Much Ado About Migraines
By: Hamza Davis
Migraine is another term for severe headache. Unlike headaches however, people who suffer from migraines are usually unable to function because of the severity of the pain. An individual usually gets an aura or warning, such as a blind spot and a sudden flash of light before a bout of a migraine. Sometimes, the warning comes as a tingling sensation on the arms and legs. Moreover, unlike headaches, migraines are experienced with other symptoms. These symptoms come in the form of vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, and nausea with or without vomiting. The pain in migraines worsen if a person attempts movement. Hence the person is unable to do anything. Head pain is often described as pulsating and throbbing.
Incidence of migraines is different from person to person. A typical migraine could last for 4 to 72 hours. Some people do not have auras, but they still have some sort of warning that a migraine is oncoming. The warning includes irritability or depression, thirst, drowsiness, sweet cravings, and feelings of intense energy and elation. Even children experience migraines and the warnings are different for them. Premonition signs and symptoms for children usually take the form of yawning, craving for foods such as hot dogs, snacks with lots of sugar, bananas, yogurt, and sleeping or restlessness. Of course, some children may experience extreme physical symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and increased sensitivity to light and sound. However, in this case, there is absence of pain in the head. A child suffering severe headaches and migraines needs to be examined by a pediatric neurologist right away.
Like any other illness, a migraine has a trigger that starts off the condition. Food is one of the triggers to migraines. The usual offenders are red wine, beer, alcohol, chocolate, aged cheese, fermented and pickled or marinated foods, caffeine, aspartame, and monosodium glutamate. Also, intake of canned and processed foods is known to trigger migraines as well. Some people get migraines from fasting and skipping meals.
Another predisposing factor to a migraine is stress. Stress, whether at home or at work can induce migraine attacks. Changes in the weather, altitude level, pressure, season, and even time zone are known to trigger migraines too. Physical exertions also cause migraines, especially if they are intense. Sleeping too much or too little starts them as well. Some people with migraines are sensitive to sensory stimulus. The sensory stimulus could be in the form of scents such as flowers or perfumes.
Migraines could also be initiated by strong, unpleasant odors such as paint thinner and smoke from a cigarette. Moreover, hormonal changes in estrogen and progesterone levels trigger migraines. These changes usually occur if a women is menstruating or is pregnant. Replacement hormones for therapeutic purposes exacerbate migraines. Not only is migraine painful and debilitating, it is also quite a challenge to avoid any of its triggers since almost anything in the environment is a stimulus for its occurrence.
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