Overview of Migraine
Migraine is a syndrome characterized by attacks of headache, often accompanied by disordered vision and gastrointestinal disturbances. The intense head pain associated with migraine is usually unilateral (on one side of the head).Classified as “vascular headache,” migraine headache is thought to be produced by dilation of blood vessels in the head (as distinguished from tension headaches, which are produced by muscle spasms in the head and neck). Gastrointestinal disturbances including nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, constipation, or diarrhea are almost universal. In approximately 30 percent of all cases, migraine attacks are preceded by warning signs such as blind spots, zigzag flashing lights, numbness in parts of the body, and distorted visual images.
The Causes of Migraine
The precise cause of migraine is unknown. Migraine tends to run in families, thus heredity is one possible causal factor. Allergies may also be involved, as migraine may be precipitated by allergic hypersensitivity (e.g., foods, such as cheese, alcohol, and chocolate, that contain substances that affect the blood vessels). Many things seem capable of triggering migraine attacks, including stress, fatigue, changes in the weather, changes in diet, and menstruation.
Pathophysiology of Migraine
The anatomy and physiology of migraine pathology is complex. There are two primary lines of thought in this area. One approach considers migraine to be a circulatory disorder. The other model regards migraine to be caused by neurological factors.
The “vascular theory of migraine” states that migraine is a disturbance of blood flow to the head. Blood vessels in the head and face become dilated and engorged. The excess of blood causes the intense pain of migraine headache.
The other major theory is the “nerve theory.” This approach focuses on the trigeminal nerve (fifth cranial nerve) as the cause of the pain. The trigeminal is a bilateral nerve (one on each side of the face). Currently, research is focusing on the various kinds of chemical irritation which may affect the trigeminal nerve, resulting in migraine headache.
The Treatment of Migraine
From a modern medical perspective, migraine is an incurable illness. However, the symptoms of migraine can be treated, usually with medication. Common pain relievers may reduce the pain of mild migraine. Acute attacks can be treated with ergot alkaloid medication at symptom onset, but these drugs are not sedative and also have side effects. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may also abort acute attacks. Numerous other medications are used in the treatment of migraine.
Historically, migraine was often viewed as a systemic illness caused by problems in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Treatment focused on improving digestion, assimilation and elimination throughout the GI tract. This was the approach most often recommended by Edgar Cayce.
Edgar Cayce’s Perspective
Edgar Cayce gave numerous readings for persons suffering from migraine. In almost all the cases, he traced the problem back to abnormalities in the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract). For example, reading 3630-1 states that in most instances, the cause of migraine can be traced to the colon. Cayce described “patches of adhesions of fecal forces to the walls of the intestine” which upset the nervous system and caused the gastrointestinal symptoms and headache. In the case of 3400-2, to allay the disbelief that migraine could be caused by problems in the colon, Cayce suggested that an x-ray be taken which would show the clogged colon.
In another important reading on migraine (3326-1), he also referred to allergic conditions in the digestive system which produced inflammation in the intestinal tract, affecting the blood and nerve activity. Presumably, allergic reactions in the stomach and small intestines could produce problems further along the GI tract in the colon. Several readings also noted problems with the glands and organs associated with the digestive system as the source of the allergic reaction in the intestines.
Whatever the specific nature of the pathology in the GI tract, the readings state that the nerves associated with the intestines become irritated and produce a reflex action to the nerves of the head. In four different readings, Cayce specified the fifth cranial nerve (trigeminal) as the affected nerve producing the headache symptoms. In other readings, Cayce spoke of nerve reflexes to the sympathetic nerve system which controls blood flow to the all parts of the body, including the head. Thus, Cayce accounted for both of the major theories currently held by medical science as to the cause of migraine.
To appreciate Cayce’s view of anatomy and physiology, one must take into consideration the extensive medical literature which demonstrates that there is a nervous system within the abdomen. Known as the “abdominal brain” and “enteric nervous system,” the visceral nervous system is one of the hottest areas of current medical research. Thus Cayce’s assertion that syndromes such as migraine headache can be caused by problems in the abdomen is supported by historical and modern medical sources. In fact, there is an extensive medical literature on abdominal migraine which further supports Cayce’s perspective on a GI tract connection in migraine. (See articles on abdominal migraine and the abdominal brain in the Documentation section of this protocol.)
Edgar Cayce’s Treatment Recommendations
Edgar Cayce’s treatment approach is consistent with his views on the cause and pathophysiology of migraine. Because most cases of migraine are produced by problems in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, he typically suggested therapies to improve digestion, assimilation, elimination and circulation. The most frequently recommended treatment modalities for migraine are:
- Colonic irrigations to cleanse the colon.
- Massage and spinal manipulations to improve eliminations and coordinate the nervous systems.
- Dietary and nutritional suggestions to decrease allergic irritation to the stomach and intestines.
- Castor oil packs and laxatives (if needed) to improve eliminations.
- The Radial Appliance to balance circulation (improve coordination between the deep and superficial circulation).
- Stress reduction techniques including prayer and meditation, balanced and purposeful living, and moderate, regular exercise.
Note: As this information is not intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment, your use of this database of information indicates that you are aware of our recommendation that you consult with a professional healthcare provider before taking any action.