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Unraveling Migraines: Awareness, Understanding, and Holistic Approaches

June is recognized as Migraine Awareness Month, a time dedicated to shedding light on a condition that plagues many individuals worldwide. Migraines, as anyone who has experienced them can attest, are more than just a simple headache. They are debilitating neurological diseases that can significantly disrupt daily life.

Dr. Christina Captain, the lead practitioner at the Sarasota Center for Acupuncture and Nutrition, provides valuable insights into understanding and managing migraines. Migraines can be unilateral, affecting one side, or bilateral, impacting both sides. Migraines often come with a loss of functionality, making it challenging for sufferers to carry out their daily activities. Accompanying symptoms can include nausea and even vomiting.

When patients approach Dr. Captain with recurring migraine symptoms, she first ensures they understand that migraines are a clinical diagnosis. No imaging tests, such as X-rays, MRIs, or blood tests, can definitively diagnose migraines. The Mayo Clinic defines migraines as a genetic neurological disease, emphasizing that it is not something one can "push through."
Once patients have been diagnosed with migraines by their primary care physician or neurologist, Dr. Captain suggests exploring alternative therapies.

Migraines are more prevalent in women, with one in five women experiencing them compared to one in sixteen men. Even children are not immune, with one in eleven kids suffering from migraines. These debilitating headaches can significantly disrupt daily activities, from participating in sports and attending school to fulfilling parental and work responsibilities.

Dr. Captain emphasizes that while migraines are a genetic neurological disease, certain lifestyle choices can trigger them. Adequate sleep and moderate exercise can help prevent migraines. On the other hand, consuming processed foods, sugar, red wine, and excessive caffeine can trigger them. Therefore, clean eating and stress management are crucial in managing migraines.

At the Sarasota Center for Acupuncture and Nutrition, patients are educated about these triggers and counseled on lifestyle changes. They are also offered modalities such as acupuncture to help manage their migraines. Acupuncture has been proven effective for stress and pain management. Some patients have even reported a complete cessation of their migraines after incorporating acupuncture and lifestyle changes.

Acupuncture is a complex system that may balance neurotransmitter chemicals in the brain. It also aids the immune system and balances hormones, major triggers for migraines, especially in women. Hormonal fluctuations during menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and perimenopause can trigger migraines, making acupuncture an effective treatment option.

In addition to acupuncture, the Sarasota Center for Acupuncture and Nutrition also offers targeted nutritional supplementation. After a comprehensive intake, lab testing, and understanding of the patient's day-to-day symptoms, they identify nutritional deficiencies and provide targeted nutrients that could effectively mitigate migraines.

While acute care from a physician and chronic medications, including IV infusions for migraines, are available, they don't necessarily need to be the first course of action. Alternative treatments, like those offered by Dr. Captain, can be tried alone or in combination with conventional treatments, potentially avoiding the need for medications.

In conclusion, if you are a migraine sufferer, know you have options. Alternative treatments like those offered by Dr. Christina Captain and her team at the Sarasota Center for Acupuncture and Nutrition can relieve and help manage your symptoms.
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