Can’t Shake the Headache? Here’s how IV nutrient therapy & vitamin injections can help
Headaches got you down? You’re not alone. An estimated 75% of adults experience at least one headache per year. In fact, headaches are so common that the concept of a “headache” has taken on many different interpretations from describing frustrating situations to chastising bothersome people.
It’s due to this normalization of headaches that many people suffer in silence. Rather than seeking out medical intervention, they falsely assume that headaches are just a normal part of getting older. This is problematic, as constant headaches are often the manifestation of a systemic imbalance that left untreated can lead to poor health outcomes down the road.
Systemic imbalances linked to headaches include hormonal imbalances, stress, metabolic disorders, lack of sleep, weather changes, and even side effects of certain medications. In addition, migraine headaches can also stem from alcohol consumption, neck pain, smoking, fragrances and perfumes, foods high in aspartame, and even environmental exposures/food allergies.
Regardless of the trigger, there are a few ways we can address systemic imbalances and the headaches they cause. At Spark Health, we focus on restoring balance through intravenous therapy and vitamin injections that support the body in managing the severity and frequency of headaches. Keep reading to learn about the vitamins and minerals we use and how they work to alleviate headaches.
The Migraine busters – Vitamin B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, and B12
B vitamins have long been studied for their role in the prevention of headaches, particularly migraines. Because they ensure that cellular functions like metabolism and mitosis are running smoothly, a deficiency in any of B vitamins can lead to fatigue, weakness, and – yep, you guessed it – headaches.
A very important member of the B vitamin family, riboflavin (vitamin B2), aids in the process of breaking down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into energy. Supplementation of vitamin B2 has been associated with reduction in frequency of migraine attacks as well as a decrease in the use of medications that are typically given to help address migraine symptoms.
Niacin (vitamin B3), on the other hand, is a strong vasodilator, meaning it dilates blood vessels to allow more oxygen and nutrients to enter the body, especially the brain. This can help relieve and prevent future migraines. Conversely, if too much niacin is taken, it could cause flushing, redness and also headaches, so dosing is important!
Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) is commonly deficient in patients who suffer from migraines. This vitamin helps your body process nutrients such as fats carbohydrates, and proteins, and protects our nerves (our brain has the most!). It also assists the body in wound healing so if you suffer a stroke or have damage to your brain, it can support your recovery. Pyridoxine (vitamin B6) helps our brain produce serotonin, which can help with mood and sleep. It also helps improve blood flow in the brain, as well as support the cells surrounding the vessels. Plus, it can help relieve nausea, a common symptom that goes hand in hand with chronic headaches.
The final members of the migraine busting dream team are folate (vitamin B9) and methylcobalamin (vitamin B12). Folate helps us detox metabolites such as homocysteine, which is found in high levels in people who suffer from migraines. Methylcobalamin helps protect against anemia, provides energy, supports our nervous system (especially the brain), and aids in DNA repair. Again, just like other B vitamins, too much can contribute to headaches, so it is important to monitor your levels.
Magnesium & glycine – One-way tickets to relaxation station
Magnesium has a long history of effective use in migraine prevention. Low levels of magnesium have been detected in those suffering from a variety of headache types, which is why supplementation of magnesium has been shown to be effective as an inexpensive acute treatment option for headaches and migraines, particularly when administered intravenously to those with low magnesium levels in their blood. It is important to be aware of which types of magnesium you are taking, as each kind is used to address various health concerns.
Glycine is an amino acid that functions as a neurotransmitter in the brain and spinal cord and has a calming effect on our brain. It stimulates the production of serotonin, which elevates mood, improves sleep, and enhances cognitive function. Typically, we will combine glycine with magnesium if the patient suffers from sleep issues due to headaches. Glycine is not to be taken if you are on anti-psychotic medications, such as Clozaril, as it may decrease the effectiveness of the medication.
How IV therapy and vitamin injections boost your body’s headache-fighting abilities
At Spark Health, we boost vitamin and mineral levels in one of two ways – through IV therapy in which vitamins and minerals are delivered directly into the bloodstream by way of an intravenous drip and through injections in which the nutrients are delivered via a needle into the hypodermis for rapid absorption.
Intravenous nutrient therapies contain higher concentrations of vitamins and minerals, which can be helpful for patients who suffer from chronic headaches and the effects will usually last a few weeks. This is also helpful if there are multiple nutrient deficiencies. Vitamin injections are used more prophylactically, as well as for acute headache flares, and contain customized doses of each vitamin. Injections will typically last a few days and up to a week, while intravenous therapies will last about one to two weeks.
When it comes to frequency of IV therapy or injections, there is no one-size-fits all approach. Primarily, it depends how your body responds. After receiving treatment, patients should note any fluctuations in symptoms and how long they last. On average, our patients visit us every three to seven days for injections and every one to two weeks for IV therapy until symptoms begin to improve.
At Spark Health, we are on a mission to flip the script on headaches. It’s all too common for patients to suffer in silence for years before seeking treatment. If you are living with chronic headaches, there is no time like the present to book a consultation with one of our naturopathic doctors for a personalized assessment and treatment plan. Located in Solano Beach in San Diego County, CA, Spark Health Integrative Medicine takes a collaborative approach to natural medicine, partnering with patients to help them achieve their unique health and wellness goals. Contact us to schedule a consultation today!
Article written by Dr. Barbara Ivos, ND