Everyone gets headaches but migraine headaches are different. They can completely impact our ability to function in day-to-day activities. This type of headache can often debilitate those who suffer from them. It can cause them to feel nauseous as well as light-headed. In addition, the pulsating pain of a migraine can be so severe as to negatively impact the quality of life – many people find themselves canceling activities involving work and play.
Reasons for Migraines
A good majority of the population suffers from migraines every now and then; however, women are more likely to get migraines than men. Migraines are typically caused by the constriction of blood vessels located in the brain. There can be a number of factors that cause a person to suffer from the malady. Some of the causes are drinking too much coffee or drinks with caffeine, menstruation, skipping meals, the ingestion of certain foods such as cheese, chocolate, ice cream, fried foods or lunch meats, inadequate sleep, smoking, jet lag, alcohol consumption or even changes in the weather.
Blame it on your DNA
It’s believed by many in the scientific community that migraines can be passed down in a family. In other words, if your mother or father suffered from these types of headaches, you are more likely to as well.
Definition of a Migraine
Migraines can come in all shapes and sizes so to speak. Some can last only a half hour while some full-blown headaches of this type can last several days. In addition, each migraine can afflict the sufferer differently. In many cases, the throbbing pain starts on one side of the head then worsens as the person tries to succeed with their daily activities. At other times, a small amount of light or sound can be a cause for distraction. Other people feel nauseated to the point where they’ll vomit. As you can see, a migraine is certainly no picnic for anyone who suffers from this complaint.
Many migraines are preceded by auras – subtle alarms that indicate a migraine is about to occur. These auras can take the shape of broken lines. Others come in the form of flashing lights, a blurry vision or spots. Auras typically begin about 15 minutes or more on average before a migraine is introduced.
Other signs that harbinger a migraine can begin several hours to several days before the headache occurs. Such signs include unusual food cravings, thirstiness, excessive energy or irritability. Other symptoms that occur before or during a migraine can include loss of coordination, weakness and problems with speech.
Because migraines result from different causes, a determination first has to be made as to the reason for the migraine. Some people get migraines because of a hormonal imbalance while others suffer from migraines because of the foods they eat or the amount of stress in their lives. Therefore, it’s important, if a determination hasn’t been made, that a person diary the events preceding each episode of a migraine. This way, the doctor has a means in finding out what the best treatment option is for the sufferer. In addition, some medical professionals may feel that certain tests need to be run, such as blood tests, an MRI or a CAT scan to make sure there are no extenuating problems that are associated with the headaches.
If the reason for your migraine is stress, then obviously it will be recommended that you reduce or modify the activities in your life causing the stress to exist. This may include changing how you eat, what you eat and getting more sleep. Many times, pain medications are prescribed as well as antiemetic drugs to assist in decreasing any nausea or vomiting.
Some practitioners advocate the use of acupressure for pain relief. Others use relaxation techniques and meditation to offset an attack. Yet other people suggest herbal remedies for migraine headaches relief. For example, some herbal antidotes include cayenne, dong quai (in a tincture) and feverfew. Ginkgo is helpful in increasing the circulation to the brain and tilden flower can help in relieving migraines connected with high blood pressure. Passionflower is usually prescribed for migraines associated with stress and anxiety.
Probably to offset any migraine though, prevention is the best cure. If you feel such an attack coming on stop what you’re doing and rest. Avoid foods that trigger any attacks. Also, drinking more water and reducing your intake of coffee can help in putting a damper on the hold migraines can have over your daily routine. Keeping organized to lessen stress as well as regularly scheduled exercise can also help discourage these distracting headaches from disrupting one’s life.
Whatever the cause of your migraine, do all you can to maintain a daily calendar that doesn’t overwhelm you and keeps your life in balance. Eat healthily and learn to relax. Be good to yourself to keep any migraines from controlling your life.