Migraines are very common headaches; a term we hear a lot but have you ever wondered where those intense headaches come from? Why you get them? Why you feel like only one part of your head is throbbing?
Well, migraines in simple terms are headaches that most commonly occur on one side of the head, they make you feel lightheaded and can increase your sensitivity to light and sounds around you. Migraines however can be a different experience to different people, there is no one general rule here. There are also different types of migraines and they can be related to different causes. Let’s explore.
Women are three times more likely to get migraines than men!
There are also different types of migraines other than the main two that are worth exploring, here are some of them:
When we look at our body and what we experience, we should always look back at the causes and reasons, at the end of the day, there is no reaction without an action.
This doesn’t mean that those are the only triggers that cause migraines, however they are the most common. Dietary triggers also have an impact.
The food we eat can be a trigger for our headaches, other food can trigger a migraine upon withdrawal. Our diet can have a great effect on how we feel whether through the style or the food we consume.
Research has looked into the food we eat and the different styles of eating in a way to minimize the occurrence of migraines. Different types of diets followed have been found to have benefits that can reduce migraines in patients, those diets include:
While these titles might seem intriguing, migraines are tricky and diets are also tricky as they function on a case-by-case basis. This means that something that works for someone might not work for another, this is why it’s very important to consult a health professional when you want to make a change in your lifestyle and the way you eat.
Different dietary styles can affect the occurrence or decrease of migraines however; some specific food can contribute into triggering migraines.
These foods include:
As previously mentioned, specific types of food can trigger the occurrence of migraines and unfortunately chocolate is one of them. Chocolate can also sometimes be beneficial for migraines.
That being said, this does not mean that every time you eat chocolate you will likely have a migraine, so how does this relationship work? Around 2% to 22% of migraines are caused by chocolate; this happens since chocolate induces the concentration of the hormone serotonin which is found to be in high concentrations during migraines as well, this happens in theory.
Looking at the positive relationship, another theoretical perspective explains how chocolate can help with migraines, chocolate is a good source for magnesium, and magnesium has been found to help with decreasing pain and headaches.
Since those are theoretical perspectives, this means that research is still ongoing on chocolate and migraines to confirm the findings and explain the relationship better.
Previous research has looked into whether different personalities can make people more prone to migraines or not and indeed, some personalities are more likely to react differently.
Below is a list that encompasses some of the personality traits of a person that is prone to react differently to stressors and likely to develop a migraine:
People can work on their different traits that cause them to react more excessively to different factors or stressors eventually leading to migraines; one can learn to be more flexible and accept change more easily. Working on one’s self can be a journey but you can always get better if you are willing to change and with the right goals and support and of course with the help of mental health professionals. There are tactics and ways that can be developed and help with such journeys.
This also goes to the perfectionist type of personality as there are a lot of factors we do not usually account for that can make our work go differently than originally planned or can alter the way we see things or the time we are expecting ourselves to complete certain tasks. And so, with the right adjustment, help and flexibility introduced to one, change is possible.
Stress has been found to be the reason of 70% of migraines in individuals! This number is mind blowing! But, it helps us understand the relation between stress and migraines as it is very important.
Different types of stressors that induce migraines include:
Stressors contribute largely to the occurrence of migraines, they alter our cognitive and emotional states and consequently our physical health causing us those immense headaches. As the brain functions, stress loads alter its functioning in a behavioral and systematic way which in turn leads to migraines, this is why it is crucial to learn ways in which we can deal with stress in a healthy way and help ourselves from migraines.
Coping mechanisms are ways and adjustments a person develops to deal with stress. They can be conscious or unconscious and help decrease stress and anxiety. There are various different types and ways and they are generally divided between adaptive and maladaptive.
When looking into this relationship, studies have found some coping mechanisms that are more maladaptive and can be a reason to the development of migraines, these include:
These results came from a study of a group of people who were highly prone to migraines and when assessing their personality traits, they found them to be:
These people are not more exposed to external factors that lead to stress but the way they deal with those factors and the way they cope with stress is what caused them to have migraines more. This is why it is important to learn the adaptive ways to cope with stress and try to reduce old practices that are maladaptive and can cause serious health problems.
If you find yourself responding emotionally to stressors or avoiding the situation fully, try to reconsider emotional reception and process the stimuli around you that are causing you the stress. This can help you understand how you’re feeling and respond differently to the stress making headaches less probable!
External stress factors can be different for people depending on their perception and personalities, this is why, when looking into how to treat migraines resulting from stress, the main 3 factors are:
To help with migraines, experts have looked into three main interventions:
Looking into the different techniques from all three types of interventions, none have proved to be more superior over the other, however, it was found that relaxation training was easier to implement than CBT since it can contain more complex techniques.
Migraines can also be efficiently solved and prevented through medical intervention, that is medication such as pills. Medical professionals prescribe mainly pain killers to help and some over-the-counter medication also proves helpful such as paracetamol and ibuprofen. Other medications include triptans that can help with the brain changes that cause migraines and anti-emetics that can help nausea.
While migraines can be very disruptive to our health and inconvenient when we are trying to live our daily lives, they can be prevented and helped very effectively. If you are suffering from those painful migraines, you can always review back your dietary choices and you can always seek professional help. Being aware of your surroundings and stressors will also prove helpful.