Migraine is more likely to occur in woman than in men, and can be felt as a throbbing pain which affects one side of the head, accompanied by various symptoms like nausea, vomiting, disturbed vision etc.
What Is Migraine?
Migraine is a common condition that has to do with the brain. It usually (though not always) involves a throbbing headache, sometimes on one side. The pain gets worse when you move.
Many people with migraines will have visual symptoms before having the pain. This is called a classic migraine. You may see zigzag lines, shimmering or colored lights, or flashes of light in one side of your vision. These symptoms can last up to 30 minutes.
You can also have these visual symptoms without the head pain. This is called a migraine variant.
With migraine headaches, you may be sensitive to light, sound and smells. You may also be nauseous (sick to your stomach) or vomit (throwing up).
Causes Of Migraine
The exact underlying cause of migraine is unknown, but most scientists believe that it is a mixture of genetic and environmental factors that lead to the attacks. An episode begins in the brain and then spreads along the nerves and chemical pathways.
- Certain genetic conditions can make a person vulnerable to migraine, but studies are still being conducted in this area.
- Several triggers may lead to the onset of a migraine attack. Some of them are as follows:
- Excessive physical strain or exercise
- Mental stress and tension
- Exposure to smoke or tobacco
- Alcohol consumption
- Use of birth control pills
- Exposure to over-bright lights or over loud noise
- Missed meals
- Certain foods like processed foods, baked goods, onions, those containing tyramine like red wine, chicken liver, aged cheese and smoked fish.
Not all the triggers have been included in the above list and not all of them affect the people with migraines. If you want to identify the triggers in order to avoid them, the best course of action is to maintain a headache diary and note down the triggers every time an attack occurs. In this way you will be able to recognize and avoid the condition
Symptoms Of Migraine
- Nausea and vomiting
- Depression or euphoria
- Excessive sleepiness
- Craving for certain food items
- Altered mood
- Constipation or diarrhoea
- Increased urination
- Stiff muscles (especially in the neck).
Home Remedies For Headache And Migraine
There are many medications that helps a migraine, but home remedies can give you relief in the long run.
Since one of the most common causes of headache is dehydration, the first thing you should do as soon as you feel the pain coming is to rehydrate your body. Drink a glass or two of water and continue to replenish fluids throughout the day. Remember that not every liquid will hydrate your body properly. Your best bet is mineral water in the amounts between 1,5-2 litres a day.
Drinking warm water with freshly squeezed juice from half a lemon is recommended not only for those who want to improve digestion and lose weight, but also those suffering from headaches. Lemon has refreshing and relaxing properties and may reduce the pain. Also, even though it has an acidic taste, it actually helps you alkalise the body. Why is it important? When your body is in an acidic state, you feel tired, you don’t get a proper rest at night and are more prone to bacterial and viral infections. By drinking lemon juice with warm water every day, preferably first thing in the morning, you will regulate the pH of your body, you’ll feel less tired and will keep the headache away.
The best choice would be organic lemons, squeezed just before the consumption. Remember that lemons contain a high level of vitamin C, which gets damaged when it comes in contact with oxygen. It is especially important to make the most of these properties when your headache is caused by a cough and flu or can be linked to a bacterial or viral infection.
Just like lemons, these fruits help maintain the right pH level in your body. It has also been proven that the smell of green apples can help reduce headache, including the migraine ones. Eat half an apple as soon as you feel that the headache is coming. For best results, drink a glass of water afterwards to make sure you stay hydrated.
Apple cider vinegar has the same properties. You can either add it to your salads or drink a mixture of 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, a teaspoon of honey and a few drops of lemon juice in a glass of water. Make sure the water is not too hot since high temperatures kill the healing properties of honey.
One of the home remedies for headaches and migraine that can be used both internally and externally is cinnamon. You can either add a pinch of cinnamon to your tea and drink it several times throughout the day or you can grind some cinnamon sticks, add a few drops of water to the powder and mix it until you get a smooth paste. Then apply it on your forehead and temples and relax for 15 minutes. You might feel a bit of tingling on your skin, but it’s completely natural. However, if it turns into a burning sensation, wash it off with lukewarm water. Some people have very sensitive skin and direct contact with cinnamon paste can irritate it.
Lavender is known for its soothing and relaxing properties. Try drinking some herbal tea with lavender three to four times a day and you should notice a significant decrease of the migraine pain. If you have time to relax and lie down, you can get two lavender sachets (available in pharmacies and health food stores) and place them over your closed eyes. Lavender reduces blood vessels inflammation and helps you relax. That is why it’s very effective when you fight migraines caused by stress and muscles tension.
#. MAGNESIUM, VITAMIN B2 and MELATONIN
Increasing the levels of certain elements can make you less prone to headaches and migraines. The ones pointed out by researchers most frequently are magnesium, melatonin and vitamin B2. If you are not a fan of synthetic supplements, you can simply alter your diet and make sure you get enough products containing magnesium and vitamin B2 and those stimulating the production of melatonin.
Foods rich in magnesium are: pumpkin seeds, yoghurts, almonds, black beans, avocado, figs, dark chocolate and bananas. To up your intake of vitamin B2, you should eat more: cheese, almonds, oily fish (e.g. mackerel), eggs, mushrooms, sesame seeds, seafood and spinach. Melatonin gets produced by your body and you can stimulate it by eating: pineapples, bananas, oranges, oats, sweet corn, rice, tomatoes and barley.
While drinking coffee in large amounts may have a dehydrating effect and cause headaches and migraines, a small amount of coffee can actually help you fix the problem. Try having one small cup of coffee (but avoid espresso and go for a small latte instead) or a cup of tea. Stay away from all kinds of energy drinks as their level of caffeine is way too high to use them for this purpose. You have to remember one important thing, though – caffeine can help you fight a migraine only if it wasn’t the cause of the problem in the first place. If you think your headache was caused by an excessive intake of caffeine, avoid its further consumptions until all the symptoms are gone.
#. REGULAR EXERCISE
Aerobic exercises are a proven effective treatment for migraines. Regular exercise helps to reduce tension and fend off stress. These exercises will also trigger the release of endorphins, which acts as a mild sedative. It is recommended that 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week will help. However, try not to overdo it.
#. ICE PACK
If it’s difficult to bear your headache, then treat it with some cold therapy. Placing ice on your head can help to reduce your pain, because ice has anti-inflammatory properties.
Best Food For Migraine Headache
Research recently presented at the International Headache Society suggests that cocoa may actually protect the nerve cells that cause migraine headaches. But 22 percent of headache sufferers identify chocolate as one of their headache triggers.Chocolate may be getting a bad rap as a migraine trigger. “Many people with migraines have increased appetite and food cravings just before their headaches start.” Reaching for a Chocolate bar may be the result of a migraine, rather than the cause.
“There is not much research on cheese as a migraine trigger, but it is generally agreed that aged cheese is more likely to cause a headache,”. The culprit may be a substance called tyramine that forms as the proteins in cheese break down over time. The longer a cheese ages, the more tyramine it has. Examples you might want to skip to avoid headaches include blue cheese, Swiss, cheddar, gouda, and parmesan.
Well, maybe. Bananas usually don’t appear on lists of foods that are headache triggers, but they could trigger a migraine for people who are sensitive to tyramine, the same substance found in aged cheese. Studies show that the peel has about 10 times more tyramine than the banana pulp. There are no reliable studies on this, but you might want to avoid those stringy pieces of inner peel that stick to your banana if a food diary points to it as a likely migraine trigger for you.
#. GREEN TEA
Green tea has caffeine in it, yes, but it also has other compounds that may help ease the pain of migraine. Pair it with ginger, skullcap, and feverfew for a morning drink that attacks multiple symptoms of migraine, including nausea. If you are used to caffeine in the morning, eliminating it totally may actually cause headaches. Replacing your normal cup of joe with green tea can help ease the transition and relieve pain at the same time.
#. SOY PRODUCTS
As a migraine sufferer, you have probably tried a plant-based diet to help ease the symptoms of migraine. But you find that soy triggers migraine just as much as a big, juicy burger. So what do you do for protein?
#. Try: Beans and nuts of all kinds
If your migraines are triggered by fluctuating hormones, soy products can exacerbate that and cause headaches. Soy products are also processed so much as to be unhealthy in general. Instead of focusing on soy for your protein needs, look towards a wide array of beans. Beans such as navy beans, pinto beans, lima beans, and kidney beans, and nuts and seeds like pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews, and almonds contain protein and magnesium, a migraine-fighting mineral that many in the U.S. are deficient in.
Made up of 97 percent water, the mighty cucumber is another vegetable that can help you stay hydrated and headache-free. Slice some up and enjoy it with hummus or combine the veggie with some tomatoes, red onion, olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, and black pepper for a simple summer salad.
#. PUMPKIN SEEDS
Magnesium, which is found in abundance in pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, and almonds, may ward off head pain by relaxing blood vessels. (Just a half cup of pumpkin seeds provides nearly 100 percent of your daily magnesium needs.) More fun facts on the essential nutrient: Magnesium is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including brain and muscle function. Ignore your body’s need for it and you won’t just wind up with headaches. Muscle aches and overall fatigue are also common indicators that you’re not getting enough of the nutrient in your life.
#. OATMEAL & BROWN RICE
While getting headaches from time to time is normal, having them every day after embarking on a low-carb weight loss plan is a sign you may have taken things too far. “Carbs don’t require any additional processing to make glucose, so they keep blood sugar levels steady quite effectively,”. “However, when you don’t eat enough carbs, blood sugar levels can dip and cause headaches.” Incorporate some carb- and water-rich produce like apples, pears, and carrots to keep the pounds coming off while keeping the head-pounding pain at bay. Healthy carbs like oatmeal and brown rice are also smart picks, as they soak up water during the cooking process.
#. SESAME SEEDS
If you’re only eating sesame seeds when you order an everything bagel or some sesame chicken, you’re missing out of one of the best migraine-busting foods around. The tiny seed is filled with vitamin E, a nutrient that stabilizes estrogen levels, warding off period-related migraines. It’s also rich in L-arginine, a precursor of nitric oxide, the same naturally occurring gas found in cherries, that may help protect against tension headaches and migraines in both men and women. Sprinkle them on your oatmeal or on top of soups and stir-fries to reap the benefits.
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