66% of migraine sufferers agreed that they do not have access to effective treatments in 2017.
The way I deal with the frustration of my doctors approach to my health is by understanding that:
– They only have a few minutes with each patient because of our current insurance based model of medicine
– They have to quickly sift through symptoms to find the drug that will match them
– They have to prescribe as safely, effectively and efficiently as possible in that time
In this post we are going to be talking about the 9 shocking things your doctor doesn’t tell you about migraines
1. Medication, botox and surgery isn’t the only thing you can do
There are dozens of different modalities and substances you can take that have shown lots of promise for migraines.
Many of which work better than the preventive migraine drugs that were all invented for other reasons than migraine.
For example, CoQ10 is a nutrient our body uses in its energy metabolism and as an antioxidant and immune regulator that has shown benefit in studies with migraines and has an amazing safety profile.(Study)
There is also a really big fact that most doctors will never bring up to you and part of it is because they have no knowledge in the area, they are not specifically educated on migraine and telling you would cause them to lose revenue.
Food has been the most successful migraine reliever for years and some studies have shown that 100% of patients improve with dietary changes. (Study)
2. They have no knowledge of nutrition, lifestyle or environmental medicine and especially not for migraine
“Most graduating medical students continue to rate their nutrition preparation as inadequate.” (Study)
The migraine mechanism exists in many people and some experts would even say that it exists in most.
The problem is that we are entering into a time period where the triggers for this mechanism are growing exponentially.
From the outgassing of chemical fumes from new cars, new houses and new products…
To the ever increasing electromagnetic frequencies we are being subjected to through radio, cellphones, routers, smart meters and other “smart” electronics…
To even things like mold, household cleaning products and cultural perceptions of beauty that causes us to hold improper breathing patterns, which exert undue pressure on our necks and trigger.
Nutrition or lack of as well as environmental and lifestyle stressors play large parts into how high our threshold is and how high our trigger levels are.
Without addressing these we can hardly hope to make long term changes to our health and affect the frequency, intensity and severity of our migraines.
But doctors are not well educated in these areas and because of this the majority of people that go to their doctors for help end up missing key pieces to the migraine puzzle.
It’s up to us to get educated and seek out well rounded health practitioners that can help us tackle these areas.
This is why I provide the 10 steps program for those who want to get deeper into their health than ever before.
3. They know little to nothing about migraines except what their list of medications tells them
The average doctor is little interested in the specifics of migraine.
Through their scope of practise they are only required to be able to assess and diagnose a migraine and look down their list of medications for a possible fit for treatment.
The majority of them other than neurologists and headache specialists do not keep current with the literature and do not know the specifics of the migraine battle.
They don’t understand the vast number of problems and difficulties that come with migraine, social stigma and treatment unless they have migraines themselves.
It’s important to understand they are trying their best but they should not be an end all be all source for migraine treatment.
Ask them to refer you to a specialist who will know more and make sure to get a dietary assessment from a nutritionist as well as a physical assessment from someone like a NUCCA chiropractor or CHEK practitioner as a good baseline.
4. Your health is the most important factor in your tendency to migraine
When we think of migraine we need to break it down into the basis of how a migraine comes to be.
We have our triggers which are the accumulation of the stresses in our lives from dietary, to emotional, to environmental, to hormonal, to mental and so forth.
We call this our trigger level.
Then we have our threshold level which is the level that if we cross, our migraine will trigger.
Then we have the bodies base functions that are constantly repairing, detoxifying and dealing with the stresses life throws at us.
These are the foundation principles for health and if we keep them fine tuned, our body can deal with a massive amount of stress and still come out okay.
The thing is, our health is implicated in all three of these.
It will determine how much our body can compensate for stressors and how many stressors it can take before we trigger.
Making sure we stay healthy through all the different avenues of health keeps our threshold high, triggers low and foundation principles balanced so that our body functions at its best.
5. The most successful, well studied relief therapy for migraine is diet
Diet is huge and often understated.
This study found that when an average of 10 foods were avoided there was a dramatic fall in the number of headaches per month, with 85% becoming headache free.(Study)
Many migraineurs know their trigger foods because soon after them, they trigger, and we all know pain teaches us best.
But there is also a huge number of foods our body is sensitive to 1-3 days after ingestion that affects us that isn’t so obvious.
Then there are the foods that are just generally unhealthy and cause inflammation and oxidation as well as provide little to no nutrients.
Between these groups of “trigger foods” we have a few studies that have shown amazing results for migraine sufferers that are far better than the mediocre results from many of the standard “migraine drugs” like topamax.
Without negative side effects, but plenty of positive ones.
6. Many people recover from severe migraine without medication
It happens every day.
Finding the causes of why so much stress and tension is building in the body is far more effective in the long term than medicating and trying to push the problem away.
It’s important to remember that chemicals act on only a few pathways and most of them for migraine are unknown as to how they work…
But they create so much distress in the body that it gets shocked out of its regular pain generation and we see some benefit and think its working(Queue the placebo).
This is why they usually come with a list of “side effects” which are actually direct effects because the body is trying to compensate for the damage they are doing.
When dealing with medications it’s important to make sure you supplement for the nutritional deficiencies they are causing and a simple site like mytavin.com can help a lot.
You’ll notice that many of the migraine preventive nutrients(magnesium, CoQ10, B vitamins) will be on the list of depleted nutrients caused by the drugs.
For example topamax causes glutathione(antioxidant) and folic acid(B9) to be depleted.
This is problematic for long term health and all drugs should be screened for deficiencies.
7. Migraine is a protective mechanism and a headache is a type of migraine
Proposed by Dr David Buccholz is the idea that migraine is actually the main mechanism by which all headaches come about.
He states that a headache is simply a mild more controllable migraine and that what is classified as a migraine is a headache that the body has a much harder time recovering from once triggered.
This makes sense if we think of headaches as a fire in the brain.
A small fire that only causes a little bit of damage is easily put out by our bodies firefighters and only causes minor symptoms like pain because there is little damage.
On the other hand, when our trigger levels get really high and a wildfire starts because of way too much inflammation…
Not having enough nutrients/antioxidants which our bodies firefighters use as water causes the damage to go out of control.
The fire burns longer, gets hotter, causes more damage and because of this creates more symptoms like nausea, vertigo, vision loss, radiating pain etc.
When we can see the entire fire for what it is,
We can take steps to support our firefighters and provide them with the nutrients and foundations,
For them to put the fire out and help the amazing ecosystem that is our brain to regrow stronger and healthier preventing us from trigger the next time stress gets the best of us.
8. The more responsibility you take for your health the better your migraines will be
Stay away from the blame game and making it anyone’s fault.
These are just the circumstances we’ve been given.
But as soon as we can take responsibility for it, we can move from a place of power.
The power to make the change and get the help we need is in our own hands and we are far stronger that way.
Instead of being stuck in a “fix me” mentality, we can move to “let’s find solutions” and act from a place of problem solving instead of being stuck in the victim mentality.
Take a stand for the beautiful body that you are taking care of for these few brief years on this planet and think of it as your friend.
If you were taking care of your friend and wanted the best possible scenario for them with the best chance at finding a solution that works for them, what would you do.
Research, get educated on migraines and what all the health practitioners use to help their patients.
From a headache specialist to a nutritionist to a CHEK practitioner, acupuncturist and craniosacral therapist.
There are many amazing solutions that can get you back to living a normal life.
The catch is that only you live in your body 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and only you can make the right decisions moment to moment so empowering yourself is a must.
When you see your doctor, make sure you are taking an active role and pre-educating yourself on options and consequences for long term health.
They will be happy to see that you are actively searching for solutions with them and looking into areas their scope might not cover so that they can help even more patients in the future.
9. They often get paid by device and drug companies to sell their products
It’s not uncommon for companies that create drugs and products to pay for expensive dinners and pay doctors to attend “seminars” where they learn about the use of their drugs and devices.
But this can provide a conflict of interest as some of these gifts are extremely generous and create biases in the doctors perception of what to use for their patients.
The problem is that it’s not easy to find out BUT luckily it is becoming less and less of a problem as more measures are put in place to keep these conflicts of interest from happening.
When receiving a prescription it’s important to cost compare in your area and online.
See if there are non brand name alternatives as they can be 10x cheaper in some cases and be weary of your doctor continually prescribing expensive brand names.
Overall there are many pieces that aren’t covered in the quick few minutes we have with our doctor but as long as we stay educated we can come from a much better place and put ourselves on a healthier path that doesn’t cause more problems than we initially came with.
To take the burden off of doctors and make one resource for migraineurs to learn about and deal with all the different areas mind AND body stress comes in I created the 10 Steps program.
This program covers mental, emotional, physical, dietary and environmental stressors but also has some bonuses like what detoxification actually means and how reducing our bodies toxic load can alleviate symptoms.
To start the 10 steps program click here.
Is there something your doctor does that you don’t agree with?
Holistic Health PractitionerMark 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.