Natural ways to treat migraine headaches
Migraine headaches affect millions of people around the world. Women are more likely to suffer from migraine headaches than men but men do get migraine headaches as well.
Men can experience migraine headaches differently from women as in women the headaches can be hormonally linked.
Lots of money is being spent on treating migraine headaches and pain killers meant to treat the condition are often over prescribed making the headaches worst and they can return more often.
There are different types of migraines headaches and they include retinal migraines which are quite rare. Hemiplegic migraines can mimick a stroke and cause temporary paralysis. Vertobrobasilar migraines can include fainting, dizziness and double vision.
Migraine headaches - what are they?
Migraine headaches are caused when the blood vessels in the brain become enlarged which cause a release of chemicals from the brain's nerve fibers. These nerves fibers normally wrap themselves around the larger arteries of the brain, but as the nerves are forced to stretch they start to release chemicals. The chemicals which are subsequently released are responsible for the intense pain of a migraine, inflammation and may even cause the artery to enlarge even more.
A migraine attack will activate the body's nervous system which causes the associated migraine symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Your first migraine headache can be a very frightening experience and many people will rush to the emergency room believing they are very seriously ill.
A migraine attack will last normally from four up to 72 hours. Some people may become sufferers and experience frequent attacks. Other people may only experience a singular attack.
Symptoms of migraine headaches
Migraine headaches can be very difficult to deal with and cause a whole range of symptoms.
Some of these symptoms are unusual and if you have not experienced a migraine headache before you will become very concerned.
It is very important to recognize early symptoms so that you can limit the migraine headache and perhaps stop it in its tract.
Migraine headaches signs to look out for:
Light sensitivity - this is often an early symptom which goes ignored. You find that your eyes seem to become more sensitive to bright light such as sun light or a computer screen. You want to look away as the light seems to hurt "behind the eyes".
Cold feet and hands - can also be early warning signs.
Craving for salty or sugary food - this is your brain sending you warning signals saying that it is experiencing some type of distress. This can start up to a day before the actual attack.
Feeling sleepy - feeling unexpectedly sleepy or tired can be a symptom of developing migraine headache.
Loss of balance - you may feel you are losing your balance and need to hang on to something for support
Flashing - you might experience flashing bright colored lights appearing in a zig zag pattern.
A black hole - early onset of a migraine can give you a blind spot in your visual field. It is called a Scotoma but a friend of mine refers to it as a black hole, so I have "borrowed" the phrase from her. It actually describes the symptom very well.
Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea - both can be symptoms and are likely to stay with your for the duration of the attack and are caused by the nervous system
Noise - all noises will irritate you and seem to cause intense pain.
Depression - during an attack you are likely to feel depressed and weepy.
Migraine attacks are almost always accompanied by extreme fatigue, excess yawning and extreme irritability.
What triggers migraine headaches.
The varies a great deal from person to person but there are some common denominators.
It can be just one thing that triggers a migraine headache or many factors can also play a role.
Hormones - seem to play a big part for women and there are many women who suffer pre-menstrual migraine headaches.
Stress - long term stress or sudden stress can also be trigger
Diet - some sufferers complain they get migraine headaches after eating certain types of food. Chocolates, sweet snacks, cheese and other dairy products seem to be the most common culprits but coffee is also known to be a trigger. Many of these foods are high in sulphites, tyramine and nitrates which are all known to be associated with migraines.
Smoking - smoking is a major trigger and if you do smoke you should consider stopping. All migraine sufferers that I know who have given up smoking do not have migraine headaches anymore.
Diagnosis of migraine headaches
Doctors normally diagnose migraines by listening to the patients symptoms, and noticing clear visual symptoms such as vomiting or dizziness.
Migraine can start in childhood or early adulthood but can also occur later in life. Sometimes a family history is indicated which helps towards the diagnosis. Sometimes in extreme cases, and to exclude other problems, doctors will refer patients for a CT or MRI scan.
Managing migraine headaches naturally
After the initial migraine attack you may want to manage your migraine naturally. There is a lot of good solid evidence available which seem to suggest that treating migraines headaches using natural cures may be better. Pain killers actually interfere with the nervous system and can may the headache worse or increase the frequency of attacks.
These are the treatments or actions which I think work best:
Acupuncture - at the first sign of symptoms visit an acupuncturist. There are many people who suffer with frequent attacks and they all recommend acupuncture treatments on a regular basis.
St Johns Wort - can help to ease the pain of Migraine attacks
Chamomile tea - chamomile tea is great when you are suffering a migraine headache. It eases the pain of the headache and it also helps to settle the stomach.
Willow bark - a supplement based on white willow bark is a good alternative to conventional pain killers as they help to reduce pain and inflammation
Lavender - there are now some excellent lavender quick fixes available. You can buy lavender migraine sticks which consists of a roll on filled with lavender essential oil.
Apply to the temples at first sign or if you are experiencing a full blown migraine keep it by your bedside.
Ginkgo Biloba - great for better micro circulation which is important when dealing with migraine headaches
Sleep - sleep is one of the best remedies for migraine headaches. I always recommend to get some rest and try to go to sleep. Sleeping away your migraine, or headache for that matter, reduces stress on the brain and relaxes the nervous system.
The best way forward is to find out why you are experiencing migraine headaches. Keeping a food diary for a month is a good idea, checking up on side effects of medication is also important and remember that changes in lifestyle can trigger health problems.
More people experience migraines headaches during the summer than in winter so there is a heat connection.
Trick To Get Rid of Ocular Migraines
I suffer from ocular migraines and a doctor taught me how to get rid of them. Stand in front of a mirror and stare straight into it for a few minutes. Blink a couple of times and you may found your migraine has gone. I did not believe it at first, but it does really work.
Gingko Biloba Is Effective When it Comes to Treating Migraines
Focus on sulphites, tyramine and nitrates
Sulphites - sulphites are preservatives used in food production and work by releasing a gas called sulphur dioxide. This gas can be an irritant and also
reduce the amount of oxygen the lungs can "take up". Less oxygen in the blood does naturally affect our brains. This is a very common food additive, and if you are sensitive to sulphur dioxide cause other problems such as digestive distress.
Names and number you will find this popular additive under:
E220 Sulphur dioxide
E221 Sodium sulphite
E222 Sodium hydrogen sulphite
E223 Sodium metabisulphite
E224 Potassium metabisulphite
E226 Calcium sulphite
E227 Calcium hydrogen sulphite
E228 Potassium hydrogen sulphite
E150b Caustic sulphite caramel
E150d Sulphite ammonia caramel
I give this list to all migraine sufferers who talk to me about migraine headaches, and I recommend they keep it in their wallets so they can check it when going food shopping.
Tyramine - this is a monoamine compound found in cheese, especially aged cheeses or flavoured. Once again it is a preservative which can play havoc with blood pressure and heart rate. Vegetables and fruit contain tyramine if they are not fresh, and so does Soya and Teriyaki sauces. I even think that some migraine should be called Tyramine migraines as this is the cause of lot migraines and headaches. Ginseng incidentally contains tyramine, and a migraine sufferer should never use
Nitrates - sodium nitrate is a natural salt found in meats, and bottled water. Hot dogs contain a lot of sodium nitrate. It can cause migraine headaches, and as it is contained in mineral water, especially sparkling water, migraine headaches from nitrates are becoming more common. I know we should drink more water but please unjunk your bottled water.
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