What follows is my own, personal, case-study. I am not saying that what worked for me will work for you. I do not recommend coming off of any medication prescribed by your doctor. However, I do recommend that you educate yourself on alternatives and use your own due-diligence and maybe take that information to your doctor for his advice.
If there's one motto that suits Migraine it's probably "One size does NOT fit all". There are numerous different types of migraine such as: Hemiplegic Migraine, Retinal Migraine, Ice Pick Headaches, Cluster Headaches and more (see American Migraine Foundation), and different migraines respond differently to different treatments.
But surely prevention is better than cure any day.
How I used to be
I used to get a migraine most weeks from when I was about 5 yrs old right through to when I was about 40. My doctor tried all sorts of medication (including anti-epilepsy drugs that had shown improvement in migriane sufferers) with little change. I usually woke up with a migraine and it would lay me out flat all day and the day after I'd feel like a train-wreck. My GP tried eliminating different foods from my diet, but again, it was not totally effective. I looked pale and "sickly". I actually feel if I had carried on like that, I would've died fairly young.
Then I got together with Pip, she said "this isn't right", and things started to change.
My road to recovery
We found a naturopath and he tested me with an electronic dowsing machine. At the time, I thought it was really "out there", but by this stage I was prepared to try pretty much anything. He told me I was intolerant of (not allergic) to gluten, dairy and sugar. In the past, my GP had taken dairy and chocolate out of my diet ONE AT A TIME, but definitely not three things at once. (And thinking back, I don't know if I was ever taken off of wheat).
So, I decided to go "cold turkey" and stopped all three at once.
I had the mother of all migraines that lasted three days. I don't recall if I took any pain-killers but it wouldn't have made any difference even if I had. One the fourth day, I felt a little better (still a bit of a train-wreck), but then I gradually started to get better.
So what have I learnt 15 years on?
Don't underestimate the psychological impact of giving up foods. My body craved nice bread and cakes (and frankly still does!), and going somewhere where there's all these nice things you CAN'T eat is purgatory. Gluten-free products are a lot easier to get now in New Zealand (though in my experience not in the USA), and they're better quality too, but I still miss nice bread.
FOR ME (not necessarily anyone else), I can tolerate a few treats if I eat more protein beforehand. I actually eat 3 eggs for breakfast most days, and have meat most evenings. (I don't have a cholesterol problem by the way). I can handle a bit of gluten now and then (e.g. fish-n-chips); just not too much or I get stomach ache.
I now seem to be able to handle some dairy, but I don't drink milk, but I do enjoy cheese without any obvious side-effects.
Refined sugar seems to be the worst thing, and thankfully, I keep well clear of that. I rarely have fizzy drinks and monitor the sugars in any processed food I eat. I do enjoy really dark chocolate, but that has very little sugar in it anyway (unlike milk chocolate).
At 55, I feel better and look healthier now than I did when I was in my twenties.
So if you suffer from migraines and the GP can't help, check out a naturopath in your area or maybe even learn to dowse yourself. It literally changed (and extended) my life.
“The world according to John”, February 2020