Migraine is a classic functional medicine/nutrition topic because it all comes down to root causes and one of the key concepts of functional medicine/nutrition is looking for root causes whenever possible. This is where traditional medical care falls down in many areas, especially general practice.
The reason is really because of modern medicine’s brilliance in treating acute emergencies.
With the advent of new drugs, produced in significant quantities, they were able to stop early death via trauma and infections in a way that simply wasn’t possible before. As a consequence of this, the average life expectancy has risen up to late 70’s/early 80’s in the UK.
If you have head trauma or meningitis, you need steroids to squash the inflammation & swelling in your brain or you will die.
But the use of steroids will be short term.
Either you die (in which case no more steroids for you) or you survive and the infection is gone and the trauma is over, so no more steroids are needed.
They are used short term use to suppress a SYSTEM to control a SYMPTOM.
This kind of model is lifesaving in an emergency setting like A&E, ICU etc, but the problem is the same model is used in general practice and in NHS clinics for many things.
Here is the issue – if you are depressed, they want to suppress the symptoms, so they give you an “ANTI-depressant”, if you are in pain you might have some inflammation, so you get an “ANTI-inflammatory”, and on and on.
Now the issue here is these are often chronic, long-term problems. They have often been present for years and will not just disappear. When you are offered drugs , the benefits are often overestimated (you are often still suffering), the side effects minimised or not even mentioned (from a GP POV, what other choice do patients have?) and, of course, they usually have to keep taking them because the ROOT CAUSE is still in place.
I could have followed the dermatologist’s advice when I had psoriasis and used coal tar, then steroids, then if needed immune suppressants, but I knew I wanted to get the root cause.
Turns out I had an infection and that this is a common cause of psoriasis.
In fact, it has been known since the early 1900’s that people often developed psoriasis after a nasty sore throat.
I got the bugs under control and my skin got better.
Had I chosen the drugs, the root cause would still have been in place.
Thus, the drugs to control my symptoms and immune system, would have needed to be taken long term and the side effects with them.
If you can view patients through the lens of evolution in terms of inflammation being a spectrum, rather than “normal” or actively inflamed with an auto-immune issue, and understand the consequence of inflammation on their pain thresholds, energy and mood.
You will have swallowed the red pill and see reality and it cannot be un-seen.
Consider issues like migraine that have lots of “co-morbidities” (this is a term I loathe).’
These are simply a list of conditions underpinned by a sustained inflammatory response, deficiencies of key nutrients and toxins (from a variety of sources).
If they could identify the root causes and remove the toxins and add the nutrients, maybe these would disappear or at least improve?
The tragedy of this is illustrated by this well-meaning but poorly educated lady writing on a migraine site, entitled “the battle of multiple conditions”.
Note she had a total hysterectomy at 29, lives with fibromyalgia, migraine and mental health issues.
Note she says migraines have no cure.
Well, cure is a big word, but you sure can do a lot, check this out for Co-Q-10, and this is just one part of our migraine protocol.
But try this for size, how about we try removing foods as a source of inflammation?
You get one veg, one meat, one fruit, one veg, one carb and after 3-4 weeks you get a 93% resolution rate.
But check this out, not only did migraines go away, but so too did lots of other “associated symptoms” or “co-morbidities”.
Oh and all those pesky “triggers” for their migraine, turns out not so much of an issue when you remove the foods as root causes: