Migraines: Triggers, Remedies & Myths
19-Oct-2020 - 2 min read
A migraine is a severe, disabling headache, usually affecting only one side of the head. It is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, aversion to bright light and visual disturbances.
This intense pounding headaches can cause severe throbbing pain which can last for hours or even days.
It's not clear what causes migraine, but it is thought to be a disorder of the nervous system that temporarily affects blood vessels in the head. The throbbing nature of pain apparently corresponds to blood going through irritated vessels.
As stated earlier, though the causes of migraine are not completely understood, genetics and environmental factors appear to play a role.
What is a migraine trigger?
A migraine trigger is any event or experience or stimulus (internal or external) that can initiate or activate a migraine attack. Understanding your migraine triggers will help you unravel the mystery of why you get migraine attacks.
What are the common triggers for migraine?
Although identifying triggers is not an easy one as several factors combine to produce an attack. It is as effective as taking some of the daily preventive medications , but without drugs. Common triggers for migraine vary but include;
According to a research carried out at the National Migraine Centre , more than 50% women are more likely to experience migraine during their menstrual period. Fluctuations in estrogen (female sex hormones) before or during menstrual periods, pregnancy and menopause triggers migraine.
▪ Emotional Triggers
❇ Stress: Stress is one of the most commonly reported migraine triggers. A recent study revealed that stress is a trigger for almost 70% of people with migraine. Stress at home or at work can trigger migraine.
▪ Physical Triggers
❇ Strenuous Exercise: Strenous exercise can induce migraine in some people especially if they are not used to it.
❇ Poor quality sleep: A study shows that nearly half of all migraine attacks occur between 4:00am and 9.00am .
▪ Dietary Triggers
❇ Irregular meals: Missing a meal is one of the most reliable ways of triggering a migraine as this often result in a relative drop in blood sugar thereby provoking migraine.
❇ Drinks: Excessive consumption of alcohol, especially red wine, and too much caffeine, such as coffee can trigger migraine .
❇ Preventive treatments : These are designed to reduce headache frequency and severity. They seek to keep headaches from starting.
❇ Abortive treatments: This seek to stop a migraine headache or to reduce its severity or duration while it is happening. Abortive treatments include the triptans and ditans, which specifically target serotonin. The triptans are used only to treat headache and do not relieve pain from back problems, arthritis, menstruation, or other condition.
Myths & Facts about Migraine
There are still many misconceptions regarding migraines.
❇ Myth : Migraines aren't a serious medical condition, they're just being bothersome.
Fact : A migraine itself may not be life-threatening, but complications of migraine and risk factors associated with migraine can be
❇ Myth : Migraine is just a bad headache
Fact : Migraine is distinct from headaches because of its duration, severity and accompanying symptoms. It's a genetic neurological disorder
❇ Myth : Migraine do not run in families
Fact : Migraine is hereditary
❇ Myth : Migraine affects only women
Fact : Women and men, girls and boys have migraines. Migraines in women may often be associated with hormonal changes.
❇ Myth : Nothing can be done about migraines
Fact : There’s no cure for migraine at this time, but there’s a great deal we can do. Identifying triggers and finding effective treatments to help manage migraine better.
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