An Alternative Treatment for Migraine Headaches
Migraine headaches are severely painful and, often, temporarily debilitating. Migraines frequently recur and may be accompanied by visual disturbances (known as aura) and nausea. This type of headache is characterized by pulsing or throbbing pain in one part of your head. Migraines are about three times more common in women than men and affect over 10 percent of people throughout the world. If you are a migraine sufferer seeking alternative treatments to reduce the frequency and severity of your attacks, read on to learn more about your condition and what can be done to help.
The two principle types of migraine headache are:
- Common migraine (migraine with aura)
- Classic migraine (migraine without aura)
Approximately 33 percent of migraine sufferers experience an aura that occurs before any pain sets in (usually about 30 minutes in advance). A person who experiences migraine with aura may see:
Objects of distorted size or shape
Blind spots in the field of vision
Vibrating visual field
Numerous other visual disturbances
Recurring migraine bouts may be triggered by many factors, including:
Bright or flashing lights
Lack of food
Various dietary substances (chocolate, red wine, aged cheeses, etc.)
Causes & Symptoms
It was long thought that migraines were caused by changes in brain blood vessel diameter. Researchers now believe that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may be responsible for most migraine headaches. In about two-thirds of cases, migraine sufferers have other family members who experience the same problem. Certain psychological conditions (e.g., depression, bipolar disorder) are also associated with migraine headaches.
Menstrual cycle-related changes in hormones and hormone levels in some women may be associated with migraine headaches. Imbalances in certain brain chemicals (such as serotonin) and changes in how your brainstem interacts with your trigeminal nerve may also play a role.
Along with visual disturbances and extreme, one-sided head pain, common migraine signs and symptoms include:
Sensitivity to sounds, smells, and light
Nausea and vomiting
Lightheadedness (with or without fainting)
Irritability, hyperactivity, neck stiffness, depression, thirst, and sweets cravings may all be part of a “prodrome” that involves subtle changes one or two days before a migraine.
There is no cure for migraines, but certain alternative care methods can help you manage this painful condition.