Dr. Asare Christian is the Founder of Aether Medicine, an integrative pain management clinic that focuses on finding and healing the root cause of pain disorders, including migraines.
In today's episode with Dr. Asare Christian, we discuss:
1. Education Before Medication
Understanding and effectively managing migraines is all about education. It involves educating yourself about the condition, its causes, triggers, and how to prevent and resolve it. By gaining a deep understanding of migraines, which are classified as central pain syndrome, individuals can better comprehend the factors driving this specific type of pain. Awareness of these underlying causes empowers people to proactively manage migraines, reduce their frequency and intensity, and improve their overall quality of life.
2. Advancements in Migraine Treatment
In recent years, there have been significant advancements in migraine treatment, particularly in the field of medication. While the precise underlying mechanisms of migraines remain unknown, identifiable triggers and factors drive the condition. Previously, available medications focused on abortive therapy to alleviate symptoms during an attack or preventative therapy to reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines. However, a new class of medications has emerged, targeting calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), a neuropeptide involved in vasodilation and the throbbing headaches associated with migraines. These medications selectively block CGRP, offering more effective relief without the substantial side effects of previous treatments.
3. Role of the Vagus Nerve and Nervous System in Migraines
Exploring the role of the vagus nerve and nervous system in migraines reveals a fascinating connection between the gut-brain axis and the triggers of this central pain disease. Dysregulation, dysbiosis, and inflammation in the bowels can serve as migraine catalysts, as the body perceives various stressors, be it external factors like weather or hormonal changes, or internal factors like inadequate sleep or excessive exercise. Understanding this intricate relationship paves the way for effective migraine management, with devices designed to stimulate the vagus nerve offering promising solutions to regulate the transmission of pain signals to the brain.
4. Nutrients and Supplements for Migraine Relief
Nutrients and supplements for migraine relief include magnesium, which helps in relaxation and is involved in various bodily processes to promote balance. Butterbur has shown promising evidence for migraine management, and while there are additional recommendations from the American Academy of Neurology, exploring safe and beneficial alternatives is possible. CoQ10 and mitochondrial support substances can target cellular health, while vitamin D and addressing B12 deficiencies may also help manage migraines. However, consulting a healthcare professional is vital to determine the most suitable options for individual needs and circumstances.
5. Advanced interventions for migraine
Non-nutrient interventions for migraines encompass various neuro-modulator devices targeting the trigeminal nerve system, pain pathways, and the vagus nerve. These devices, such as the FDA-cleared forehead stimulator, effectively treat and prevent migraines. Another device, called Gamma, utilizes ultrasound gel and stimulation to alleviate different types of headaches, including challenging-to-manage migraines. Gamma devices have demonstrated safety even in pediatric and pregnant populations, though professional guidance is advised. Additionally, the revision device combines trigeminal system stimulation with OPI stimulation, making it particularly effective in modulating pain. While the availability of these options provides individuals with alternatives, their affordability remains a challenge due to limited insurance coverage.
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