Last week we introduced you to headaches and gave a brief overview of some of the different types of headaches people experience. Today we’re zooming in on the biggie; Migraines.
What is a migraine?
Migraines are the branch of the headache family tree no one wants to know. They can be sneaky, they can be extremely painful and will cause destruction at the family dinner no one invited them to.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a migraine is a headache that causes a severe throbbing or pulsing pain usually on one side of the head and is commonly accompanied by nausea/vomiting and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.
Do your migraines come with a warning (aka an ‘Aura’)?
Some sufferers will experience warning symptoms known as auras prior to the pain of the migraine. An aura can include visual changes such as flashing lights or blind spots, difficulty speaking or tingling/numbness on one side of the face or body. Migraines typically last for hours to days and can severely disrupt a person’s normal day to day activities. The frequency of migraine attacks vary from person to person with some people only experiencing migraines rarely whilst others may have multiple attacks in a week or month.
What causes migraines?
The medical profession isn’t 100% certain on the cause of migraines however research indicates that environmental and genetic factors are involved. The medical profession believes that chemical imbalances within the brain as well as changes within the structure of the brainstem may be involved in causing migraines.
Migraine triggers are any internal or external stimuli that triggers a migraine. Here’s some of the most common triggers:
- Hormonal changes – many women experience migraines just before or during menstruation, during pregnancy or menopause. The oral contraceptive pill and hormonal replacement therapy can increase migraine frequency in some people and reduce frequency in others.
- Alcohol (red wine in particular), drinking too much caffeine (coffee in particular)
- Strong sensory stimuli such as perfumes, paint thinners, smoke, bright lights, sun glare and loud noises.
- Too much sleep or lack of sleep
- Intense exercise including sex can cause migraines in some people
- Changes in weather or barometric pressure
- Certain medications can trigger migraines in people who already get them
- Aged cheeses, salty processed foods may trigger migraines. Some people are triggered by bread, gluten or chocolate.
- Skipping meals or fasting can trigger migraines
- Food additives like MSG and aspartame
How you can avoid inviting Migraines into your life:
- Don’t underestimate what your grandmother has been telling you for years! Hydration is vital, so ensure you’re getting enough water throughout the day. On average men need to drink approx 2.5L a day and 2L a day for women. This is dependent on the amount of exercise you do a day and whether you work in a hot environment.
- Avoid overuse of coffee and energy drinks
- Drink alcohol in moderation and avoid red wine if its a known migraine trigger for you
- Practice good sleep hygiene
- Eat small healthy meals throughout the day and avoid foods you associate with migraines. If you’re not sure what foods to avoid, seek the guidance of a qualified Nutritionist or Naturopath.
- Change body positions often throughout the day especially when working in jobs that require you to sit or stand in one place for long periods
- Exercise regularly
- Keep stress levels to a minimum
How can Aubin Grove Chiropractic & Wellness help?
- Spinal checks performed by our Chiropractor to determine whether your migraines could be caused by subluxations
- Remedial Massage from one of our qualified Remedial Massage Therapists to address muscular tension and/or dysfunction that may be contributing to your migraines
- Vibrosaun Sauna, a safe and effective treatment that combines heat and whole body vibration to assist with decreasing muscular tension, reducing cortisol levels, improve circulation and lymphatic drainage
- Aromatherapy, the use of essential oils in assisting the treatment of ailments. We stock a wide variety of essential oil and essential oil blends and can assist you in choosing oils which can help with stress relief, headache relief and immune boosting.
- Postural assessments to assist you in understanding how your postural patterns can be impacting your body. We can provide stretches and exercises for improving posture.
- Workstation assessments, we can provide advice and feedback on what you can do to reduce the impact your workstation has on your body.