Health Program

 Migraine

Definition


A migraine is a very painful neurological condition of which the most common symptom is a very intense headache. Usually the headache is on one side of the brain.


Cause


Originally it was thought that migraines were caused by abnormalities of blood vessel systems in the head. Today, experts believe that migraines are caused by a disorder in the central nervous system. Many stimuli can cause a chain of neurological and biochemical events. These events cause the blood vessels to constrict and cause less blood flow to the brain.


This is what causes the throbbing pain in the head. A second probable cause of migraines is a problem found within the cells channels that send electrical ions, calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. The calcium channel is what is in charge of the release of serotonin. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter in the migraine process. Reduced magnesium levels also have a part in migraines.


A drop in magnesium levels is what is responsible for the auras during a migraine. Estrogen fluctuations in women are also a cause of migraines. Women report getting migraines right before a mistral cycle.


Risk Factors


  • Emotional stress

  • Low or high blood pressure

  • Physical exertion

  • Lack of sleep

  • Sudden weather changes

  • Bright lights

  • High altitudes

  • Low sugar levels

  • Certain foods (cheese, chocolate, alcohol, fatty foods)

  • Travel motion

  • Hormones

  • Medication


Symptoms


Everyone experiences different symptoms. Some symptoms include


  • Pain on one side or both sides of the head or pain in the lower back part of the head

  • Sensitivity to light and sound

  • Nausea with or without vomiting

  • Auras

  • Blurred vision

  • Seeing flashing or twinkling lights

  • Tingling sensations in the limbs

  • Cravings for sweets

  • Being thirsty

  • Feeling depressed

  • Irritability

  • Drowsiness


Treatment


Treatment can consist of anything form over the counter medicine to prescription drugs. There are pain relieving medications and there are medications that prevent the occurrence and severity of the migraine.


Over the counter pain medications are Ibuprofen, aspirin, Naproxen sodium (aleve). If these are not affective the physician may prescribe a prescription strength pain reliever like Triptan. Alternative medications are also available like acupuncture and massage. Herbs, vitamins, and minerals are also a way to treat migraines and other headaches.


Prevention


Prevention comes in the form of medications. Preventative medications include cardiovascular drugs or beta blockers, even though these medication reduce high blood pressure and heart disease, they can also reduce the amount of migraine. Antidepressants and anti-seizure medication are also effective in preventing migraines.


Statistics


  • Migraines affect 28 million Americans roughly 21 million are women

  • Half of migraine sufferers get their first migraine by the age 20

  • About 57% of neurologists get migraines sometime in their life

  • 85% of migraine sufferers have reported something that trigger the migraines

  • Up to 50% weather

  • 40% missing a meal

  • 50% stress

  • 50% alcohol


Sources Relieve Migraine Headaches