Migraines: Why Are You Still Suffering?


woman with migraines

Why Do You Get Migraines?

What Causes Migraines?

There are a number of potential causes of migraines:

  1. Excessive histamine
  2. Excessive inflammation
  3. Food allergies, intolerances or sensitivities
  4. Neurotransmitter imbalance
  5. Hormone imbalance

How Do You Know if a Headache is a Migraine?

Migraine symptoms include: nausea and/or vomiting, pain behind one eye, pain in your temples, visual changes like seeing spots or auras, sensitivity to light and/or sound, and/or temporary vision loss [see your MD ASAP if you have this symptom].

How Long Does a Migraine Last?

A typical migraine can last from 4 to 72 hours.

The Natural Treatment Approach to Migraines

  1. Reduce histamine – correct diet, increase vitamin C
  2. Support the adrenal glands – vitamin B5, B6, C, magnesium, zinc, ashwaganda, panax ginseng, rhodiola, schisandra, gotu kola.
  3. Test for and remove IgG and IgA food sensitivities.
  4. Balance neurotransmitters by providing the appropriate precursor vitamins, minerals and amino acids (B6, magnesium, tryptophan, tyrosine).
  5. Balance hormones – correct diet, provide indole-3-carbinol, 5MTHF, P5P, magnesium, B12, and glucarate for liver detoxification.

Histamine

Excessive blood histamine levels may be a factor in migraines. Histamine is a substance released by cells known as mast cells and is also present in certain foods. Histamine from food sources are normally broken down in the gut by an enzyme known as DAO or Diamine Oxidase.  Some people are genetically programmed to make inadequate levels of DAO. Stabilizing mast cells to reduce histamine release, lowering intake of high histamine foods and supplementing DAO enzyme may help histamine related migraines.

Dietary histamine: Avoid citrus fruit, stored, fermented, canned, aged and/or pickled foods.

Antihistamine: Vitamin C acts as a natural antihistamine and supports the adrenal glands and healthy, more stable blood veins and arteries.

Blood tests: tryptase and diamine oxidase (DAO).

Adrenal glands

The adrenal glands are your body’s internal corticosteroid source.  As such, they play a role in moderating inflammation and migraine prevention. Depletion of critical nutrients for adrenal function due to malabsorption, excessive excretion due to stress, or poor diet may lead to altered HPA axis function or corticosteroid production, contributing to migraines. Adrenal supportive nutrients include vitamin B5, B6, C, magnesium, and zinc.  Herbs demonstrated to support the body’s adaptation to stress include Panax ginseng, eleuthrococcus, ashwaganda and licorice root.

Blood tests that may elucidate issues with the adrenals include DHEAs, testosterone, a.m. and p.m. cortisol levels.

Test for and Remove IgG and IgA Mediated Food Sensitivities

The exclusion of IgG mediated food sensitivities has been shown to significantly improve symptoms for sufferers of migraines and IBS. An association between celiac disease (IgA antibodies to gluten) and migraine in adults has also established.

Blood test: IgG and IgA food sensitivity testing

Neurotransmitters and Migraines

Research has also suggested a connection between neurotransmitter levels such as serotonin and migraine.   SSRI type medications are often tried as a solution.  Many of the patients that I see don’t like these medications due to their side effects of weight gain, low libido and feeling emotionally flat. As an alternative to this approach, I recommend vitamin B6 and magnesium as co-factors for the production of serotonin. Magnesium may also help relax muscle tension and calm the nervous system.

Blood test: Spectracell Micronutrient Analysis

Migraines and Hormones

Hormone imbalance can influence susceptibility to migraines. Estrogen dominance in women often precipitates premenstrual migraines.  Supporting liver detoxification of estrogen, including environmental estrogens, helps relieve menstrual migraines.

Blood tests: DHEAs, testosterone, estradiol, LH, FSH, progesterone, prolactin

What other treatments help migraines?

Other effective natural medicine therapies for migraines include: chiropractic treatment, massage therapy, acupuncture and craniosacral therapy.

If you need help with migraines, click here to book an appointment.

References:

  1. Johnston CS, Martin LJ, Cai X. Antihistamine effect of supplemental ascorbic acid and neutrophil chemotaxis. J Am Coll Nutr. 1992 Apr;11(2):172-6.
  2. Alstadhaug KB. Histamine in migraine and brain. Headache. 2014 Feb;54(2):246-59.
  3. Aydinlar EI, Dikmen PY, Tiftikci A, Saruc M, Aksu M, Gunsoy HG, Tozun N. IgG-based elimination diet in migraine plus irritable bowel syndrome. Headache. 2013 Mar;53(3):514-25.
  4. Cristofori F, Fontana C, Magistà A, Capriati T, Indrio F, Castellaneta S, Cavallo L, Francavilla R. Increased prevalence of celiac disease among pediatric patients with irritable bowel syndrome: a 6-year prospective cohort study. JAMA Pediatr. 2014 Jun;168(6):555-60.
  5. Gabrielli M, Cremonini F, Fiore G, Addolorato G, Padalino C, Candelli M, De Leo ME, Santarelli L, Giacovazzo M, Gasbarrini A, Pola P, Gasbarrini A. Association between migraine and Celiac disease: results from a preliminary case-control and therapeutic study. Am J Gastroenterol. 2003 Mar;98(3):625-9.
  6. Woldeamanuel Y, Rapoport A, Cowan R. The place of corticosteroids in migraine attack management: A 65-year systematic review with pooled analysis and critical appraisal. Cephalalgia. 2015 Jan 9.
  7. McMullen MK, Whitehouse JM, Towell A. Bitters: Time for a New Paradigm. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:670504.
  8. Dakshinamurti S, Dakshinamurti K Antihypertensive and neuroprotective actions of pyridoxine and its derivatives. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2015 May 11:1-8.
  9. Mauskop A, Varughese J. Why all migraine patients should be treated with magnesium. J Neural Transm. 2012 May;119(5):575-9.
  10. Patacchioli FR, Monnazzi P, Simeoni S, De Filippis S, Salvatori E, Coloprisco G, Martelletti P. Salivary cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone-sulphate (DHEA-S) and testosterone in women with chronic migraine. J Headache Pain. 2006 Apr;7(2):90-4. Epub 2006 Mar 31.

 

 

Prevent Back Pain While Snow Shoveling

picture of a good snow shovel to prevent back pain with snow shoveling

Prevent Back Pain While Snow Shoveling

Would you like to prevent back pain from snow shoveling?  Any time that we are using our bodies in a repetitive way, we are stressing the muscles and tearing muscle fibres.  That is why after a snow shoveling session we may feel stiff and achy all over.  So it is important to know that before we do something as mundane as shoveling the sidewalk, like any workout, we need to warm up and loosen our muscles.  For example, try going for a walk around the block first.  Dynamic stretching is also great for loosening up the muscles.  A dynamic stretch is one in which you move through the stretch but do not hold it for any longer than a few seconds; dynamic stretches are moving stretches.

Snow shoveling stretches

snow shoveling stretcheschiropractor recommended snow shoveling stretches

11 Tips from Your Chiropractor to Prevent Back Pain when Shoveling Snow

  1. Choose a shovel that is suitable to your height.  You do not want to be working with a shovel that is going to cause you to stand in
    a stooped posture.
  2. The lighter the shovel the better too.
  3. Use a shovel with a bent shaft.
  4. Stand with your feet hip distance apart and with one foot slightly behind the other.
  5. Keep your knees slightly bent, do not hyper-extend them or lock them out, this puts added stress through the knee joint.
  6. Always try pushing the snow to the side, don’t throw it.
  7. When it comes time to picking up the snow, keep the load as close to your body as possible and avoid bending at the waist and twisting motions.
  8. Before you try lifting a load, you should try testing the weight of that load. Remember wet snow is much heavier.
  9. After you have finished shoveling you should participate in some static stretches.  Repeat the dynamic ones, but hold the stretch for a minimum of
    20-30 seconds.
  10. Rehydrate yourself! Drink plenty of water after a good bout of shoveling.
  11. If you didn’t prevent back pain from snow shoveling, ice the sore areas down afterwards.  Icing reduces any inflammation that may have occurred.  Ice should never be applied directly to the skin, make sure that it is always wrapped in something like a clean towel.  Use the 10-10 rule for icing: place the ice on the sore area for 10 minutes, and then remove the ice for 10 minutes, repeat 3 times.  Let the area be for about an hour, and if it is still sore ice again.

Snow Shoveling References:

McGorry RW, Dempsey PG, Leamon TB. The effect of technique and shaft configuration in snow shoveling on physiologic, kinematic, kinetic and productivity variables. Appl Ergon. 2003 May;34(3):225-31.

Lewinson RT, Rouhi G, Robertson DG. Influence of snow shovel shaft configuration on lumbosacral biomechanics during a load-lifting task. Appl Ergon. 2014 Mar;45(2):234-8. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2013.04.004.

By Chiropractor Dr. Kim Macanuel, Chiropractor at Forces of Nature Wellness Clinic.

Pregnancy Back Pain

woman experiencing pregnancy back pain

Pregnancy Back Pain: Chiropractic Care Offers Safe & Effective Relief

A woman’s body undergoes numerous changes during pregnancy. One of the most pronounced of these is the shift in the location of her centre of gravity. This shift creates added stress on her spine leading to possible pregnancy back pain, muscle tension and headaches. Many women prefer not to take any form of pain killers while pregnant in which case chiropractic offers a safe alternative.

Chiropractic care helps to keep all of the joints in the body properly aligned and moving freely. This is especially important for pregnant women as the baby grows. Full movement in the pelvic joints allows sufficient room for the baby to assume the proper birthing position. Specific chiropractic adjustments help some breech babies move into proper position, allowing for a natural birth and avoiding a C-section.

Regular chiropractic adjustments restore normal joint movement, reduce muscle tension and allow your nervous system to function optimally. Chiropractic care during pregnancy cannot only help you stay more comfortable, but studies have shown that women who are under chiropractic care during pregnancy tend to have shorter, easier deliveries. First time moms averaged a 24% shorter labor and women who already had children averaged a 39% reduction in delivery time.

Chiropractic care after delivery is also a good idea. One Italian study showed that postpartum pain was relieved in 90 out of 120 patients who received chiropractic adjustments.

Healthy Back Tips for Moms and Dads

  1. Don’t bend from the waist when you lift your child. Bend at the knees and keep your back straight.
  2. Try to alternate the side that you carry your child on.
  3. Adjust stroller handles to an appropriate height so that you do not need to bend forward as you push.
  4. Adjust surface heights to a comfortable level. For example, if you are tall you may need to put something under the legs of the changing table.

Chiropractic care is a safe and gentle form of care to keep moms and moms-to-be as healthy and stress free as possible during this amazing time.

What is the ITB or Iliotibial Band?

diagram of the tensor fascia lata and iliotibial band or ITB

Iliotibial Band (ITB) Syndrome

Background: The tensor fascia lata (TFL) is a long flat muscle that runs along the outside of the thigh as a continuation of the gluteus (buttocks) muscles. The Iliotibial band (ITB) is the tendon that attaches the TFL onto the side of the knee.

What does the Iliotibial Band do?

The ITB works to:

  • Help lift your thigh out to the side
  • Rotate the hip joint inwards
  • Extend and flex the knee joint at certain angles.

What Causes ITB Syndrome?

The ITB has a degree of free forward and backward motion as the knee is flexed and extended. This free motion may result in friction between the ITB and the thigh bone creating irritation, pain and inflammation.

What Contributes to ITB Problems?

  • Weak buttocks muscles
  • Over pronation of the feet (low arches)
  • Poor quality running shoes
  • Running on uneven surfaces or hills

What are the Symptoms of ITB Syndrome?

  • Pain and inflammation located on the lateral or outside portion of the knee.
  • Initially the pain may become noticeable after a few kilometers into a run and remain for the duration of the run, but subsides with rest.
  • Pain is often more noticeable running down hills.
  • Without treatment, the pain may become constant with activity and be perceptible when walking and/or going up or down stairs.

Who does ITB Syndrome affect?

Runners and cyclists are the most commonly affected athletes.

What is the Treatment for the ITB?

  • Icing to decrease inflammation. Never put ice directly on the skin, always have it wrapped in something and use the rule of 10: on for 10 minutes, off for 10 minutes, for about 1 hour.
  • Temporary decrease in physical activities
  • Soft tissue therapies such as myofascial release therapy to break up scar tissue and fibrous adhesions (talk to your chiropractor)
  • Once out of the initial stage of injury gentle side stretches are beneficial
  • Strengthening exercises for the abductors of the hip joint ie the gluteal muscles
  • Orthotics if the injury is a result of poor foot mechanics (ask your chiropractor)

By Dr. Kim Macanuel, BSc, DC.

Foot Pain

woman with foot pain in her foot ankle or heel

How to Reverse Foot Pain for Happy, Healthy Feet

The human body is like a house, it needs a stable foundation. Our feet are our foundation and problems in them may result in foot pain as well as problems throughout the rest of the body.

Your feet are supported by three arches of fascia, muscles or ligaments – the transverse arch, which runs across the ball of your foot and two longitudinal arches, from the toes to the heel.

We spend a great deal of time standing, walking and running on hard surfaces in ill-fitted shoes. Therefore up to 80% of us may at some point have troubles with our feet. One of the most common problems is the collapsing of the arch. The result is “overpronation” or inward rolling of the ankles and feet when we walk. Daily activities such as walking, standing, jumping and running pull on the plantar fascia causing microscopic tears, inflammation and pain known as plantar fasciitis. There may be sharp pain in the heel or along the arch of the foot and it is often worse first thing in the morning or after periods of inactivity.

Over-pronation can also result in increased strain along the inside of the knee, internal rotation of the hip, and/or un-leveling of the pelvis all of which may affect the back. Improper alignment can lead to early wear and tear and cause conditions such as arthritis, bunions or hammer toes.

Helpful Hints for foot pain:

  • Soft tissue techniques and joint alignment by your chiropractor will help
    with correction and healing of the problem.
  • Proper arch support is also very important. For mild problems, shoes with built in arch support or a good pair of over the counter inserts should be enough. In moderate to severe cases, custom fitted orthotics will offer greater benefit.
  • Be consistent with orthotic use. You will benefit most by wearing them in all of your shoes. In the summer, wear custom orthotic sandals whose foot bed is comprised of your own custom made orthotic.
  • Run on proper surfaces. Grassy surfaces or running tracks are ideal. Dirt paths tend to get packed hard, so try running along side of them. Pavement and cement are very hard on our feet; surfaces such as these should be avoided.
  • Proper hydration – your whole body benefits

Strengthening exercises and preventative measures for foot pain:

  • In bare feet place a hand towel on a smooth floor.Use your toes to scrunch and pull the towel toward you. This strengthens the muscles that naturally support your arches.
  • Stand with feet hip distance apart. Press big toes into the floor while lifting the other eight toes, then press those eight toes into the floor while lifting big toes.
  • While sitting, roll your entire foot over a tennis ball, or in very acute cases you can use a frozen water bottle.

By Dr. Kim Macanuel, BSc, DC.

For help with foot pain, musculoskeletal problems or orthotics contact Dr. Macanuel at 416.481.0222 or by email at KMacanuelDC@ForcesofNature.ca