— by Jeff Jurmain, MA
Migraine is a common condition, with about 14% of all adults worldwide suffering from it. It typically presents as a disabling attack, including a pulsating headache that may be accompanied by nausea, sensitivity to stimuli, and a peculiar visual aura. Even when it hasn’t struck yet and you are free of pain, migraines can reduce your quality of life.
The World Health Organization places migraine among the most disabling diseases on the planet. One major problem with medications that are prescribed to treat migraines is that these medications themselves can trigger headaches. Side effects of these medications are a prevalent health issue in their own right.
Some non-drug approaches can be helpful in prevention: head massage;, relaxation training; hypnotherapy; chiropractic; and others. A new study hones in on one style of alternative medicine in particular (and one to which Doctors Health Press devotes an entire newsletter): homeopathy.
Homeopaths are often consulted for headache and migraine, in regions all around the world. The new study evaluated the use and effects of a wide range of homeopathy treatments in Germany. Researchers followed nearly 4,000 patients for two years in an observational study. Of them, 212 consulted homeopathic physicians because of migraine. They used questionnaires to record data, including complaints of the patients, severity of symptoms, quality of life, medical history, consultations, homeopathic and conventional treatments, as well as other health service use.
Migraine victims had been suffering for an average of 15 years and had been taking medications to control the problem. In the study, patients received four to six homeopathic prescriptions. They found that the severity of migraine had significant improvement through homeopathy. And the patients needed to use less conventional treatment and health services to deal with it.
The patients taking homeopathic treatment for migraine had real improvements that lasted for the 24-month period. Still, researchers can’t say specifically if homeopathy is definitively causing the benefits or not, due to the study’s design. Future studies are needed, but, in the meantime, it seems that homeopathy may indeed reduce a person’s dependence on migraine drugs.