Case Study: Migraines

Lucy had her first migraine at the age of 23. This headache was memorable to her, even at the age of 55, as it had lasted 5 days and had caused nausea, vomiting and severe throbbing pain.

Lucy had been unable to take the oral contraceptive pill, as it had made her headaches much worse and she also found that oral hormone replacement did the same thing. Over the years she suffered with hundreds of headaches and had used considerable quantities of analgesics, which had made her tired and irritable. Lucy had a family history of headaches and she remembered her father taking pain killing powders every morning before he went to work. Her father had often had to retire to bed with a migraine and had been a highly strung shy man.

Lucy was a classic migraine sufferer and found that the headaches were often heralded by nausea and visual disturbances which were quite frightening. Lucy had been unable to tolerate very much alcohol and if she indulged in several drinks with her friends on a weekend she would get the inevitable headache the next day.

She found that heat, an inadequate intake of water and stress could increase her headaches and she came to believe that she was a fragile person. She would often wake up around 4 to 5 am with a throbbing headache and take 1 or 2 painkillers which left her hungover for the rest of the day.

When she came to see me I gave her a thorough physical examination and ordered blood tests and a CT scan of her brain and nothing serious came up in these tests.

She was frustrated as she found that these headaches came several times a week and interfered with her busy lifestyle. Lucy had not found any relief from conventional anti-migraine drugs, antihistamines or anti-inflammatory drugs. For her really severe headaches she had found that intravenous saline with added vitamin C and breathing 100% oxygen could bring relief after several hours. Lucy wanted to prevent these debilitating headaches and had come to see me for this reason.

In such difficult chronic cases where no pathology is found, my strategy is to focus on the liver. Thus I started Lucy on a program of raw juicing and told her to make raw fresh juices from celery, cucumber, cabbage, apple, red radish, parsley, mint and ginger. She was instructed to drink one large glass of this juice every morning.

I also gave her a liver tonic and a magnesium supplement. Magnesium must be taken daily in such cases to gradually build up the magnesium levels in the body. Magnesium is very effective in reducing migraine and vascular headaches, as it relaxes the arteries which supply the head with oxygenated blood. This prevents the arteries from becoming constricted and narrowed, which is the genesis of migraine headaches.  I put Lucy on a gluten and dairy free diet, as I’ve found it always greatly helps migraine sufferers.

After 3 months on this program Lucy was very pleased, as her headaches had become much less frequent and less severe. Now instead of getting 2 to 3 headaches a week, she got one headache a month. I told her to persist with this regime and that in her case she would most likely need to stay on this for the rest of her life. Lucy was happy to do this and followed my program for a further 3 months, after which time her headaches had reduced down to approximately one headache every 6 to 8 weeks.

Lucy was a type A personality who worked long hours, took on too much work, tried to achieve perfection in everything she did, worried excessively and was sensitive to criticism. She found that the magnesium not only prevented her headaches and leg cramps but it also made her feel more relaxed and calm. She told me “I always wanted to be able to take things in my stride, be more sangfroid or swashbuckling if you like, and magnesium has helped me to achieve a better quality of life.”

I have found this to be true in many of my patients – that’s why I call magnesium – “the great relaxer”.

The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.