Migraines Headaches - What Are They And How Are They Caused?

by John Blachford - Date: 2007-01-21 - Word Count: 502 Share This!

A migraine is a recurring vascular headache - they happen again and again. It is much more than a bad headache. Migraine sufferers experience nausea, extreme sensitivity to noise and light and sometimes dizziness or lightheadedness.

There are 2 types of migraine:

1. Migraine without an aura (common migraine)

This is a severe, throbbing headache. Normally it is one-sided and is accompanied by lack of appetite, dislike of food, constipation or diarrhoea and nausea. It is the most common type and 90% of migraine sufferers will have this.

2. Migraine with aura (classical migraine)

This type of migraine is preceded by a collection of symptoms that normally occur 15 - 30 minutes before the onset of the migraine.

Common symptoms include: Flashing lights; Blind spots; Distortion in the size or shape of objects;

There can also be symptoms that affect the nervous system such as: Tingling in the arms or face; Unusual smells or sounds; Weakness on one side of the body. It leaves the sufferer feeling tired and listless for up to two days afterwards.

What causes migraine headaches?

Although there has been a lot of research into migraines, the exact causes remain frustratingly unknown. It has been suggested that chemical changes in the body are involved as well as nerve cells and blood vessels located in the head.

The changes seem to be triggered by a number of things such as: Chemical smells; Weather changes; Hormones; Certain foods (such as cheese or chocolate); Too much caffeine; Fatigue; Stress; Chemical smells and environmental changes.

Normally migraine sufferers find that there are a number of triggers that set off their migraine. The best way of finding out what these are is by keeping a headache diary, in other words you note down where and when the attack starts along with details of food and drink taken. You then take out the offending foods and drinks from your diet. Then re-introduce them one at a time noting the reactions you get in your diary. In this way you will cut out the worst offenders.

One peculiar feature of a migraine is that it usually starts in childhood or adolescence and is most common in young and middle-aged adults. Migraines do not discriminate, although two to three times as many women as men suffer, perhaps due to the reduced availability of Oestrogen. The pattern of a woman's migraines may be affected by her menstrual cycle and thus is often altered when she goes through menopause.

Migraines have a strong impact on the quality of a person's life. It affects not only the person but also the lives of those who move in close contact with them. Attacks can some times be so severe that the sufferer may have to abandon his or her normal activities for days at a time. Although many sufferers have a family history of migraine (those with one migraine suffering parent have a 50% chance of inheriting it) the exact hereditary nature of this condition is not known. People who get migraines are thought to have an inherited abnormality in the regulation of blood vessels.

Related Tags: headaches, headache, migraine headache, frequent headache, eye strain, visual headache

John Blachford is an Osteopath with years of experience in the field of headaches. For further information on how to rid yourself of headaches go to http://www.cureyoursplittingheadache.com

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