I’m involved in quite a few different migraine groups on social media, and one of the most common frustrations of migraine sufferers is medications and treatments not working. It is always heartbreaking to read about these disappointments. Especially when nothing else seems to work either.
And I get it. Migraine is incredibly disabling, and it is natural to pin your hopes on something new which may be the cure, once and for all.
But, one thing I’ve learnt over the years – from personal experience and working with my clients in naturopath practice, is that there is no magic cure for migraine.
Absolutely, you can experience relief, and manage migraines to the point that you hardly ever get one…but there is no one single thing that will achieve this for you.
This is where, as a migraine sufferer, you need to become the project manager of your own health.
First, assemble your own personal health team. There is a vast array of health practitioners to choose from, and your team will look different to someone else’s – depending on your personal healthcare preferences, type of migraine, budget, locality etc. Here is what my team looks like:
- Two GPs
- Massage therapist
- Yoga teacher
In addition, I read books written by naturopaths, neurologists, nutritionists and researchers which help guide me through creating my own health plan (along with, of course, my naturopathic training).
I know that having a team of health professionals seems expensive. But, if you can, it might be time to look at what you are prioritising in life. Are migraines affecting your ability to work, be productive, socialise, how you participate in your family? What price do you put on your health?
You most likely won’t need to see all practitioners ongoing, and you don’t have to see them all at once, but it is worthwhile setting aside time and budget to put your health first so you can give yourself the best chance to overcome migraine.
For example, the list of practitioners above I have consulted with at some point in the last 5 years, and many I now only see once a year or every second year, just for a check-in.
You can also focus on practitioners which bulk bill, and you may also be able to find community or subsidised student clinics in your area.
Overall, it is important to not give up your power to just one medical or health professional. I even say that to my own clients who come to see me as a naturopath. I encourage clients to keep in touch with their GP and other health professionals when they are consulting with me.
Nobody knows your health better than you, and I find a good approach is to appoint yourself as the “manager/decision maker” and everyone else as your “team of advisers”.
Next, you need to look at all aspects of your health. Don’t just focus on medications, but also consider and research:
- Hormone health
- Physical therapies
- Hydration and electrolytes
- Mental health – especially stress
- Your home environment
- Your work environment
- Understand your triggers
- Light and sound
Make sure you address each part, and make changes in that area to minimise migraine. This might involve (as an example):
- Removing fluorescent or harsh lighting at work; or using a stand up desk or ergonomic chair
- Setting time aside each day to move and stretch
- Avoiding toxic people or situations, or being more assertive
- Adopting a cleaner way of eating and avoiding processed foods
- Establishing a regular sleep routine
- Taking a magnesium supplement
- Changing from high intensity to gentle exercise – swimming, walking, yoga
- Reducing or changing medication
- Taking a supplement to balance hormones
- Looking at any other health conditions you have
Check out my Migraine Circle of Care to make sure you cover all bases.
What I love about naturopathy is that we are across many different modalities and systems of the body, and also love to help clients address each area of their life (“holistic” view) and recommend other types of health practitioners that can help.
The key thing to remember is that you are a whole body, and everything is connected. Your brain is connected to your digestive system, and is influenced by hormones and neurotransmitters. Your senses deliver information to your nervous system and your brain. What happens in one system or part of the body, affects the whole body.
And finally, like any project that you manage, you may need to become a time and resource management ninja. Diarise times to prioritise your health, learn to say no to things that don’t support your health, take notes and record what you do in a diary.
Ultimately, consider managing your own health the most important role you will ever play in your life. That is how you get on top of migraine.
Keep well and take care,
PS. If you feel ready to take control then I can help. I’m available for online naturopathy appointments if you need someone to help you set up your own health project plan. Book online and let’s get started.