Ask anyone who has experienced a migraine and they can tell you, migraines are debilitating. Usually felt on one side of the head or behind the eyes, a migraine presents as a severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation. It can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine aura symptoms are certain disturbances in vision, sensation or speech that occur before the migraine itself. A migraine can last anywhere from several hours to several days, with pain so severe that it can interfere with your daily activities. Affecting 15.1% of the world’s population, migraines (especially when chronic or recurrent) are a major cause of disability.
Do you suffer from migraines? If you do, it is beneficial to understand what can trigger migraines and what you can do to prevent or manage them, naturally.Consider the following:
- Inflammation plays a role in migraine development. Researchers have found that migraines are “associated with elevated high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), a marker of inflammation, in young adults. The relationship, particularly apparent in young women, may play a role in migraine pathogenesis.” The inflammation accounts for the throbbing headache, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Adopting an anti-inflammatory regimen through supplements, medicinal herbs, diet and lifestyle under the guidance of a trained healthcare practitioner can help to correct inflammatory signals in the body and in turn, reduce migraine frequency and severity.
- If you’re female, do your migraines occur before or around menstruation? The fluctuation of estrogen levels appears to trigger migraines, which could explain why migraines are more common among women, especially during the childbearing years. If you experience migraines or other pre-menstrual symptoms, find a trained healthcare practitioner who can help you alleviate these symptoms and promote a pain-free, stress-free menstrual cycle. A symptom-free menstrual cycle is possible!
- Try keeping a diet diary or journal to see if certain foods trigger your migraines. Migraine sufferers often find that consuming aged cheese, red wine/ alcohol, MSG, nitrates (found in smoked meats, hot dogs, etc.) and chocolate will give them a migraine. If you suspect a certain food triggers a migraine, eliminate it from your diet and see what happens.
- According to the American Migraine Foundation, a daily oral magnesium supplement has been shown to be effective in preventing migraine. One study published in Cephalalgia found that people who took magnesium for 12 weeks had 41.6 percent fewer migraine attacks, compared with 15.8 percent fewer attacks for the placebo group. Interested in taking a magnesium supplement? A licensed ND is able to prescribe the proper dosage and type of magnesium for you.
- Self-care is key to good health. Adequate sleep, a healthful diet, regular exercise and proper stress management techniques are crucial not only to prevent migraines but to promote optimal health. Stress is a common migraine trigger, particularly among adults, so if you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed out, take appropriate measures to calm down and reduce stress.