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.

 

 

Massage Therapy & Parkinson’s Disease

massage for Parkinson's disease by a registered massage therapist or RMT

Parkinson’s Disease and Massage Therapy

Parkinson’s Disease is a central nervous system disorder which affects the body’s motor function. This dysfunction is due to a lack of dopamine which is a brain chemical or neurotransmitter produced in the brain. Dopamine enables motor function (or muscle movement). Parkinson’s will often result in symptoms including rigidity in the muscles and joints, uncontrolled movements, and tremors. Difficulty with slow controlled movements such as holding a glass of water is common, as well as difficulty walking.

Massage in general plays a great role in reducing muscle soreness, and improving range of motion, so in the case of those suffering from Parkinson’s where severe muscle tightness and restriction in movements are an everyday issue, regular massage is very beneficial. Massage also decreases sympathetic nervous system firing, which is essential to reducing high tone in muscles.  Massage therapy has also been shown to be beneficial for constipation in people with Parkinson’s.

If massage therapy can help such extreme muscle rigidity and stiffness, imagine how it can also help those with everyday muscle tension. Our skilled registered massage therapists are usually covered by your insurance and can help relieve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease such as muscle stiffness and constipation.

Sources:

McClurg D, Walker K, Aitchison P, Jamieson K, Dickinson L, Paul L, Hagen S, Cunnington AL. Abdominal Massage for the Relief of Constipation in People with Parkinson’s: A Qualitative Study. Parkinsons Dis. 2016;2016:4842090. doi: 10.1155/2016/4842090. Epub 2016 Dec 8.

Casciaro Y. Massage Therapy Treatment and Outcomes for a Patient with Parkinson’s Disease: a Case Report. Int J Ther Massage Bodywork. 2016 Mar 4;9(1):11-8. eCollection 2016.

McClurg D, Hagen S, Jamieson K, Dickinson L, Paul L, Cunnington A. Abdominal massage for the alleviation of symptoms of constipation in people with Parkinson’s: a randomised controlled pilot study. Age Ageing. 2016 Mar;45(2):299-303. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afw005. Epub 2016 Jan 29.

Is There Such a Thing as Fertility Massage?

fertility massage by a registered massage therapist or RMT

Does Fertility Massage Help?

by CJ Paterson, RMT, at Forces of Nature Wellness Clinic

Yes it does, but please don’t take this as massage alone can fix your infertility or cause you to become fertile.

Here’s How Massage Can Improve Fertility

The pelvic floor contains your uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, rectum and the ligaments and connective tissue surrounding them. The intent of fertility massage is to release restrictions of your pelvic floor.  These restrictions may present themselves as lower back or hip pain, digestive issues, idiopathic infertility or painful menstruation. As a massage therapist, I would identify which restriction could be involved by gentle manipulation and release of the adhesions so that your organs can have full, healthy function.

What are the benefits of fertility massage?

  • Eases anxiety and stress by activating the parasympathetic nervous system (rest, digest & relax)
  • Increases blood flow to the digestive tract and reproductive system
  • Restores vitality and balance to affected organs

 Who would benefit from a fertility massage?

  • Anyone struggling with fertility
  • Clients with PCOS and endometriosis
  • Post-natal bladder incontinence
  • Anyone suffering from chronic low back or hip pain
  • Anyone experiencing painful menstruation or digestive irregularities

Stress and Fertility

Fertility is like a waltz, you and your partner need to be in sync or you start stepping on each other’s toes.  Your body as a whole needs to be functioning as one, the delicate balance of hormones to create the production, release, fertilization and implantation of the egg can’t happen if the balance is off. The number one cause of this is stress in the body. This can be as simple as daily hassles or a single big stressor, because the release of cortisol (the stress hormone) can interrupt the rhyme of the waltz which is so crucial to creating a life.

Research suggests that stress can change the length of your cycle, your ovulation date and create tubal spasms. Stress can amplify many feelings like fear, worry, emptiness and anger and these feelings can create physical and mental reactions which are manifested in the body.

This type of therapy uses techniques help to break the stress cycle by encouraging relaxation. These techniques address adhesions and mechanical factors that contribute to female infertility.

Click here for more about CJ

What is Deep Tissue Massage?

what is deep tissue massage by a registered massage therapist or RMT

What is Deep Tissue Massage (DTM) and What is it Useful for?

Deep tissue massage involves:

  1. slow, deep strokes that stretch and re-align the fibers of the muscles and
  2. deep compressions to reduce knots in the muscles.
  3. stretches are also used to lengthen muscle fibers and increase the range of movement in the joints.

Some discomfort is normal. An experienced Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) will use slow, sensitive strokes adapted to your pain threshold. You should never feel bruised or in pain the next day.

Who Provides Deep Tissue Massage?

The best practitioner to see for deep tissue massage is a registered massage therapist. They are the most highly trained professionals in bodywork for the soft tissues like muscles and tendons.

Which Conditions Benefit from Deep Tissue Massage?

  1. All musculoskeletal and related conditions including upper back, neck
    and shoulder tension, pain and stiffness
  2. Lower back pain and weakness, sciatica and all hip and pelvic pain and
    misalignment
  3. Muscle tension related headaches
  4. Recovery from illness, surgery and trauma from accidents
  5. Poor posture

Additional Benefits of DTM

Though deep tissue massage treats the muscles and other soft tissues of the body, it can have a very beneficial affect on the whole. Because muscles are involved in so many metabolic functions, it is common to experience improvements in your health you may not associate with your muscles, such as relief from asthma or sluggish digestion.

How long is  a Deep Tissue Massage Treatment?

Treatment time can vary from 30-90 minutes depending on the extent of treatment needed and your personal preference.

How will I feel after a DTM Treatment?

Relaxed and muscles should feel looser and freer. You may feel like you need a nap.  You should drink lots of water following a treatment to help flush out waste that has been mobilized by the treatment.

For questions about deep tissue massage, contact Helen Bhavnani, RMT, Lois Piper, RMT or CJ Patterson, RMT at Forces of Nature by calling 416-481-0222 or email reception at Maria@ForcesofNature.ca to book an appointment.

4 Ways to Get the Most from a Massage

registered massage therapy by a registered massage therapist or RMT

How to Get the Most from Massage Therapy

By Helen Bhavnani, Registered Massage Therapist

Massage therapy offers many health benefits.  Here are a few tips to help you make the most of a massage treatment.

  1. Do the stretches, or other self-care activities, that our awesome massage therapists (Helen, CJ, Sam or Lois) give you at the end of your treatment. We give these exercises to you because we want you to feel better longer!
  2. Ask questions. If you’re unclear about anything, please ask us to clarify.  If you think of something after you get home, call or email us especially if you are not sure about how often you should be coming for treatment.
  3. Come more often. Sometimes we can’t properly treat you in only one session. You will often feel better after one treatment, but find that soon afterward you go back to feeling aches and pains again. This means the underlying cause is not fully resolved. So like anything, give it a little more time. If massage is not helping your condition, we will always refer you to someone who we think will.
  4. Give us feedback. If you want us to change something about the way we do your
    treatment, if you’re not comfortable with something, or if you feel it would be more effective if we did something differently, please tell us. You know your body best. We want you to have the best experience possible, and it’s your treatment. We are there for you!
  5. Hydrate.  Before and after a treatment it’s a good idea to drink plenty of water to help the body flush out waste that has been mobilized by the massage.