You’re at home, minding your own business, when suddenly it’s far too bright for the window blinds to be open anymore, or the TV is suddenly just a bit too loud. Your head hurts so much you just might throw up. These are symptoms of a migraine. They are usually very sudden and very extreme. Some people even get what’s called an aura: which is basically a random symptom that comes with their migraines. Some people see flashing/floating lights, some find it difficult to speak for no reason, and some feel numb or tingling sensations in their hands and feet.
Nobody really knows the cause of migraines though there are a few things that make people more susceptible to them. It doesn’t always have to, but migraines can run in families and women are three times as likely as men to have them, making people think that they can be inherited or that hormones play a role. There is also an associated spasm in the blood vessels the lead up to the brain.
Migraine triggers tend to fall into six types. What you consume (especially cheese, chocolate, citrus fruits, and alcohol) and whether you sleep too much or too little can cause these severe headaches. Again, being female with a menstrual cycle can cause them, or simply being too emotional (stressed, excited, tired) regardless of gender. Being exposed to specific things such as too much heat, light, noise, or really anything that overstimulates the senses. The strangest ones, however, are the “weekend migraines” which are caused after coming down from an overly-emotional state and relaxing.
Just like I mentioned in headaches last week, pain-relievers tend to be the go-to for most people suffering headaches. Your doctor can recommend other options but doing what you can to treat the pain early is best. Reducing the triggers, be it light or noise, or whatever, and resting in a dark, quiet room will help keep your senses from firing off. Getting family and friends to help with any responsibilities or stressful tasks can reduce the emotional triggers. There are medications, both treatment and preventative treatment that a doctor can prescribe, or you can try a natural therapy such as acupuncture, yoga, and other activities.
If you’re just starting to get migraines, keeping track of them in a diary or calendar can help a doctor explain and potentially diagnose your triggers to prevent them in the future.