Migraine is a complex syndrome which usually involves a severe headache and may be associated with gastrointestinal symptoms. The underlying pathology is incompletely understood but it does appear to involve disturbances in the nervous and circulatory systems.
During a migraine, blood vessels in the head constrict, reducing blood flow to the brain. This may be the explanation for the warning symptoms (aura) that many sufferers experience prior to an attack. The blood vessels then dilate and the typical throbbing headache appears causing severe pain and, usually, inability to continue with daily functions.
Some evidence suggests that there is an inflammatory or allergic component to this condition. Certain foods and stresses have been associated with migraine and some people have been found to be sensitive to tyramine which is found in red wine, cheese and chocolate. Other food triggers are also common.
Conventional treatment is drug based either as prevention or for acute episodes. Some of these have been associated with serious side-effects in the past.
The Natural Practice, however, will use lots of different techniques to help this condition. The whole benefit of an integrated medical approach is that a number of different approaches can be brought together to support the patient and where possible, enable them to throw the condition off. We should stress that each treatment plan is designed individually and may consist of one or more interventions. Food exclusion techniques will have long term benefit in 85% of patients and 60% of patients treated by acupuncture show some improvement. Other interventions may be offered that are not mentioned here.