natural cures for migraines

  1. Cefaly migraine failure

    New migraine device, Cefaly, disappoints

    As anyone who suffers from them can tell you too well, a migraine isn't just a headache.

    It's not even a headache "this big" like in the old painkiller commercials.

    No, a migraine is a monster headache -- a headache on steroids. These headaches can be so debilitating that you're unable to do anything other than to hide under the covers in bed and pray they pass quickly.

    Now, the FDA has approved a new device that I know some people are eager to try.

    It's not another drug (thank God) but a battery-powered headpiece that looks a like a tiara from a science-fiction film. It's called Cefaly, and it works by delivering transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation through the forehead.

    If you want to try it out, I won't stop you. The Cefaly device appears largely safe, at least in the early trials, with patients reporting no major side effects beyond some tingling and a little sleepiness during the daily 20-minute sessions.

    But it's not really a cure, either: In one study, it cut the number of days with headaches per month in half, from two down to one, but only in 38 percent of the patients who tried it.

    And in the patients who did get a benefit, it didn't reduce the severity of the headaches -- only the frequency.

    As a result, nearly half of the patients who tried it said they didn't like it.

    Personally, I think you can do better with my tried-and-true two-step approach to fighting migraines.

    First, consider butterbur, which is proven to cut the number of migraines in half, no pricey sci-fi gadget necessary.

    But like the Cefaly gadget, butterbur isn't a solution, either. It's a half-measure to help get you to the second step, and that's working with a doctor to identify your migraine triggers.

    You may have one or you may have several.

    Some are beyond your control. Nearby lightning, for example, can actually trigger migraines for some folks.

    But many others are within your control, especially common migraine triggers such as alcohol and caffeine as well as food additives. Preservatives, colors, chemical agents such as MSG and sweeteners such as aspartame are all known to cause migraines.

    And in some cases, migraines can be caused by everything from stress to hormonal imbalances.

    A holistic doctor can test you for all the possible causes and work with you on a natural solution -- a solution that will bring real and lasting relief without the risks.

    For complete natural migraine testing and treatment in Southern California, make an appointment to see me at my clinic outside San Diego.

    And if you're not in the area and have no plans to visit, I'm also available by phone. Call 855-DOC-MARK to learn more.

  2. Bisphenol A can induce migraines

    Most migraines have triggers -- and if you can avoid the trigger, you can avoid the headache.

    If you've never had a migraine, that may sound easy enough.

    But as people who fight these headaches know too well, migraine triggers aren't always easy to spot, and they can be even harder to avoid. Anything from a nearby lightning strike to a certain smell could cause you to double over in blinding pain.

    And now, new research finds one possible trigger that's practically everywhere: Bisphenol A (BPA), the dangerous hormone-like chemical used in plastics, can linings, ink and more.

    In the study, rats prone to migraines were exposed to bisphenol A once every three days. Within 30 minutes of being hit with the chemical, they showed the classic signs of a migraine attack.

    They slowed down, minimized their activity and tried to avoid light and noise (rats with migraines act much like people do).

    It's not just rats. We've seen the link in humans, too, and for good reason. Migraines can in some cases be caused by a sudden surge in estrogen levels (which is why women are three times more likely than men to suffer from them).

    And BPA, of course, is a chemical form of estrogen.

    It's so much like estrogen that your body believes it's getting a hormone dose -- and if your migraines are estrogen-related, a shot of bisphnol A could be enough to trigger a headache.

    On the other hand, when it comes to BPA, migraines might actually be the least of your worries.

    BPA has been linked to obesity, diabetes, fertility problems, cancer, sexual dysfunction in adults, developmental problems in children and more.

    The most common sources of exposure are food and drink. Just about anything in a can or plastic bottle can contain bisphnol A. Even foods and drinks from glass jars and bottles can contain BPA due to the sealant used in caps and lids.

    You'll also find it in microwave trays -- so even BPA-free foods can get dosed with the chemical if you "nuke" them in a plastic container.

    Don't trust packages that claim to be BPA-free, as many contain closely related chemicals that could be just as bad.

    Stick to fresh organic foods instead. If it hasn't been in a package, it's unlikely to contain BPA.

    I'm not done with migraine prevention yet. Keep reading for another common trigger you might not be aware of.

  3. Why migraine meds don't work

    Up to 80 percent of all migraine patients get little to no relief from medication.
  4. New risks linked to migraine with aura

    Women who suffer from migraine with aura have a much higher risk of serious heart problems.

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