Half of Us Suffer from This; 5 Ways to Take Back Control

Imagine you’re the tennis phenom Serena Williams and you lose a critical tennis match you should have easily won, or you’re actress Kristin Chenoweth winning your first Emmy and can’t celebrate with your colleagues, or you’re running back Terrell Davis in the Super Bowl and get sidelined during the game.

In each instance, these professionals were impacted by what half of the world’s population experiences: migraines. And since the pandemic, that percentage has increased; experts are seeing a dramatic uptick in patients with chronic headaches and migraines.

I suffered from migraines in college, and they would be so crippling that I would get a shot of Demerol at the emergency room. Then I would have to get more meds to treat the symptoms from the Demerol—a vicious cycle.

During that time, I discovered that if I sensed one coming on, I could drink something caffeinated. My choice was always a diet cola called Tab (I’m dating myself here!), which would prevent the migraine. At my young age, I obviously wasn’t thinking about the counterproductive ingredients, like saccharin, but my point here is intake—something you can control.

I was on to something back in the day with caffeine. Today in my practice, I know the positive effects that diet (real food, not soda) and nutrition have on patients with migraines.

Thanks to our collaboration, I’ve encountered numerous cases where people have experienced years, if not decades, of migraines and successfully eliminated them with changes in their diet and nutrition intake.

Take Katie, for example. She experienced migraines for forty-six years. After rigorous analysis of her diet and a change in her nutrition intake for six months, Katie had only one migraine during her bout with COVID.

Carlos is another interesting case. He was sixty years old at the time he was treated. We reversed twelve years of chronic migraine symptoms within two months of following our prescribed diet. His migraines decreased from eighteen to twenty-four events to one per month. Today, he’s been migraine-free for seven-plus years.

I would like to think that one of the positives stemming from the pandemic is that we have a kinder, gentler view of others who are experiencing pain. My wish is that there would be less of a stigma or intolerance surrounding people with migraines.

During the time Davis was a running back for the Denver Broncos, he “was seeing double and triple” and said, “I thought people would think I was crazy” if I told them. Now he avoids foods that may trigger his migraines.

June is National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month (#MHAM). It’s the perfect time (actually, any time is perfect!) to learn about what may be causing your headaches and migraines and how to treat them. When left unresolved, they can lead to depression, isolation, and self-medication.

Here are 5 resources if you or someone close to you experiences migraines.

  1. Learn more about mindfulness and therapeutic practices. Yoga, tai chi, meditation, and other forms of mental relaxation can be helpful. Click here for resources and events. The first time I tried yoga class, I thought, “How hard can stretching be?” It turns out that the keeping-quiet part was hard for me—I got in trouble for talking too much!
  2. Center your education around fitness and fun. The best way to overcome the uncontrollable is to circle the wagons and gather support. Click here for educational events and family programs that you can enjoy with others. Make events fun by exercising in groups, in costumes, or in fitness flashbacks with eighties headbands and leg warmers!
  3. Give nutrition a chance. So many people like Katie and Carlos have experienced success with diet and nutrition to mitigate migraines. My patients also often learn that a lack of certain nutrients, such as riboflavin, magnesium, or fatty acids can be causing migraines. Schedule an appointment with a doctor or nutritionist who can advise you on isolating foods or nutrients that keep symptoms at bay.
  4. Try homeopathic remedies, like Stopain. I recommend this to my patients and have family members who use it. It works with 80 percent of migraine patients. The provider has given me discounted pricing that I’m passing on to you. Click here to learn more about Stopain.
  5. Be kind to others who suffer from migraines. Dealing with chronic pain is hard. If you don’t suffer from migraines, it’s difficult to understand what someone else is going through. Support groups are available for migraine sufferers. Tell them to start here if they want to learn more.

John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”

There’s nothing more frustrating than working hard at your passion, focusing on something you love to do, or simply being present in a highly anticipated moment and being stopped in your tracks by something out of your control.

Statistically, if you haven’t experienced migraines, the person next to you has. Help me spread these valuable resources, give your brain a natural “helper’s high,” let the serotonin from your good deeds flow!


*Katie and Carlos’s names are pseudonyms.

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