If you have ever had a headache so bad that the sound of your own heart beating was like cymbals crashing in your ears and the slightest amount of light was blindingly painful, probably accompanied by nausea and vomiting, you have had a migraine. Migraines, also called “sick headaches”, affect thousands of people each year.
When in the grip of a migraine attack, the sufferer wants nothing more than to hide in a quiet, dark room and for something, anything, to make the pain stop.
The good news is that there are medications available now that can treat and, in many cases, prevent a migraine attack. Even so, people sometimes still get a migraine despite their best efforts with medications.
No one knows exactly what causes migraine headaches.
It is believed that some people have a genetic predisposition for migraines, but the particular gene marker has not been identified. While the causes can not be positively identified, there are certain things that have been shown to trigger the onset of migraine headaches in certain individuals who suffer from them.
– Stress is believed to be one of the most common triggers of migraine pain. People under a lot of stress tend to have muscle spasms that tighten in the neck and head, causing the onset of the headache.
– Food sensitivities have been linked to the onset of migraines in certain people. Artificial sweeteners, peanuts, tree nuts, and chemicals in food such as MSG are known to trigger migraine attacks.
– Just as flashing or strobing lights have been linked to the onset of epileptic seizures, the brightness and quality of light around a person may be a trigger for migraine headaches.
– Loud or continuous sounds, sometimes even sounds we don’t consciously notice, may trigger the onset of a migraine.
– Smells can bring on a migraine attack if the person is particularly sensitive to certain odors.
– Exercise and sleep habits can be a contributing cause of migraines. People in poor physical condition or who do not get enough sleep are more likely to have a migraine than someone who is fit and gets plenty of rest.
Many people confuse the pain and pressure of a sinus headache with migraine pain. While sinus headaches can no doubt be quite severe, there are qualities of migraine headaches that those with sinus headaches do not suffer.
The vomiting that accompanies migraines is one such symptom that does not normally accompany a sinus headache. Migraine sufferers do not respond as well to pain medications as those with a sinus headache.
Migraines cause chemical changes in the body that tend to counteract most known medications and make the nearly useless when in the middle of a full blown migraine.
Many might wonder if there is help for those suffering with migraines. They are more likely to wonder about this when experiencing one. The answer is, however, yes. Changes in diet and exercise habits, Avoiding places with noises that irritate, changing the lighting around you, and taking certain prescription medications can provide some relief from migraines or prevent migraine attacks.
by Phillip Dye