To read the introductory Part 1, click here.
Getting off the Allopathic Medicine Bandwagon
Every day in my coaching practice I am amazed at the strength and power of women who have been suffering the level of hell I experienced for three years, but some of them have been living in it for literally decades. The incredibly sick women who come to see me are full of countless stories of how allopathic medicine’s flawed paradigm failed to cure their migraines and sometimes caused worse damage along the way. Yet despite the overt problems with suppressive medicine, most of these women still rely on pills to get by. Because it’s not clear what the alternative is.
I don’t write this to cast judgement on any women who rely on these medications. But I can’t conceal my fury at the irony that what is being called “medicine” is not really actually healing people, and that women have a lot to lose here, not least because of the rebound effect of these meds. The combined effect of hormonal birth control, hormone replacement therapy, antidepressants, pain meds, sleep aids, and some inevitable surgeries and antibiotics thrown in has without doubt left women compromised on an organ level and by extension, on a mineral level (and by extension, on an enzymatic, hormonal, and neutrotransmitter level). When our major organs (especially our adrenals, kidneys, and liver) are impacted by pharmaceuticals, it makes it very difficult for us to retain and regulate our minerals, especially copper and zinc.
If it seems that I’m driving the point home a little too hard about just what a failure allopathic medicine is, this is because I’ve observed in my coaching practice that those that get off the allopathic bandwagon are the ones who truly heal. It’s more than just my bone to pick. There’s a real physiological basis for why suppressive medicine does harm – even when (and especially when) it temporarily works to suppress symptoms.
While getting off meds might be a nice idea, for most women, it’s pie in the sky. No-one WANTS to be on meds, I get that. But continuing to see allopathic doctors who do not understand the root cause explanation for migraine (copper/zinc imbalance) inevitably leads to more pills. These pills sometimes DO mitigate pain long enough for women to meet the incredibly intense demands of their lives (and that is, in that moment, a huge relief) – BUT in the process the pills undermine health precisely because they allow women to barely, but continually, cope with an unbearable situation.
For that perhaps we should remain humbly grateful because (and I know it is very intense to bring this up, but since it’s true, I will) the alternative for some women is suicide. I regularly hear from women who are in so much excruciating pain and torment that they have considered killing themselves. They are wonderful people who love life, yet their life is torture.
Pharmaceuticals allow us as a culture to pretend that it is possible to have migraines and be a functional mother, even while we know that migraine without even being a mother is the 6th most debilitating condition that exists. By believing and expecting that it is possible to have migraine and be a functional mother, we are setting women up for more medication.
If it were possible to heal the body while taking pharmaceuticals I would be all for it, but the trend I have seen in my practice is that those who are motivated to get off meds, who realize they can’t have their foot in both worlds of allopathic and natural medicine, are the ones who heal. They just have more leverage.
Here are some ideas to get off pharmaceuticals:
- Work with your doctor to reduce your pharmaceuticals to the absolute minimum. If your doctor is not supportive, find another doctor. If you can’t find one locally, work with one remotely online. The Walsh Institute has an excellent directory of practitioners trained to address mineral imbalances.
- When weaning off pharmaceuticals, pick a time to do so when you can take some time off work or get additional support with your kids from your family. Pick a time when you have fewer major commitments or events going on.
- Find and utilize natural approaches to sleep and pain management. Glycine is an excellent sleep aide and also helps to eliminate headaches and occasionally migraine. Niacin can be an excellent and easy way to abort migraine, especially if you get it early on. By being willing to suffer through some headaches in combination with using these natural approaches, you can greatly reduce and minimize reliance on drugs. (I will be writing a new e-book outlining these approaches soon). Eventually, you will be having less rebound headaches.
- Balance your copper and zinc levels. This is best done through a Hair Tissue Mineral Analaysis combined with blood tests at menstruation and ovulation to determine your zinc to copper ratio as well as the amount of free copper in your blood. These are services that I offer in my coaching practice.
- Know that healing is possible.
The Missing Link: Copper/Zinc Balance
The good news is that balancing copper and zinc is the greatest leverage point. Oh, and sleep. A mother who is free from meds, is able to re-establish sleep, and has the right information to heal her mineral imbalances can absolutely heal from chronic migraine.
Pharmaceutical approaches to migraine do not solve the underlying root cause because they don’t support copper/zinc balance – and actually exacerbate imbalances here. Copper/zinc imbalances are the common link shared between a host of symptoms that migraineurs share: low serotonin, hormonal imbalances, weak connective tissue in blood vessels, and low levels of calming neurotransmitters like GABA that help to counterbalance excitatory neurotransmitters like glutamate. By balancing zinc and copper, mothers can get their sleep back, improve their mood, balance their hormones, and improve their gut health, absorption, and digestion in general.
Copper is important because it is needed to break down histamine, form estrogen (which reduces glutamate), and maintain the connective tissue integrity of our blood vessels, gut lining, and every other form of connective tissue in our body (including our bones). It is involved in over 300 different enzymatic processes in the body. Zinc is needed to create serotonin, make progesterone, reduce glutamate, and improve gut flora diversity (to name a few). Zinc is involved in 100 enzymatic processes. Low levels of both copper and zinc will leave the body seriously compromised.
The new CGRP migraine shot runs thousands of dollars and doesn’t work for a lot of people. Meanwhile, my copper and zinc run me about $4 a month. Maybe that’s why allopathic medicine hasn’t found or shared mineral balancing as a solution to migraine, despite all the dollars invested in research.
On to part 3. Mothering and Migraine: Transformation
What Have You Learned Being a Mother with Migraine?
I’d love to hear your comments below.