Navigating headaches and migraines
Discover natural ways to navigate headaches and migraines, including maintaining nutrient levels, balancing blood sugar, staying hydrated, and using heat or ice for pain relief.
Navigating headaches and migraines
Headaches, ugh. If this common ailment doesn’t affect you directly, you probably know someone who gets them — often. Suffering from head woes is surprisingly common. And unfortunately, they disproportionately impact women. In fact, up to 18% of women deal with headaches and migraines. Ouch. Be it a pulsating headache or debilitating migraine, it’s painfully impressive how many people (children included) deal with this phenomenon.
So, why do headaches and migraines happen? The triggers are a dime a dozen. To name a few: stress, low blood sugar, nutrient deficiencies, sensory stimuli, strong fragrance, poor posture, and hormonal fluctuations. Speaking of, do you experience PMS-related headaches or migraines? You’re not alone. According to the National Migraine Centre, more than half of women who get migraines notice a link with their cycle.
A drop in estrogen, just before your period, might contribute to headaches. In fact, many women report strong headaches before (or during) menstruation — i.e. the luteal phase. Despite the natural drop in estrogen during this time, you can minimize headache-related triggers. See below for our natural headache prevention tips.
Before we chat prevention tips, let’s talk about nutrient deficiencies. After all, nutrient deficiencies are another contributing factor to headaches. Specifically, low vitamin D, riboflavin (vitamin B2), and magnesium. Adequate levels of these nutrients are necessary for minimizing head woes and they’re necessary for happy hormones. A win win.
- Vitamin D: Research indicates that a vitamin D deficiency may contribute to migraine headaches, and it’s not surprising. After all, vitamin D safeguards against inflammation and supports nerve health. As such, someone dealing with a vitamin D deficiency may be more susceptible to inflammation and nerve pain. The result? Migraines.
- Riboflavin: Also referred to as vitamin B2, riboflavin is essential to human health. However, it can only be stored in small amounts in the body. Those who fail to maintain adequate amounts may experience frequent headaches.
- Magnesium: Last but not least, magnesium. Studies show that people who have migraines tend to have lower levels of magnesium. Some scientists believe that magnesium blocks signals in the brain that lead to migraines. We love magnesium glycinate which is super bioavailable and has total body benefits.
Not sure what your vitamin D, B2, and magnesium levels are? Talk to your healthcare provider about comprehensive blood work.
Natural headache prevention
Along with maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D, B2, and magnesium, what are other natural ways to minimize headaches?
- Keep blood sugar balanced. Focus on creating balanced meals with protein, healthy fats, complex carbs, and fiber. A post-meal walk (10-20 minutes) does wonders for blood sugar regulation, too.
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration is one of the contributing factors to headaches and migraines.
- Dim the lights in the evening. Use a salt lamp or consider red light therapy. Red light therapy may help with the treatment of headaches, but it also can improve sleep.
- Heat and ice. Both heat and cold have been shown to help reduce headache pain. Heat from a rice bag or heating pad increases the blood flow to your brain while cold from an ice pack decreases the blood going to your brain.