull from.

But when we can look at the body as one interconnected organism and understand the different pieces that are available, we can develop some keys.

One study goes on to say,

Multiple recent case reports and series demonstrate focal enhancement of the affected cranial nerve, as the nerve root exits the brainstem.”

and

This finding contributed to the current classification of the disorder as a neuropathy, with the present understanding that it is due to a relapsing-remitting inflammatory or demyelinating process.”

So what we are seeing is that the cranial nerve that connects to the affected area which is usually the eye is getting thicker where it exits the brain stem.

There is also an inflammatory process and demyelinating of the nerve which simply put means the nerve is “unwinding.”

Another study goes on to say,

The third cranial nerve which is the oculomotor nerve has been found to be thickened and could possibly be because of the demyelination and remyelination of the nerve.”

This furthers our understanding that the affected eye nerve is thickening because of a possible inflammatory process that is causing the nerve to unwind and rewind. And this problem is coming out from the brain stem.

So we want to support the brain stem, reduce our trigger levels and reduce inflammation.

These are the three keys.

3 Massive keys for ophthalmoplegic migraines

Trigger level > threshold = migraine trigger

This applies to migraines as well as other inflammatory and “flaring” conditions.

Our trigger level is the sum total of all of the stress put onto our bodies from things like hormone imbalances, environmental stress, mental/emotional stress, food sensitivities, physical imbalances etc.

All of the individual stresses get summed up in the body, creating our trigger level.

Our threshold is the sum total of all of the resources and ability to cope that our body has with all of the stresses going on in our lives.

If our trigger level goes over our threshold to trigger, we will trigger. Simple as that.

So the goal is to stay well below our trigger level, the lower we can stay the better we will do with sensitivities that get created toward the top of the trigger level like light, weather and sound sensitivity.

This means reducing all of the stresses going on and increasing our body’s ability to cope with them like getting enough sleep, eating high-quality nutrients that reduce inflammation and add antioxidants, maintaining alkaline urine, regular moderate exercise levels, proper breathing patterns etc.

When we can reduce the total stress load and increase our body’s tolerance for stress, we can live much happier and more pain-free lives.

Supporting the oldest part of our brain

Since ophthalmoplegic pain is related to the brainstem we need to understand and fix strain that can go on in the brainstem.

It is one of the oldest systems of our brain and is part of what is called the “reptilian brain.”

It is called this because it doesn’t have much of the emotional or higher thinking functions of the paleomammalian(limbic) or neomammalian(cortex) brains.

See the picture below for the three brains.

triune brain model – Google Search More

This old part of the brain is focused on maintaining all of the basics of survival.

It wants you to find safety, sustenance, and procreation.

These are the most basic functions of nature and are the most deeply ingrained into our functioning.

If we don’t feel safe and secure and sheltered…

or

If we don’t have a reliable source of food and water…

or

If we cannot see a way of procreating now or in the future…

Then everything else falls apart.

This is also represented well within Maslow’s hierarchy of needs below:

Published by
Debbie Kinder

So absolutely first and foremost we need to create safety and security in our lives and we need to make sure we are eating good quality food and water without scarcity.

This means we need to live in rest and digest mode more than we do in fight or flight mode.

Whenever our safety, security or sustenance gets threatened or we even feel or perceive it’s being threatened, our body will turn on all of its resources because it thinks we are in danger.

The problem is that this will use up all of our resources, turn off our ability to rest and repair and compromise our digestion, leading to a cascade of problems and high trigger levels.

We want to cool any of that stress, it doesn’t do us good and most likely any stress that we are feeling, we initially used as a way to make ourselves do something.

But stressing about things will create more problems than it is worth so instead we can just recognize it, recognize the emotion and create a simple logical path to resolving and relieving it.

We have to find a way to live in “rest and digest” mode or our brain stem and fight or flight mode will continue turning on and trigger a huge release of resources we can’t afford to lose.

This means finding safety, security, and sustenance of your mental, physical, emotional, dietary and spiritual needs.

Start with where you are and use what you’ve got.

Kill the brain fire

Inflammation is implicated in every disease known to man and inflammation is the brain fire.

But it has a cousin that it always comes with and that is oxidation.

Oxidation is a process where chemicals that are very reactive take electrons away from normal functioning chemicals, causing them to get damaged.

The simplest form of oxidation is when you cut an apple in half and leave it out. Oxidation is what makes it turn brown because the air is reacting with the apples exposed tissue.

This process of inflammation and oxidation is well known to play a part in the brain, leading to the breakdown of how the brain is functioning.

High trigger levels mean oxidation and inflammation.

The brain stem feeling like it isn’t safe and secure means our body will go into stress mode and burn up resources.

Loss of these resources mean we get a very low threshold to trigger.

We have to stop this cycle as soon as we can.

We want to:

  • Stop the cause of inflammation and oxidation
  • Use anti-inflammatory supports(See our turmeric curcumin post here)
  • Provide lots of antioxidant supports

Stopping the cause is the most important and in the brain this often means lowering total stress levels from mental and emotional causes, lowering environmental stress from things like blue light and electromagnetic fields, and lowering food and gut-based stress.

Luckily, the same things that stop inflammation and oxidation help us support our anti-inflammatory and antioxidant systems.

It’s one of the most important factors in migraine and brain pain.

Food.

We want to eat lots of high-quality whole foods…

But we want to avoid high sources of sugar or too much fat.

And we want to avoid all processed and packaged everything. The byproducts found in processed and packaged foods are not food and should not be ingested. (See our article on clean foods here)

Especially the oils. Vegetable oil, palm oil, canola oil, soybean oil etc are all incredibly toxic for the brain and this is one of the many reasons processed and packaged foods are a no go.

See the migraineur food pyramid for more information on food.

This means lots of vegetables cooked in a variety of ways in all of the different colors.

Each method of cooking unlocks different nutrients out of the plant cell and each color of food has different antioxidants.

Eat only wild and pasture raised meats as conventionally raised meats are highly inflammatory.

Lots of inflammation means one of the first things we need to do is stabilize blood sugar. For a list of blood sugar snacks see our post on the Top 10 super simple blood sugar stabilizing snacks here.

As we develop a better sensitivity to the foods that our body is asking for and can differentiate them from the foods we are getting cravings for because of imbalances we will be able to better support the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant systems in our body.

Food provides the building blocks for our brain either functioning well and being able to carry out its daily tasks or getting choked up with waste and creating the breakdown of nerve pathways.

Even extremely neuro-degenerative diseases like relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis have been reversed with the help of food so it should never be discounted.

To understand more about how migraines are acting on your brain and actionable items you can do about them today see our post on intractable migraines here.

Click here to join the migraine professional community because you want the most up to date and best quality information on the web for migraines here.

Have you ever experienced an ophthalmoplegic migraine? How did it progress and what helped you? Let me know in the comments below and share with anyone who may be experiencing this as well.

How to stop a migraine aura

7 Essential skills for how to stop a migraine aura

We can all agree that migraines are no fun.

But being able to tell when a migraine is coming gives us the upper hand in being able to prevent what’s causing it and stop it in its tracks.

In this article, I will be covering what a migraine aura is and 7 essential skills on how to stop a migraine aura.

What is a migraine aura?

A migraine aura is a series of symptoms that happen before the migraine head pain begins.

The aura phase is after the prodrome phase of the 4 phases of a migraine. 

The 4 phases of a migraine go:

Prodrome => Aura => Head Pain Attack => Postdrome

A migraine aura can come with a number of symptoms including:

  • Blurry vision

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Vision loss

  • Seeing zigzags or squiggly lines

  • Numbness

  • Tingling

  • Weakness

  • Confusion

  • Difficulty speaking

  • Dizziness

  • Diarrhea

  • Vomiting

  • Abdominal pain

  • Scintillation

  • Transient hemianopia

  • Bilateral central scotomata

  • Classic amaurosis fugax

  • Diplopia

  • Altitudinal field loss

  • Tunnel vision

  • Temporal crescent involvement

  • Transient central scotoma

Migraine with aura

The migraine aura is a sign that a migraine has begun and the body is now going into protective mode.

The body will actually use a migraine to protect it from damage that is being done to the brain.

Starting a migraine is the body’s way of revving up the system and increasing the flow of blood and delivery of nutrients to the brain.

See the video below for a quick representation of a migraine aura.

VISUAL MIGRAINE AURA ANIMATION

It also causes us to stop what we are doing, in case what we are doing is causing the damage to the brain.

We want to support this process by increasing the available nutrients in our body, stopping what we are doing that may be causing damage to brain cells and giving our body and brain-specific tools to heal the damage. (To understand the damage see this article)

Also see our incredible herbal drink for migraines and headaches here.

How do we understand a migraine aura?

Pain

Migraine, just like many pains that we experience in our body are used by our body as a reflex.

This reflex is there to signal to us that we are creating tissue damage and to make us bring our awareness in onto our selves and stop what we are doing. Whether what we are doing right now is part of the cause or not.

Just like if we stub our toe on the corner of some furniture, the pain is there to make us stop doing it and teach us to not repeat the action.

It’s a very primal reflex, but it has worked for us for millions of years.

What is causing this damage to occur that our body has to respond with an aura and pain?

This review explains that

Oxidative stress is a plausible unifying principle behind the types of migraine triggers encountered in clinical practice.”

This review is saying that in every case except pericranial pain, all migraine triggers are a source of oxidative stress.

And that oxidative stress is the main factor that goes into the creation of all migraines.

This is big because it changes the way we think about migraines from something that needs to be beat, numbed and avoided… To something that needs to be understood and healed.

This means that we can pinpoint 1 single area to focus on instead of the random drugs that have been used for migraines over the years “off-label.”

How to stop a migraine aura

By understanding that this 1 area needs help we can:

  • Give it more support

  • Learn how to avoid it

  • Heal it when it’s happening

But this is easier said than done and in these 7 essential skills we will learn more.

7 Essential Skills for how to stop a migraine aura

 

1. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

Prevention always beats just reacting to pain. Stop chasing the pain.

Instead, take these 3 principles and create a system to avoid triggering the mechanism:

  • Are migraines an allergy?

  • Your migraine pattern

  • Brain cell maintenance

Are migraines an allergy?

In one study, when these foods were removed:

  • Wheat

  • Orange

  • Eggs

  • Tea and coffee

  • chocolate and milk

  • Beef

  • Corn

  • Cane sugar

  • Yeast

The patients experienced a “dramatic fall in the number of headaches per month, 85% of patients becoming headache free.”

The best part?

Along with 100% of the patients improving, food elimination is safe and inexpensive.

Food seems to be one of the biggest causes and triggers for migraines and even more for those that don’t respond well to treatments.

If we are eating food that our body is sensitive to, this can directly contribute to brain inflammation and oxidation which can lead to triggering and symptoms like aura.

Understand your food, where it comes from and how your body reacts to it.

If you experience digestive disturbances, frequent fatigue or cravings as well as headaches after meals, these can all add to triggering a migraine.

Status Migrainosus Intractable Migraines

Your migraine pattern

This is the #1 area you need to recognize in your life, because few other people will be able to do it for you. Many people do not wear their emotions on their shoulder and so it is difficult to gauge what is going on from the outside.

A migraine pattern is a pattern of thought, emotion or behaviour that we take and usually repeat often.

From inside of us, if we don’t observe ourselves it can be difficult to see so we need to take a step back.

This pattern, however it shows up in our lives is a way that we initially learned to cope with a stress.

Our body uses patterns to make things easier on us so that we dont have to spend energy focusing.

But this pattern was built out of coping with a stress.

The problem is that this pattern can wind us up, build up tension and put us onto a rampage.

It becomes almost unconscious, even though it was used to deal with stress, usually becomes an even bigger stress and creates a huge amount of tension in our bodies.

We will run through the pattern and overcare. This overcare comes from our innate desire to care and to become attached to situations but when it becomes a pattern, it becomes overattachment.

We need to learn to recognize our migraine pattern, recognize our overcare and recognize our overattachment to situations, experiences, emotions etc.

If we can do that, we can recognize the pattern as soon as it starts, stop it and use techniques to drop any tension we are holding on to because of it.

See our article on 3 Urgent tools for migraine prodrome symptoms to use ASAP here.

Brain cell maintenance

Our brain cells, just like our cars and houses need to be maintained.

They absolutely must have:

  1. Good quality sleep every night to detoxify. (waking up with tension headache article)
  2. Moving and exercising our bodies daily so that our lymphatic fluid gets pumped and waste is removed from the brain.
  3. The correct breathing pattern that takes tension off our neck and head, massages our organs and brings in enough oxygen for brain cell metabolism. (1 Big tip for cervicogenic headaches article)
  4. High quality water with enough potassium and magnesium coming from diet to keep our urine alkaline. See our video on magnesium here.
  5. Belief that the super organism(you) that is leading them(your cells) has a clear purpose and desire to live.
  6. Enough nutrients to fulfill brain cell metabolic needs. (Migraineur food pyramid) (Food Triggers Guide Book)

If any of these are missing, stresses that come into your life will be too much to handle and can trigger the sensitive migraine brain.

See the foundation principles of migraine health article to learn more about brain cell maintenance.

2. This spicy anti-inflammatory herb

Ginger is amazing and has been shown clinically to do wonders for migraines.

It is not only amazing for inflammation, but also for pain and nausea. This study found ginger to be useful as an abortive.

To top it off, it’s safe enough to use while pregnant or breastfeeding which makes it an amazing tool.

So how do we use ginger?

It can be taken as a fresh herb, as a dried powder, in a tea, through a home made ginger beer, ginger candies and even ginger capsules.

The goal is to get enough of it and this can be tricky with things like ginger beer and ginger tea.

This study found that 250mg of ginger was as effective at stopping migraines as sumatriptan.

This article states the needs based on the types as:

  • 250 mg of ginger powder

  • 1/8 tsp. of dried ginger powder

  • 1/4 tsp. of freshly grated ginger

  • 1/2 tsp. of freshly grated ginger steeped in hot water for 5 to 10 minutes

  • 1 tsp. of fresh ginger (not grated) steeped in hot water for 10 to 15 minutes

  • 1 cup of ginger tea from 1 prepackaged ginger tea bag

Ideally, you want to take any abortives as soon as prodromal symptoms start coming but even during the aura and actual migraine may be effective.

For a super simple and delicious recipe see our ultimate herbal migraines and headaches drink here.

3. Stop what has already started

Once the aura has already started it can get tricky.

If our brain is creating a migraine because it is trying to protect itself, then stopping its protective mechanism may make matters worse.

It may even be responsible for why so many abortive medications leave migraine sufferers in “hangover” states for days.

But if we can go with the body, instead of against it…

And if we can help it do what it’s trying to do with a migraine which is:

  • Decreasing oxidant production

  • Upregulating antioxidant enzymes

  • Stimulating neurogenesis

  • Preventing apoptosis

  • Facilitating mitochondrial biogenesis

  • Releasing growth factors in the brain

Then we may prevent brain damage, full blown and even future attacks…

So we want to do what a migraine makes every migraineur do, just a little better.

Hydrate: But instead use brain friendly minerals like potassium, magnesium and zinc.

Grab a big bottle of water, give it a sprinkle of sea salt, some raw honey and the squeeze of a citrus like lemon. Close the bottle and give it a good shake. This water will be much more hydrating, absorb into your body easier and provide way more nutrition than just toxic tap or bottled water.

Bonus: If you have magnesium supplements like most migraine sufferers should, add it to the water. Magnesium is like a fire fighter for your brain cells, it helps cool any fires going on.

Kill stimuli: Environmental stimuli are completely normal for the average person but once the brain has become fragile enough to get migraines, all stimuli can aggravate the brain. This means we want to have a blacked out room using black out blinds or garbage bags and tape over windows and doors. Cut out all sounds with ear plugs or muffs as well as any odours but we all know that.

Add the inflammatory 1-2 punch from this article to your abortives.

Understand what you can do for migraine aura by learning the 3 truths of frequent ocular migraines here.

4. Feed your brain cells

One of the main causes of brain cells to get damaged, inflamed, oxidized and contribute to the break down of the brain is because the brain cells metabolism is broken.

When the brain cells metabolism breaks, it cannot produce enough energy to run its systems and send signals throughout the brain.

Even worse, when the metabolic cycle doesn’t have nutrients to go from A to Z,(gets stuck along E or M or F etc.) then a bunch of oxidative particles start being created.

If we are not supporting the brain with enough antioxidants, these particles can actually destroy the brain cell.

But luckily one of the most important factors in this A to Z cycle is oxygen.

We need to support our body’s ability to bring in oxygen.

This means fixing our breathing and optimizing it.

If posture is bad, breathing will be too. See this article on the foundation principles of migraine health.

If our abdominals are tight because of over-training or a mental desire to have a “flat stomach” we can end up limiting our breathing.

If we are constantly stressed or anxious, chances are, we are “chest breathers.”

A chest breather is someone who breathes with their chest.

Even though this may logically sound like the right thing to do because our lungs are in our chest, it’s not.

Our lungs are actually supposed to expand down more than they expand out.

They are only supposed to expand up a little…

Nowhere near enough to cause tension on the neck, head and shoulders but if we have a bad breathing pattern, this is a very common cause of headaches and poor oxygen intake.

To make matters worse, if we are breathing into our shoulders and neck then we are triggering stress receptors that will contribute to anxiety and bad sleep.

We want to breathe about 2/3 into our abdomen and only have the last 1/3 go into our chest which means NO neck or shoulder breathing.

How do we do this?

It takes time to retrain a breathing pattern especially if we have been doing it for 30 years, have social blocks preventing us from releasing our abdominal wall, are a nervous or anxious type of person or have stressed organs.

But it’s amazing what we can do with just 5-10 breaths, 2-3 times a day.

Ideally, we would do this anytime our migraine pattern starts to creep up.

To start and sensitize yourself, lay down flat with your back to the ground.

Grab a water bottle and place it on your stomach.

Your goal is to breathe a 6 second inhale and 6 second exhale without forcing anything.

On each inhale raise the water bottle with your stomach by breathing down into your belly.

On each exhale the bottle should come down.

Repeat this 5-10 times, nice and slow without tension for force.

Do this when you think you may be triggering, you can continue up to 30 breaths but don’t do more than that as you may relax too much and fall asleep. (Wouldn’t want that)

As a regular, do this twice per day minimum to retrain breath.

See our article on cervicogenic headaches to understand more about breathing. For specific breathing exercises see the video here.

5. Support the migraine mechanism

For some migraine sufferers, their bodies have few resources to deal with an attack so when the aura has started, little will work to prevent a full blown migraine.

But everything should be tried and every measure taken.

This is also a reminder that we pushed the envelope a little too far and need to pull back a little earlier before our body gets pushed over the edge again.

We need to support the system and plan for the hangover.

This means recognizing how it progressed and putting a plan in place to stop it…

Reducing total body stress load that comes in through our relationships, physical activity, electromagnetic fields, chemical exposure through hygiene products, makeups, foods etc.

And we need to boost nutrients available for the attack at hand, as well as our recovery period after the fact.

To understand more about the phase of migraine after the head pain(postdrome), see our article on 7 Hacks for how to get rid of migraine postdrome symptoms.

6. Supplement for the brain

Migraines are a long time in the making.

Usually, it is just a big life trigger that puts our body over the edge and into regular migraines.

Some common “straws that break the camels back” are:

  • Puberty

  • Pregnancy

  • Trauma

  • School

  • Menopause

  • Illnesses and infections

  • Environmental poisoning

Because it takes so long to build up to creating the migraine brain and we are often unaware until it’s too late, it can take more than just dietary and lifestyle changes to reverse the brain’s fragility.

This is where getting a high quality holistic healthcare practitioner like myself, NUCCA chiropractors, CHEK practitioners, naturopaths, functional medicine practitioners etc can make a world of difference.

But we can boost the brains functioning ourselves if we just know where to look.

This review suggests that magnesium should be tried in every migraine patient because as much as half of all migraine patients may be magnesium deficient.

This double blind placebo controlled study of vitamin B2 riboflavin found that it significantly decreased frequency and duration of migraines.

This study found that:

The results from this study indicate that folate(vitamin B9) intake in the form of FA may influence migraine frequency in female MA(migraine with aura) sufferers.”

This study found that pyridoxine supplementation(vitamin B6):

Led to a significant decrease in headache severity and duration of migraine with aura attacks compared to placebo”

So magnesium as well as vitamins B2, B6 and B9 have all been found to be effective in some study’s and many including migraine with aura.

It’s awesome because these are all vitamins and minerals, have great safety profiles as long as they aren’t abused for months on end and are simply adding to our bodies nutrient reserves. In essence, we are supporting the body to do what it is trying to do with a migraine.

Each of these nutrients has been found to fit into brain cells metabolism and support the energy generation and “clean up” of any damaging particles.

The doses used in these studies were:

Magnesium: 200-600mg/day

B2: 100-400mg/day

B6: 80mg/day (P5P is the best form)

B9: Dietary folate was assessed in the above study but this study found 5mg/day effective when combined with B6 (methylfolate is the best form of B9)

All of these nutrients are available in food and food comes with many more that are brain beneficial so this is why I always recommend developing a solid dietary program first.

None of these should be taken without the supervision of your healthcare provider as they will know your case best.

See the video below on Understanding the causes of Aura Migraines here: 

7. Abort

When in doubt, abort.

Migraine pain can be incredibly difficult to bear and nobody wants to go through it.

When nothing is working and you feel it coming on, use all the safe abortive measures you have available.

It can be incredibly frustrating seeing healthcare providers that are not specifically dealing with migraines daily as they do not know what will be effective and it’s usually just a list of “to use” meds they choose from.

But when you find the right practitioner that checks you over for underlying root causes of migraines and gives you a solid nutritional protocol to help the brain repair and rebuild stronger cells, your life can change in a few weeks to months.

This is why it’s always important to choose your healthcare provider wisely and why I suggest reading our article on how to choose a healthcare provider when you have migraines.

Migraines can come from many different sources and because of all of the misinformation I created a special free webinar presentation here to help you understand more about WHY you are stuck in chronic pain than ever before.

This webinar entitled the 3 linchpin areas that destroy hormones and leave your brain in pain will teach you more about brain health and what to do to fix it than you will find anywhere else on the web.

To see the webinar and more information on it click here.

Share this post and let me know in the comments below…

What works for your migraine auras?

3 Truths of Frequent Ocular Migraines with images

3 Truths of frequent ocular aura migraines with images

An ocular migraine with a scintillating scotoma can be very scary.

It’s like a small puddle or smudge shows up in your vision and grows until it finally triggers a migraine.

When we want to prevent our brain from triggering this series of symptoms we have to address what is causing the strain on our bodies and stress on our heads.

In this article I’m going to talk about ocular migraines as well as 3 truths you need to understand about them…

With images along the way.

What are ocular migraines?

Ocular migraines are a larger group of visual aura type migraines.

They include many different types of migraines but all have the visual disturbance such as:

  • Blind spots
  • Zig zags
  • Seeing stars
  • Patterns
  • Shimmering

There are two main types of ocular migraines:

Retinal migraine

– Is described by the american migraine foundation as visual symptoms occurring in only one eye before or during a migraine. This type of migraine is more serious, may lead to permanent vision loss and needs to be brought up with your doctor immediately as it may be something more serious.

Migraine with aura

– The most common presentation of migraine with aura is a visual disturbance that slowly increases, peaks and then disappears resulting in a headache. But not all migraines with aura are visual.

Ocular migraines may or may not come with head pain but are most commonly found with it.

It’s always important to bring any of these symptoms up with your doctor to be sure it’s a migraine and not something more serious.

Other common names for ocular migraines are:

  1. Ophthalmic migraines
  2. Retinal migraines
  3. Eye migraines
  4. Visual migraines
  5. Monocular migraines

Below is a video of a type of ocular migraine.

Scintillating Scotoma

Common symptoms of ocular migraines

The symptoms of an ocular migraine are the same as a migraine with aura and can go through the entire process of;

Prodrome => Aura => Attack => Postdrome

But may not include an actual headache.

Common symptoms beside the visual ones included above are:

  • Pain in your head on one or both sides
  • Pain or stiffness in neck, shoulders or face
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Mood changes
  • Cravings
  • Light sensitivity
  • Increased thirst or urination
  • Pins and needles sensations
  • Throbbing or pulsing pain
  • Lightheadedness
  • Confusion
  • Weakness

Ocular migraine causes

Many things may trigger an ocular migraine but we want to focus on what is causing them.

When we want to understand an ocular migraine we have to understand that they are deeply connected with cortical spreading depression which is a fancy term for the brain is going through a wave of electrical outage.

This electrical outage, if it goes over the part of the brain responsible for vision, may give us a visual migraine.

When the electricity goes out it can mean three things, either we are out of power, a breaker blew up because of too much power or the steady stream of energy is being interrupted.

This means we want to make sure that our brain is getting enough nutrients and generating enough power, but so that we aren’t expending too much.

We also want to make sure that the nutrients are getting from our gut and heart, through our blood and into our brains so that our cells can absorb them and create the energy needed to run smoothly.

Below is a video to give you an idea of what cortical spreading depression looks like. It’s basically(to keep it simple) a wave of electrical outage followed by the body ramping up blood flow to bring in nutrients and oxygen to get things running smoothly again.

Spreading Depolarization viewed using IOS. Santos et al. Neuroimage 2014

We can understand these outages as being part of the natural expression of unhealthy neurons or brain cells. When these brain cells are not healthy enough to make the huge amount of energy required to function properly, they become erratic.

The lack of energy, just like for a migraineurs threshold, makes the brain cells have more erratic energy and be closer to its threshold at rest. If there are sudden spikes of energy from the surroundings this can then be enough for the neuron to fire even though it is already unhealthy and lacking enough energy to function properly.

This drains it even further and can trigger what we think of as these blackouts in the brain creating aura type symptoms.

Do ocular migraines have a risk of stroke?

As we described above there is a momentary interruption of blood flow and electrical activity followed by a big increase and webmd states that this does come with an increased risk of stroke.

It’s only logical to suppose that if the brain went through this process of being “choked up” that there might be a risk of transient ischemic attack(TIA) which is a temporary loss of oxygen but this doesn’t cause permanent damage like a stroke may.

How common are ocular migraines?

According the the migraine research foundation about 25% of migraine sufferers experience the visual aura which lasts less than an hour.

They are more common in women and have a genetic link to them.

It’s always more important to focus on the epigenetic and exposomic links because you can change those and they will affect your health far more.

Below is a great video representation of the migraine aura as it grows.

Migraine Visual Aura

How to get rid of an ocular migraine with the 3 truths + common treatments

The most common treatment plan for ocular migranes is to make sure it’s nothing more serious and then go about a regular migraine treatment approach.

This usually means a life long sentence of medication.

Here at Migraine Professional we understand that it’s more important to focus on what is causing the underlying pathology to create the symptoms than it is to only address symptoms.

Of course you want to manage symptoms like pain, fatigue, brain fog and visual disturbances so they don’t impair your life but you want to make sure you are going about a clear plan of action to deal with the causes.

If your brain is going through this electrical “outage” “choke up” “revv” or whatever you want to call it then you want to continually address and heal the causes of those.

This means we want to look at 3 different areas.

1. Inflammation

2. Energy generation

3. Structure

1. Inflammation

When we are addressing any chronic disease or condition, inflammation is the first place we need to look.

Inflammation’s cousin, oxidation is the one common connection behind all headaches.

The problem is that inflammation can come from hundreds of different sources so we want to be very clear and address the biggest sources first.

The 3 big areas are:

  • Leaky brain
  • Food sensitivities
  • Stress load

Leaky brain

Our brain, just like our gut has a thin mesh that protects it. (called the BBB or blood brain barrier)

In our gut it helps us absorb nutrients and keeps pathogens in our gut and out of our bodies.

In our brain we have this very thin mesh of cells that protects the brain space from anything that shouldn’t be in there.

But it’s also there to allow nutrients and oxygen into the brain space so our brain can function properly.

But this mesh or wall is only one cell thick.

This means its highly sensitive and can be damage by things like lack of sleep, alcohol, stress and high blood pressure.

We need this to be strong and tight so that foreign particles cannot get into the brain space which can lead to inflammation in and around the brain.

So what do we do?

Here are three great ways to strengthen the BBB:

1. Cold showers

Cold showers are an amazing way to not only help increase the healing activities of your body but to also help the neurons of your brain fire in unison.

When they all fire together for a common source like warming you up, they aren’t wiring together to strengthen pain pathways.

1 to 2 minutes of a cold shower does wonders for all systems of the body, strengthens the vagus nerve(gut-brain axis) and makes our body work harder to provide energy so it gets better at it.

Just make sure to slowly work your way up.

2. Ample sleep

Sleep loss has been shown to weaken the blood brain barrier.

Sleep is the most essential healing process we have, and it’s free!

Never sacrifice sleep especially if you have frequent ocular migraines.

Make sure your sleep is restful and use the tips here and here to get good sleep.

3. Heal the gut and lower blood pressure

Take on a gut healing program because of the gut-brain axis.

The connection between the gut and brain are so strong that if we experience any digestive issues they can quickly turn into brain issues as well.

A program like the 10 steps program is deeply connected to gut and brain health.

Simple foods like prebiotics, probiotics, soluble fibers and phytonutrients are all essential for gut health.

If you heal the gut, you will already start to lower blood pressure but some other tips like; making sure you are killing your stress levels throughout the day with a mindfulness practise, switching from table salt to sea salt, lowering excess carbohydrate intake, eating lots of dark chocolate and getting enough magnesium and potassium in your diet will take you a long way to lower blood pressure.

Food sensitivities

Next we have food sensitivities and this is an incredibly important section if you experience migraines as some of the most successful studies ever done on migraine patients involved only dietary changes.

These studies tout some statistics like 85% becoming headache free and 100% improving.(Link)

But I can’t explain it all here because it’s beyond the scope of ocular migraines so instead get the food triggers guide available here.

The food triggers guide is a simple but thorough step by step that explain what causes food sensitivities and how to heal the gut to get tolerance to food back.

Here are the 10 most common migraine food sensitivities but these are not specific to you and everyone is different:

  • Wheat
  • Orange
  • Eggs
  • Coffee and Tea
  • Chocolate
  • Milk
  • Beef
  • Corn
  • Cane sugar
  • Yeast

If you are looking for a great way to understand and manage food sensitivities, see the food triggers guide here.

Stress load

Stress comes in a huge variety of ways including:

– Mental stress from being hyper focused all day

– Emotional stress from relationships or trauma

– Dietary stress from poor food choices

– Environmental stress from hygiene products, cleaning supplies, off gassing, electromagnetic fields,

– Postural stress from sitting and being sedentary

It’s important to address each of these areas and they are all covered in the 10 steps program.

You can do your part by identifying where in your life you are living out of harmony with nature.

In natural settings:

  • We don’t hyperfocus or obsess over things
  • We have a strong relationship with our bodies and minds as well as the people and environment around us
  • We don’t fear thoughts and we engage any repetitive ideas that keep coming back from traumas so that we can work through them, learn and become better by them
  • We feel when our body is actually hungry, feel what foods will agree with it best, feel when we’ve eaten enough and only eat foods created by nature
  • We live in an environment that is constantly changing and giving us new stimuli for our bodies and immune systems to adapt-to and grow-to without overloading us with harmful chemicals that add to our inflammatory burden
  • We are constantly on the move and not letting poor positions like sitting at desks and on couches program our musculoskeletal system to create tension without exercise to undo it
  • The list goes on and these are easier said than done so if you find any of these too much to handle yourself make sure you get the support of a professional.

2. Energy generation

This is a complex topic but I will make it simple for the purposes of this article.

Every single one of our cells has a power house within it that generate energy molecules so that the cell can run properly.

Our brain cells are the same and they need nutrients to be available so they can pick and choose which building blocks they need to continue the process.

There are a few key areas in this process that many migraine sufferers have been found to be deficient in and fixing these will go a long way to providing resiliency.

They help this energy generation cycle run along smoothly so our brain doesn’t get choked up.

The three are:

– CoQ10

– Magnesium

– Oxygen

CoQ10 has been studied in doses of 150mg – 300mg a day and is very safe.

Magnesium is known as the relaxation mineral and is very deficient in any migraine sufferers as well as having a strong connection to cortical spreading depression.

Many start at 200mg a day and work their way up to bowel tolerance but making sure you are getting magnesium and potassium through diet is the most important.

These two are able to be supplemented with and take little to no time out of your day.

Then we have oxygen.

Getting more oxygen into your brain is as simple as breathing.

But we need to do it slowly, deeply, into our bellies and throughout the day to get the smooth energy we want.

Essentially, we need to retrain our breath so that it’s slower, deeper and lower than we are currently doing it.

See the foundation principles or 10 steps program for breathing essentials.

An amazing benefit to retraining our breath is that studies show within a few minutes of deep breathing we can drop our cortisol(stress hormone) in half.

Low stress means lower chances for trigger.

3. Structure

To finish this off we need to make sure that the nutrients we are taking into our bodies are actually getting to our brain without being obstructed.

This is why getting a proper physical assessment from someone like a NUCCA chiropractor, osteopath or a CHEK practitioner is necessary.

Take a look at your posture, standing and sitting.

Are your shoulders rounded, is your butt sticking out or are there exaggerated curves in your spine?

There can be many postures that will compromise our body’s ability to deliver nutrients to our brains.(and be able to take waste away from them)

See our article on cervicogenic headaches to learn more about posture and headaches than you ever have.

Then we have movement.

Our body uses movement to restructure itself and “reset” its posture.

Make sure to get out and move.

Use fascial stretches like eldoa to address the web that ties your musculature together called fascia. Video below:

ELDOA Method Cervical Spine

See our tips on complicated migraines and headaches that won’t go away here for more information.

When we understand ocular migraines and any disease or condition from the very roots that it comes from such as inflammation, oxidation, stress and deficiency then we can begin to address the issue, heal and create long term health.

This is a way better way to approach ocular migraines and we can become healthier and live more fulfilled lives because of it.

Believing we are stuck sick for our entire lives does nothing but take away our power and will to live our best lives.

Our body has the most sophisticated system for repair and immunity in the world, thousands of years more advanced than even the best technology we have. We just need to learn how to support it properly.

Comment below and let me know if you’ve ever experienced an ocular migraine and what it was like.

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The FREE 5 Most Common Mistakes Of Hormonal Migraines E-Guide teaches you:

– Why hormones are the most important focus around why your migraines and headaches keep triggering

– How PMS is common but NOT normal and why it needs to be addressed to be pain free in the long term

– The 5 most common mistakes why hormones stay broken, why so many women become migraine free with pregnancy and why birth control is not a solution