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What Causes Migraines?

My Hypothesis That Ties in Many of the Seemingly Unrelated Conditions

Migraines tend to occur along with:

The table below lists one sequence of events that I believe can trigger some instances of migraines.

Based on experiences and treatments we found in my own family, I have a hypothesis that logically may explain why these conditions occur together and some simple diet treatments that have proven helpful to my family members. The table below lists one sequence of events that I believe can trigger some instances of migraines.

A Step by Step Migraine Scenario Hypothesis from Start to Finish

1. Certain foods or events trigger an acid stomach.

2. An over acid stomach causes acid reflux and nausea.

3. The body tries to restore the proper acid-alkaline balance by releasing alkaline minerals, including magnesium, from the cells. Researchers from Germany have found that an acid load in the body may contribute to magnesium deficiencies.

4. As the body tries to neutralize its acid load, it uses up magnesium reserves, causing a magnesium deficiency.
5. Magnesium deficiency increases blood pressure.
6. Blood vessels in the head dilate from the increased pressure. (Coffee constricts blood vessels so it sometimes can help ease the pain of migraines, in the short term, but in the long term coffee can deplete magnesium levels.)
7. The increased acidity of the GI tract provides an environment that increases levels of nitric oxide in the body, as this substance thrives in an acidic environment.
8 Nitric oxide is lowered by magnesium. The body depletes magnesium levels even further by trying to neutralize toxic nitric oxide levels.
9. The decrease in magnesium leads to:
  • 9b. Sensitivity to light
  • 9e. Tight muscles in the head and neck press on nerve pathways to and from the head, further restricting blood flow and causing temporary nerve problems. I believe this problem is even worse in people who already have tight muscles from conditions such as shoulders that have "frozen" in place, repetitive strain injuries, thoracic outlet syndrome, pectus excavatum, kyphosis and scoliosis.
  • 9f. Pressure on the nerve pathways to the eye cause eye pain, flashes, and wavy lines around the outside of objects.
  • 9h. The hypercoagulation of the blood and muscle pressure on the blood vessels cuts down circulation and can lead to poor circulation and cold extremities. (I used to get migraines on the left side of my head and my left hand would get cold during attacks.)
  • 9i. Vertigo - A condition where a person is standing still but the brain is seeing an image like the whole room is spinning wildly out of control. I have had this occur along with the other symptoms and it can be terrifying. Vertigo also frequently occurs in conjunction with migraines and both conditions may be linked to deficiencies of magnesium.

If I'm correct, then this scenario provides a logical explanation for migraines and many of the seemingly unrelated conditions such as visual problems, nausea and numbness and tingling in the arms.

I think any condition that depletes magnesium such as stress or loud noises can cause migraines, but I suspect that an acid stomach is an overlooked potential trigger. I think it is why pickled foods can trigger migraines. Picked foods are usually created by soaking them in vinegar, which is an acidic food. Aged cheese are another known trigger and cheeses often contain cultures of beneficial bacteria that can increase stomach acidity.

Many of the foods and environmental factors that tend to trigger migraines (stress, salicylates, loud noises, alcohol, lack of sleep, excess dairy products, monosodium glutamate, foods with caffeine such as coffee, tea and chocolate, etc.) are also foods and environmental factors that decrease magnesium levels. Some of the others are foods that are migraine triggers are foods that increase stomach acid or contain nitrites, which I think indirectly causes magnesium loss as explained above.

One of my sons used to drink a lot of lemonade, which is a very acidic food. We realize now this was a trigger for his nausea, headaches and tight muscles. Besides cutting out the lemonade, we were able to treat him by putting him on an Ayurvedic diet for ulcers to reduce stomach acid. The Ayurvedic diet emphasized magnesium rich, alkaline foods such as raw foods, especially bananas and broccoli, and milk. One home remedy that has worked for me personally to treat the symptoms of headache, cold hands and feet, vertigo and many of the other conditions listed above is to drink a banana smoothie with coconut milk, which is an easily absorbable, alkaline, magnesium rich drink.

For more information on the diet that helped my son with his headaches, see my section on diet for sweaty heads and diet changes to help with sound senitivity.





Related sections of interest:

Magnesium's Link to Migraine Headaches

What Really Causes Migraines? What Ties Seemingly Unrelated Symptoms?

Treatment of Menstrual Migraine Headaches

Food and Other Migraine Triggers

Overlooked Headache Causes and Treatments

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