There are more than 150 types of headaches and “migraine” is one of the most common. In addition to moderate to severe headache, the presence of nausea, disability, and photophobia are the most significant predictors for migraine.
A self-administered screening tool called ID Migraine ® poses the following questions to help confirm the diagnosis:
- Are you nauseated or sick to your stomach when you have a headache?
- Has the headache limited your activities for a day or more in the last three months?
- Does light bother you a lot more when you have a headache?
An affirmative response on 2 of 3 questions yields high sensitivity (81%) and specificity (75%). (1)
Magnesium deficiency has been strongly associated with migraine attacks. A recent study by Chiu demonstrates the positive effects of magnesium administration both orally and intravenous for migraine symptoms.
“Intravenous magnesium reduces acute migraine attacks within 15 – 45 minutes, 120 minutes, and 24 hours after the initial infusion and oral magnesium alleviates the frequency and intensity of migraine. Intravenous and oral magnesium should be adapted as parts of multimodal approach to reduce migraine.” (2)
Although the studies comprising this meta-analysis used varying dosages and formulations (Magnesium Citrate, Magnesium Sulfate, Magnesium Oxide) the most common adult dose was 400-600mg/ day. This dose should be sustained for 8-12 weeks before assessing effectiveness.
There are several good brands. I steer people away from Magnesium oxide as it is not as bioavailable (in other words, you absorb less of it. ) Here’s the exact Magnesium that I recommend in my office.
1. Lipton RB. A self-administered screener for migraine in primary care: The ID MigraineTM validation study. Neurology. 2003;61:375–382.
2. Chiu HY, Yeh TH, Huang YC, Chen PY. Effects of Intravenous and Oral Magnesium on Reducing Migraine: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Pain Physician. 2016 Jan;19(1):E97-112.