Headache: Vascular / Migraine

Headaches are a common but not normal symptom to have. There are many different reasons for getting a headache, and when this is a main concern, I go through my list of all the things that could be contributing to the patients headache to decipher what the best treatment plan would be for that individual. Is it structural – from ergonomics at work, from stress and our shoulders creeping up to our ears, from being cold and clamping are armpits down? Is it from our sinuses – due to a low grade infection, allergies, inflammation? Is it a toxicity headache from a food, a fragrance, a chemical? Is it hormonal – you know those headaches that should up on day 21 through 28 of a menstrual cycle. Is the headache from a vascular disturbance? There are several types of vascular headaches:

Migraine: Periodic throbbing headaches. The prodrome seems to be due to a vasoconstriction of the cerebral blood vessels (or the vessels leading into the brain), while the headache itself seems to be due to a vasodilation of the blood vessels with subsequent congestion of tissues; seen more often in women and is thought to affect up to 20-30% of the population; usually begins between the ages of 10-30, and remissions commonly occur after age 50, suggesting a hormonal cause; definite familial component.

Hypertension: The headache is typically throbbing and located in the occiput or vertex. It is paroxysmal. There is a history of renal or cardiovascular disease.

Cluster (histamine headaches): Much more frequent in men; associated histaminic symptoms.

Naturopathic Approach

A naturopathic approachto treating someone with headaches is to first narrow down the list of possible underlying causes. Once the cause is known, treatment may consist of dietary changes, a detox, anti-inflammatory support through food and clinical nutrition, hormone balancing with the use of botanical medicine, or supporting the vasculature. Each plan is unique and specialized to meet the needs of the individual and the underlying causes to theirheadaches.