Why We Get Migraines and How to Prevent them
“If this is your first headache ever, or your worst headache ever, go see your doctor.”
People who suffer from migraines know they can be pretty debilitating. That’s why Dr Keller Wortham, MD, is a very well renowned Doctor in this field.
Its is also important to see the doctor to determine if there’s serious condition that causes similar symptoms.
What is a Migraine?
If you’ve ever had a Migraine, you are probably with some of the following symptoms. It Involves an extremely severe headache, sensitivity to light and sound, and nausea. It’s believed that the closest thing to migraine pain might be brain freeze.
So, what exactly are migraines? Well, migraines are headaches that have been around for a long time. In fact, way back in Ancient Greece, they documented them with the term hemicrania, which means half the head (or mid-cranium). Hemicrania is actually where the term “Migraine”, comes from.
That’s because migraines are typically experience on one side of the head. That’s not always the case, but the typical migraine occurs on one side of the head, with symptoms like sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound, and nausea.
There’s also a very interesting thing about migraines, called an aura, which is the sensation you might feel coming on before migraine. They’re typically temporary neuro-sensations, and they can include things like vision changes – maybe you see floating lights or twinkling lights, or you experience some temporary vision loss. You may also experience tingling sensation (like pins and needles) in one part of your body, or you may have difficulty speaking or hear noises. Of Course, this list of symptoms sounds pretty scary, and it is true that these symptoms may signify something more serious going on. Important to always double check with your doctor.
There are other health problems, like stroke, Aneurism, tumours that can cause swelling of the brain, infection in the brain like Meningitis, that can cause very similar symptoms. So, it’s very important to have your migraine properly diagnosed.
Many people who suffer from migraines might already know certain things can trigger a migraine. Understanding these triggers is important, as it can help you avoid them. Here are some of the most common migraine triggers:
Sleep disturbances, poor sleep, or sleep deprivation can certainly lead to migraines.
Hormone Changes. This can happen because of a woman’s menstrual, menopause, or due to birth control pills. It can happen in andropause in men, as their hormone levels go down.
Certain beverages. Certainly, caffeine beverages – especially, certain alcoholic beverages like red wine – can be big triggers for migraines.
Stress. Life stress, work stress, and family stress can all lead to migraines.
Intensive stimuli. This could be really loud noise, or really bright light.
Certain foods. Foods that triggers migraines might include ages cheese, and things that have food additives like the preservative monosodium glutamate (MSG). Many people to avoid MSG altogether, but this especially important if you’re a migraine-prone person.
Migraine: the 5-4-3-2-1 RULE
The international Headache Society has come up with a little rule called the 5-4-3-2-1- Rule, which can help you give a little guidance for understanding whether you’re experiencing a migraine. 5-4-3-2-1 stands for:
Five headaches, with a duration of 4 hours to 3 days, with two of the following qualities:
Pain on one side of the your head
A throbbing quality
Moderate to severe intensity
Aggravated by physical motion
As well as one of the following other qualities:
Nausea and vomiting
Photophia, which is our medical term for sensitivity to light or sound
If your headaches fit the qualifications listed here, chances are good that you get migraines.
So, what are you going to do if you have a tendency to get migraines or if you feel like one is coming on?
Over the Counter Medication
Try to take a medication to control that migraine as soon as possible.
Caffeine is great for treating migraines. Of course, there is also such a thing as a caffeine headache, which is a headache triggered by caffeine, or by suddenly abstaining from caffeine. You have to kind of know what your caffeine intake is. But, often caffeine as a substance it may be good at reducing migraine pain.
Your Physician can write you a prescription to treat your migraine. And again, these are most effective if you start right away. Some of then are a class of drugs called Triptans e.g. Imitrex or Maxalt. These work by blocking pain pathways in the pain, primarily those that are mediated by serotonin.
Another class of medication is called Dihydroergotamines. Migranal is one of these. These work by a different method than triptans, but also help reduce migraine pain.
Anti-nausea Medication is also one medication that may be required if migraine is causing nausea.
As we always say, prevention is the best. So, avoiding those triggers that you have is the first step – whether that’s poor sleep, caffeine and alcohol, or managing Stress, try to avoid your triggers. Try to avoid medication that could lead to them, like birth control pills. Please consult with your doctors before stopping any medication.
If you avoid your triggers and you’re still getting migraines, you might want to look at some other things that you can do:
Blood pressure medication can help, if you suffer from high blood pressure (and sometimes even if you don’t).
Antidepressants work for some people, as they help modulate serotonin in the brain. Since one of the theorized pathways for migraines is about serotonin. That could be a solution.
There are certain seizure medication, that have an effect in the brain.
A lot of people get relief from their migraines by using Botox
There are also some more natural things you can do like:
Employ some techniques to get better sleep
Supplementation. There are some supplements that may help as well. Some people CoQ10 (OR Ubiquinol), Feverfew, Magnesium citrate and B12 for migraines
There are also some more natural things you can do like:
So, you can start there and see if some lifestyle modification and natural product, and healthier eating are able to help your migraines under control.
A final Word on Headaches
There are lots of things that can cause Headaches, some of them quite serious. If you have a really severe headache come on at once, really think about seeing your doctors right away. You could be sitting on a very serious problem like an aneurysm or brain bleed, or even a tumour. Again, this is your first headache or your worse headache, you must see your doctor.
Remember if you have fever see a doctor as fever is not a symptom of migraine. You could have an infection or Meningitis.
If you get headache that wake you up in the middle of the night, that also is a worrisome sign. And, if you’ve had a recent injury or head trauma, and you staring getting headache, you need to be aware of the possibility of brain bleeds and other conditions that could damage the skull, which could lead to headache that are not migraines.
Wrap-up about Migraines
So, there’s a little bit of info there on migraines. Remembers to try some natural lifestyle changes, like paying attention to your triggers and learning to avoid them, getting good sleep, staying hydrated, supplementing, and exercising.
You might also consider keeping a headache and understanding your triggers better: when they happen most, what you ate before getting one, whether it’s related to hormone cycle, and whether you’re particularly stressed.
And then, talk to your doctors. They are there to help you, to give you prescription if you need them, and to rule out more serious headaches.