How do migraine headache occur?
We live in a modern age, hurriedly, speedily, always chasing one more job to do. Because of that, lots of people find It difficult to arrange their daily life. Some people work from home, some have nine to five desk jobs and some of us even have night shifts; every job has its weights and today people are more than ever torn between social life, family, work, travel, and the most important thing, our basic needs. Breakfast, launch, dinner, snack, rest and other things that help us to be healthy and happy despite our jobs and life problems. So apparently it’s all about balance, right? If you ask me, that’s probably the most difficult thing to do. So let’s talk about migraine tricks to blow your headache away. But first we need to establish some of the basics about a migraine headache and it’s process.
We are all just people, and the rush of modern age can affect our organism. Of course, some health issues are part of our organism, suppressed but when they are triggered, it’s like everything is falling apart.
All ours unhealthy habits
Fast food, stress, rush, skipping a meal, eating a lot of sugar, caffeine, skipping a nap, skipping a sleep of at least six or seven hours a day, all that can be the trigger for a migraine headache (and those are some of many reasons). There is no clear explanation for a migraine headache, how it works, and what is a concrete reason why do we have a migraine. For some trigger can be sugar and simple cure is less sugar, for some lack of sleep, for women reason can be fluctuations in hormones, etc. This means that there are different ways to deal with it, and if something works out for one person it doesn’t mean that will help to another one.
Essentially it is considered that a migraine headache is a type of vascular headache. When increment of blood vessels is combined with the unleash of chemicals from nerve fibers that coil around the blood vessels you get a migraine. The increment of blood vessels is known as vasodilatation. More precisely to a migraine headache comes during the increment of the temporal artery; that leads to stretching out the nerves that coil around the artery, all of that causes the nerves to release chemicals. Chemicals are causing pain, inflammation and further increment of the artery. As a result, we are having a migraine attack. As the artery is more increment, its bigger pain.
What is the result of this process?
The result of this process is periodic attacks. You can have pain on one side of the head or both. The sufferer can experience some of the next symptoms:
- Photophobia – enlarged sensibility of eyes to light
- Phonophobia – enlarged sensibility to sound
- Cognitive disturbances – you can find it difficult to resolve problems, to think, to learn, you can be a little bit disoriented, simply you can find it difficult to accomplish any of basic mental operations:
- Aura – flashes and visual perturbation
These are some of the basic symptoms. It is important to know that you can feel some of the symptoms, not necessarily all of these; its kind of individual and it’s different from one person to another. Also, it is very important to know that a migraine may be preceded by an aura, but not necessarily. There are different types of a migraine headache; three main types of a migraine headache are:
- Other types of a migraine headache
It is difficult to differentiate a migraine headache from a tension headache. This is because one who experiences frequent tension pains can also have migraines.
So first we are gonna tell something about the difference between a migraine and tension headache, causes and triggers, types of migraines and the last but the most important part, migraine treatment. We will try to provide you with different tricks and ways of prevention and dealing with a migraine headache.
What are the symptoms, triggers, types, and treatments for a tension headache?
A tension headache is often mixed with a migraine headache because of the symptoms; in effect, a tension headache is gentle to temperate pain in the head. People are often describing this type of headache as a tense band around the head. Pain isn’t concentrated in one spot, its spread in the head.
The symptoms and signs of a tension headache:
- Stolid and sore pain in the head
- The frailty of muscles around the neck, shoulder region, and the scalp;
- Compressing feeling over the forehead; on the sides of a head and also back of the head.
Types of a tension headache are categorized by lasting of a headache and incidence of a headache into:
- Episodic tension headaches and
- Chronic tension headaches.
The First type can last among 30 minutes to a week; the incidence can be up to 15 days a month for at least 3 months.
The second type lasts up to 3 hours continuously; The incidence overcomes 15 days a month for at least 3 months.
Difference between a tension headache and a migraine headache
|Definition||Tightening pain in muscles, it affects muscles around the neck, shoulder region and the scalp (facial muscles, scalp, and a throat); it is described as a tense band around the head||A migraine headache is a type of vascular headache; It comes to enormous change of chemicals, serotonin is reduced and that can affect our whole body|
|Duration||Hours to days||4 to 72 hours|
|Location||Pain isn’t concentrated in one spot, it’s spread through the entire head||Pain can be concentrated on one side of the head, or both sides of a head|
|Intensity of a pain||Mild to moderate||Often Severe|
|Nature||Dull, pressing||Pounding, throbbing, increases with activity|
|Other symptoms||Minimal to none||Nausea; vomiting; sensitivity to light, sound, and odor; blurred vision; cognitive disturbance and others.|
The triggers and causes of a migraine headache
A migraine headache is often misdiagnosed with other types of headaches. That is probably because it’s not completely diagnosed. The definition is stated above, but still, there is a lot to define. It comes to an enormous change of chemicals and its effect on our whole body, professionals and some researches give some of the answers. Food, stress, fluctuations of hormones, sleeping /oversleeping, genetics, eyesight, sense of smell, medications, dietary factor and some more that we are gonna describe below are scientific established as a cause or a trigger for a migraine headache.
Food and dietary as a cause/trigger of a migraine headache
As we sad, nowadays lots of people find it difficult to eat regularly and healthy. Fast food, lots of caffeine, skipping a meal all this and more can be quite a damage to ourselves. Some researches showed that a specific type of food can be a trigger, such as Chinese food. A concrete reason is monosodium glutamate as an ingredient of this type of food. Artificial sweetener “Aspartame” is also mentioned as a cause. One interesting fact is established for a migraine headache sufferers, they all share intolerance to foods such as chocolate, citrus fruits, and cheese. This is food as a cause, but sometimes it’s not just about food as a specific food. A dietary cause can be also kind of a problem.
When we say dietary, we mean on a way of life. So it’s not just certain food as chocolate, we mean on our whole program; a number of meals per day, a variety of meals, quantity, time and disposition of meals. Here, the main problems are mostly irregular meals, less of food, starving then overeating, eating food with high sugar content.
Less of food means less of strength, you are starving your body, your energy level is reduced; it results with a chemical change and a migraine headache. Or sugar, for example, if you eat quite enough sugar, desserts and confections your blood sugar can be increased. And of course, alcohol and caffeine products. Essentially, sometimes we need to play with ourselves, we can put ourselves in different diets, bring some food in and out; then we can see what is a possible solution for us. The best part is, you can try this alone, put yourself on a regime, no doctors needed; The worst part is that this is maybe the hardest thing to do.
Sleeping /Oversleeping as a cause/trigger for a migraine headache
It is known that health sleep implies around 7 hours per day. It’s also good to know that its healthier if you have some kind of regime, when you go to sleep and when you have to get up. Sleeping less than 7 hours per day can be a trigger for a migraine headache. Also can be oversleeping. Changes in your sleep pattern can also be a trigger for a migraine. So either you are working from home, daily shifts, daily shifts combined with night shifts, you have to try to make some kind of regime that suits you and your work.
Sensory overload migraine headache cause
This implies ours eyesight and sense of smell. The suns glare, powerful and strong lightbulbs, watching for too long in screens, all of these and more can be a trigger for a migraine headache. Possible solutions are sunglasses and glasses which can reduce your effort during work and you can decrease the possibility of a migraine headache. Some specific smells like perfumes, smoke and even smell of citrus fruits can be a trigger for a migraine headache.
Genetic cause of migraine headache
Most patients have a family history of a migraine headache. A connection between migraine sufferers in the family is very strong, and it’s all about heritage.
Migraine headache caused by hormone
This is mostly for women. A migraine headache can occur just before a monthly period or at the end of it. This is connected to a decreasing of hormones, to be more precisely decreasing of estrogen. Also, a woman who is going through the menopause can have a migraine headache because of decreased estrogen.
Migraine headache caused by stress
Working for a long time, we can exhaust ourselves. Being worried or bothered by someone, all these and much more reasons can be really stressed for us. It is considered that stress is one of the main reasons for a migraine headache and for headaches in general.
Medications as migraine headache cause
Different medications can be a trigger for a migraine headache. If you use headache remedies for a long you can provoke a migraine attack; also trigger can be contraceptives and drugs that are used to dilate blood vessels. These are a few examples of medication that can be a trigger.
Sudden changes your daily routines
It’s very important to pay attention to your daily activities. As we have a routine for sleep and meals, we also have a routine of activity. Some of us do exercises, some not, some people travel a lot but some people don’t. A big change of our daily routine can be a trigger for a migraine headache also. If you don’t exercise regularly, you have to prepare your body nice and slowly for this type of change. Also, people who aren’t used to travel can also have a migraine headache after a long trip. Essentially, it is possible to trigger a migraine headache changing our physical daily and usual activities.
Migraine headache emotional triggers
In this category, we can classify depression, stress, anxiety, tension, and shock. Triggers are everything that is connected to our emotional stability. If you are excited about some upcoming event or shocked and depressed because of some tragic incidence, chances are big to face a migraine headache.
Rest day phenomenon
Sometimes a migraine headache can be really treacherous. It’s about a postponed reaction. Some of these triggers can happen to us during working days, and we can do everything normally, finishing our jobs, and have a migraine headache during our rest days when our body is relaxed.
Magnesium deficiency as migraine headache trigger
Reduced magnesium can cause the nerves in the brain to misfire, this can result in visual changes and lead to a migraine headache. Researches showed that 50-60% of migraines could be linked to a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium supplements, either in food or by taking a supplement, have been shown as an effective natural remedy for a migraine headache.
Changes in chemicals of the brain
As we said, when serotonin is decreased it comes to enlargement of blood vessels which causes a migraine headache. The chemical change is the main reason for aura and all other symptoms stated above.
Reactive Hypoglycemia migraine headache cause
If you are a huge fan of simple carbohydrates such as white sugar and pasta; you should know that an increased amount of this type of food can cause a migraine headache. An increased amount of carbohydrates means a high level of blood sugar; as a reaction, our system is producing additional insulin to crush the sugar. Once this happens, blood sugar is decreased significantly and as a result, you are having a migraine headache.
Other causes of migraine headache
There are a lot of other causes of a migraine. Some of the extra causes are motion sickness, high altitude or weather changes, etc.
There is much more to define in this area. It’s important to know that:
- Migraine sufferer can experience different symptoms and have different trigger/causes for a migraine headache and that is the reason;
- Medications and treatments are not universal; one treatment can be a cure for one person but totally unuseful as a cure for another migraine sufferer
This is why is difficult to treat a migraine headache.
There are several different types of migraine headache. They are classified with according to causes and symptoms.
“A migraine has two major types: 1.1 A Migraine without aura is a clinical syndrome characterized by a headache with specific features and associated symptoms; 1.2 a Migraine with aura is primarily characterized by the transient focal neurological symptoms that usually precede or sometimes accompany a headache. Some patients also experience a prodromal phase, occurring hours or days before a headache, and/or a postdrome phase following headache resolution.
Prodromal and postdrome symptoms include hyperactivity, hypoactivity, depression, cravings for particular foods, repetitive yawning, fatigue and neck stiffness and/or pain. When a patient fulfills criteria for more than one type, subtype or subform of a migraine, all should be diagnosed and coded. For example, a patient who has frequent attacks with aura but also some attacks without aura should be coded as 1.2 a Migraine with aura and 1.1 a Migraine without aura. However, since the diagnostic criteria for 1.3 a Chronic migraine subsume attacks of all types, subtypes or subforms, additional coding is unnecessary for episodic subtypes of a migraine.”
This is the excerpt from “ The International Classification of Headache Disorders 3rd edition “.
Types of migraine headaches
According to this, we can see two major classifications:
Still, there is one more group:
- -Other types of migraine headaches.
Here are the following subtypes of other types:
- Classic migraines
- Menstrual migraines
- Exertion migraines
- Ocular migraines
- Abdominal migraines
- Chronic migraines
For a person who experiences a migraine headache, it’s possible to have one or more symptoms. It is very important to talk about all your symptoms with your doctor, also about the dietary and physical condition; that can help to define what type of a migraine headache are you facing it.
For all types of migraine headaches is common that there can be more than one trigger and more than one symptom.
What migraine aura looks like?
Earlier, a migraine headache with aura was known as a classic migraine headache.
We can define aura as a funny feeling in our senses. For this type of a migraine, this is primarily considered for our vision. You can see white zigzagging lines that look like stars or dots, or you can have a blind spot before a migraine headache. Other possible case is with our sense of smell, sense of taste and sense of hearing. You can have a strange taste on your tongue, you can feel a strange smell, or you can hear ringing in your ears.
Symptoms can last maximum one hour.
According to the Cleveland Clinic 15-20% of those with a migraine headache experience auras.
A migraine headache without auras was known as a common migraine. The main difference is the absence of aura, the sufferer can feel all other symptoms:
- pain on one or both sides of a head,
- light or sound sensibility
- feeling thirsty or sleepy
- craving for sweets
Symptoms can least several hours before a migraine headache. This kind of a migraine can last up to 72 hours according to AHS (American Headache Society).
A migraine without aura has three different phases:
- Prodrome – This phase includes all variations of above-mentioned symptoms. It can last several hours or even days before a full-fledged migraine headache begins.
- Headache Phase – You can feel pain on one or both side of a head. Also, you can experience pain in the entire body.
- Postdrome – This feeling is similar to a hungover or tiredness.
Acephalgic or a silent migraine without aura
This is state of a migraine headache without a second phase. Its possible to have this kind of a migraine, this is strictly valid only for a migraine headache without aura.
- It is considered that this is the most painful kind of headache.
- Symptoms: vertigo; you can experience a strange feeling that everything around you is spinning around. Walking and standing can be difficult in this situation.
- It’s kinda subtype of a migraine headache with aura because it has an aura as a symptom;
- Mostly, this type is found in families with a history of this condition
- This is one with the aura and headache
- Symptoms: flashing light in front of the eyes, nausea, eye pain, and weakness.
- Nowadays there are many pain relief products available specifically for this type of headache.
- Fluctuation of hormones can cause a migraine headache.
- A migraine headache can occur just before the start of a monthly period, or at the and of it.
- Oral medications, birth control pills or hormonal therapy can aggravate this condition.
- The combination of physical exercise and dehydration results to exertion migraines.
- Sneezing or banding over can sometimes lead to this kind of migraine. Luckily this type of headache is short term.
- It begins with a form of temporary paralysis on one side of a body. This can be really terrifying for people who experience this type of headache for the first time in life.
- It can be easily mistaken with a stroke(because of the symptoms)
- Often known as retinal migraines
- Symptoms: Visual disturbances, blindness in one eye and blind spots
- Lasting of symptoms: about a minute before a migraine headache
- The characteristic type of a migraine headache for children and adolescents
- It causes double vision, seizures, vomiting, droopy eye and strong pain behind the eye
- Known as a vertigo migraines
- During a migraine headache like this, a sufferer can experience dizziness and vertigo.
- Pain in abdomen
- Mostly, it appears at young children
- Symptoms: vomiting, nausea, and dizziness
- Lasting of symptoms: up to three days
- For children who experience this type of migraines, It is possible to get delayed the development
- If you have a migraine headache 15 days or more for a month, you are having a chronic migraine.
- Cause for this type can be a medication overuse
- People who have this type of migraine headache, are prone to lose one or more days from work, school or any other daily activities.
What is migraine treatment?
Two different ways for migraine treatment:
- Alternative/natural remedies for a migraine or
- Migraine prevention medicines
Natural remedies are noninvasive and there are almost no side effects. There are many different symptoms and causes, and because of that, there are many natural ways to prevent a migraine headache. As a migraine headache can be different from one case to another, also can be a way of treatment. One therapy can help to one migraine sufferer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean for another. Because of a non-aggression, you can use these techniques for a long time and it’s relatively inexpensive.
The second type implies using medications as a solution. This technique is invasive, there is a high probability of side effects, and you can use these medicines only with a prescription. There are few approved medicines. Because aggressiveness of the therapy, this is a short-term solution.
Types of Alternative/natural remedies for a migraine treatment
If the cause of a migraine headache is a spinal misalignment, chiropractic care is a great treatment to apply. Benefits of chiropractic care are:
- reduction of the migraine symptoms that have already started
- it can stop occur of a migraine headache
In agreement with your chiropractor, you can repeat and schedule your treatments.
In biofeedback, you use special equipment to learn how to self-control autonomic or involuntary nervous system. Here, you can learn to control your heart rate, skin temperature, blood pressure, and muscle tension especially the one in the neck. First, you learn how to use equipment to measure the autonomic system output. Once you learn how to be in a control, you don’t need the equipment anymore. So the point is to learn how to control stress-related physical processes which may cause a migraine headache. According to some researches, children are better in managing biofeedback then adults. It’s probably because the younger generations are more open to new techniques.
Herbal remedies are also a great solution. Some plants have been shown as extremely effective for migraine prevention. Particularly helpful, according to studies are butterbur and feverfew.
Butterbur is a plant that grows in parts of North America, Asia, and Europe. It looks like a shrub. One of the largest research for butterbur as a migraine prevention solution included 245 migraineurs. One part of respondents got butterbur extract, others got a placebo. After four months of treatment, butterbur was more effective. Also, the important part was dosing, 75 milligrams twice a day worked, 50 milligrams twice a day didn’t. As a side effect, there was a mild digestive complaint.
If spinal problems, muscle tension and stress arent cause of a migraine, you should try an elimination diet.
Some specific food can be a cause for migraine. Some of those can be cheese, chocolate, additives, alcohol, etc. The best way is diet diary. Here you can eject from use some ingredients and see how it works. Diary can help you with progress, you can note to yourself if there were some problems with stomach, if you felt a craving for something, or something else. Completely noninvasive form, the only thing you need is your desire and persistence. This is like an experiment, it can last for a long time but once you establish which ingredients cause a migraine headache it’s a long-term solution. Of course, in some cases, you can’t stop occur a migraine headache but is possible to reduce symptoms and frequency of migraine.
-Relaxation techniques (meditation yoga,relax massage)
Relaxation techniques such as meditation yoga or relaxing massage can help if a migraine cause is muscle tension. In our neck, shoulders or lower. It’s important to know that this kind of treatment can help to prevent a migraine, decrease symptoms and its frequency, but once a migraine headache occurs you can’t stop it. Other ways to reduce tension in your muscles include lying down in a darkened room, putting cold compress or ice on the back of nack at the base of the skull or taking a bath.
Types of migraine prevention medicines
For many prescription and non-prescription medicines is claimed that they are having migraine prevention properties. Also, its very important to know that you have to take an accurate dose for a longer time to determine the effectiveness.
You have to be careful because of the side effects and for how long you are using them. Otherwise, you can cause opposite effect or something worse.
FDA has approved four medicines for migraine prevention:
- divalproex sodium
Antidepressant Amitriptyline is also posible medicine.
Botox – it has been used successfully but it’s not recommended.
Side effects of migraine prevention medicines “Topamax”
On their website, they have information about the risk of Topamax medicine, under the heading “Important Safety Information about Topamax”. The Risks that are included are very serious:
- Increased eye pressure that can lead to blindness or glaucoma;
- Hyperventilation – Deep and rapid breathing with a feeling of not being able to catch a breath;
- Lowered bicarbonate levels in the blood – This increases blood acidity and in severe reactions, the patient can experience an irregular heartbeat or changes in their ability to remain alert. If this is not treated, it can lead to developing kidney stones or bone disease.
The warning continues. It ended with “more common side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, changes in your taste that can lead to loosing/increasing weight, losing appetite and feeling of tingling in your arms and legs.