Migraine headaches can cause pulsing and throbbing pain in one side of the head. They are commonly accompanied by nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound. The exact cause of migraine headaches is unknown, but they may be caused by changes in the brainstem and trigeminal nerve. Imbalances in the brain chemical serotonin may also play a role, as does a family history of migraine attacks. If you think you suffer from migraine headaches, your physician will perform a neurological exam and may order tests including an MRI and blood work. There are prescription medications that can be prescribed to both prevent migraines and help stop them once they begin.
There are also various non-pharmacologic agents that are beneficial for migraine prevention. According to the American Academy of Neurology, Butterbur root (a perennial shrub), effectively prevents migraines. It is marketed as a food supplement in the United States, and is generally well tolerated at a dose of 50mg daily (in two divided doses). The most common side-effect during use is gastrointestinal upset, primarily burping. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and vitamin B2 (riboflavin) aid in mitochondrial energy metabolism; their use has been shown in studies to lessen the frequency of migraine attacks. Vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin B12, calcium and magnesium may also aid in migraine prevention.
Dr. Anne Hermann, a holistic internal medicine physician, maintains offices in Tampa and Saint Petersburg Beach, Florida. Dr. Hermann is also board certified in nutrition. Please contact the office at 813-902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment.