Headaches & Migraines

Headaches and migraines are so prevalent nowadays affecting more than 1 in 10 people, women being twice as likely to have it than men. It can be very mild up to debilitating. A migraine headache often involves pain in the head and / or the neck area, but symptoms vary, as the symptoms depend on the type of headache you are experiencing. The symptoms can be diverse as well as the severity of them. Did you know that it takes up to 3-4 years until a person gets properly diagnosed by a medical doctor with chronic headaches (statistically proven)? Patients often say ‘I just take a pill and it goes away’.

While anti-inflammatories may help your headaches, you want a licensed health care professional, such as a Naturopathic Doctor, to dig into the root cause of your migraine headaches rather than masking the symptoms as a bandaid approach. Naturopathic medicine is great at doing that as it offers a wide variety of evidence based natural treatments.

Headaches and migraines reasons


There are different types of headaches:

  • Tension type headaches, typically mild, associated with ‘band-like’ feeling at the base of the head or your forehead. This can last from a few hours to a few days.
  • Cluster type headaches are localized and feel as a stabbing / sharp pain generally behind the eye. This usually occurs on one side and can last for a few hours. If chronic, can be felt up to a few months and feel very debilitating.
  • Sinus headache is characterized by pain in the facial area which can be felt behind eyebrows and cheeks. Sometimes the pressure is so high it causes a migraine type headache as well.
  • Rebound headache is induced by the overuse of OTC (over the counter) medications, pain medications and prescription medications.
  • Migraines can be severe headaches which if become chronic, can be severely debilitating. Usually a migraine is one sided but can also be double sided. Pain can be pounding, throbbing and you may experience a pulsing sensation. Typically associated with nausea, vomiting, dizziness and light sensitivity. This is one of the more common types of headaches.

If you have suffered with a head injury or concussion, please reach out to Dr. Tali. Post concussion syndrome can be moderate to severe, affecting brain inflammation and causing a wide array of symptoms such as: ear pain, ear ringing, dizziness, depression, brain fog, frequent headaches, anxiety, insomnia and even hormonal imbalances.

To diagnose, Dr. Tali, a Toronto Naturopath, will go through an extensive neurological physical exam as well as an in depth intake. If any red flags arise, she will be communicating with your doctor for further exams and investigations such as an MRI and CT scan.

Causes of Headaches & Migraines

There is no one defined cause for migraines, however, we do know of many triggers and factors that can predispose you and influence the chronicity and severity of them.

Such causes include:

  • Histamine sensitivity
  • Serotonin imbalances
  • Nutrition deficiencies such as magnesium, B vitamins and other minerals / electrolytes
  • Weather changes
  • Food sensitivities and intolerances
  • Sleep changes & insomnia
  • Environmental factors such as odours, perfumes and cigarette smoke
  • Blood sugar dysregulation (either high or low)
  • Stress, anxiety and depression
  • Physical factors that induce straining such as working out and sexual activities
  • Alcohol and caffeine
  • Sensory stimuli – such as loud sounds and bright lights
  • Medications
  • Genetics
  • Hormones – there is a big relationship between migraines and estrogen. Therefore, many women who suffer with hormonal imbalances also get chronic menstrual migraines. They mostly occur during PMS, ovulation and menopause.
  • As you can see, migraines can be caused by many factors and it’s important to treat them from the root cause rather than just alleviating the pain. You want someone curious to dig deep into discovering what’s behind your pain. Naturopathic Medicine is great at figuring out the cause to your migraines.

Headaches & Migraines Naturopathic Treatment

As a Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Tali`s approach to treating migraines is through a very in-depth intake and investigation to get to the root cause of your headache. The goal of the migraine treatment is to reduce pain and severity as well as prevent future episodes of reoccurrence. Some blood tests and other diagnostic testing may be beneficial, based on the individual case. If necessary, such may include Food Sensitivity Testing and Adrenal Hormone Testing. Female Hormone Testing may be relevant if your migraines are related to your hormonal imbalances. Dr. Tali will also assess you for nutrient deficiencies.

Migraines have a huge psychological and stress impact, while it’s important to address the root cause, it’s also important to improve quality of life during the investigation process. Dr. Tali, a Toronto Naturopath, strives to give her patients relief as headaches can be debilitating. This will be done using evidence based herbal medicine, acupuncture, Chinese medicine, diet, supplements, nutrition and lifestyle modifications.

A note on conventional medicine – while medications may be beneficial for a quick relief of symptoms, they can be addicting and many do overuse them, which can cause rebound headaches. It’s important to get to the root cause and treat whatever is causing your headaches rather than just put a band-aid solution to your symptoms. Naturopathic Medicine also has effective well researched therapies to provide relief for headaches, that have been determined to be as helpful as pain medications.