Migraine Triggers and Remedies

Just about every major pharmaceutical company produces and distributes a headache medication specific to migraines. I don’t suffer from disabling migraines and I’m not one of those two or three times a week sufferers, but mine are bad enough and often enough that I’ve tried them all. So far, nothing cries out for repurchase.

The reason that no sure-fire migraine medication has thus far been created probably has much to do with the fact that researchers still have not pinpointed exactly what triggers these debilitating kinds of headaches. The amount of theorized triggers alone is enough to warn you that migraine research is probably in its middle-age at best; far from infancy but just as far from a obsolescence.

According to research, migraines are most likely caused when blood vessels in the brain are triggered to constrict and then relax, prompting nerve endings to send out pain signals. The only problem is that this constricting and relaxing can be caused by things as diverse as bright lights, hormonal changes, motion sickness, anxiety and diet. So how do you even start to make changes in your lifestyle that might affect your propensity to migraines?

To begin, if your migraines usually come on you at night, especially during sleeping, your problem might not really be a migraine problem at all, but a sleeping disorder. Specifically, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, then you may be suffering migraines unduly. Several studies have led to the conclusion that these sufferers can solve two problems at once: getting more sleep and getting rid of migraines. Of course, sleeping disorders are just as varied as migraines, so you may be facing a whole different series of problems. One suggestion that might lead to a cure for both, however, is to lessen your intake of caffeine.

Caffeine plays a major role in migraines and those roles can be both helpful and hurtful. If you suffer from migraines, check your caffeine intake. Excessive intake of caffeine, whether from coffee, colas and even tea, can contribute not only to the severity of the headache, but also to the frequency with which they occur. Unfortunately, getting off caffeine is not easy at all and the withdrawal process itself may trigger headaches. The good thing about caffeine’s role in migraine is that once you get off it-if you can get off it-then you can actually use it to stop an attack once it begins. Caffeine will work in your system to constrict dilated blood vessels, thereby nullifying the headache before it can get worse.

In addition to caffeine, there are many food-related triggers that one should be aware of. If you are a big fan of Chinese food, be aware that MSG is a big-time contributor toward migraines. In addition one should be careful when eating aged cheeses, legumes, chocolate, dried meats, sardines, and perhaps surprisingly, many fruits. Many, many fruits: avocados, bananas, pineapples, raspberries and red plums just to name a few.

Like caffeine, though, food can also be used for relief. A well-respected herbal remedy for migraines comes in the form of a member of the Chrysanthemum family known as Feverfew. Feverfew contains parthenolide, which affects the level of seratonin, a chemical in the brain often linked to migraines in research. Unfortunately, the only way to get it to work is to take it every day because so far it hasn’t been shown to work if it’s taken once the headache has already started. Another downside is that the herb is subject to causing allergic reactions in people already sensitive to ragweed.

Another way to attack migraines before they begin is by consumption of Vitamin B2. In fact, taking Vitamin B2 as a migraine medication has proven to be just as effective as any of the over the counter medications among those who took 400 mg daily for at least four months.

If the pain is so severe that you suffer nausea or are forced to lie for hours in a dark room with no sound, then perhaps you are a candidate for prescription level medicine. One of these is Maxalt, available in tablet or dissolving pill form. This medication-rizatriptan benzoate-is only used for treatment, not prevention and comes with the usual list of suspects when it comes to side effects. Heart patients, however, should definitely not take Maxalt.

The most promising item for migraine relief is the lidocaine nose drop. Recent studies have shown that these drops provide relief much quicker than other medications and even seem capable of preventing migraines at the so-called aura stage. The aura stage is called so because it happens at the point before the headache actually onsets, when sufferers begin suffering visual disturbances, such as flashes of light or zigzagging lines.

Until the exact cause of migraines are discovered, the remedies for headaches will no doubt cover just as much territory. The first thing step is determining which of the triggers is likely causing your headache. Once you can localize the cause of your headache, you will have a better chance of determining which of the various treatments are best for you.

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