Understanding Migraine Headaches

Migraines start with abnormal brain activity that is initiated by some kind of trigger. Find out more about home remedies for sleep apnea from Positive Health Wellness – https://www.positivehealthwellness.com/ These triggers start a chain of chemical reactions that cause the temporal artery in the skull to enlarge, which leads to further inflammation, pain, and the many different kinds of migraine symptoms. These symptoms can include light sensitivity, nausea and vomiting, throbbing head pain, confusion and feeling pins and needles. For many people, the symptoms are debilitating.

Migraine Triggers

Just as people experience different symptoms, different triggers set off their migraines. Some potential migraine triggers include:

Stress

Unhealthy sleep habits (not enough, too much or poor quality sleep)
Stimulants (caffeine, wine, chocolate)
Food additives (MSG, nitrates, aspartame)
Allergies
Odors (cigarette smoke, perfume)
High-intensity visual stimulation (bright lights, flashing lights, watching TV)
Hormonal changes (experienced during menstrual periods or menopause)

These triggers have been associated with migraines, though migraines can occur in the absence of any trigger and a particular trigger may not always start a migraine. However, if you know that you are susceptible to certain triggers, you can take steps to minimize your exposure and reduce the chances of a migraine.

Prodrome and Aura

Some people know that a migraine is coming several days beforehand because they experience mood changes (elation, depression, irritability), food cravings or thirst, diarrhea or drowsiness. This is known as the prodrome phase of a migraine. Right before the migraine hits, some people have heightened or distorted sensory experiences such as seeing flashes of light or spots or auditory hallucinations. This is known as the aura phase of a migraine.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of a migraine, you should see a doctor to rule out other conditions that might require immediate attention. Your doctor may also prescribe medication that can help prevent a migraine from occurring or alleviate symptoms.

Medications

After reviewing your tests and medical history and making a diagnosis for a migraine, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription medication to prevent or cope with migraines. For some people with migraines, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like Advil and Aleve are effective if taken right before a migraine kicks in. If these are not effective, there are drugs that help prevent migraine attacks and drugs used to treat symptoms during an attack.

Lifestyle Changes

You can take a proactive role in preventing or minimizing migraines by making some of the following lifestyle changes. Identifying migraine triggers—and then avoiding them when possible—can make a difference for some people.

Stop smoking.

Identify your allergies and try to minimize them.
Make sure you get enough sleep (but not too much).
Stay away from typical migraine trigger foods and experiment to find out what foods or additives make you most susceptible.
Eat a balanced diet with regular meals.
Exercise regularly, even if this means a brisk walk.
Minimize stress. Yoga, tai chi, chi gong, and meditation are all effective practices for reducing stress—and stress is known to be a migraine trigger.

Like many conditions that affect the nervous system and brain, migraines are characterized by an array of unpredictable and debilitating symptoms and are difficult to treat. The process of changing your habits to lessen the chances of a migraine being triggered can often feel like taking two baby steps forward, and one giant step back. Be patient and don’t give up. Work with your doctor on ways to best prevent or treat an attack. There may be no cure for migraines (not yet, anyway), but by being persistent and proactive, you should have fewer migraines with less debilitating symptoms.