In America 24 million migraine sufferers spend an average of 18 million dollars a year in an effort to relieve this painful and often debilitating disease.
If your tired of these monster headaches stealing precious money and time from your life, then it’s time to fight back. One way you can do this is to understand what triggers your migraine. If you can learn to notice the signs before your headache becomes a full blown migraine, then you may be able to drastically reduce the intensity and duration of a painful attack.
There are up to five phases during the migraine process:
60% of migraine sufferers experience some symptoms before their headache occurs. This could range from an hour or two up to as long as a few days. This may present as sensitivity to light, poor appetite, enhanced smell, fatigue, mood swings, or increased thirst.
Aura (in some cases)
Only about 20% of those who suffer migraine headaches show symptoms of auras. Auras are neurological based visual distrubances. This type of migraine headache is classified as a Classic Migraine. Common migraines occur without the aura phase. Classic Migraine symptoms may include bright lights, flashing lights, and patterns.
Pain ususally will start on one side of the head and gradually move over to both sides of the head. 90% of all people who suffer migraine headaches experience lack of appetite, nausea or vomiting. Many sufferers will experience all three symptoms.
Termination occurs when the pain has finally reached it’s peak and begins to decrease over a period of hours. Many sufferers will find relief in the ability to fall asleep.
This phased is often referred to as a migraine hangover. Some people will feel drained or irritable and may continue to experience some residual symptoms.
Migraine Headache Triggers
Knowledge is power and that is true when it comes to combating migraine headaches. Another tool you can add to your fight against migraines is to simply understand what factors may trigger a headache.
Of course, this may not be so simple. Below you will find examples of the most common triggers. You will want to keep in mind that many of these suggestions may not set off a migraine by themselves , but when combined with one or more, they may become succesful in triggering a migraine attack.
* Foods that contain Tyramine. This may include but not be limited to: aged or cured meats,
cabbage, caffeine, canned fish, cheese, corn, eggs, onions, peanuts, pork, rye, soy, tea,
tomato, wheat and yeast.
* Estrogen fluctuations in women. It is a fact that more women suffer from migraines
than men. 60% of these women experience migraine headaches every month just
before their menstrual cycle.
* Stress, anxiety and excitement can trigger a migraine. Even good stress will do this.
Experts suggest that stress can be relieved through exercise.
* The weather may affect some sufferers. Some people are will find a migraine
triggered on a windy day or several days before a front moves in.
* Eyestrain from too much television or computer viewing .
* Changes in sleep schedule, lack of sleep, shift changes.
* Bright sunlight, or even bright fluorescent lights
Every person is different. The best way to tell what triggers set off your headache is to keep a journal specifically for recording your migraines.
How To Keep a Migraine Journal
Begin recording in your journal by noting the date and time each headache started. You will also want to record the date and time it ended and keep track of the duration. If you can write down the times you noticed each phase of your migraine, that may also be helpful to you.
The next step would be to write down all the factors that may have contributed to your migraine. If you are a woman, how far off is your menstrual cycle? Are you under any stress or feel tired? What type of activity were you doing? What was the weather like?
What types of food did you eat? Did you sleep well the night before?
You will also want to write down where your migraine began , was it the right side? Was the pain throbbing, stabbing, or dull? Did it move to the front of your head? The back of your head? Was the headache mild or severe?
Record other physical symptoms such as nausea, sensitivity to light, auras, sensitivity to noise. Were these symptoms mild or severe?
If you keep faithful to recording your migraines, you should be able to see a pattern emerging. The more you understand what factors in your environment may trigger a migraine, the more effective you will be at managing your headaches before they manage you.