Migraines

So, I’ve written a lot about my leaky guts and nothing yet about migraines. Time to correct that. Whether you consider migraines and leaky gut to be comorbid conditions or not, I’ll leave to your interpretation.

I had the first glimmerings of migraine attacks when I was in my mid teens. The first manifestations were what I now understand to be migraine auras. Since it was a visual disturbance, I described it to my ophthalmologist and he said it was an “ocular migraine” and seemed surprised it was not followed by severe headache. The attacks lasted about twenty minutes and left me feeling mildly headachy and light sensitive, but not overly so.

The classic migraine auras a few times per year were all that bothered me for more than a decade.

Then, in my late twenties, I started getting the gut-wrenching, skull-splitting headaches that migraines are better known for.

Simultaneously, I had a few episodes of numbness and tingling on one side of my body. I underwent extensive testing to rule out Lyme disease, multiple sclerosis and stroke among other things. All of those tests were negative, fortunately. I didn’t make the direct connection to migraines, and surprisingly neither did my neurologist. A diagnosis was inconclusive. Since I’ve now had the occasional numbness in clear connection with migraine attacks in recent years, I’m quite convinced that the early episodes of numbness were also migraine-related.

One thing you need to keep in mind if you’re not already familiar with migraines is that they NOT just bad headaches. A migraine is a neurological disease and presents many widely varied symptoms, and may occur with no head pain at all.

Moving along, in my later thirties and forties, my migraines began to settle into a regular pattern of weekly attacks. Some were worse than others, but I had at least a day per week when I wasn’t up to par. Probably once a month or so, I had a truly disabling attack that required time off from work. This cycle went on fairly steadily until 2016 when I started the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). The first few months of the SCD, I was completely migraine free for the first time in decades! That alone must mean something. Alas, as I went on to try to add additional foods and supplements back into my diet, I triggered flare ups and also migraines. Most of the attacks were minor, though I had a few really bad ones too.

Now that I’ve had the opportunity to bring my leaky guts under some better control with the SCD, it’s become clearer that my migraines are related to food reaction flare ups and the resulting general inflammation within my body. If I keep the flare ups under control, the migraines stay under control.

Generally speaking, I can often go months now between major migraine attacks. What a relief! I still frequently get what I call mini or micro migraines on a nearly weekly basis, but the level of discomfort is probably a 1 on a scale of 1 to 10. That I can live with.

Since I’m so sensitive to foods and supplements, I can only take a few prophylactic migraine remedies. I rely on specific brands of riboflavin and magnesium to help me out. My regimen consists of 400 mg of Solgar riboflavin (two 100 mg capsules with breakfast and dinner) and 4 tablets of Niche Mag-Tab SR, supplying (84 mg x 4) 336 mg of highly bioavailable magnesium. How do I know if these things do any good? Well, first and foremost, if I try to back down on the dosage of either, the migraines become more severe and frequent. Second, there is a lot of clinical research supporting riboflavin and magnesium as effective, low cost, and minimal side effect, migraine preventative supplements.

In a future blog, I’ll discuss one of the unique methods I’ve tried for migraine relief – the Cefaly device.