A Migraine is a severe headache that causes throbbing pain mostly at the front or side of the head; it may also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting or an increased sensitivity to sound and light. Migraines are a common health problem that often begin in early adulthood and may go on for years if not treated or not suppressed; they affect about 20% of women and 7% of men.
What Causes Migraines
The real cause is yet to be understood, but chemical and environmental changes have been found to trigger migraines. An imbalance in brain chemicals like serotonin which is what regulates pain in the nervous system is highly linked to severe triggers. According to Mayo clinic , some of the triggers that cause migraines include stress, which is considered to be one of the leading causes.
Certain types of food can also be triggers, processed foods, aged cheese and alcohol may lead to migraines; food additives like aspartame and monosodium glutamate, which are widely used as preservatives, are also not recommended neither is fasting and skipping meals.
In women hormonal changes like fluctuations in estrogen levels caused by hormonal medication or menstruation can be factors. Sensory stimuli like bright light, loud sounds, certain smells like paint thinners or smoke have also been found to trigger migraines. Others include: changes in weather like barometric pressure, lack of sleep, intense physical activity or medication overuse.
How to Treat Your Migraine
This can be done by preventative or medicated solutions. You can prevent migraines by knowing what triggers it in you and avoiding it or using supplements like magnesium which protects women from migraines associated with menstruation.
Your diet should also include lots of vitamins mostly riboflavin which is vitamin B2. Fish oil reduces inflammation and this greatly minimizes painful migraines. To reduce stress do things that relax your body like yoga, meditation, music, getting enough sleep or whatever activity that calms you. Preventative measures are highly recommended because migraine pain is usually unbearable.
Medication used to treat migraines can be: over the counter painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen, anti-emetics which are drugs used to reduce nausea and vomiting and triptans which reverse the chemical changes in the brain that trigger migraines; triptans help with the nausea, headaches and the light and sound sensitivity. Botox injected into the muscles on the neck has also been found to greatly reduce chronic migraines although the procedure has to be repeated every 12 weeks. Anti-depressants can also be used if stress is what is triggering migraines.
Home remedies are also recommended to ease up and reduce the pain include scalp massage, change in diet, scent of oils like basil, peppermint and lavender have also been found to help while seed like flaxseed and buckwheat are also used. Lying down in a dark, cold quiet room also works for some people with migraine attacks.
Since migraines can be symptoms of other diseases one is always advised to visit the doctor if symptoms persist. MRI and CT scans can also be done because migraines can make one experience paralysis, seizures, blinding pain or double vision and these symptoms may be signs of serious conditions like meningitis or stroke. Medical attention in these situations should be urgent.
With these simple tips and preventative measures you can easily treat your migraine and avoid the pain that comes with it. Migraines are manageable and shouldn’t hinder anyone from living a normal life.