What is a Migraine
Headache that occurs like a spike, throbbing, stabbing, or pulling, often only on one side, is a sign of a migraine. The severe headache is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, sensitivity to light, smell, or noise. Women are more affected than men: every seventh woman in Rozelle or the inner east suffers from this disease at least occasionally. Migraines are mostly suffered by individuals between the ages of 25 and 45, but children are also prone to this. According to a recent study, 10 to 15 percent of school children are affected.
In some people, the attacks accumulate so much overtime that they eventually merge into one another almost without a break, especially in the case of chronic migraines. The illness becomes a burden both privately and professionally because those affected “fail” completely on migraine days. In the worst case, it can cost your career, relationship, and plans.
The cause of migraines is not yet fully understood. Presumably, a temporarily increased blood flow in certain vessels in the brain alone already causes the pain, or it causes painful small inflammations in the vessel walls. Disorders of the neurotransmitters (tissue hormones) can be responsible for the fluctuations in blood flow. Hypersensitivity in the processing of stimuli in the brain also seems to play a role: if the critical situations exceed the capacity, an attack occurs. Most likely, the predisposition to migraines is inherited.
The triggers for migraine attacks (also known as triggers) are very different: Bright light or loud noise, but also weather influences, sauna visits, hormonal fluctuations, fatigue, or stress can promote migraine attacks. Certain foods also contain irritants – histamines, preservatives, or the flavor enhancer glutamate, for example, often have an unfavorable effect.
A migraine attack can announce itself days before the headache phase. The approaching attack signs are mood swings, nervousness, sometimes euphoria, loss of appetite, cravings, or an increased sensation of cold.
In 20 percent of those affected, the so-called aura phase then occurs with vision problems, visual field defects, language disorders, perception changes, or sensitivity disorders of the arms or legs. This phase usually starts less than an hour before the headache. The duration of an attack can vary from a few hours to three days. In extreme cases, the complaints last longer than 72 hours.
The headaches are often so bad that those affected “fail” completely on migraine days.
Is it “just” frequent headaches, or is it migraines? Anyone who has headaches for more than 15 days a month is likely to have chronic migraines. For an accurate diagnosis, after the physical examination, the doctor needs a detailed description of the symptoms during the pain attack. Decisive is information such as the location and duration of the headache, the interval between attacks, and any accompanying symptoms. Headache questionnaires and diaries (on paper or as an app) facilitate diagnosis.
Migraine attacks are very different from person to person – as are the appropriate treatment methods. One thing is certain: no miracle drug permanently puts an end to headaches overnight. Not even the one nutritional concept that works equally well for all migraine sufferers. However, a change in diet combined with lifestyle changes has generally been shown to help relieve migraines.
Regular endurance sports (running, swimming, cycling) and relaxation methods, for example, autogenic training, lower the stress hormone level and have proven effective in preventing many migraineurs. For some, hypnosis helps, but it is also worth trying complementary forms of treatment such as acupuncture or biofeedback procedures.
Tips for prevention