|A reader commented recently that although I cover traditional medicine, pharmaceutical products and medical procedures in this column that I tend to address mainly alternative medicine topics.
Although I do cover traditional medical approaches often, I do write more about non-traditional or alternative medicine approaches than mainstream medicine.
There are a couple of reasons for that.
For one thing, mainstream medicine is largely about selecting one or more of thousands of pharmaceutical products to address most illnesses or conditions.
In most cases, when a person sees their primary care physician, the immediate course of action is likely to be a prescription. Therefore, the pharmaceutical approach to addressing medical conditions is already well established.
Second, since many pharmaceutical products create sales in the billions of dollars, the companies that make these products have enormous resources to make sure that you are aware of the marketed benefits of the products.
Consumers literally cannot escape hearing about these products throughout the day in magazines, newspapers, radio, television, internet and many other media.
This column often seeks to inform the reader about lesser known approaches to treating various conditions that have merit, but may not be heavily publicized. Usually, this is due to the fact that no private company stands to make millions of dollars off the remedy, much less billions.
For example, today's column will focus on three products that have been shown to be reliable in helping many with headaches.
Since the products cannot be patented, no company will ever make an enormous profit from them, no matter how popular they become. Therefore, you will not see many advertisements for them.
All three products have been shown to be helpful for headaches including migraines.
The first product is the simplest of all. It is a mineral that your body needs to function normally: magnesium.
Although overlooked for decades, recent studies have found that many people have less than ideal levels of magnesium in their body.
In addition, although some headache sufferers have been tested and found to have so-called normal levels of magnesium in their blood, they responded favorably to receiving additional supplementations of magnesium. Perhaps some people require more magnesium than others.
In my work with patients, I have also encountered patients that have tried magnesium for their headaches without results, but do respond when they try a different magnesium product.
I may recommend one of several various alternative magnesium products that I have found to be successful.
This can have a dramatic response in the headaches. It is unclear why some patients respond better to one product over another, but I have found several that seem to be more effective than others.
The second natural headache relief product is an herb called butterbur.
Although many mainstream doctors are not trained in the use of this herb, it is now recommended by the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society.
Many physicians may be surprised to learn that the herb butterbur was featured in an article in the journal Neurology as far back as 2004.
In that study, two-thirds of participants that took 75 milligrams of butterbur twice daily saw a reduction in their migraines of at least 50 percent or more.
In an interview conducted earlier this year by Internal Medical News, Dr. Stephen Silberstein, a professor of neurology at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia commented about primary care physicians not being informed about the effectiveness and safety of butterbur.
"The fact that there's such good evidence for butterbur, instead of possibly or probably effective, may be new to doctors," he said.
The third natural remedy for migraine headaches that deserves mention is feverfew.
This one is somewhat more commonly known about than butterbur but may not be as reliably effective.
It is important to note that just because a product is natural, doesn't mean it is free from side effects or risks.
It is also important to note that manufacturing standards vary, so one product line may be much more effective or more potent than another similarly named product.
For best results, obtain guidance from a licensed health-care professional knowledgeable about the products and your condition.