How to End Migraines

by

MORE THAN 10 MILLION Americans have migraines creating a burden of mostly unnecessary suffering.  These severe, nearly disabling headaches can occur anywhere from once a year to three to four times a week. They can last from hours to days. They are often associated with an aura, light sensitivity, nausea, vomiting, and severe throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head. Migraines are even associated with stroke-like symptoms or paralysis in some cases …

The cost to society is also enormous. Migraine headaches add $13 billion to $17 billion to our healthcare costs each year. These costs include medications, emergency room visits, hospitalization, physician services (primary care and specialty), laboratory and diagnostic services, and managing the side effects of treatment.

Migraines have indirect costs as well. A headache is the most frequent pain-related complaint among workers. Focusing specifically on migraines, one study found that the annual cost to employers exceeded $14.5 billion, of which $7.9 billion was due to absenteeism and $5.4 billion was due to diminished productivity.

So this is a HUGE problem — both for those who suffer and for society as a whole.

Worse, migraines are hard to treat and very difficult to prevent with conventional approaches. There are a host of preventive drugs — calcium channel blockers, beta-blockers, anti-seizure medications, antidepressants, and more –which work poorly, if at all, and are accompanied by frequent side effects. Some doctors are even using Botox to paralyze neck muscles in the hopes of easing migraines.

There is also a new class of medication called triptans (like Imitrex, Maxalt, and Zomig) that can stop a migraine once it starts. Though these have made migraine sufferers handle the attacks better, they are expensive and have serious potential side effects, including strokes. Still other treatments can lead to addiction or dependence. Not a pretty picture. And for many, none of these treatments work very well or at all.

The problem with migraines is the same one we see so often in medicine: We treat the symptoms, not the cause. We deal with only the effects of something and not the underlying causes or the 7 keys to UltraWellness. But using Functional Medicine I have been able to get nearly 100 percent of my patients migraine free within days to weeks!

Migraines are no different from any other disease. It’s simply the name we call a set of symptoms that are common in groups of people.

I want to explain how I do that. I will tell you the story of one of my patients (a doctor herself) who, after years of suffering from migraines, finally came to me looking for relief. You will learn what I did to help her (as well as many others) and how you can apply the same measures to overcome your migraines. And I will give you 14 tips that will help you identify and treat the real causes of your headaches.

Dozens of Migraine Patients, Dozens of Different Cures

Many of my patients are doctors themselves and often are at the end of their ropes. One was a physician from the Mayo Clinic, the Mecca of conventional medicine. This woman had severe, disabling migraines that made it nearly impossible for her to function at work. She depended on oxycodone (a strong morphine-like narcotic) and Zofran (a powerful anti-nausea drug used for chemotherapy patients).

She had seen every specialist at the Mayo Clinic and had traveled far and wide to other top neurology headache centers but never found relief. Unfortunately, everyone she saw focused on her headaches, not her other symptoms — which held all of the clues to her problem.

Migraines are no different from any other disease. It’s simply the name we call a set of symptoms that are common in groups of people. This name tells us nothing about the cause of the symptoms, which may be very different depending on the person. In fact, there may be more than 20 different causes of migraine headaches!

My job is to be a medical detective and find these causes. It is not simply to prescribe powerful symptom-suppressive drugs. I remember very well working in the emergency room, treating all the chronic migraine patients with intravenous narcotics and nausea medication. I felt bad for them, but even worse was the fact that I didn’t have a way to prevent the symptoms from coming back.

Now I do.

Which leads me back to the doctor who came to see me from the Mayo Clinic who suffered migraines nearly every day for years with no relief. Here is what I did to help her …

First, I asked her a lot of questions and learned she suffered from many symptoms including palpitations, severe constipation, anxiety, insomnia, muscle cramps, and menstrual cramps — in addition to her migraines.

All of these symptoms are connected. They told me that her whole system was tight, irritable, and crampy. These symptoms are usually associated with severe magnesium deficiency, which often results from poor diet, caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and stress.

So I put her on high doses of magnesium and cleaned up her diet. Within a couple of days, she was migraine free and never had another migraine.

She’s not the only success story.

Another patient had disabling migraines for 45 years and could not have a social life or plan anything because she spent most of her time in bed with the lights out. She also had an allergy to eggs. When we eliminated the eggs from her diet, her headaches disappeared. No eggs, no migraines. Three months after treatment she felt so good she decided to have an egg and ended up in the hospital with a three-day migraine confirming our original finding.

Another patient always had migraines before her period, along with severe PMS, bloating, sugar cravings, breast tenderness, and irritability. These symptoms are all related to hormonal imbalances. She had too much estrogen and too little progesterone. Getting her hormones back in balance relieved her of her migraines.

Yet another patient had genetic problems with her mitochondria and energy metabolism and needed high doses of vitamin B2  and coenzyme Q10  to get relief. And another woman came to see me with persistent abdominal bloating after eating, which told me she had an overgrowth of bacteria in her small bowel. When we cleared out these bacteria with a non-absorbed antibiotic, her migraines went away and didn’t return.

One patient who lived on Diet Coke didn’t get rid of her migraines until she gave up the artificial sweetener aspartame. Another had low blood sugar episodes that triggered migraines, so eating small, frequent meals of whole foods stopped the headaches. And finally, there was the woman who got headaches after exercise in the heat or with dehydration. We made sure she stayed hydrated and her migraines were permanently eliminated.

As you can see, even though these patients all had the same symptoms, their treatment was different in each case. So getting the full story — with the 7 Keys of UltraWellness — is so important. To heal from migraines you have to locate the causes of your headaches and address these underlying issues if you want to be free of pain.

To help you on that journey, here are the most important causes of migraines, their associated symptoms, tests to help identify problems, and treatments you can start using today.

Finding and Curing the Causes of Your Migraines

Food Allergy/Bowel and Gut Imbalances

  • The symptoms: Fatigue, brain fog, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, joint or muscle pain, postnasal drip and sinus congestion, and more.
  • The testing: Check an IgG food allergy panel and also check a celiac panel because wheat and gluten  are among the biggest causes of headaches and migraines. Stool testing and urine testing for yeast or bacterial imbalances that come from the gut can also be helpful.
  • The treatment: An elimination diet — getting rid of gluten, dairy, eggs, and yeast — is a good way to start. Corn can also be a common problem. Getting the gut healthy with enzymes, probiotics, and omega-3 fats is also important.

Chemical Triggers

  • The causes: A processed-food diet including aspartame, MSG (monosodium glutamate), nitrates (in deli meats), sulfites (found in wine, dried fruit, and food from salad bars) is to blame. Tyramine-containing foods like chocolate and cheese are also triggers.
  • The treatment: Get rid of additives, sweeteners, sulfites, and processed food. Eat a diet rich in whole foods and phytonutrients.

Hormonal Imbalances

  • The causes: Premenstrual syndrome with bloating, fluid retention, cravings, irritability, breast tenderness, menstrual cramps; use of an oral contraceptive pill or hormone replacement therapy; or even just being pre-menopausal, which leads to too much estrogen and not enough progesterone because of changes in ovulation.
  • The testing: Blood or saliva hormone testing looks for menopausal changes or too much estrogen.
  • The treatment: Eat a whole-foods, low-glycemic load, high-phytonutrient diet with flax, soy, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. Use herbs such as Vitex, along with magnesium and B6. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and refined carbohydrates. Exercise and stress reduction techniques  also help.

Magnesium Deficiency

  • The symptoms: Anything that feels tight or crampy like headaches, constipation, anxiety, insomnia, irritability, sensitivity to loud noises, muscle cramps or twitching, and palpitations.
  • The testing: Check red blood cell magnesium levels. Even this can be normal in the face of total body deficiency, so treatment with magnesium based on the symptoms is the first choice.
  • The treatment: Magnesium glycinate, citrate, or aspartate in doses that relieve symptoms or until you get loose bowels. If you have kidney disease of any kind, do this only with a doctor’s supervision.

Mitochondrial Imbalances

  • The symptoms: Fatigue, muscle aching, and brain fog, although sometimes the only symptom can be migraines.
  • The testing: Checking urinary organic acids can be helpful to assess the function of the mitochondria and energy production.
  • The treatment: Taking 400 mg of riboflavin (B2) twice a day and 100 to 400 mg a day of co-enzyme Q10 can be helpful, as can as other treatments to support the mitochondria.

Keep in mind that sometimes a combination of treatments is necessary. Other treatments can be helpful in selected cases, such as herbal therapies (like feverfew and butterbur,) acupuncture, homeopathy, massage, and osteopathic treatment to fix structural problems.

The bottom line is that this problem — which affects one in five Americans and costs society $24 billion a year — is almost entirely preventable, simply by following the principles of Functional Medicine and UltraWellness. So get to the bottom of your symptoms — and get ready for migraine relief. It’s the best way to move toward lifelong vibrant health.

Now I’d like to hear from you…

Do you suffer from migraines?

What treatments have you tried and how are they working?

Have you found a connection between the causes I’ve mentioned and your headaches?

What steps have you taken to address them?

Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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70 Responses to How to End Migraines

  1. Kim February 2, 2013 at 1:32 am #

    Dr. Hyman,
    I NEED to find a doctor in Dallas that will help me find a solution. Can you help me? From your article I can identify that I have the hormonal imbalances and magnesium deficiency. I don’t about the food allergy or bowel/gut, but possible. These migraines are so debilitating. I was just in the hospital for a migraine that was just so awful, and was going on for 6 days in a row, and I couldn’t take it anymore. I’ve tried so many things you talked about in treating the symptoms, but it just is only partly working. I’ve been trying to treat the causes, but I can’t find a doctor like you that can help. Please help!!!
    Thank you!!!

    • Profile photo of HymanStaff
      HymanStaff February 9, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

      Thank you for your message and your interest in Dr. Hyman’s work. To locate a practitioner of functional medicine in your area see the “Find a Functional Medicine Practitioner” link at the Institute of Functional Medicine website: http://www.functionalmedicine.org/practitioner_search.aspx?id=117. Here you will find a place to enter your zip code and look for practitioner’s in your area that have completed the institute’s five-day training course in functional medicine. Understand that not all of the doctors listed here will fit your particular needs. Many different medical professionals complete this training, and you will have to do additional research on your own regarding a particular practitioner’s approach and whether or not it fits your specific medical requirements. This may include calling the practioner’s office, visiting his or her website, and/or scheduling a consultation.

      Wishing You the Best of Health!

      Dr. Hyman Staff

    • Kathryn.bishop@btinternet.com March 20, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

      I am the same as you . I take starflower oil, menopace, maca powder, high class fish oil, flaxseed oil. Magnesium and calcium supplement. I also lie in a bath of Epsom salts three times a week and have new diet

      No alcohol, no sugar, no refined breads or flours. High protein, dairy, salad and fruits. Not too many starchy vegetables. Eat four times a day. Limited caffeine

      I have just bought progesterone cream , just incase the above don’t work

      Good luck!

  2. Kez February 6, 2013 at 6:12 am #

    Hi…I wrote to you a while back & never got a reply…?….

    • Profile photo of HymanStaff
      HymanStaff February 9, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

      Thank you for your message and your interest in Dr. Hyman’s work. If you are asking for medical advise we cannot provide this over the Internet, what do you need a response on?

      Wishing You the Best of Health!
      Dr. Hyman Staff

  3. Patrice February 8, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

    I was diagnosed with celiac disease 6 years ago. Since then, i have been on a gluten free diet. I still continue to have bad migraine headaches, constipation, and stomach pain (from time to time). Most of these symptoms occur a week or two before my period starts. My PMS symptoms have gotten worse over the last year or so. I can tell that my hormones are out of balance, but i have tried many natural remedies as well as prescription drugs to relieve these terrible symptoms, but nothing has helped. I am 42 years old and would like to know if there is something you can recommed for me to try.

    • Profile photo of HymanStaff
      HymanStaff February 9, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

      Thank you for your message and your interest in Dr. Hyman’s work. Your question and constellation of symptoms represents a complex medical condition. Questions regarding conditions like these cannot be answered in a responsible manner via the Internet.

      Wishing You the Best of Health!

      Dr. Hyman Staff

    • Profile photo of HymanStaff
      HymanStaff February 9, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

      Thank you for your message and interest in Dr. Hyman’s work. Questions regarding conditions like these cannot be answered in a responsible manner via the Internet.

      Wishing You the Best of Health!

      Dr. Hyman Staff

  4. Caro February 21, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

    WOW! Thank you so much.

  5. Louisa April 11, 2013 at 5:15 am #

    Migraines since 11 yrs old. Less from age 35-45 but more frequent in last 2 years. 50 yrs old, pre-menapausal. Night cramps, twitching legs, Taken Magnesium Oratate and also Transdermal Mag oil, still cramps at night. Also Bio-identical progesterone, feverfew, 400mg B2 for 3 months, Mineral and Vit supplements/ organic sulfer, super healthy organic home grown food and lifestyle, slim, plenty fresh air, exercise, into superfoods, plenty raw, seldom wheat, low grain diet.
    Been diet conscious since 18 yrs old., not stressed. recently did 20 day colon cleanse, with a couple of liver/gall bladder flushes along the way. OMG! gross! + (parasites F bucski)
    Am improving but still regular headaches .
    Am thinking of getting hormonal saliva test done, had general blood tests + Thyroid, Estrogen, Progesterone. etc all good, excellent cholesterol, 120/80 BP
    All Doc could offer was anti depressants, statin drugs and I didn’t even hear the third option! Might have gone in happy but his suggested prescription could depress anyone.
    Where too from here?
    Great info you are sharing, cheers

    • Profile photo of HymanStaff
      HymanStaff April 13, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

      Hi Louisa,

      Thank you for your message and your interest in Dr. Hyman’s work. Your question and constellation of symptoms represents a complex medical condition. Questions regarding conditions like these cannot be answered in a responsible manner via the Internet.

      Wishing You the Best of Health!

      Dr. Hyman Staff

  6. Carly April 30, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    Do you have any doctors in Canada that have done Dr. Hyman’s training and where I could find one?

  7. Kara_t May 18, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

    After years of monitoring my die and eliminating alcohol and caffeine, I still suffered from migraines mostly aroubd the menstual cycle. (I have a bad reaction to two foods, one food definitely triggers migraines: black beans.)

    Finally, I found relief for migraines after becoming pregnant. Pregnant women have a more steady hormone level. If we follow diet recommendations, we also avoid caffeine, excess sugar, nitrates in deli meat and smoked meats, drink plenty of water and overall eat better. After the pregnancy I had only mild headaches, and went back to my normal diet.

    At three months post pregnancy I had the birth control device Mirena. This keeps my hormones at a constant level. I am still migraine free at seven months post birth of my baby. For me, food diaries to diagnose triggers and hormone leveling birth control has helped me keep migraines away.

  8. Sheri June 23, 2013 at 5:31 am #

    I want to add another cause for chronic migraines. And that is the emotional-psycholoigical link. I suffered weekly migraines for 18 years every Monday afternoon. They began when I was on jury duty during deliberations. I had to, as a juror, make a decision as to guilt or innocence. 18 years later, I was in psychotherapy in an effort to resolve a life-long conflict in myself over my relationship with my mother who was sapping the very life out of me. Without going into endless details about this very dysfunctional relationship, what is significant is that when I was a small child, my mother had constant violent fights with my father and would pin me against the wall and demand that I state whose side I was on…and of course it had to be HER side. I was always furious, but with a totally out of control mother who was very dangerous, with a large butcher knife in her hand pointed at each of us in turn, I had to say, over and over again, that I was on her side.

    One night I came home from my psychotherapy session to find that my artist husband had taken over the entire room that we shared as studio space and he left me only the space of my work table shoved up against one wall. I was in the middle of my usual Monday night headache and my defenses were at an all time low and suddenly blurted out with an intense fury, “whose side are you on?” My headache vanished immediately and now, 20 years later, I have not had another headache. It was a truly Freudian Epiphany moment. And it cured my migraines which occurred every Monday because for all those years I had to call my mother every Sunday night and feel that pent up rage over and over again without any way to release it. When that release of the original anger and fury occurred I was cured of my migraines. So I would urge all sufferers to consider the possibility of buried anger as a source of their suffering.

  9. Linda Zeidler June 23, 2013 at 6:43 am #

    What great information. Thank you.

  10. Jeanne Hilton June 23, 2013 at 8:32 am #

    I have had very infrequent, short-duration migraines since childhood but about 25 years ago they changed. I started having them at least 1 to 2 times a month and had visual auras for the first time. The headaches would last 3 days, and sometimes even Zomig would not give me relief. I have been on the BSS since April 2012 and the migraines have almost disappeared. I still get them occasionally, but I take Zomig, get relief within a half hour, and the headache does not return. This has been a huge relief for me, as you can imagine.

    • Dana June 23, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

      But the problem with medications is not only are they toxic to the human body (because they are) and they create an acidic environment in the human body, but who knows what other issues taking this chemical (because bottom line, that’s what it is), will do to your overall health in the long run. Disease thrives in an acidic environment so in a sense, you’re paving the way for potential disease. Sure, it’s alleviating migraines now, but at what cost? Your best bet is food for medicine and natural supplements. If proper nutrition and supplements can cure so called “incurable” cancers, you bet it can cure migraines. Watch Hungry For Change, Food Matters, Doctored, Rethinking Cancer, The Gerson Miracle, (there are others) all available via Netflix or for purchase through Amazon.

  11. Pam Bilfeld June 23, 2013 at 8:33 am #

    Why don’t we just follow all of your treatment suggestions anyway? Your advice seems simple enough to follow as part of an everyday regimen…Why wait for the migraine? Let’s preempt it!

  12. Butch Phelps June 23, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    I totally get what you are saying. As a therapist, I treat chronic pain from a structural perspective. What most people do not understand is our muscles apply so much pressure to their nerves, blood vessels. and bones that the muscles create the pain and the wearing out of joints. I have helped patients that have suffered for 60-70 years with back pain. They had seen countless physicians and therapists that only treated the symptom. When you find the cause, you stop the pain.
    The pressure from muscles has two sides, physical and emotional. We all know about physical injuries, but what we don’t understand is the emotional side. Stress, bad diet, and poor lifestyle can cause your muscles to compress on your structure to the point of damage of the joints and discs. Conventional stretching only makes the problem worse. I have found that Active Isolated Stretching and deep tissue massage helps improve the body so your body will respond quicker to treatments needed. Educating people about their bodies will allow them to make better choices and that will have the biggest impact on healthcare costs.

  13. T Bennett June 23, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

    My eldest daughter had migraines for a couple of years, starting just as she got her first period. It was clearly hormonal, and once her cycle was stabilized, they stopped. My youngest is beginning that journey. Are there any basic steps to take to help girls who are just going through the changes of life?

  14. Janney Lee June 23, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

    Wonderful article !!! Could it be that adding a good amount of healthy fats (coconut and avocado oil may help. It has with me – I have been very conscious of my diet, possible food allergies, stress, etc. yet have still suffered from a whole bunch of seemingly unrelated symptoms (headaches included). I have since added hefty doses of healthy fats(trying not to overdo it) and find that my whole body seems to benefit.

  15. Carol June 24, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    What type of magnesium and how much would you recommend for a 60 yo woman with no apparent health issues? Thanks.

  16. Myriam Lluria Sitterson June 24, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

    Great article, as usual! Thank you for sharing this information! Sharing it on my facebook Health Coaching page!

  17. Janet June 25, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

    I had chronic headaches since I was a teen. I was finally tested for Celiac disease & found out I was allergic to gluten. Within 3 days I was headache free. No more popping Advil like they were Smarties (which, incidentally, contain gluten!). To now live pain free has given me a new life.

  18. Freddy October 9, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this post and the rest of the website is really good.

  19. Tina October 13, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    I am 52, healthy but suffering from migraines for over 15 years. i went to 2 migraine specialist in Atlanta, and a natural path who was the best because she used biofeedback technology and determined that pre menopause and hormonal imbalance ifrom too high estrogen and too low progesterone is my problem. So i began a regiment of 21 days with bio identical progesterone..the naturalpath also found that i am alo allergic to shell fish, gluts, wheat, and dairy and soy.
    Sometimes the migraines dont come ..but that is usually when my cycle skips a month. the progesterone makes me fat….my belly grows. I have been diagnosed with Aura migraines,,,i have one now,..heart paputations get so bad feels like heart attack..anxiety, stress, mood changes all accompany this aura..sensitivity to smells and food. Cant tolerate solid food…feel like throwin up. I have not been able to hold down a job for years- i was self employed as a realtor..but it git too hard,,,this is life altering..i need a cure. please help me. I llive in Auburn Alabama.

  20. Kelley November 22, 2013 at 11:00 pm #

    Dr. Hyman,

    Do you personally know an MD in the Minneapolis or St. Paul area that would approach my debilitating almost daily migraines the same as you would? I understand you have a database where I can search for physicians who took a multi day course but I’m looking for an MD that practices functional medicine like you do not someone who’s just taken a five day course.

    Thank you

    • Profile photo of Team Hyman
      Team Hyman December 30, 2013 at 10:43 pm #

      Hi Kelley-You can visit functionalmedicine.org and find practitioner in your area! Good luck!

  21. tammy Majchrzak November 27, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

    hi i have suffered with migraine since the age of 11. i am nearly 44! i have tried every avenue and live in hope that something can be done to remove them entirely. i would be interested if you can assist me in any way. i look forward to hearing from you. i have tried all the migraine formulas on the internet. they can actually give me a migraine! xxx i have chronic neck and back pain to. i think this is what triggers migraine as well as stress, anxiety, menstuation, tiredness etc but am open to any suggestions you feel you can offer me. x i look forward to hearing from you.

    • Profile photo of Team Hyman
      Team Hyman December 30, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

      Thank you for your interest in Dr Hyman’s work with IBS. Unfortunately Dr Hyman cannot provide personal medical advice in this forum. If you would like to make an appointment at Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, MA please go to:http://www.ultrawellnesscenter.com/becoming-a-patient/ When you are finished reading through the material you may call the office at After you have reviewed this, please contact our office to make an appointment. By phone, (413) 637-9991; by email, office@ultrawellnesscenter.com

      For more personalized nutrition advice, Dr Hyman’s nutrition coaching team would be happy to work with you on an individual level to help you reach your goals. To work with the nutrition coaching team please go to:http://www.bloodsugarsolution.com/nutrition-coaching/ OR call (800) 892-1443 to get started.

  22. wayne collier November 29, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

    have experienced migraines for 20 yrs. have also been prescribed all of the above, standard “preventive’ meds by neurologists. have been searching for someone to address the cause. don’t need a different bandaid. the question which resulted in finding Dr Hyman’s article was “can magnesium end my migraines?’ I’m a 68 yr old male who averages 2-3 migraines/week. otherwise, in good health. currently taking 60mg of propranolol/day + Imitrex to end headaches. feel the symptoms of my 4th headache this week, as I’m writing.
    not expecting a medical response, just reacting to the article, which I don’t typically do. am interested in learning more. thanks, w

  23. Kelly Owens December 9, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    Hi, I live in Southern California and I have had migraine headaches since I was 8-10 years old. I get them so bad I have nausea, vomiting until my stomach is completely empty or when I sit up or move during a migraine. I’m currently in a terrible migraine cycle with a headache and nausea for days. It has gotten to the point I can’t take care of my 5 year old I am missing work. I really need help and relief.

    Do you suffer from migraines?
    Yes

    What treatments have you tried and how are they working?
    Everything. Tomax daily however I felt numbness and still had migraines, imitrex injections upon onset no relief, and taking the pill without a break to keep hormone levels the same.

    Have you found a connection between the causes I’ve mentioned and your headaches?

    Hormone time always leads to a migraine. Food triggers but I really try to avoid daily, chocolate, msg, canned or processed foods. I only drink 1 cup of coffee a day. Don’t really eat sweets, ice cream, or salty foods.

    Stress leads to headaches. I don’t know what todo.

    • Profile photo of Team Hyman
      Team Hyman December 27, 2013 at 2:48 pm #

      Thank you for your interest In Dr. Hyman’s work. Unfortunately he cannot provide you personalized medical advice in this forum. In order to provide you the proper care you need we hope you will seek the attention of a local qualified Functional Med practitioner soon. To locate a doctor near you who practices functional medicine like Dr. Hyman, go to http://www.functionalmedicine.org/practitioner_search.aspx?id=117 and scroll down to where it says “locate a practitioner” and enter your location. Progress accordingly from there.
      You can also make an appointment to be a patient at Dr.Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, MA. Please go to: http://www.ultrawellnesscenter.com/becoming-a-patient/
      Did you know you can work with Dr. Hyman’s nutritionists virtually? For personalized nutrition coaching, please see: http://store.drhyman.com/Store/List/Coaching-Programs
      In Good Health,
      Dr. Hyman’s Wellness Staff

  24. jasinov December 13, 2013 at 5:47 am #

    Wonderful article thanks for these informations, I wish you much success.

  25. Al December 31, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

    Hello,
    I read your blog on migraines with interest because my daughter, age 40, has debilitating migraines on a regular basis that do not fit any of the possible causes mentioned in your blog.

    My daughter’s migraines are caused by the weather– yes you read right, the weather! Whenever a weather front is coming, my daughter can tell because it triggers a migraine– and it can last for several days; during that time, she is completely immobilized.

    A clue as to why weather may be the cause is the fact then when my daughter blows her nose, her ears squeak. Evidently, the passages between her ears and nose are so small that these passages cannot adjust to the atmospheric pressure changes. This results in a difference in the pressure in those passages compared to the atmospheric pressure which then (apparently) triggers a migraine. Ever hear of this before ???

  26. Kate c January 3, 2014 at 10:45 pm #

    I had horrible debilitating migraines twice each month, day of ovulation, and beginning of period. I finally found thru trial and error, how to stop them! I take 2capsules evening primrose oil, 2 capsules carlsons fish oil, and an excellent pro biotic each day. It is also crucial that I exercise at least 6 days a week. I also drink lots of water. I have lots of energy and feel awesome! I am a 27 year old mother of 5 kids under the age of 7. When I follow this plan, I don’t even notice pms or cramps either! But when I fall off schedule, I notice within a week!

  27. Nicole January 5, 2014 at 9:08 am #

    I suffer from HORRIBLE migraines…they include seizures..which the Dr. has dx as “pseudo-seizures.” and I can also feel them coming on. It has been very debilitating for my parents and myself and my personal life. I HAVE found a wonderful gentleman who has supported me so far. However, I get the horrible auroa, feel dizzy, nausea, vomitting, and usually horrible migraine to only ONE side of the head.. My Dr has me on Xanax, Topamax100mg, Gabapentin 600mg, Atenolol, Fioricet as needed, Imitrex100mg as needed, and tylenol. I HATE taking all these meds and want to get off of them. I feel I am getting addicted to them..I would love to know how to “detox” or cleanse myself and figure out what the heck is causing these. I do have them really bad around my period also, but they are pretty much there, EVERY morning, and have to take a fioricet to calm them down.
    My mother suffered from them too, but nothing like the seizures. She had a hysterectomy, and they stopped immediately..I am only 42 and do not want to do that!.
    Please help!
    Nicole

    • Profile photo of Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff
      Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff August 22, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

      Hi Nicole,
      Thank you for your interest In Dr. Hyman’s work. Unfortunately he cannot provide you personalized medical advice in this forum. In order to provide you the proper care you need we hope you will seek the attention of a local qualified Functional Med practitioner soon. To locate a doctor near you who practices functional medicine like Dr. Hyman, go to http://www.functionalmedicine.org/practitioner_search.aspx?id=117 and scroll down to where it says “locate a practitioner” and enter your location. Progress accordingly from there.
      Wishing you the best of health,
      Dr. Hyman Staff

  28. ArcticLotus February 20, 2014 at 9:36 am #

    This is one of the most complete lists I’ve ever found. Thank you.

    I’m 29. I spent most of my teen years suffering silent migraines, my body upped the anti in my late teens, with migraines from mildly low blood sugar or overheating that resembled a mini-stroke but lacked testing results. At 22 I had an ocular migraine with a 10 minute blind spot that scared me tremendously, and that was when i finally got a diagnosis of migraine. At that point, I was suffering 2 to 3, 48 hour migraines per week. I started a food journal and pinpointed MSG and soy as my first triggers. An increase in allergic symptoms led me to remove gluten a couple years later, and dairy at the same time to give my gut a break.

    I do my best to eat a diet rich in whole foods, limiting processed foods due to excess salt and other additives, switched from soda to mostly coffee for my moderate daily caffeine intake, no artificial sweeteners, no MSG, limit pickled foods, and now gluten and dairy free for almost 3 years now. I am averaging 1 migraine every 2 months, and they still tend to be traceable to me being lax on my dietary restrictions. I had a single alcoholic drink last weekend, and suffered a migraine all week. Now I’m cutting alcohol.

    Of everything, MSG and soy were my fastest-acting food triggers, and morning fasting and overheating were my second worst triggers. I didn’t notice migraine symptoms due to glutenous foods, but after having removed gluten, it seems like I can occasionally consume small amounts of my other triggers without them causing a migraine.

    I would suggest individuals seriously analyze their overall health when considering dietary changes, get a second and third opinion, and trust your gut. I have a wheat allergy. Due to family issues, I think I may also be Celiac, but I cannot undergo the testing. Also, the testing for Celiac has a high false negative rate, and for every 1 positive Celiac, another 5 people are estimated to be gluten sensitive but not test positive. Over the course of a year, I experienced an increase in intestinal upset, then phlegm and throat constriction, until i realized the similarity between my throat response and my husband’s anaphylaxis due to dairy allergy, and cut out gluten immediately. It takes more than a couple weeks to start feeling better, as your body has been attacking itself and needs time to heal.

    My deepest sympathies to those out there still suffering without relief. Best of luck to all of you in finding and controlling your triggers.

  29. Michelle April 7, 2014 at 10:36 am #

    Great article, I recognise symptoms of my own in the hormone and magnesium sections. I find chiropractic, acupuncture and progesterone cream helpful. I take magnesium, coQ10 and B2 as well as supplements to help the liver detox excess oestrogen. I do find that with chiroporactic the relief is short lived and it seems to treat the symptom and not the cause. My chirporactor says my problem is muscle tension causing the misaligments. Above all I find a strictly whole food organic diet brings the greatest relief, along with regular exercise. I avoid anything processed, including white pasta, rice and bread. If it needs an ingredients list my rule is just dont eat it, with the exception of organic wholegraine fermented bread.

  30. Tom Pollock April 17, 2014 at 10:59 am #

    Dr. Hyman,
    Thank you for your generous sharing of information. I have suffered with headaches since the age of 13. I am a male, now 53 years old – my headaches have gotten more chronic, and more progressively worse over the last 20 years. I’m a non smoker, drink no alcohol, am not overweight but do have some bad eating habits that may be my downfall.
    I have been prescribed all of the typical triptans, anti seizure meds, taken botox injections (for headache), the medicine list covers the full spectrum as doctors have truly tried to help me, but nothing works. Each night when I get home from work, my body is exhausted from the medicines and fighting the chronic pain, and I collapse on the couch from exhaustion and fall asleep within just minutes.
    I’m considering the elimination diet. My biggest culprits probably are gluten, dairy products, caffeine, and diet soda sweetened with splenda. I’m not sure if that also is part of the artificial sweetener family that can cause the pain … I have stopped the drinks in the past and found no difference … but only stopped for say 6 weeks. I do drink caffeine and maybe I need to also come off of that as well.
    I would love to just stop all of the preventive meds that I am on and try a total natural treatment path with increased exercise to see if this would help, combined with the supplements you have suggested. Like so many, I am at the end of my rope … literally in a vicious cycle of pain, work, sleep and then do it all over again, day in and day out. My quality of life has reached a point of just going through the motion. I have also been experiencing more than normal memory struggle and brain fog. Any suggestions would be greatly, greatly appreciated.
    Your Friend,
    Tom

  31. Sadia April 17, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

    Dear Dr Hyman

    Thank you for this article. I have a number of symptoms occuring in tandem but I am finding it extremely difficult to get one doctor who can see all of these together and give me some fundamental cures rather than symptom suppression medicines.

    I am female 37 years
    I have migraines, once in 3 to 4 weeks since last 15 years
    Stomach bloating that is almost a constant feature since perhaps 5-6 years.
    Pains all over the body at various points ( I’m tempted to self diagnose as fibromyalgia). no doctor has provided a diagnosis yet.. these pains are bearable, constant, react only to appying pressure, are also in areas like top of my head and wings-under my arms- in addition to some of the typical tender points needed for diagnosis like shoulder, lower back, inner knees, thighs- all bilateral and symmetrical pains.
    fairly low vitamin D3 and ferritin counts and a somewhat low haemoglobin count (11.5)- …

    I wonder what you make of this set of symptoms. also can you advise me on what kind of an expert should I consult ( nutritionist, neurologist, gastroenterologist, naturopath?)

    while i dont have any mood/emotional symptoms and generally tend to have a happy life, I do have work related stress and while none of the above symptoms are debilitating – i.e. i work hard and party hard despite these symptoms, they keep me feeling not too well :(

    kindly suggest, I will be indebted

    Warm Regards

    Sadia

    From India

    • Profile photo of Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff
      Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff August 15, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

      Hi Sadia,
      Thank you for your interest In Dr. Hyman’s work. Unfortunately he cannot provide you personalized medical advice in this forum. In order to provide you the proper care you need we hope you will seek the attention of a local qualified Functional Med practitioner soon. To locate a doctor near you who practices functional medicine like Dr. Hyman, go to http://www.functionalmedicine.org/practitioner_search.aspx?id=117 and scroll down to where it says “locate a practitioner” and enter your location. Progress accordingly from there.
      Wishing you the best of health,
      Dr. Hyman Staff

  32. Carolyn D April 27, 2014 at 7:52 pm #

    I have suffered from migraines since college. I am now 37 and they have changed drastically since then. Since last May I have suffered with migraine almost everyday. I have tried many preventives, triptans, yoga, botox. I have had MRIs, allergy tests, etc. but they have been the most drastic as of late. I have been suffering for the past four weeks almost everyday. I take anxiety medication as well. I have done a food diary but haven’t found any triggers. Any suggestions?
    Carolyn

    • Profile photo of Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff
      Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff August 8, 2014 at 5:51 pm #

      Hi Carolyn,
      Thank you for your interest In Dr. Hyman’s work. Unfortunately he cannot provide you personalized medical advice in this forum. In order to provide you the proper care you need we hope you will seek the attention of a local qualified Functional Med practitioner soon. To locate a doctor near you who practices functional medicine like Dr. Hyman, go to http://www.functionalmedicine.org/practitioner_search.aspx?id=117 and scroll down to where it says “locate a practitioner” and enter your location. Progress accordingly from there.

      You can also make an appointment to be a patient at Dr.Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, MA. Please go to: http://www.ultrawellnesscenter.com/becoming-a-patient/
      Wishing you the best of health,
      Dr. Hyman Staff

  33. home remedies for constipation April 30, 2014 at 3:04 am #

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  34. Lisa May 21, 2014 at 4:36 pm #

    My daughter suffers from cyclic vomiting syndrome with severe dizziness. None of the sickness or migraine medication prescribed by the paediatrician or neurologists to date have worked. She is completely symptom free in between episodes which are every 12 weeks and last 5 days, so I’m not sure it is food related – unless something builds up over a 12 week period? She gets more emotional than normal a week or so before an episode and says “I’m sad and I don’t know why” so I’m thinking it’s some sort of hormonal imbalance but I’m not sure why this cycles every 12 weeks? Any help or advice on what an 8 year old could try would be gratefully appreciated!

    • Profile photo of Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff
      Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff August 4, 2014 at 9:20 pm #

      Hi Lisa,
      Thank you for your interest In Dr. Hyman’s work. Unfortunately he cannot provide you personalized medical advice in this forum. In order to provide your daughter the proper care she needs we hope you will seek the attention of a local qualified Functional Med practitioner soon. To locate a doctor near you who practices functional medicine like Dr. Hyman, go to http://www.functionalmedicine.org/practitioner_search.aspx?id=117 and scroll down to where it says “locate a practitioner” and enter your location. Progress accordingly from there.

      You can also make an appointment to be a patient at Dr.Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, MA. Please go to: http://www.ultrawellnesscenter.com/becoming-a-patient/.
      Wishing you the best of health,
      Dr. Hyman Staff

  35. who is the best to advise? June 4, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

    Hi ~ I have spent the last 1 years chasing after a cure for my debilitating migraines ~ have worn a plate in my mouth, epilepsy meds, candida diet, and a host of other meds and diets with little to no success.
    I have cut out caffeine, meat ~because of hormones, sweets, bread, wine, chocolate, and in fact any pleasurable food stuff that those around me enjoy! I am happy to try anything, but after reading your article am keen to try and eliminate those you suggest. My question is who is best to assist in this? A dietician, GP, neurologist. Blood tests etc need to be taken and possible scripts given in this elimination process. PS I live in South Africa

  36. Sam June 17, 2014 at 6:15 am #

    What is have been diagnosed with severe hypoglycemia and suffer horrific migraines almost daily and were told to not eat carbs – will eating gluten free products help?

    • Profile photo of Team Hyman
      Team Hyman June 17, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

      Hi Sam,

      While I cannot speak to your specific situation, food allergies and sensitivities may contribute to your issues but the symptoms and severity vary from person to person. The 10 Day Detox has been a resource for many people like yourself who want to get back on track to health and start feeling great again.

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  38. Manjula G July 5, 2014 at 6:09 am #

    Dear Doctor,
    I am suffering from Migrane which often comes and stays for weeks together…..please help me how i can get rid of Migrane.
    Please await for reply and will be thankful

    • Profile photo of Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff
      Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff July 30, 2014 at 6:38 pm #

      Hi Manjula,
      Thank you for your interest In Dr. Hyman’s work. Unfortunately he cannot provide you personalized medical advice in this forum. In order to provide you the proper care you need we hope you will seek the attention of a local qualified Functional Med practitioner soon. To locate a doctor near you who practices functional medicine like Dr. Hyman, go to http://www.functionalmedicine.org/practitioner_search.aspx?id=117 and scroll down to where it says “locate a practitioner” and enter your location. Progress accordingly from there.

      You can also make an appointment to be a patient at Dr.Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, MA. Please go to: http://www.ultrawellnesscenter.com/becoming-a-patient/.
      Wishing you the best of health,
      Dr. Hyman Staff

  39. sharon box July 11, 2014 at 10:08 pm #

    I found your information interesting, but feel that I am beyond hope. I have suffered with migraines since I was 12 years old, am now 53. every doctor i have been to see both GP’s and specialists have tried so many different types of treatments, Botox, indifferent injections and intravenous treatments, many oral, treatments, i have been allergic to most of them or they just don’t work. acupuncture, naturopaths, detox diets just to name a few. i am now getting seizures and have had a mild stroke. i cant work or have a life any more im such a burden on my son that live with me. i have now ben put on a disability support pension. i am at the end of all of this so you are my last hope. i don’t know if you can help me but i hope you can.

    regards
    sharon

    • Profile photo of Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff
      Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff July 29, 2014 at 12:50 pm #

      Hi Sharon,
      Thank you for sharing your story and for your interest In Dr. Hyman’s work. I encourage you to continue to seek help for your migraines. Unfortunately Dr. Hyman cannot provide you personalized medical advice in this forum. In order to provide you the proper care you need we hope you will seek the attention of a local qualified Functional Med practitioner soon. To locate a doctor near you who practices functional medicine like Dr. Hyman, go to http://www.functionalmedicine.org/practitioner_search.aspx?id=117 and scroll down to where it says “locate a practitioner” and enter your location. Progress accordingly from there.

      You can also make an appointment to be a patient at Dr.Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, MA. Please go to: http://www.ultrawellnesscenter.com/becoming-a-patient/.
      Wishing you the best of health,
      Dr. Hyman Staff

  40. Laura riddle July 18, 2014 at 9:24 am #

    I love the concept and I’m so encouraged by the site! I broke up with migraines that have attacked me for 19 years as my New Years resolution this year. I wanted to share what I have found sucessful and unsuccessful. #1 sinus problems infections can make migraines more frequent /worse. Get treated a very brilliant allergist tested my immune system and found I had siga a reduced ability to fight sinus infection among others. A long treatment of antibiotics was necessary I ate probiotic youghurt for lunch to counter act the morning and evening antibiotics effect on the tummy. I began taking 4oo mg b2 and 100-200 mg coq10 hasn’t helped much them I menstrual migraines are better treated with magnesium so I added in magnesium 400 mg the kind that doesn’t cause. Bowel issues. If you are a person of faith have your home blessed and go in and get prayed for and make confession migraines have a spiritual side and it’s important to fight back in that realm. Imitrex gave me very bad side effects couldn’t get off the couch on blood pressure meds and the pill made them worse. God bless you all. “God wishes above all things that you be in in good health and prosper even as your soul prospers”

  41. Anjali July 25, 2014 at 8:25 am #

    I get migrain headaches which last uptil 1 1/2 days. After I pass all that I had eaten prior to the attack the headach is gone! Earlier it was just eggs that caused it, now it can be anything that I eat from the market. I’m under constant threat of having a migrain attack. Will magnesium help is what I want to know. Or does anyone have a better solution?

  42. Victoria Rose August 6, 2014 at 5:02 am #

    Hello, first thank you for the tips, I have tried a lot of the above (I know msg, and aspartame cause migraines, so I stay away, also diet things like gluten.The main reason though is Hormones, like clockwork once a month I get a 4 day migraine) I have tried everything from estrogen cream on the thighs, back to back birth control, yam creams. Beyond the hormones route I have tried, imatex, oxycodone (narcotics actually make my migraines 10 fold worse, unless its Dilodiud, benedryl and an anti nausea med at the er) butalnital. I have tried anti depressants, and anti seizure meds. Nuerontin to be specific. I have tried Yoga, and meditation. Also pressure point magnets, whatever that is called where they put these little sticky bandaid things with a magnet and a pin on point 21 in my shoulder. Long story short, I have tried any and everything I could think of, and now in addition to suffering from migraines during my cycle, and I also getting them once a week usually on Fridays. Maybe from stress? I need help I know that much.. Thank you again for the website I will look into some of the things I might have missed.

  43. bethany August 11, 2014 at 5:09 pm #

    Hi Doctor,
    I’m a 24 year old that has been suffering from migraines for over 10 years. I’ve went gluten free, being recommended by a doctor who thought it would help, and it has not. I’ve tried numerous medicines several doctors have given me. I’m starting to think it might be hormone related as it sounds to be similar to the case study in your article above. I used the link provided by your staff to find a doctor in the chicago area that specializes in migraines, as well as using your IFM treatment but none of them seem to be neurology/head based doctors. Any help on one to contact in the Chicagoland area? Or else, where I can read up on hormone replacement as I believe to have too low Progesterone and too high Estradiol.. I got it tested last year on a hunch and was right.

    Thanks!

  44. Gwen August 12, 2014 at 9:35 am #

    Nowhere in your article do you mention sleep apnea as a cause of migraines. What is your opinion this topic?

  45. Arlo Mathison August 15, 2014 at 12:23 pm #

    Hello,
    I also suffered from headaches and severe eczema on my hands. I was on medication and steroid creams. I suffered this for many years, I told my doctor for many years there has to be something going on with my chemistry causing this. Of course, they said there was nothing I could do. I even asked for a blood test to find out if we could see anything there. Since my health insurance would not cover the cast of a complete profile they advised against it. I was watching Dr. Oz about 9 month’s ago, I found the answer I was looking for. Even though I was on an Omega 3 supplement I was still suffering. I found out that there are companies that do a fatty acid profile test. Low and behold I was out of balance, my score came in at 27.5 times the amount of Omega 6’s then Omega 3’s in my blood. My headaches and eczema was due to a balance issue. I have changed my Omega 3 supplement to a liquid form called Balance Oil from Norway. No more headaches, no more eczema. I tested again after being on the product for four month’s. I am now at a 4 to 1 ratio and completely healed. I would have never believed it! Everyone should know this!

  46. Nancy Lamb August 22, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

    Hello Dr. Hyman,

    I am quite curious – Do you recommend the same treatment for CFS as you do for magnesium deficiency and mitochondrial imbalances?

    Also, is there an correspondence between migraine and chronic fatigue syndrome? Because the listed symptoms seem so similar, I want to see if the recommendations will be helpful to alleviate and or restore the CFS symptoms.

    Though I know you can’t treat online, I am just looking for your suspicions here.
    Thank you.
    Nancy Lamb

    PS — i did try to connect with you directly and was willing to pay for a telephone consult – but never received any kind of response via normal channels. Sad about that as you were one of my favorite instructors via Integrative Nutrition. Love what you had to say. You are the rock star of functional medicine.

  47. Lubo September 9, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

    I had a huge problem with eczema and strong migraines, but now I’m perfectly fine. Here is how:
    – I quit smoking – 80 % of eczema cured
    – I started with low histamine diet – 50 % of migraines cured
    – I started with low gluten diet – everything cured and I even lost about 4 kilograms…
    That’s my story. You can send me a question if you want :) And let me know if it helps… You need to give it some time at least a month or so… lubino385@azet.sk

  48. cindy September 18, 2014 at 11:18 am #

    I have such debilitating migraines. They come approximately once a month so I’m thinking hormonal. I’ve tried food changes. Allergy medicine changes. Imetrex. I live on excedrin. And mine are ocular with auras and lights so I can’t drive or walk!!! For that matter. They last 2 to 3 days and I get nauseated and vomiting and i am left so depressed. HELP no one has been able to help me.

    • Profile photo of Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff
      Dr. Hyman Nutrition Staff September 26, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

      Hi Cindy,
      Thank you for your interest In Dr. Hyman’s work. Unfortunately he cannot provide you personalized medical advice in this forum. In order to provide you the proper care you need we hope you will seek the attention of a local qualified Functional Med practitioner soon. To locate a doctor near you who practices functional medicine like Dr. Hyman, go to http://www.functionalmedicine.org/practitioner_search.aspx?id=117 and scroll down to where it says “locate a practitioner” and enter your location. Progress accordingly from there.
      Wishing you the best of health,
      Dr. Hyman Staff

  49. Ashok kumar November 5, 2014 at 5:56 am #

    hello sir …..i am suffer migraine last 3 months…..suddenly highly headaches occur for 2- 3 hour and than normal.muscles high pain vomiting,loose motion highly headaches .i took the treatment india jaipur’s most famous hospital but can’t relief.

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