Facts About Migraines


Facts About Migraines
A migraine hurts like a headache, yet it usually distinguishes itself from a headache with a shifting assortment of painful, disorienting, and sometimes debilitating symptoms.

Migraine symptoms include sensory hallucinations, sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. The pain associated with a migraine will usually be focused on one side of the head (although it can be on both sides) and is often described as throbbing or pulsating.

Your body may send up a warning flare that a migraine is coming
If you’re like some migraineurs, your body will send you a warning when a migraine approaches. For several hours to a day before a migraine, you might sense a feeling that the migraine is coming. Feelings may include tiredness, food cravings or loss of appetite, nausea, and mood changes.

1 in 4 people with migraine receive clearer, more significant hints from their body, warning signs known as auras. An aura may come in the form of a visual hallucination, including blurred or tunnel vision, blind spots, and zigzag lines floating or pulsating in your field of vision. Other types of aura include numbness in the face or in the extremities, mental confusion, or difficulty speaking.

Listen to your body’s “hints” of what’s to come so you can plan ahead and avoid the onslaught of symptoms. You can take a pain medication or go to bed early to catch up on rest.

Experts still seek the root cause of migraines
The cause of migraines is not completely clear. It was once thought that changes in blood vessels sparked migraines. Most experts now believe that a migraine may be due to changes along a nerve pathway in our brains. Shifts in blood flow and levels of certain brain chemicals may also play a role.

You can solve the mystery of your migraines
Next time you’re hit by a migraine, do yourself a favor: write it down! A migraine is something you want to forget as quickly as possible, but recording the unpleasant experience for posterity will help you avoid another migraine in the future.

Note everything you can about the moment your migraine struck: the time, temperature, weather conditions, what you’ve eaten, how much sleep you’ve gotten, and where you are in your monthly cycle if you’re a woman. One or more of the noted factors might turn out to be your migraine trigger(s).

Your migraine trigger(s) may be totally unique to you
The list of potential migraine triggers is long and varied. One woman might never have another migraine in her life if she switches to a lower-strength oral contraceptive. Another woman may only find relief once she gives up her beloved breakfast grapefruit.
Some of the most oft-cited migraine triggers include:
Foods and drinks (usually triggered within 12 to 24 hours of consumption)
Alcohol, especially red wine
Chocolate
Foods that have been aged, cured, cultured, fermented, pickled, or marinated

Substances
Caffeine
Aspartame
Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

Circumstances
Excess stress
Skipped meals
Lack of sleep or changes in sleep patterns
changes in barometric pressure, weather, or altitude
sensory overload, like flashing lights or strong odors
hormonal fluctuations, such as during puberty, during a woman’s menstrual cycle, or through use of oral contraceptives or hormone therapy
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