Why Do People Experience Migraines?

by Alesha Wilson
(Wilmington, NC)

Migraine is a chronic disorder believed to be a neurovascular disease. The triggers vary from person to person and are generally characterized by moderate headache to intense throbbing pain in the temple area of the head. The pain is excruciating and lasts for hours or even days.


Females are much more likely to get migraine than males. Some people with migraine experience perceptual disturbances before and during the headache. These are:
• Confused thoughts
• Strange lights
• Sparkling or flashing lights
• Lines in the visual field
• Blind spots
• Pins and needles in an arm or leg
• Unpleasant smells

Migraines vary and symptoms can occur before, during, and after the migraine headache with the following typical symptoms:
• Switching pain on one side of the head to the other
• Pulsing and throbbing head pain
• Increasing pain with physical movements
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Sensitivity to light and sound

Migraine sufferers may have premonitions called prodrome from several hours to days before the headache. These premonitions may consist of feelings of elation, intense energy, cravings for sweets, thirst, drowsiness, irritability, or depression.

A migraine headache happens when a blood vessel is enlarged, making the surrounding nerve fibers release chemicals that cause inflammation, pain, and further enlargement. The nervous system then responds with a nauseous feeling, vomiting, and diarrhea. Food absorption is affected, blood circulation is deceased, leading to cold hands and feet, and sensitivity to light and sound is heightened.

It is vital for people suffering from migraine to be able to clearly identify triggers and factors. Potential factors include one or more of the following:
• Allergies and allergic reactions
• Bright lights, loud noises, and certain odors or perfumes
• Physical or emotional stress
• Changes in sleep patterns or irregular sleep
• Smoking or exposure to smoke
• Skipping meals or fasting
• Alcohol
• Menstrual cycle fluctuations
• Birth control pills
• Hormone fluctuations during onset of menopause
• Tension headaches
• Food that contains tyramine, monosodium glutamate (MSG), or nitrates
• Other foods: chocolate, nuts, peanut butter, avocado, banana, citrus, onions, dairy products, and fermented or pickled foods
Triggers do not always cause migraines, and avoiding triggers does not always prevent migraines.
Alesha Wilson is a staff writer at RockwelNutrition.com. You can get the latest Rockwell Nutrition coupon here.

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