Migraine is a recurrent headache caused by neurovascular causes. The attacks are often one-sided, and a few migraines may affect both sides of the head. The attacks may be accompanied by varying degrees of nausea and vomiting, as well as photophobia. About one-third of people with migraines also experience neurological symptoms such as changes in mood, fatigue, lack of concentration, and changes in eating habits before the attack.
Migraine triggers are very complex and broadly divided into internal and external factors that can both be triggered simultaneously.
- Genetic factors, according to epidemiological survey statistics, about 70-80% of patients have a family history.
- Some endocrine and metabolic factors during adolescence result in more frequent episodes during menstruation in girls and less frequent episodes during pregnancy and after menopause.
- Stimulation by external environmental influences such as sound, light, etc.
- Diet, medications, too little or too much sleep, and stress may also trigger migraines.
Types of Migraines
There are many types of migraines, but generally, they can be broadly divided into migraines without aura and migraines with aura.
Migraine is, also known as “head wind”, is characterised by violent headaches on one side. The pain is so intense that it can radiate through the eyes and teeth. To diagnose the specific type of migraine, dialectical evidence is needed to identify external and internal injuries, the location of the headache, and the nature of the headache. In TCM treatment, this is done through syndrome differentiation, where physicians determine if the symptoms fall under any of the six meridians: Shao-yang, Sun meridian, Yang-ming, Tai-yin, Shao-yin and Jue-yin.
Remedies & Treatment for Migraines
- TCM treatment using a combination of Tuina therapy and traditional Chinese herbs can achieve good results. Studies have shown that when combined with Tuina, the effectiveness of Chinese acupuncture increases for migraine treatment.
- Improving sleep. Too little or too much sleep can trigger migraines, so make sure to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
- Adjustment of diet. Load up on leafy greens, fresh fruits and foods low in sodium.
- Stress relief. Try relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga to help you handle stressful situations.
- Stick to a regular schedule. Eat at regular intervals, stay hydrated and make sure you clock in sufficient sleep.
Recipes & Herbal Medication for Migraine Treatment
1. Chuanxiong Tea
Ingredients: Chuanxiong and Thornbush 20g each, Peppermint Leaf 15g (later on), Asarum sieboldii 3g, Angelica dahurica, Radix Angelicae Sinensis, Qiangwu and Licorice 10g each.
Preparation: Finely grind 15 grams each time, 2 times daily.
How to use: Take with tea or as soup, 1 dose daily, divided into 2 doses.
Effects: Removing wind and dispersing cold, promoting the circulation of meridians. Suitable for external headache.
2. Rhizoma Ligusticum Dahurianum and Gypsum Soup
Ingredients: Wu Juhua, Hanxia, Ligustrum, Licorice 10g each, Chuanxiong 6g, Ginger 18g.
Preparation: Decoction with water.
Dosage: 1 dose daily, divided into 2 doses.
Effects: Relieving wind and pain. Suitable for headaches caused by external wind-heat.
3. Chai Kudzu Soup
Ingredients: 9 grams each of Radix Bupleurum, Pueraria Mirifica and Scutellariae, 3 grams each of Radix Angelicae Sinensis and Radix Paeoniae Alba, 6 grams each of Radix Platycodon grandiflorus, Radix Qiangwu and Radix Glycyrrhiza Uralensis
Preparation: Decoction with water.
Dosage: 1 dose daily, divided into morning and evening.
Effects: Relieving wind and pain.
What Not to Consume for Migraine Treatment
- Minimise the consumption of foods that trigger headaches, such as cheese products, chocolate, coffee, tea, preserved foods, tobacco and alcohol, MSG, citrus fruits, etc.
- Avoid taking medications that may cause headaches, such as nitroglycerin.
- Avoid taking painkillers for long periods of time as they can cause drug-dependent headaches.