Opinion

SPOTLIGHT: Migraine headaches can be caused by many factors

By Dr. Andrea Hornyak, Spotlight on Naturopathic Medicine

Approximately 1 in 10 Ontarians suffer from chronic migraines. This can be debilitating, as they may be unable to go to work, school, perform daily tasks or attend social functions from the pain. Headaches are very common but like other types of pain, it is the body’s way of producing a symptom in order to alert you to an underlying problem that needs attention.

I have treated hundreds of patients over the years with migraines. The one thing that is common is at their initial appointment, they complain about having to take several pills a day of Tylenol, Advil, or prescription drugs for many years in order to try to get through the pain.

It is frustrating to get headaches on a regular basis, as for some it seems as though they cannot fully enjoy their lives. This can lead to symptoms of insomnia, depression and anxiety. Also, simply taking pain medications will never get rid of the reason why you have headaches in the first place.

Many people do not realize the toxicity of the drugs they are consuming to try to alleviate pain. It is a huge burden on the liver to filter pharmaceutical medications in addition to its daily job of eliminating alcohol, food chemical additives and preservatives in fast foods, and hormones in meat and dairy products.

The liver will clean and filter the blood of waste, but if it is overworked, it may deposit these toxins somewhere else, especially if the person is constipated. It is common for me to see in my practice a history of low energy, dehydration and chronic stress, which the body often responds with developing eczema, acne, or increasing overall inflammation leading to even more types of pain such as in the muscles or joints.

Many of my patients have previously tried a store-bought detox and wondered why it did not help them. The issue is that a successful detoxification protocol must be individualized for each person, as the root cause for one is not the same as for someone else, even if they both suffer from headaches.

Contributing factors to migraine headaches may include a combination of rebound effect from pharmaceutical drugs, food sensitivities, chronic stress, poor sleep, or hormonal imbalances.

Naturopathic medicine addresses the root cause of illness, rather than treating or suppressing symptoms. There are so many triggers and possible causes for migraine headaches that it is imperative you a treated by an experienced naturopathic doctor. The road to less pain should begin with blood testing and a clinical nutrition analysis in order to identify specific problem areas for you. This reduces “guess-work” as it will address exactly what requires treatment so you can finally feel better as soon as possible.

Dr. Hornyak has been in private practice as a licensed doctor of Naturopathic Medicine since 2006. For more information, phone the Norwich Medical Centre at 519-862-2338 or visit www.vitalforcenaturopathic.ca.