The 3 Pillars of Migraine Freedom, Part 1 (Miracle Moment Episode)

In part 1 of this 2 part series of the Miracle Moment, we begin our discussion of the all important the “3 Pillars of Migraine Freedom”

(Click here to listen to part 2)

Links mentioned:

MIGRAI-NEVERLAND, our premier resource for those who want to find their pill free path to migraine freedom:

The Migraine Miracle “Jump Start” challenge and Beastslayer Training Academy:

Migraine Miracle Facebook group:

Find amazing and inspiring Migraine Miracle success stories, and download the guide to getting started at

The Ultimate Guide to Migraine Freedom:

7 Warning Signs You’re Having Rebound Headaches:

11 Drug-Free Strategies for Ending a Migraine:

PRIMAL PROVISIONS, or Migraine Miracle meal planning service:

PRIMAL PROVISIONS Recipe of the Week (Gyro bowl with lamb meatballs):

The BOOK that started it all, The Migraine Miracle:

Episode Transcript

[00:00:14] Hey folks welcome to the Migraine Miracle Moment. I’m your host Dr. Josh Turknett. I’m a neurologist, migraine specialist, and author of the book The Migraine Miracle. And I’m a migraine sufferer myself.

And the mission of this show The Miracle Moment is to help you find your path to migraine freedom without pills.

In this episode, I’ll be reviewing what I refer to as the 3 pillars of migraine freedom, including two key areas that are often overlooked or neglected when folks implement The Migraine Miracle plan.

[00:00:49] First things first. Let’s begin by celebrating our Beastslayer of the Week. So in each episode of The Miracle Moment we highlight somebody in our Migraine Miracle community who’s recently dealt a mighty blow to the beast. And this week it is.

[00:02:05] Tonya, who says “12 days with no migraine. Dare I even hope? Only one migraine on August 4th one Naratriptan. I’ve had two minor headaches that have gone away by drinking water in just a few hours. I’ve resumed exercising and I’m feeling like a new girl. This is the longest that I’ve gone without a migraine.”

[00:02:34] So those of you tuned in to last week’s episode will recall that Lori was our Beastslayer of the week, and she was celebrating her one year anniversary on The Migraine Miracle plan. And over six months of migraine freedom.

[00:02:49] And that was after having spent years where she was having 20 or so migraine days per month. So Tonya, our Beastslayer of the Week this week, is much earlier in her journey, and there are two things I really like about what she says.

[00:03:04] The first thing I like is that she’s celebrating the small wins, as she says, relative to what she’s been used to, 12 days with no migraine is huge. And the key here is to work towards progress over time, and your progress can ONLY be measured in relation to yourself.

[00:03:22] The second thing I really like is that she’s clearly trying to REDUCE HER MEDICATION CONSUMPTION and she’s using the strategies we’ve discussed to do so. So she’s recognized that getting on the path to migraine freedom requires reducing the use of migraine medications and finding effective strategies for ending a migraine that don’t involve medications.

[00:03:42] So congratulations to Tonya for being our Beastslayer of the Week. And if YOU have a recent success to share no matter how big or small, please feel free to do so in our Migraine Miracle Facebook group. And if you’re not already a member there you can find a link in the show notes, and also for more success stories you can head over to That’s also where you can download the Migraine Miracle guide to getting started

[00:04:10] with the plan.

[00:04:15] So once again the topic for discussion today is the 3 PILLARS OF MIGRAINE FREEDOM. And since this is such a big topic I’m actually going to be dividing this episode into two parts. So I’m going to begin here with the story of how the 3 pillars came came about to begin with.

[00:04:33] So as some of you know, 2010 was the year everything changed for me. I’d gotten really interested in nutrition that year. As it turns out, doctors get hardly any training on the topic of nutrition, and much of the little bit that we do get has turned out to be wrong.

[00:04:52] So I came to the understanding that much of what I thought I knew about healthy eating was wrong. And in some cases, the exact opposite of what was true, and it was then that I made a major overhaul to the way I ate and the way I lived, which had an incredible impact on my migraines, as well as just about every other aspect of my life.

[00:05:33] So the central guiding principle of the Migraine Miracle plan is to bring our daily life back into alignment with our biology, or to eat and live in a way that’s appropriate for a human.

[00:05:45] Now that sounds like a perfectly obvious thing to do. We all know that every animal has a natural habitat, which refers to both the environmental conditions and the range of foods that it’s best suited for. And every animal thrives best in its natural habitat.

[00:05:59] So for example a lion is best suited for a very different habitat than a polar bear.

[00:06:05] And whereas a lion will thrive in its natural habitat, it will struggle immensely in a polar bear’s natural habitat.

[00:06:13] And so a central idea here is this concept of a MISMATCH. So here’s here’s a quote from Dan Lieberman, who is a professor of evolutionary biology at Harvard and author of the book The Story of the Human Body, which is an excellent book.

[00:06:29] So he says in that book quote “I don’t think it’s possible to overemphasize just how important mismatch diseases are”

[00:06:38] We currently find ourselves living in a world that’s very different than the one human beings lived in for almost the entirety of our time on this planet. So we humans have been around for over a million years as a species, and Homo sapiens for around 100 to 200 thousand years, and almost all of that time we as a species have been on this planet, our biology has been adapting to the environment of a human in the wild.

[00:07:05] But our world has changed astronomically over the past thousand years, and even more radically in the past century, and our biology has not had the time to catch up. Not even close.

[00:07:16] So most of our physiology is optimized for the habitat of a wild human, or a hunter gatherer human, meaning a human eating only wild plants and animals, living outside in natural sunlight, supported by a close knit tribe of friends and family, and living his or her days according to the rise and fall of the sun.

[00:07:36] Yet the typical modern human is eating all manner of processed foods that would never be found wild in nature, drinking sugary beverages, spending tons of time indoors, often socially isolated or not connected to a rich supportive network like the ancestral tribe.

[00:07:53] And thanks to indoor lighting, no longer living their days and nights by the rise and fall of the sun. So the modern world we live in is very different especially in certain key ways.

[00:08:04] And this difference places an enormous amount of stress and strain on our body and on our physiology. And really it’s a testament to our resilience that we can even survive at all.

[00:08:15] But as a society, there’s been a huge health cost, and one that continues to rise. Most of the chronic illnesses we see nowadays are also known as “Diseases of Civilization,” because they only emerge in civilized populations, and are mostly or entirely absent in wild hunter gatherer human populations, and they are the result of this mismatch between the environment or habitat that are our brain and our body expects us to be in and is thus designed for, and the habitat that we’re actually living in.

[00:08:49] And almost all of the diseases and conditions that doctors see these days are these types of chronic illnesses. So if you compared the medical clinic waiting room a hundred years ago to the one today the differences would be astounding.

[00:09:04] Almost everything we see now are these chronic conditions that result from a diet and lifestyle that’s mismatched to our biology and that places consistent daily stress on our body until it ultimately reaches a breaking point and it can no longer cope which is when disease occurs and more and more people are reaching that breaking point, and at an earlier age.

[00:09:24] And for reasons that I discussed in the last episode, there’s no possible way that our current medical system – which was designed for the types of problems doctors saw a century ago – there’s no possible way that that system can treat these problems adequately, which is precisely why we need new and innovative approaches to care for them, and precisely why the people who are successful in treating and reversing chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune illness, and migraine are doing so outside of the conventional system, turning instead to providers that are integrating an ancestral and holistic approach to care.

[00:10:01] And while our rising chronic health problems and the inability of the conventional medical system to do anything about it may sound like doom and gloom, the big upside to all of this is that once we recognize and acknowledge that this mismatch is the root cause of so many of the health problems we now have, it presents a clear vision for how to respond and how to fix it.

[00:10:24] So the goal if we wish to prevent chronic disease and also to lead a life of wellness and vitality, is to align our current environment as close as possible to our ancestral one, which again includes the foods we eat and the lives we lead.

[00:10:41] And this concept of aligning our environment with our biology is of particular importance to the migraine sufferer, and that’s because of how migraines are generated in the brain, and the root cause of why the genes that are involved in migraine end up being expressed.

[00:10:56] In fact I’d argue that migraine is the quintessential disease of civilization. And again I’ll be talking more about why this is in subsequent episodes.

[00:11:06] Now, it’s not possible to close the gap between the environment of our wild ancestors and our modern world entirely, but we can certainly close that gap considerably, especially in certain key ways that matter the most to our health. And the rewards of doing so are tremendous.

[00:11:24] And the single best way to to promote health and wellness and prevent chronic illness is to minimize this mismatch.

[00:11:38] So in the book The Migraine Miracle, which was published in 2013, I outlined how to take this concept of reducing the mismatch between our modern and ancestral environments and apply it to migraine prevention.

[00:11:52] As I said before, migraines, like the other chronic diseases of civilization, arise from this mismatch.

[00:11:59] Genetics, or genes, alone are not enough to cause them, which is a topic we’ll explore a good bit further in another episode.

[00:12:07] A great many folks were able to take the information in the book and conquer the migraine beast, but I don’t want anyone getting left behind. And one of the great things about releasing a book and also about having our Facebook and Migrai-Neverland communities is that it’s allowed me to collect feedback from thousands of people who are now implementing the plan.

[00:12:27] And in so doing it’s giving me a clear idea of the differences between those who are most successful and those who stumble a bit.

[00:12:35] And so my goal since the book came out has been to continue to refine the plan, in particular looking for areas where folks might inadvertently make mistakes that would stand in their way of progress.

[00:12:48] Having worked in this field for over a decade, and being a migraine sufferer myself, I know this to be the most reliable path to freedom. And so I hate the idea of anyone missing out on it.

[00:12:59] So about a year ago I published “The Ultimate Guide to

[00:13:03] Migraine Freedom,” which included this concept of the 3 Pillars to migraine freedom, and that guide incorporated some of the things that I’d learned since the book.

[00:13:14] In particular, some of the things that were holding people back from conquering the beast.

[00:13:19] And speaking of that guide, if you haven’t already make sure you grab it. There’s a link to it in the show notes. and you can go to it directly at my

[00:13:33] So the reason they’re referred to as the “3 pillars” is because each of the pillars is critical to success.

[00:13:40] So just as a structure would fall down without its support system, achieving success with the plan requires attention to all three pillars.

[00:13:49] And what I was oftentimes seeing in those who struggled was that they were focusing heavily or even exclusively on just one of the pillars or even just a part of one of the pillars.

[00:14:01] So yesterday I conducted this poll in our Facebook group and posed the question “what’s the most challenging part of the migraine miracle plan for you.

[00:14:29] And as you can see here the top response was “breaking rebound headaches,” which was a pretty clear winner, followed then by “keeping stress levels down,” and then “getting a good night’s sleep.” And the fourth choice “ditching sugar” came in last, which was a little bit of a surprise.

[00:14:49] So so the first pillar of migraine freedom I’m going to talk about is breaking rebound headaches.

[00:15:03] So I was pleased by the results from that poll, and encouraged because it indicated to me that a lot of folks are both aware of the concept of rebound headaches and appreciate just how critical getting over them is to getting on on the path to migraine freedom.

[00:15:18] So the reason I’m covering this pillar first is because it’s without a doubt the single biggest impediment to long term success.

[00:15:28] So I mentioned in the last episode that one of the big problems with the drugs that are taken for migraine, in particular are the ones that are taken to relieve a migraine, is that they may sometimes help in the short term but they hurt in the long term.

[00:15:42] And as I also mentioned in that episode even though I’ve been aware of that phenomenon as long as I’ve been a neurologist it’s only been since the book came out that I fully appreciated just how significant that problem is, and I really can’t emphasize that enough. In fact if I could go back and see.

[00:16:32] But if I could go back and and add one thing to the book it would be this “until rebound headaches are broken,

[00:16:42] nothing will work.” And it took me a while to even admit to myself just how big a problem this was.

[00:16:49] So the essential problem here is that every time we take something to relieve a migraine it leaves us more vulnerable to experiencing another migraine for a period of time.

[00:16:59] And this effect adds up every time we take something for a migraine. So taking a medication then means we’re more likely to get another migraine in the future, which means we’re more likely to need another medication, which makes us even more likely to get another migraine, which means we’re more likely to need another medication, and so on and so on.

[00:17:19] So you can see what a horrible situation this can become and what can happen and what happens all the time is folks get stuck in this endless cycle of headache and medication.

[00:17:30] And for many folks this means a daily headache that never goes away, and for which medication doesn’t really even touch anymore.

[00:17:37] So the medications have caused you to develop a chronic migraine, and those medications have lost most if not all of their effectiveness.

[00:17:45] And the only way out of it is to stop them. Now one of the misconceptions, and it’s a misconception partly fueled by many in the medical community who also don’t fully understand rebound, is that you’re only in rebound if you’re in this kind of endless cycle of headache and medication.

[00:18:03] But what’s important to remember is that every dose of medication renders you more vulnerable to future migraine for a period of time, and fully recovering from that effect may may take a considerable amount of time as well.

[00:18:17] So you may have heard the recommendation to take medication two days a week or less to minimize the chance of rebound, but rebound in this situation is referring to that worst case scenario of a daily unrelenting headache that’s fueled by the medications, and the misconception is that if you stay under that two day a week threshold, then there’s really no downside to the medications.

[00:18:39] The problem with this view is that the reality is it’s not binary, it’s not all or nothing.

[00:18:45] So this worst case scenario of daily headache is really just the final stage of a process that starts every time you take something.

[00:18:53] And in fact there’s probably a need for another word to describe this effect of medications. I’ve used the term “medication induced vulnerability” in the past to try to convey this idea that every single dose of a drug has this effect of making you more vulnerable to another migraine.

[00:19:12] So here’s a study on rebound if I can pull it up.

[00:19:32] So this study comes from a study in 2001 from the journal Headache on the recovery from rebound. And here they took people who are having daily headaches and put them on a protocol that included stopping their medications and then looked at just how long it took to get to six days in a row without a headache.

[00:19:51] And the conclusion there was that it took SIX MONTHS OR MORE of zero medications to get to that point.

[00:19:57] And there have been other studies as well on this issue of recovery coming to about the same conclusion, which is this six month mark to reach full recovery, at least from this worst case scenario situation.

[00:20:15] Now this time the recovery is going to vary according to multiple factors, including how long someone has taken the medication, how often, what particular medication it is, the dose, and so on.

[00:20:27] And also the people in the studies that have been done were likely eating a standard American or Western diet, which as we’ve discussed is fuel for migraines if not the root cause of migraines, and not doing something like the Migraine Miracle Plan, which as we discussed about last week is simultaneously addressing the root cause of migraines.

[00:20:47] But conquering rebound headaches, regardless, including this medication induced vulnerability, is absolutely critical to success, which is why it’s one of the three pillars.

[00:20:59] And on the other hand, the surest path to chronic long term misery is to ignore this issue.

[00:21:05] And unfortunately, it’s the one that tends to be neglected the most, I think in large part because folks just don’t appreciate how little medication it takes for it to significantly get in the way of progress.

[00:21:18] Like I said, I didn’t even realize how little medication it took until fairly recently, and the misconception out there is that if you’re at this two day a week or less threshold then you’ve essentially conquered this issue.

[00:21:31] But that only means you’re out of the very worst of it.

[00:21:34] So I’ve talked to a lot about strategies for getting out of rebound and minimizing the amount of medications in general. And I’ll continue to talk more about it especially in these episodes.

[00:21:46] And I strongly encourage anyone who hasn’t read it to read the article series that I wrote on rebound, starting with the “7 WARNING SIGNS YOU’RE HAVING REBOUND HEADACHES,” and that’s in the show notes, and you can also get to it directly at

[00:22:04] So as you might imagine, having strategies that relieve migraines that don’t involve the drug are extremely important when you’re trying to get out of rebound.

[00:22:14] And I’ll post the article the “11 DRUG FREE WAYS TO END A MIGRAINE” in the show notes as well.

[00:22:21] And you can go to that directly at

[00:22:27] So we’ve compiled a list there of people’s most favorite strategies, including the one that works best for me.

[00:22:34] So I’ll be talking more about rebound in subsequent episodes, because they’re so so important to truly understand, and breaking rebound and getting away from the medications in general is not easy at all and it takes courage to even try.

[00:22:49] And it’s one of those things that’s a lot easier to do I think when you’re connected with other people who are going through it as well.

[00:22:58] It’s also one of those things that once you’ve conquered it and you’re implementing the other parts of the plan, then you start making big time progress and start to feel better in many different ways.

[00:23:09] And lastly, it’s important to remember that any of the medications that are taken for headache relief can lead to rebound.

[00:23:32] So that includes the triptan, so things like sumatriptan, naratriptan. There’s seven triptans on the market.

[00:23:42] The combo medications most commonly in the U.S. would be Fioricet and Fiorinal.

[00:23:47] And all the opioids like hydrocodone and oxycodone, which are really problematic for migraineurs. Aspirin, nonsteroidals and tylenol.

[00:23:57] So those are the ones that we most commonly find because they’re the ones that are most widely available.

[00:24:12] So if you’re in the earlier stages of trying to break free from the medications, then check out our Migrai-Neverland community as well as our upcoming 30 day Jump Start challenge.

[00:24:28] Trust me you won’t be alone in trying to break free from the medications, but there’s so much to be gained if you do.

[00:24:36] If you want to learn more about the JUMP START CHALLENGE, which starts this Saturday August 26, you can go to

[00:24:47] And from just a big picture perspective, this whole rebound issue, which has resulted in enormous suffering for thousands if not millions of people, again highlights how risky it is to interfere with our biology at the microscopic or cellular level, which is what we’re doing essentially with any pharmaceutical.

[00:25:08] And time and time and time again, we’re learning this lesson, which is that in a system as complex as the human body, and with our current state of knowledge, we can’t possibly predict the consequences of disrupting our physiology at this level, which is what drugs do.

[00:25:24] And this is why we should always favor holistic, or root cause level based approaches first, as with these types of interventions we’re not disrupting some part of our biology, but rather SUPPORTING and AMPLIFYING our body’s own mechanisms for healing and recovery.

[00:25:40] And in my opinion this is THE ONLY PATH to making real progress in human health.

[00:25:45] And I firmly believe in the future, hopefully sooner rather than later, we’ll look back at the pharmaceuticals in the same way we now look at things like bloodletting or leech therapy and wonder what on earth we were thinking.

[00:25:59] So with that said we’ll move to our Primal Provisions PICK OF THE WEEK.

[00:26:17] So every week inside of our Migraine Miracle Facebook group we take a poll and see which recipe from PRIMAL PROVISIONS people will want us to post.

[00:26:28] PRIMAL PROVISIONS is our weekly meal planning service, where every Saturday we send out a Migraine Miracle meal plan for the week, along with recipes for all the meals, grocery lists, and prep day instructions for people who want to prepare their meals for the week in advance.

[00:26:42] So this is a super easy way of getting started with the plan, especially the food part, as it takes all that planning and decision making off the table, saving you some time and anxiety, especially if you’re just getting started, and ensures that you have delicious meals to eat throughout the week.

[00:26:59] So the winning recipe this week was our Gyro Bowl with lamb meatballs with lemon cumin yogurt dressing, and I can vouch that this is indeed a delicious recipe and worthy of our Pick of the Week selection.

[00:27:15] So there’s a picture there of the final result. And you can get that full recipe at

[00:27:25] And there you can also find a link to download a PDF that you can print out for helping to make the recipe.

[00:27:40] All right, so in next week’s episode, which will again air Wednesday at 2:30, I’m going to be covering the second and third pillars of migraine freedom.

[00:27:51] And like I said I’ll also be digging more into rebound headaches, in particular strategies for breaking them, in some follow up episodes, including some of the shorter in between those that are in between these full length episodes.

[00:28:05] And just as a final reminder, if you want to jumpstart your progress on the Migraine Miracle plan along with an enthusiastic group of other aspiring Beastslayers then check out our 30 day Migraine Miracle JUMP START CHALLENGE, and that’s launching this Saturday August 26.

[00:28:22] So there’s still time to “jump” on board.

[00:28:25] We always have a really good time with these challenges, and enjoy getting to know the people that are in them in them.

[00:28:30] And this one should be no exception.

[00:28:32] So you can find out more information and sign up at

[00:28:40] And also remember that you can find this in all prior episodes of The Miracle Moment along with the transcripts to these episodes at

[00:28:51] So go enjoy the rest of your day and SLAY THE BEAST!