Mind & Body
5 reasons you might have a migraine and what to do about it
It might start with a tingly feeling in your arms and legs, followed by blurred eyes, colored flashes, lightheadedness, and strange smells before you sink into darkness and a throbbing head. However your migraines start, you probably don’t know what triggers them, and for most people, how to get rid of them. Doctors are not sure the cause, but an imbalance in certain brain chemicals have been said to be the most probable cause. Your genes and other components also play a role. What doctors are sure of, however, is that certain things raise your chances of getting the throbbing headache. Out of the probable causes, these five are the most common.
We live in a world full of stress, from the dwindling economy, the war in Iran, and your nagging mother-in-law or a boss who hates you. It’s no surprise that the biggest trigger for migraines is stress, claiming a whopping 70% chance that you will experience a migraine when you are stressed. In fact, one study reported that 50-70% of people had associated their daily stress levels with their migraine activity. When you include the bagging feeling that a migraine might attack you any time, you get stuck in a never-ending cycle. The most probable stress can be intense emotions such as anxiety, excitement, shock, and tension.
Make a list of things that make you anxious, tense, or too excited. Work towards reducing these triggers by either biofeedback, meditation, exercise, maintaining a consistent sleeping schedule, relaxation therapy and try essential oils for migraines. The oils and compounds are usually extracted from plants, combined with a carrier oil and used in aromatherapy to help you relax. You can either inhale, ingest, or absorb the oils through a massage.
- Irregular sleeping patterns
A good night’s sleep is essential for a healthy, happy day. Lack of sleep or irregular sleeping patterns will undoubtedly cause headaches and trigger migraines. People who sleep six hours or less also are said to suffer migraines more often than those who sleep longer. Besides irregular sleep patterns, sleep disorders like sleep apnea, circadian rhythm disorder, and insomnia cause headaches. Migraines are said to occur between 4:00 am and 9:00 am, which puts you at a higher risk of developing a sleep disorder.
Go to sleep at the same time every night, and try as much as possible to get at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep. Also, eliminate all gadgets before you sleep, such as tv, your phone, music, and reading at least an hour before you sleep.
Women are three times more likely to get a migraine attack compared to men and are usually at the worse risk around their menstrual period. These are called menstrual migraines. They occur during a woman’s period primarily because estrogen and progesterone levels have changed. The best way to cope is by changing your lifestyle and improving your diet to stabilize your hormones. You can also try birth control methods that stabilize hormones to prevent future attacks. Make sure your doctor or gynecologist finds the right method for you.
- Your Diet
Foods that contain histamine, MSG, chocolate, dairy products, artificial sweeteners, and cheese are the most common foods that trigger migraines. Migraine sufferers also reported that missing a meal and prolonged periods between meals trigger headaches. Identify specific food triggers and avoid them as much as you can. You can also adopt a migraine diet that eliminates ingredients and triggers known to trigger headaches. Also, maintain a regular meal pattern and avoid going hungry for long periods.
A third of people who suffer from migraines say that not drinking enough water is a trigger. Even the slightest dehydration hint can cause a head spin. Dehydration reduces the fluid in your body, which creates an imbalance of fluids and electrolytes. You lose water through urination and sweating, and when you don’t replace this water, you suffer a deficiency. Sometimes, you lose water faster than you can replace it, so your brain contracts temporarily or shrinks from the loss of fluid, resulting in migraines. Rehydrating plumps up the brain and returns it to its normal state, relieving the headache.
Your experience with migraines will not be the same as someone else, and the triggers will differ from one person to another, but learning what triggers yours and how to cope will help you reduce their occurrence. Visit your doctor, watch your diet, and improve your lifestyle to live a healthier life.