What are Migraine Headaches?

Definition

Migraines are a type of headache that often are accompanied with  nausea, vomiting, and light sensitivity or eye pain.

Migraine Symptoms

  • Aura (blind spot, blurred vision, seeing dancing light patterns or tunnel vision, all temporary, occurring a few minutes to hours before the onset of migraine pain)
  • Throbbing, pulsating or pounding pain
  • Often felt on one side of the head more than another
  • Symptoms can last from 6 to 48 hours
  • Other flu-like symptoms often accompany migraines, such as chills, sweating, nausea, desire to sleep.
  • After a migraine, you may feel mentally dull or “fuzzy” for a period lasting even several days

Migraine Treatments

Migraines do not have a specific treatment or cure. When diagnosing and treating migraines, much attention is given to finding and identifying “triggers”, or actions and events that start the onset of symptoms, such as stress, diet, activity, and more. Keeping a journal of your headaches can be an excellent way of learning more about what may be causing them.

Also, trying different headache medications and other relief techniques may provide relief from symptoms and reduce occurrences.

Migraine Causes

A migraine is generally thought to be caused by abnormal brain activity, triggered by something like stress, foods, a change in habits, noise, etc.

These triggers cause a brain reaction in which the brain and surrounding tissues are affected by a change in blood flow.

Some known migraine triggers are:

  • Alcohol
  • Specific odors or perfumes
  • Changes in lifestyle or sleep patterns
  • Exercise, missed meals
  • Loud noises and bright lights
  • Physical or emotional stress
  • Smoking and secondhand smoke
  • Chocolate
  • Dairy products
  • monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Tyramine, contained in foods including wine, cheese, smoked fish, chicken livers, figs, and certain beans
  • nitrates (bacon, hot dogs, other cured meats)
  • Many other food and environmental triggers

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Remember to check out our information on the different neuro-disorders, like a Herniated Disk.