The ideal medication for migraines would be without side effects, would have zero long-term consequences, and would be safe during pregnancy too. Of course nothing of this kind exists. But Magnesium comes very close.
Migraines occur when electrical activity in the brain increases, causing a rush in the production of serotonin – a chemical in the brain needed to carry electrical impulses. The increased amount of serotonin causes the blood vessels to contract. The serotonin then leaks out into the tissue surrounding the brain and when the blood vessels widen, the lack of serotonin irritates the nerves, causing your pain.
Magnesium functions as an electrolyte, which means that it helps to balance the fluid level inside and outside of cells and carries electrical impulses between nerves and muscles. Your muscles contract and relax in response to nerve impulses that affect the level of calcium and magnesium. In simple terms a lack of magnesium makes it hard for the muscle cells to relax, causing tight muscles around the head and neck.
In 2012, the American Headache Society and the American Academy of Neurology reviewed the studies on medications used for migraine prevention and gave magnesium a Level B rating, that is, it is probably effective and should be considered for patients requiring migraine preventive therapy. Because of its safety profile and the lack of serious side effects, magnesium is often chosen as a preventive strategy either alone, or with other preventive medications. Magnesium has also been studied for the acute, as-needed treatment of severe, difficult-to-treat migraine. Magnesium sulfate given intravenously was found to be most effective in those with a history of migraine with aura.
The Institute of Medicine sets the magnesium dietary reference intake at 420 milligrams per day for men and 280-300 milligrams per day for women. During pregnancy, these requirements increase to 320 mg per day. After pregnancy, breastfeeding women need 335 to 340 mg per day.
Magnesium In Your Diet
The best way to get your daily dose of magnesium is with a healthy diet. Magnesium is found in a wide variety of healthy foods, including:
- green vegetables
- legumes (peas and beans)
- nuts and seeds
- whole grains (unrefined—magnesium is absent from processed white flour)
- potatoes with skin
- long-grained brown rice
- tap water (varies by water supply—hard water has more magnesium than soft water)
Very often migraines are the result of the nervous system not functioning as it should. At Chiropractic Dubai our chiropractors check the spine for misalignments, which can cause headaches. We use pressure techniques or gentle manipulation methods to treat a patient with migraines.
We also do blood tests to check magnesium levels, and might use it as an additional supplement in treating migraine.