More Than A Headache
A migraine is more than just a bad headache. Migraines are a debilitating set of symptoms that can include severe head throbbing, irritability, sensitivity to light, nausea, insomnia, or wavy vision. One of the most crucial steps to preventing migraines is to identify personal migraine triggers. Here’s what people need to know.
Create a new kind of diary
Start tracking all the details about the migraines. Record the date, time, and duration of the symptoms. Make a note of what food or drink was consumed before the migraine or what activity was taking place. Make a record of what emotions were felt before the migraine came on.
Know the common triggers
While everyone has different migraine triggers, there are some common ones to know. For example, changes in routine such as travel, holidays, or even routine changes from weekdays to the weekend can trigger a migraine. An increase in stress can be a trigger. Some people also find that the migraine sets in when finally relaxing after a prolonged stressful period. Both lack of sleep and too much sleep can be a prevalent migraine trigger. Some people even experience migraines from sleeping in too late on the weekend.
Hormones can make a significant difference in the frequency of migraines. Women are 3 times more likely than men to suffer from these debilitating headaches. Additionally, up to 75% of women report worsening symptoms around the menstrual cycle. This is called the menstrual migraine and is linked to changes in progesterone and estrogen that occur in women.
Does food make a difference?
Sometimes dietary sensitivities or intolerances can contribute to migraines. Frequent migraines may be a symptom of gluten intolerance. Additionally, lack of food, dehydration, excessive caffeine consumption, or alcohol can all lead to migraines. Some people experience food cravings before a migraine, which leads to a belief that certain foods have caused the migraine. However, sometimes the food cravings can be a symptom or cue that a migraine is coming on.
For people with chronic migraines, taking medication is a crucial step. However, for added relief, some people also benefit from taking specific supplements and vitamins. For example, magnesium, B12, and coenzyme Q10 have been shown to improve migraine symptoms. Experts note, however, that many people don’t experience the benefits of supplements because a patient has to take a supplement for a few months to start noticing a difference. For more recommendations regarding vitamins and supplements, speak with a pharmacist or healthcare provider.
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