Complementary and Alternative Therapies
Even with medical treatment you may still find yourself banging your head against the wall from persistent Migraine attacks. Many Migraineurs find themselves turning to complementary or "alternative" treatments out of frustration when they are having limited success with prescription drugs and other approved medical treatments. The following section will introduce you to some non-pharmaceutical therapies. These treatments offer many of us additional relief, but are NOT an excuse to abandoned approved medical care. Rather they will offer you an opportunity to gain more control over you Migraine disease management. They will work better if integrated into your overall care, and you should always advise your attending physician of every non-drug treatment you are trying. Keep in mind even so-called natural remedies are drugs too, and some can effective other prescription drugs you may be on Migraine or other illnesses you also suffer from. In addition, OTC or herbal/vitamins can sometimes cause serious illness or interfere with prescription drug effectiveness.
A number of non-pharmacological approaches are sometimes used to relieve headache and/or Migraine pain. These alternative methods may help to reduce or relieve headache pain, but usually do not treat all of the Migraine associated symptoms. They are often used along with attack-abortive or preventive measures. Examples include:
Acupuncture involves insertion and manipulation of fine
needles at various, prescribed body- pressure points. Results for
Migraineurs are somewhat mixed with acupuncture. But MAGNUM finds
that for may of us Acupuncture offers relief and a better quality of
life which may be worth exploring.
Read or download (PDF, 160K) the Consensus Statement on Acupuncture
The distinct methods used
by oriental medicine have long posed problems of understanding and
accreditation for Western practitioners seeking to verify the efficacy
of acupuncture. Western allopathic medicine treats diagnoses, and
diagnoses are often established by fairly objective impersonal
standards. The conventional Western medical model, by treating specific
and "objective" diagnoses, can easily design studies which permit
statistical inferences about the benefits of an intervention.
Biofeedback is believed to help reduce some types of headache pain, but, because of the different biological mechanisms involved, not Migraine pain. Biofeedback encompasses a range of relaxation therapies designed to control the body's response to stress. Techniques include deep breathing exercises, meditation, and visualization.
BeKoool is basically good old fashion Migraine relief from using a cool compress during an attack. But Migraine BeKoool™ is a very effective over the counter product for immediate cooling and soothing relief from Migraine symptoms.
The Kobayashi Corporation, the maker is this interesting non-drug pain management tool, was kind enough to send MAGNUM samples to distribute to our staff and volunteers who are Migraineurs and all enjoyed the relief the soft gel sheets! Obviously not a replacement for a triptan or other medication, but offers reliable relief while you are waiting for your medication to take effect when you have a debilitating Migraine event. Or they can be effective for a mild Migraine alone. Something you might want to add to you arsenal of weapons against your Migraines!
For more information on this product visit the manufacture’s website at http://www.bekoool.com.
Chiropractic methods employ a holistic approach to pain relief through massage, spinal manipulation and periodic adjustment of joints and soft tissue. Although many who suffer from Migraine fail to find relief with chiropractic treatment, some have quite positive results. Therefore we feel you should explore all non-drug option with an open mind. If you enjoy positive results, stick with it, and if not—move on!
We have noted several studies that also show promise. Take a look at the follow example:
One hundred and twenty-seven Migraine patients (at least one Migraine per month) were divided into two groups for comparison. Group 1 received chiropractic adjustments at specific vertebral subluxations determined by the treating practitioner; group 2 served as controls and received inactive treatment (electrical stimulation with no current delivered). Subjects receiving chiropractic adjustments reported substantial improvement in Migraine frequency, duration, disability, and medication use following two months of treatment. One in five participants reported a 90% reduction in Migraines, and half reported significant improvement in Migraine severity.
Are you tired of Migraine headaches ruining your day? With conventional over-the-counter medications proving less than effective (and often accompanied by dangerous side effects), it’s time to fight the pain from another angle. To find out more about the potential benefits of chiropractic care, schedule an appointment with your doctor of chiropractic.
Tuchin PJ, Pollard H, Bonello R. A randomized controlled trial of chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for Migraine. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Feb. 2000: Vol. 23, No. 2, pp91-95.
Titan is one among a passive self-treatment devices, is
based on the DE-KA method, and what the manufactures calls a
revolutionary invention in physical/physiological pain therapy.
Currently MAGNUM is turning
DE-KA Titans to the medical experts to take a look at. In the meantime
we can tell you we have perused several international double blind
studies that are impressive. The company also said; "The DE-KA Pain
Relief device is ready for use at any time, as no additional electrical
or magnetic energy is required. Its ease of use and low weight mean it
can be taken anywhere."
Enermed Therapy (Magnets) a recently completed multi-site, double blind, placebo controlled study, results showed that the Enermed Therapy based upon pulsed electromagnetic fields, alleviates fatiguein individuals with multiple sclerosis. These results support previously published research showing the positive effects of the Enermed Therapy in the treatment of MS. For further information on emermed therapy products visit:
Over the past few years this type of therapy has come under some scrutiny, MAGNUM would like you to take a look at some of the scientific background from a medical researcher's point of view. We feel that Dr. Stephen Barrett at Quackwatch.org will give you an excellent and fair expiation about EnermedTherapy from a medical perspective. So you can make an informed decision about this alternative Migraine treatment. You can visit Dr. Barrett page on Enermed therapy at:
Gut Brain Therapy MAGNUM looks into the exciting work that ForeverWell is doing in Migraine research & the gut brain. An intriguing possibility is beginning to develop. The growing evidence supporting our long term belief that Migraine is a brain disorder coupled with the work showing a second brain in the gut might cause some to look at proper neuropeptide/neurotransmitter production by the digestive system as a root cause of the factors leading to Migraine.
One company doing just that has recently published an outcome based study in which they focus primarily on healing and improving digestive dysfunction that they believe on some level is occurring in most Migraine sufferers. Synergistically, they provide nutritional support to the liver and kidney believing that these organs are critical in balancing internal function.
This natural Migraine prevention approach has shown very positive results in their initial study. Interestingly, some of the comments from study participants included that while on the nutritional supplements they found that the Migraines they did get were less severe and a lower dose of various pain treatments seemed to be more effective.
80% of the 40 study participants reported good to dramatic benefit from this approach. 20% had no benefit. In 60% of the cases the participants quality of life rating was in the 80 to 100 range indicating a virtually Migraine free condition. To learn more about Gut Brain Therapy and to read the entire study visit, www.foreverwell.com.
Michael Gershon, MD of Columbia University is the recognized father of the growing field of neurogastroenterology and author of The Second Brain. His book is fascinating and may explain why ForeverWell is getting great results with Migraine by focusing on the digestive system. For a FREE, chapter by chapter description of the book click here.
For more information:
Feverfew Leaf is a good non-drug preventative treatment you may want to explore. Its main uses are for Migraines and arthritis. Studies at the London Migraine Clinic have increased interest in this herb. This herb continues to undergo extensive scientific investigation of the parthenolide content, and how it normalizes the function of platelets in the blood system by inhibiting platelet aggregation, reducing serotonin release from platelets and blocking the formation of pro-inflammatory mediators. Seventy percent of the patients in these studies report fewer attacks of Migraines and less painful attacks. Researchers believe that Feverfew prevents the spasms of blood vessels in the head that trigger Migraines6,7. This herb also relieves the inflammation associated with arthritis. Other benefits include: relief from nausea and vomiting; improvement of digestion; more restful sleep; and, relief of dizziness, brain, and nerve pressure. In regards to dose, NaturalLife, a reputable dietary supplement company, suggested one 380 mg capsule, three times a day. Best results are obtained with continuous use.
To view an article on Feverfew leaf click here...
GelStat Migraine This is an interesting OTC (over-the-product) for treatment of Migraine. GelStat™ Migraine is a new and entirely unique OTC medication for the acute treatment of Migraine and Migraine-like headaches. GelStat Migraine is most effective when used as an early intervention medicine to prevent the progression of Migraine, but can be used at any time during the course of a Migraine attack to relieve Migraine pain. GelStat Migraine is administered sublingually (under the tongue), and held in place briefly before being swallowed. Single dose (OraDose™) dispensers ensure ease of use as well as consistent, accurate administration of medication.
The OraDose™ System includes not only the patent pending dispenser, but also product formulation specifically designed to enhance and enable sublingual delivery. Active ingredients pyrethrum parthenium (feverfew) and zingiber officinale (ginger) are combined with proprietary adjuncts to ensure rapid, effective absorption. GelStat Migraine is classified as a Homeopathic Drug, and is available without a prescription.
We have been working with GelStat to evaluate the product and its effectiveness. As with other sample OTC products, we disseminate them to the Migraineurs in our staff, volunteers, and other Migraineur members of MAGNUM. This is of course a non-scientific in house study. Non-the-less this offers us a chance to see if we even want to highlight an OTC product marketed to us Migraineurs. Having said that, we have found that many individuals who have used the product successfully plan to continue using it as part of their overall treatment plan. One person, an automobile mechanic, found it more effective than Midren®, an effective prescription drug used for mild Migraine. Results will vary, let us know your thoughts if you try it as it is now becoming widely available across the United States. For more information contact the manufacture or visit their website at:
View medical study: "GelStat Migraine® For Acute Treatment of Migraine Pain and Associated Symptoms" Study By Curtis P. Schreiber, M.D. & Roger K. Cady, M.D. © 2004.
For more information contact the manufacture or visit their website at: http://www.gelstat.com/
Ice-Cream Headache Preventive Straw Known as Freeze-Eez® this is needed innovation and an interesting OTC (over-the-product) product that looks very promising for those of use who suffer easily from Ice-Cream headaches. As most Migraineurs suffer from this event when we drink or eat something very cold to fast. Ninety percent of Migraineurs suffer from Ice-Cream headache and an Ice-Cream headache is a known Migraine trigger! The newly designed straw deflects extreme cold fluids away from you sensitive palate. This stops the overly sensitive roof of the month from being over stimulated and triggering the sharp pain and short duration brain numbing head-pain.
As noted, Ice-Cream headache can trigger a severe Migraine later as well. So we find this a promising new product! We can currently reviewing this new straw design, but it looks to be very effective. Stay tuned for more information on this item on our site.
For more information on the Freeze-Eez® straw contact the firm that designed and is distributing this new Migraine and headache friendly product—Technical Development Research Company, Inc in Massachusetts.
Magnesium as an alternative preventive treatment has mixed support in the medical community. The most current position on this alternative over the counter preventive approach is best summarized by the Migraine and headache expert Ninan T. Mathew, M.D., which he noted the following at the 1998 AASH (American Association for the Study of Headache) Scottsdale Symposium-"Even though magnesium deficiency in the brain is implicated in the pathophysiology of Migraine, there is still no proof that magnesium replacement is of any benefit in Migraine prophylaxis. The only double-blind placebo controlled study in patients with Migraine without aura (69 patients) reported negative results, even though a previous small study in menstrual Migraine reported magnesium to be effective. Mauskop et al emphasized the importance of serum ionized magnesium measurements in determining the magnesium state in Migraine patients and have used intravenous magnesium in patients found to have low ionized magnesium level. These observations have not been confirmed yet." 1-5
Perhaps oral magnesium supplementation should be a part of treatment for Migraine as a preventive. Taking a 100% of the USDA recommended DV (daily value) would be safe and prudent. That would be 400mg of magnesium (from magnesium oxide or magnesium sulphate) a day.
A Canadian approach suggested that physicians advise Migraine patients to consume at least 6 mg magnesium per day for each kilogram of body weight. An even higher intake of 10 mg/day per Kg of body weight may be desirable provided that it does not trigger a laxative effect. Breaking the dosage into three or four parts taken at different times of day helps prevent laxative effect. Magnesium hydroxide is NOT recommended because of poor bioavailability and because they know of no instance of it having any beneficial use other than as a laxative. Other Magnesium compounds appear to be better, including Magnesium oxide, Magnesium sulphate, and Magnesium citrate. Natural magnesium in water (magnesium carbonate dissolved in CO2-rich water) is 30% more bio-available than Magnesium in food or pill, and offers much greater cardio-protection. If pills are used, they suggest chelated, Krebs cycle, with several Magnesium compounds; this gives greater bio- availability, and doesn't upset the stomach.7,10
MigraCap This non-drug non-vitamin Migraine relief product is currently being evaluated by MAGNUM. It looks quite promising and we will keep you advised as the evaluation is completed.
Migra-Cap® was developed by
a sufferer for sufferers, using a combination of cold therapy and
complete darkness to give relief from the pain that is associated with
Migraine and most types of headaches. This 2 in 1 solution is unique for
any Migraine relief product with the added benefit of being a one-off
Migra-Cap® can be stored in a domestic fridge or freezer and the specially formulated gels ensure that Migra-Cap® will not freeze to a solid. It is currently available in 4 colors: black, royal blue, purple and navy. All caps have a black inner lining to ensure exclusion from light.
We understand Migra-Cap® has been given an 81% success rate following its trial with members of the Migraine Action Association of the United Kingdom. A group MAGNUM has worked with during WHA (World Headache Alliance) international Migraine medical events.
If you have taken the time to review the individual treatments profiled above, you can see that these well researched dietary ingredients (sometimes referred to as the Triple Therapy™ approach) have strong associations with nutritional deficiencies and imbalances associated with Migraines.
Research studies show that almost half of all migraine sufferers have low blood levels of Magnesium – which is critical in controlling vasospasms (the contraction and dilation of blood vessels in the brain which occurs during migraines). Migraine sufferers also suffer mitochondrial energy deficiencies, which Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) can improve when given in high dosages. And the plant material Feverfew has been shown to reduce platelet aggregation, which can lead to vasoconstriction. Puracol represents proprietary Feverfew science specific to MigreLief as well. While extracts of Feverfew can maximize certain phytochemicals found in the plant, like parthenolides, the extraction process can also remove other naturally occurring phytochemicals that may be required for maximum efficacy. The Puracol technology corrects this problem by simultaneously maximizing parthenolide levels while maintaining the full spectrum of all the other naturally occurring compounds found in the whole plant.
MAGNUM has personally met with the makers of MigreLief® and asked to review their product research and approach prior to making this available to the Migraine community. It can be used by itself or combined with migraine prescription or OTC medications. It is effective for many Migraine sufferers, and is being used by top headache clinics, doctors and neurologists around the country. As with any alternative program you might add to your health care, please advise your physician that you will be augmenting your preventive care regime with this natural product. MigreLief® is available in the vitamin section at leading drugstores and pharmacies, as well as directly from the company.
The American Academy of Neurology has even listed all 3 ingredients in MigreLief® as effective and safe (group 2) under their Guidelines for Migraine Prophylaxis. www.MigreLief.com
For more information about MigRelief or where you can purchase it, please contact the manufacturer directly by visiting their website at www.migrelief.com, or by calling toll-free (800) 758-8746.
MigreLief+M®, (Menstrual Migraine Formula) is formulated to manage both hormonal and blood sugar fluctuations leading to menstrual migraines and provide relief for PMS and PCOS symptoms.
It contains all the ingredients in MigreLief plus Chasteberry extract, L-Theanine (a specially isolated component from green tea), high dose Biotin, and high dose pyridoxine hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6).
All four of these additional ingredients have been shown in human clinical studies to either balance the hormonal and blood sugar swings (which occur around menstruation and are known to cause migraines in susceptible women), and/or significantly reduce the symptoms of PMS and PCOS.
For more information about Migrelief+M or where you can purchase it, please contact the manufacturer directly by visiting their website at www.migrelief.com, or by calling toll-free (800) 758-8746.
Children's MigreLief®, (ages 2-12 yrs.) offers a safe all natural nutritional option for children's migraines without the potential negative side effects of other options available to adults. It contains the same preventive ingredients as MigreLief but with smaller dosages and pill sizes adjusted to meet the needs of children. (Magnesium, Riboflavin/B-2, and Puracol Feverfew)
For more information about Children's Migrelief or where you can purchase it, please contact the manufacturer directly by visiting their website at www.migrelief.com, or by calling toll-free (800) 758-8746.
MigraSpray This is yet another non-drug OTC using a
tested combination of herbal remedies in an easy to use spray delivery
system. MigraSpray® is a patented OTC homeopathic drug intended to
be a comprehensive approach for the treatment and prevention of
Migraine. The product can be used for rapid treatment of a
Migraine attack or, so the manufacturer says, can be used daily to
reduce the onset of a Migraine and its symptoms.
This product is sprayed under the tongue (sublingual administration), which promotes enhanced bioavailability and rapid absorption by directly entering the bloodstream through the mucous membrane avoiding exposure to the gastrointestinal tract and liver. This sublingual delivery system allows this product to provide rapid relief according to the manufacturer from Migraine pain and associated symptoms. They claim in an average of less than 7 minutes!
For more information on this product please visit there detailed website at http://www.migraspray.com/.
Petasites Hybridus (Butterbur root) is the latest
non-drug preventive treatment to become available in the United States.
It is available under the name of Petadolex™ from the well respected
German firm of Weber & Weber. In recent double blind studies it was
shown 77% effective as a Migraine prophylaxis. Dose is one 50mg capsule
twice a day.
Vitamin B2 supplements are another preventative non-drug treatment you may want to consider taking. A study in Belgium found that people who took 400 milligrams of vitamin B2 daily had about one-third fewer Migraines than did those taking a placebo. The study, published in the February issue of the journal Neurology, included 55 patients in Belgium and Luxembourg who normally had two to eight Migraine attacks each month8
You have just reviewed the most common and
latest complementary Migraine treatments available including some that
are just beginning to face clinical studies that will confirm or deny
there efficacy. But if you add an alternative regime to your
Migraine management, remember to consult you doctor; as even over the
counter supplements can conflict with other medications or conditions
you may have. We have found from anecdotal evidence that
supplementing you medical treatment with alternative therapies in a
complementary way seam to gaining the best results. Those who try
to bypass their doctors and self-treat with just alternative measures
are rarely effective. In addition, incorporating alternative
treatments into an overall Migraine disease management program will most
likely yield the best results.
1. Facchinetti F., Sances
G., Borella P., Genazzani A.R., Nappi G. Magnesium prophylaxis of
menstrual Migraine: effects on intracellular magnesium. Headache
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