Vestibular migraines are one of the most incapacitating forms of migraines.
Worldwide 1% of the population has vestibular migraines.
But thank nature for our very “plastic” brains because with the right detective work, we can deal with the causes and prevent the symptoms.
In this article, I will be talking about the 17 greatest natural treatments for vestibular migraines
What are vestibular migraines?
Vestibular migraines are a subcategory of migraines that can often be confused for BPPV or menieres disease.
The vestibular system is the system inside our heads that orients us in the world and gives us balance.
A vestibular migraine is just an extension of that where:
A migraine and the cascade of events that happen with whatever is causing the migraine ends up affecting the vestibular system and causing symptoms like:
- Balance problems
- Motion sensitivity
- Disorientation or confusion
- Sensitivity to sound
Vestibular migraine has become another one of those very flimsy diagnoses because of its unknown causes which have lead to a huge amount of people being lumped into the category.
There isn’t an issue with the diagnosis as much as there is an issue with the assessments that go into the diagnosis and the ruling out of other causes that would otherwise fix the problem.
Medicine is functioning on 40 year old knowledge and not enough is understood about the body before this diagnosis is given.
Something as simple as removing foods that are aggravating the body or correcting nutrient deficiencies can provide relief on a case by cases basis but this is largely ignored and medications are the focus…
When we can correct the root cause, we can prevent ourselves from simply medicating for a lifetime. But because a standard GP does not provide a thorough enough assessment, we often need to go to other practitioners to get the right help.
I will cover some of them in this article.
See the infographic below to understand how vestibular migraines are diagnosed:
How can we understand vestibular migraines?
Vestibular migraines, at the basis, once we rule out other causes like infections, sensitivities, toxicity, structural imbalances etc is a migraine that affects the vestibular system.
When the migraine mechanism gets triggered or becomes highly sensitive to trigger which usually happens in chronic migraine sufferers…
Then every small thing can trigger the brain into this reaction.
As the brain struggles to deal with stress and regain homeostasis which is normal baseline functioning, many different systems can go haywire and be affected.
The vestibular system is just one of them.
If the visual processing area is affected, we may get a visual aura, if the olfactory system is affected, we may get phantom smells and if the auditory system is affected, we may hear sounds that aren’t there.
Migraine is a global reaction in the brain and the system that gets affected the most is usually the individuals weakest system.
But this doesn’t tell us much other than to support that system more than we do others.
What we want to understand is what is causing our brain to “migraine.”
Migraine is a mechanism that the brain uses as a protective backup that once the stress is too high, gets triggered to bring more resources and prevent further damage.
We are on the receiving end of that stick as throughout evolution our body has evolved to communicate problems to us through pain.
So let’s look at the 17 greatest natural treatments for vestibular migraines.
As a disclaimer, none of these are for the treatment, prevention or cure of any condition and you should always consult your own doctor before making any changes. There are many different areas that go into dealing with disease and you need an experienced holistic health practitioner to be able to tackle them step by step. This is only what works for me and that may be different for you.
17 Greatest natural treatments for vestibular migraines
As we go through some of these that have been incredibly helpful in getting relief, you may notice that migraine is not an incurable disease at all, but simply the result of the body trying to cope with too much stress.
By dealing with the underlying cause you are much more likely to not have to palliate symptoms.
1. Migraine Glasses
We will start off with an easy one. This is just a simple way of reducing the stimulus on your brain and preventing what has now been found to be damaging “blue light” from entering your brain and disrupting circadian cycles.
Migraine glasses are any type of glasses that specifically block blue light and help your body adjust to the natural light of the earth which tunes your body and all of your hormones.
They are usually an amber, orange or red shade but make sure to get a certified blue blocking pair like these.
2. Limit these foods
Next, we have to understand that the majority of migraines may just be a food allergy.
Over and over again, when sensitive foods are removed from migraine sufferers diets, they can receive profound relief.
Just look at this study entitle “Is migraine a food allergy?”
In this study,
“93% of 88 children with severe frequent migraine recovered on oligoantigenic diets.”
93% is no small number. And I can vouch for it because as soon as I removed sensitive foods from my own diet, my light, sound and smell sensitivity went away and my migraines became non-existent.
It is important to remove 3 types of sensitive foods:
- Personal allergens
- Inflammatory foods
- Most common allergens
A personal allergen is specific to you and your body because everyone has different sensitivities and tolerances for food.
Inflammatory foods are those foods that are just bad for us in general and raise our trigger levels.
And the common allergens are found in study after study to be sensitive in many individuals with migraines.
If you want to know more about food triggers with a step by step plan for dealing with them, get our food triggers guide here.
See the infographic below for the most commonly sensitive foods for migraine sufferers found in one study.
3. Mindfulness for stress busting
We have to understand the play here between our nervous system and our… everything else.
The mind and body are completely interconnected.
The mind talks to the body using the nervous system which connects our entire body together.
When the mind feels a certain way, the body reacts.
What the mind does, the body follows. Always.
So if we are stressed or even perceive that we are stressed…
Our body will think we are stressed as well.
It will release stress hormones, use up nutrients and resources and prepare us to deal with that stress.
But if that stress never goes away, if we are stressed because of a relationship or work or just an extremely obsessive personality…
Then our body will constantly be burning resources that could be used to repair the brain.
If our body is on fight or flight mode, it’s not on rest and digest mode.
This causes our trigger levels to go through the roof.
So finding a simple way to drop the stress, and keep dropping it throughout the day, can keep us in rest and digest mode where we are lowering our trigger levels, not raising them.
One of the easiest ways to do this is mindfulness.
Mind-ful-ness is the practice of “filling your mind” with what is going on in your body.
Simply stop everything you are doing, bring your focus into your self and onto your body.
Where are you holding your tension? Let it go, relax, drop your shoulders and breathe in through your stomach.
The more you can be mindful of your body, the more you can prevent stress from staying stuck inside of it and creating tension that could lead to a very trigger happy brain.
To learn more about the two sides of the nervous system, the fight or flight side and the rest or digest side, click here and scroll down to the sympathetic/parasympathetic nervous system section.
First off, supplementation is just that, a supplement.
It should be used as an addition to an already solid lifestyle and nutritional program.
Because without those two, supplementation may lead to more problems.
But there are some amazing supplements that can be used to tackle this dizzy state our brain keeps putting us into.
The 3 most common, most studied safest among them are:
These are powerful allies we can use in supporting our brain and preventing migraines.
But of course, dosage depends on you and your bodies and brains needs. Get testing done to find out what your specific case needs.
These three are actually used as nutrients inside of the brain to create energy so that our brain runs smoothly, protect us from oxidation which has been found to be the one common connection behind all migraines and cope with stress which is the master trigger.
5. Get the right type of physical assessment
Next, we have to understand the absolutely massive role that our bodies structure plays in vestibular issues of all kinds.
This becomes a problem area because a GP does not have the knowledge to assess you here.
You will likely need a:
- NUCCA chiropractor
- CHEK practitioner
to give you a full assessment.
You want to get everything looked at, from your head and atlas to your butt and coccyx.
All of our nerves hold hands and affect each other.
In particular, we want to:
– Get cranial balancing especially with any head or neck trauma
– Get TMJ fixed as the TMJ is linked into our balance system
– Check for compression of the vestibulocochlear nerve which controls the vestibular system
– Make sure we don’t have vertebral basilar insufficiency or a vertebral artery occlusion as reduced blood flow means lots of issues
– Get all of our vertebrae and bones checked out especially the hyoid bone and upper cervical vertebrae
Is your posture off? You likely need to have it checked out. Make sure to get a skilled therapist. A basic physical therapist will not do.
6. Cut out these 2 foods
The two most commonly problematic foods, that often don’t even come with any gut or digestive issues if you have problems with them is:
Dairy is a massive source of congestion. If we cannot digest dairy properly, we are loading our body and immune system up. This can create a lot of mucus(It definitely did for me).
This mucus will clog our ear nose and throat system and that is where many vestibular issues may start.
Gluten has been implicated in so many different neurological diseases it’s incredible.
If you are having any chronic issues, especially migraines, cut the gluten.
There is also a term called gluten-induced ataxia where the eating of gluten you are sensitive to creates degeneration in the brain and can lead to balance issues, slurred speech etc.
Avoiding these two may be one of the best decisions you ever make.
7. Balance blood sugar by using this
Blood sugar is one of the largest players in our entire bodies health.
If our blood sugar is bouncing up and down from stress, caffeine, or bad food choices and meal timing, we are just waiting for something bad to happen.
If we already have vestibular migraines, blood sugar regulation is in the top 5 things we have to do.
Our brain functions on two forms of energy, carbohydrates and fats.
In a healthy brain, we are constantly balancing the two of them because we need both.
When we are constantly carbohydrate dependent meaning we only eat sources of carbohydrates and sugars, then our brain doesn’t receive enough fat as energy.
When our carbohydrate intake is low, our body starts breaking down fats to use as energy instead.
When our carbohydrates are high, our body won’t break down fats because it’s always storing the sugars as fat.
But when we are constantly spiking blood sugar by eating simple sources of carbohydrates and sugars, we are also making our body release huge amounts of insulin to store that sugar.
If we keep dumping the insulin and sugar, our cells will lower the amount of receptors they have for insulin.
This is the beginning of insulin resistance.
As we continue down this road of stress, caffeine, and simple sources of carbohydrtes like sugar, our brain cells stop absorbing and utilizing the energy spikes.
This leads to break down in our brains cellular metabolism.
No energy = no function
What’s one of the most common triggers for migraine sufferers? Fasting
Because in a fast you have no sugar coming in to keep the brain going at whatever low state of health it’s at.
And most migraine sufferers are carbohydrate dependant meaning their body has lost the ability to break down and use fat for energy.
No energy = brain blackouts = migraines and all the symptoms we get with them like vertigo
We have to avoid this.
In the beginning of the repair process we have to provide small amounts of simple sugars but the goal is to switch over to vegetables and low glycemic fruit.
High quality organic and wild protein + some low glycemic vegetables + nuts and seeds = healthy happy brain
This means we need to avoid:
High glycemic foods
Processed and packaged food
To get a list of and better understanding of foods that balance your blood sugar see our article on 10 super simple blood sugar stabilizing snacks to keep migraines at bay here.
8. Epley Maneuver
The epley maneuver is used when little crystals in your ear that are used for sensing where you are in space break off and float into one of your ear canals.
This crystal can cause the balance system to go haywire and this technique is used to get the crystal out of the canal.
See this video for more information on the epley maneuver:
9. Correct forward head posture
One of the most common causes of cervical nerve pinches and vertebral dysfunction is caused by bad posture.
When we sit or stand with improper posture, we can create a huge load on the body and change the normal structure of our bodies.
The most common change in the last 20 years has become forward head posture.
Forward head posture is when the head is protruding more forward than it should be.
This doubles, triples and even quadruples the amount of stress put onto our necks and is a really easy way for our nerves to pinch and for us to reduce blood flow to our brains.
Does neck or shoulder tension play a role in your VM?
See the infographic below to get an idea of the stress “text neck” puts on your head and body.
If you think this may be an issue, see our article on 1 big tip for cervicogenic headaches here.
10. Do you have this infection?
A very local infection we can have that will send off our vestibular system is a middle ear infection. This should always be one of the first things to be ruled out.
But there is a secondary infection that can create many problems, especially raising our trigger levels and leading to migraines…
It is largely assumed that in the first world, gut infections are non-existent because we have better hygiene.
This is not true.
60-80%+ of the first world population has an active parasite infection.
And these little guys often don’t stay in the gut.
They can become systemic and bring their friends along with them.
But testing for them is largely ignored and far too basic if done by a standard GP.
Having something as simple as athletes food, or dandruff may be a sign that you have a deeper infection that is draining your bodies resources.
But just like trying to kill symptoms, trying to kill the infection can create even more issues.
We want to strengthen the body. It’s usually only because the body has become weak that we will experience these issues.
If we just try to nuke everything with antibiotics, we make get rid of the infection but set ourselves up for dysbiosis(gut bacterial imbalance) or autoimmune disease in the future.
Get tested and see if you experience symptoms that may correlate to infections in the gut.
One of the most common causes of food sensitivities is a bad gut and this goes hand in hand with parasites.
11. Address your master gland
There are few things as well connected to migraines as thyroid issues.
If your thyroid is malfunctioning, it needs to be addressed.
The more common issue here is that the thyroid is slowing down and you are going more “hypo” thyroid as opposed to “hyper.”
The thyroid is the master gland because it regulates all metabolism.
If our body is stressed, it will try to preserve energy, which means it will slow metabolism.
If we are nutrient deficient, our body will not be able to activate and convert thyroid hormones.
If we have food sensitivities to things like gluten, our body can actually mistake our thyroid for the gluten and attack it, causing thyroid dysfunction.
Remember to address the cause, look at the body as a whole and get a qualified holistic health practitioner.
A standard GP will usually only test you for T4 and TSH. If they do this, run.
You need a full panel including:
- Free T4
- Total T4
- Total T3
- Free T3
- Reverse T3
- TPO antibodies
- Thyroglobulin antibodies
And if they are only interested in prescribing synthroid, run.
12. Downregulate adrenaline, cortisol, estrogen
This helps us circle back.
If we are stressed, adrenaline is high. If we have trauma, especially from our childhood, we are more likely to be sensitive to stress and adrenaline will be high.
If we are stressed, don’t have good circadian rhythms or constantly bounce blood sugar, our cortisol will be high and create systemic inflammation.
And if we have nutrient deficiencies or use makeups, plastics, hygiene products etc made of plastics and petroleum products then we will be taking in huge amounts of xenoestrogens and disrupting our hormones.
These all lead to a trigger-happy migraine brain and dizziness galore. Address them and keep them low.
13. Use ginkgo biloba
Gingko biloba is an amazing herb. The reasons it has been shown to be so good for vertigo and dizziness like symptoms is because it increases blood flow to the brain among other things.
Traditionally, gingko was used to improve memory and recall ability.
But as a vertigo tool, it shows some promise.
Everyone is different so what works for you may not work for someone else. That said, gingko works for many.
14. Cut out the environmental poison
We have to understand that our environment and its rapid change in the past 100 years has huge effects on our bodies, brains and health.
One of these changes is the huge influx of chemicals that we have never before been exposed to in our millions of years of evolution.
This has created many issues. One of them is multiple chemical sensitivity.
“Among the population, 12.8% report medically diagnosed MCS and 25.9% report chemical sensitivity. Of those with MCS, 86.2% experience health problems, such as migraine headaches, when exposed to fragranced consumer products; 71.0% are asthmatic; 70.3% cannot access places that use fragranced products such as air fresheners; and 60.7% lost workdays or a job in the past year due to fragranced products in the workplace.”
This is huge and vestibular migraines are not exempt.
We have to reduce the load our bodies are taking because of the different chemicals in our environments.
This means we need to:
- Switch hygiene products to natural sources
- Change makeup brands to find non toxic and chemical free, tested products
- Avoid any plastic, rubber or petroleum products
- Avoid plastic wrapping, plastic bags, plastic containers for food
- Switch our cookware to things like titanium or cast iron instead of aluminum, teflon or non stick
- Eat pesticide, herbicide, insecticide, antibiotic, hormone and cruelty free foods
- Wear organic clothing that as synthetics don’t breath and are made of synthetics
- Use more natural cleaning and laundry supplies
See this infographic for a class of hormone disruptors called obesogens:
Not only do we need to go out of our way to remove chemicals but we also have to screen for molds and mildew.
Just one small leak in the basement of your house can get into your ventilation and cripple your body.
Do not underestimate mold.
They have survived for billions of years and have helped us create things like insulin and penecillin for good. But they also create many neuro-toxic poisons that will damage our brains.
Just the simple fungus candida can create over 200 different kinds of toxins that may adversely affect us.
15. Try this homeopathic
One of the amazing tools on the block for vertigo-like symptoms is homeopathic medicine.
It’s safe, effective and can actually provide long-term relief without being dependent for life.
I do not usually recommend combination homeopathics because it is hard to track how symptoms change and where to go from there but vertigoheel is an exception.
If you have vertigo-like and vestibular-like symptoms and you’ve exhausted all the other options(which rarely happens before you feel much better…)
Then try vertigoheel.
16. Fix this pattern
If we want to overcome chronic illness, we have to understand breathing properly.
Our breath is deeply connected to our brains and guts and emotions and detoxification.
Remember that we can go weeks without eating, days without drinking but only minutes without breathing.
This function is at the top of the totem pole of our bodies function and it regulates many other systems.
Fixing it does not happen overnight.
It’s a habit and habits are hard to break.
If we have been breathing a certain way for 1,000,000+ breaths, we are going to need more than one or two attempts at correcting it.
This means every day, ideally two or three times a day we need to stop what we are doing, bring our focus to our breath and bring it deep down into our bellies.
If our belly doesn’t expand when we breathe in, we may need a breathing coach or to take the 10 steps program.
Our normal breaths should be 4-6 seconds in and 4-6 seconds out.
They should go deep down into our abdomen causing our belly to go out when we breathe.
Our shoulders should not be lifting and our neck should not be tensing when we breathe.
Take it slow, don’t force it and keep practicing.
Breathing this way is one of the easiest methods for dropping our stress and relaxing our muscles and tension.
Our migraine pattern is the product of the traumas we’ve had in childhood, the patterns we’ve learned from our parents, our own compulsions and our brain and bodies way of compensating for all of that.
The migraine pattern will grind us into the ground if we don’t recognize it and break it.
We develop these patterns in times of stress to deal with the situation.
But this doesn’t mean we should continue with the pattern for the rest of our lives.
We need to recognize and release these and this has to come from a place of safety and security.
This is where EFT comes in as a simple method for creating the emotional resilience and releasing the emotional tension we have.
See the video below for an EFT demonstration.
Always look for the root cause, if you haven’t found it, get holistic health practitioners to help you do it like we do here at Migraine Professional.
Seeing standard medical practitioners often doesn’t tell us enough because they are not solely focused on our condition and they have to know a little bit about every other condition.
This is why getting help from someone specialized in what you’ve been through can be a massive help.
If you’re tired of the treatments you’ve been getting because of their sub-par results then join the migraine professional community here.
If you are still experiencing migraines that last forever and just won’t quit, even with medication, then see our article on status migrainosus with intractable migraines here.
Do you experience vestibular migraines or symptoms of vertigo or dizziness with head pains?
Let me know in the comments below and share this with someone else suffering who may benefit.
Holistic Migraine Coach