The Mystery of the Migraine

Migraines are caused by an oversensitive brain and genetic predisposition. Anyone can have a headache, but migraines are more painful and are usually on one side of the head. The symptoms vary from each person. They can include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and sensitivity to light, smells, and touch. Some researchers have discovered that migraines also have phases that within hours or days result into full blown migraines.

Phase one: Prodrome

Symptoms include: food cravings, sleep issues, increased thirst, repetitive yawning, and difficulty speaking. 30-40% of migraine sufferers experience the prodome phase.

Phase two: Aura

Symptoms include: blurry vision, seeing flashing lights or wavy lines, losing vision for a short period, confusion, loss of hearing, hiccups, and tingling sensations. 1 in 5 sufferers develop auras.

Phase Three: Headache

Symptoms include: nasal congestion, hot flashes, dizziness, vertigo, mild head pain, and sometimes anxiety.

Phase Four: Postdrome

Symptoms include: poor concentration, depression, and euphoria. Typically lasts from 2-24 hours.

More than 37 million Americans suffer from migraines according to the National Headache Foundation. Episodic migraines are those sufferers that have migraines every few months or less. Chronic migraines are labeled on people that suffer 15 or more days per month with migraines. Overtime, people with episodic migraines may develop more headaches for various reasons, such as increased stress, illness, or a change in hormones. Both genetics and environment play a role in who gets migraines. If one parent has migraines, then you have a 50% of getting migraines. If both parents suffer from migraines, then you have a 75% chance of developing migraines. Caffeine, certain foods, stress, and changes in weather are triggers for an attack.

No one knows for sure what causes migraines, but changes in the levels of serotonin and other neurochemicals are involved. It affects the trigeminal nerve system, a constellation of nerves in the face and head. Many women develop migraines before or during their periods and the migraines lessen after menopause. Some people can manage their triggers, while others need medications.

Healthy sleep is an important factor for preventing migraines and managing the prodome phase. Try some chamomile or ginger tea to help relax your senses and ease the feelings of nausea. Drink plenty of water to fight dehydration. Try an ice pack to ease discomfort from hot flashes and pain. Recovering from a migraine takes time. Try a relaxing bubble bath or a massage.IMG_0765

 

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