Migraines can be mild to down right nasty. Women are more likely to experience migraines compared to men. Migraines usually occur between 10-40 and often stop by age 50. You can usually find a family history of migraines in a half of patients.
Some people get a "prodrome" which are a group of sensations to that happen before the migraine occurs. This is usually depression, irritability, restless, aura (flashing lights), congestion and redness of the eyes. The prodrome usually lasts for no more than an hour. Migraines may or may not be "one sided". It can last for as little as a couple of hours to a week. There can be nausea and vomiting, light and noise sensitivity. Pulsating and throbbing feelings are usually described. Sometimes over the counter pain killers work, and sometimes they do not.
What is the medical cause for migraines? There is no definitive answer just yet. Whereas headaches are usually attributed to too much blood in the brain, migraines can be a result of either constriction or dilation of the blood vessels. Other triggers are stress, the onset of menses for women, missing a meal, weather changes, food and environmental sensitivities. What can you do?
- Herbs such as Feverfew and Butterbur have been shown to reduce the frequency of migraines by 40-80 %
- Magnesium can help tone blood vessels and help regulate blood flow. Most people will not get enough magnesium in the diet because of low intake, and poor soil quality.
- Avoid foods such as wheat, cows milk, cheese, eggs, chocolates, oranges, tomato's, tartrazine (yellow food dye), benzoic acid, alcohol (specifically beer and wine). Foods like cheese, beer, and wine induce migraines in some people because they contain histamines and/or vasoactive compounds that cause blood vessels to expand. Women tend to react to histamine-containing foods more frequently than men do, on account of a deficiency in an enzyme (diamine oxidase) that breaks histamine down. Nitrites, which are common ingredients in lunch meats and smoked/cured meats, dilate blood vessels, and may trigger migraine.
- CoQ10 is a potent antioxidant used to give us energy, maintain cardiovascular health, decrease stress on the body. CoQ10 has been found to reduce migraine frequency by half.
- Water therapy: Submerge feet in hot water while putting a cold compress on the back of the neck. This draws the blood away form the head and down to the feet, reducing congestion and pain.