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Migraines are Psychedelic

Migraines are psychedelic

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Migraines are psychedelic.

No doubt about it.

There’s a definite pattern of aura, peak, plateau and come down.
The aura can be zigzagging in the air, blind spots in vision, sensitivity to lights, sounds, smell, touch, temperature, sentience in general. Nausea, crankiness, aching joints, tight muscles, noticing your body’s uncomfortability in a heightened way. Sometimes the prodrome and aura can last for a few days, and this is the prime time to take ‘preventative’ measures, or nip it in the bud.

There is not always rhyme or reason, at least that I can identify, to when, where and why a migraine will strike. Chocolate, caffeine, sugar, stress, definitely hormones, tiredness, heck, life in general.. these are all triggers. It is its own world and domain, and once I’m in it, I have to play by its rules.
Yet some things, I am learning, do help.

This is my semblance of a regime:

When I get an aura, I take Magnesium internally and externally as Epsom salts in the bath, often with lavender and rosemary essential oils.
Lately I have been experimenting with Agrimony, Meadowsweet, Skullcap and Wood Betony tea.. Sometimes I add Blessed Thistle, sometimes Iris root and Dandelion. These herbs help when the migraine seems more abdominal, the nausea is strong and I feel like I’ve flipped 180 degrees in my body and I can’t quite find my centre. Although truly, at all times, digestion is impaired during migraines. For me it can follow a liver/gallbladder meridian, although not always.
I have taken Bupleurum and a Chinese herbal formula called Peaceful Earth to settle my stomach and calm my liver.
I take probiotics. And Omega 3.
I’ve taken homeopathic Gold, Nux Vomica, Belladonna, Sepia, Pulsatilla with much success if I take them early enough and I have taken many other homeopathic remedies, too numerous to mention.
When my muscles are tight and sore I take Black Cohosh and Vervain. Mostly I take Advil at this point too, to prevent a full scale attack.
For those of you who have ever suffered from migraines - need I say more…

My ability to think straight, or even at all is wounded during the full blast and plateau of at least 12-24 hours of a migraine.
However, psychic and dream space are opened up and a land of pretty pain emerges that reaches to the depths of my brain and brings out its hidden stories.
Talking to others is almost unbearable as I struggle to convey where I am in words at all. Yet at the same time, I want an understanding presence, sympathy and to be cared for and left alone to journey through. Psychedelic. Just like tripping.
And if I do communicate, often it is in the garbled, jumbled way of the catatonic. Wherein only I understand what I am referring to and often, singularly, find it hilarious. Often I weep with the unbearable quality of the pain.
Meanwhile, my baby sits and sleeps alongside me, like a faithful angel who understands my space.

After many sleeps, which is truly the only thing that helps, and many hours, the end is near. And it feels like a break in a very long, strong storm.
The clouds part and I see blue.
Then hot baths, so hot they warm my shivers and the heat pounds on to my head. Warm chicken soup, something about it that help my head. A thanks and a prayer to them.. Cascades of water, fresh and refreshing.
The next few days are like tripping too. Still so new and raw and sensitive and still integrating. Keep careful with that new body and new awareness of yours. Keep the balance, don’t do too much, don’t forget what you’ve learned. It takes the best part of a week to overcome the effects.
It amazes me that so many of us live with this insane pain. It’s so disturbingly unpleasant.
Time for another psychedelic sleep, me thinks, this one ain’t over yet.

Written in 2013.

A Few Remedies for Migraines;

Magnesium ~ studies show that migraine sufferers are often low in magnesium. Magnesium relaxes muscles and eases tension, which often goes hand in hand with migraines and tension headaches. Magnesium can be found in leafy greens, nuts, cacao, tea, coffee and spices.

Co-enzyme Q10 - involved in the creation of ATP the energy source of cells, as well as an antioxidant. Studies show that use of co-enzyme Q10 as a daily supplement for 4-12 weeks greatly reduced the severity and occurrence of migraines in sufferers. CoQ10 can be found in oily fish (salmon, sardines, tuna) and organ meats such as liver but supplementation is beneficial where needed.

Riboflavin (B2) - Helps convert food to energy. Found in legumes, lean meat, green leafy veg, nuts and dairy products. Reduced occurrence and severity of migraines showed in study groups over 3 months of trial.

Butterbur (petasites hybrids) -a perennial shrub found throughout Europe, North America and Asia. It grows in wet, damp forests and marshes, close to streams and rivers. Its name comes from its leaves being used to wrap butter in a warm climate. Studies show that use over several months reduces the severity, duration and occurrence of migraines.

Feverfew - In a four-month study of 170 migraine patients, completed in 2005, migraine attack frequency was reduced by 40 percent (study link).

Food allergies or reactions - these are varied among sufferers, although common culprits include sugar, dairy, citrus, soy, peanuts, yeast, corn, red wine, greasy, fried foods, sometimes caffeine, chocolate, nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, aubergine, peppers), all the good stuff in life, you know?! Yet a good deal of these foods contain tyramine which can be a trigger for some migraine sufferers, or they can increase an inflammatory response. Cutting these out for a few months is definitely wise, and gives your body a chance to reset and calm down from the inflammatory response of pain and high alert. Slowly introducing foods one at a time over two weeks can give you clarity over what foods effect you and what do not.
For some, foods are not an aggravation at all and many crave certain flavors, such as salt.

Omega 3’s into your diet will also aid in calming down the inflammatory response which food allergies can bring, as well as adding good fats to your diet, enhancing immunity and aiding brain function.

Probiotics can help remedy the irritation and dysbiosis of your gut, and help settle nausea and abdominal migraine symptoms. Ginger, Turmeric, Cumin and Fennel tea also settle the stomach and help with nausea. Add Red Raspberry leaf, Nettles, Alfalfa, Peppermint, Lemon Balm, Skullcap, Wood betony, Meadowsweet and Oat Straw. A lot of these herbs either contain minerals which are excellent in aiding your blood and electrolyte balance, or they are nervines which work on your nervous system and help aid relaxation and tightness/tension thus easing the pain response.
Including other relaxing nervine herbs such as Passionflower, Vervain can be helpful too, more effective if some or all of these are just your daily brew giving minerals and vitamins and chlorophyll and calm.

Melatonin - studies show that taking melatonin can be as effective as amitriptyline.


Other herbs can be used internally for pain, such as;

Ginger - (Zingiber off.) Ginger has pain relieving and anti nausea properties which can both prevent and aid in stopping a migraine. Ginger is a warm circulatory stimulant and anodyne, and reduces inflammation and oxidative stress. In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is said to dispel Cold-Wind. There are studies done that show it reduces the calcitonin gene related peptide response (CGRP) which has been shown to trigger migraines, and can be as effective as sumatriptan in relieving migraine.

White Willow bark - (Salix Alba) Helps lower the blood pressure in the small capillaries and blood vessels in the head, easing pressure. Contains Salicin and flavonoids which have pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effects.

Skullcap - (Scuttelaria Lateriflora) A relaxing nervine and cerebral vasodilator, it helps ease constriction in blood vessels, and thus any headache or migraine associated with tension, constriction, nervousness and stress, with muscle tightness especially in the neck and shoulders, that can lead to pounding headaches. Also useful for sick headaches where there is sensitivity to light and smells and other sensory perceptions. (Sajah Popham - School of Evolutionary Herbalism)

Black Cohosh - (Cimicifuga Racemosa) Where a migraine relates to menstruation, menopause or other hormonal tides, Black Cohosh can be helpful in its actions. It is an antispasmodic which means that it reduces the severity of spasms by working on the smooth muscle tissues in the body. It also contains phytoestrogens that can help reduce the severity of migraine symptoms if taken over time.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12224599. This worked especially in conjunction with Dong Quai - a herb used often in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to build blood, among other actions. Black Cohosh has been used for aiding alignment in cerebrospinal fluid and can therefore be helpful in migraines that have a structural component, caused by injury or wear and tear.

Jamaican Dogwood - (Piscidia erythrina or piscipula) A traditional remedy for treating nerve pain, migraine, anxiety and nervous tension. It can anti-inflammatory, sedative and pain relieving actions.

Wood Betony -
https://www.herbcraft.org/betony.html Wood Betony works on the enteric nervous system, calming and relaxing whilst also stimulating gastric flow. It helps us re-centre and align ourselves back in our bodies.

Externally an analgesic rub - tiger balm or similar products, perhaps lavender oil if scent can be tolerated.
My friend swears by using an ice pack on the head and sticking her feet into as hot water as she can handle. Other sufferers I know use the Cefaly - a device designed for chronic migraine sufferers.

Homeopathy can be very helpful for migraine as a constitutional remedy, and often if taken at the very first signs of aura. Here is an article by the British Homeopathic Institute

Hot baths with Epsom Salts (Magnesium) and added essential oils such as Rose, Rosemary, Lavender, Bergamot, Eucalyptus, Cedar, or anything you find pleasing and not nauseating! This is great for relaxing tense muscles and slowing down and breathing deeply. This could be followed with an ice pack to the head, neck and shoulders. One (older) theory is that migraines are caused by dilated blood vessels in the head and manifest as a pulsating, throbbing pain, most often accompanied by nausea, vomiting and visual disturbances.

Hemp/CBD has been studied and found to be helpful in relieving pain. In his book 'Hemp for Migraines' - Jeremy Orozoco claims that migraines are caused by oxidative stress and endocannabinoid deficiency. It shows how CBD can both prevent and lessen the pain of migraines.

“The biggest myth is that migraine is a type of headache. This is wrong.
Migraine is a complex neurological disease that affects your central nervous system. Headache is one of its symptoms, but migraine almost never consists of head pain alone. There are many other possible symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, hunger pangs, and slurred speech....
Migraine is caused by abnormal brain chemistry. Migraine is not something you’ve caused. It is not an emotional response to problems in your life, or some unconscious effort to get sick so that you can take a break from your daily challenges. Migraine is a genetic difference, in most cases inherited from one or both of your parents.... It is a chronic neurological illness you were born with. You can’t cure it, but you can minimize its effects on your life.”

The Migraine Brain by Caroline Bernstein M.D

Other theories of what causes migraines are discussed in this article;

Here is a link to some helpful acupuncture points and principles that often show up in migraine.

Here is some interesting information on how migraine affects the limbic system and how to help healing begin