Causes of migraines
Numerous theories exist about what causes migraines and there is not just one that explains the cause for everyone. Some of the theories include:
- Changes in the brain chemical serotonin
When the levels of this chemical drop they cause blood vessels in the brain to become swollen and inflamed thus leading to migraine.
- Vascular constriction in the brain
It starts with just one blood vessel which is followed by dilation and stretching of more vessels which causes pain.
- Excessive blood flow to the brain
Contradicting the previous theory, it has been discovered that migraines can even be caused by increased blood flow of about 300%. Still, even when the attack is in full swing the blood circulation may seem normal afterwards.
- Neurological disorders
These include disorders involving nerve cell activity in the brain. Neurotransmitters in the brain can stimulate the trigeminal nerves which starts a chain reaction that results with pain signals.
- Nervous system disorder starting in the brain stem
The brain stem is a control center which regulates several body functions that are symptoms of a migraine attack such as perception of light, noise and smell, blood flow in the brain, pain sensitivity etc. It has been discovered that three clusters of cells in the brain stem get active during and after a migraine attack and according to a hypothesis the abnormal activity of these cells is what causes the pain.
- Disruption of subtle energies that flow in the body
The disruption of these energies as well as unresolved emotional issues may result in headaches and migraine.
- Mutation or dysfunction of certain genes
Migraines due to vitamin deficiency
A recent study has discovered that taking supplements with vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce the occurrence of migraines within 6 months. Older studies have also reported that taking high doses of B2 (riboflavin) can also prevent migraines.
The vitamins B6 and B12 are very important for reducing homocyeteine levels. These levels can increase due to certain gene mutations and according to the type of the genotype different doses of these vitamins are needed. Professor Lyn Griffiths said:
“… if all patients received the same vitamin dosage for the same period of time it would be expected that those with TT genotypes, having a reduced enzymatic rate, would metabolise less homocysteine over the treatment period compared to C allele carriers, thus resulting in a smaller reduction in homocysteine and consequent migraine symptoms.
Indeed, it may be that TT genotypes although having a higher risk of disease actually require a larger dosage of vitamins to exhibit the same effect as C alleles. Further clinical trials of much larger patient cohorts are required to test this hypothesis.”
She also added that they are striving to determine the best dosage of B vitamins according to the genetic profile.
“The success of our trial has shown that safe, inexpensive vitamin supplements can treat migraine patients,” she said.
There is also another more common vitamin deficiency that could be causing migraines.
Researchers have conducted studies that concluded even 42 percent of patients with chronic migraine have vitamin D deficiency. They also discovered that if you suffer longer from chronic migraines it is very likely that you have vitamin D deficiency.
Migraine triggers you should avoid
If you suffer from migraines you have probably tried everything and have discovered yourself that using simple remedies is usually not effective at all. Even though vitamin B supplement provide relief to a certain level, there is another approach that is very similar to taking medications.
The type of pain you are feeling could be of great help determining what the cause of the migraine is. Every person experiences different symptoms and not everyone’s migraine get triggered by the same things.
These are some of the most common triggers:
- Food and drink
Wheat, dairy, sugar, artificial preservatives and chemical additives are most commonly reported as triggers for migraine as well as cured or processed meats, alcohol, aspartame, caffeine and MSG.
These include food allergies as well as food and chemical sensitivities.
- Dehydration and/or hunger
- Changes in the sleeping cycle
Both oversleeping and sleep deprivation can cause migraines.
Emotional trauma can cause migraine even after the stress has passed.
- Physical exertion
Pushing your body to the limits with physical exercise or effort or even sexual intercourse can cause migraines.
Women can get migraines if taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, also during or after periods, pregnancy and menopause.
- External stimulants
Bright and fluorescent lights, too loud noises and strong smells could also cause migraines.
- Weather, seasonal or altitude changes
Relieving migraines without using harmful drugs
The pain due to migraine can really be frustrating so it is usual for people to take pills just to get faster and longer relief. However these pain killers are not effective for everyone.
Taking medications can also cause side effects when taken in large doses. Taking pain killers can also have adverse effects if the pain is not due to engorged blood vessels.
Luckily there are alternatives to these harmful medications.
If you want to try a different approach the first thing you need to do is to avoid the triggers causing your migraine.
Then, it is important to eat healthy by avoiding wheat, grains and sugar and sugary drinks. Water should be the only fluid you are taking if you suffer from migraines.
Next, if you exercise regularly you will improve your body’s response to stress as well as any inflammatory conditions which could be causing the migraine.
You should follow these tips for a longer period in order to successfully solve the problem. However, if you do get a migraine attack and you need a relief try some of these healthy alternatives:
- Emotional Freedom Technicue
This technique provides positive results in 50-80 percent of people who have tried it and most of them solve the problem permanently. However, some people need a more sophisticated approach of this technique by and expert in EFT.
- Stimulate the body’s natural ability for managing pain
You can stimulate the pituitary gland to release endorphins which relieve the pain immediately by putting pressure on a nerve below your eyebrows.
- Cayenne pepper and water
When taking 10 teaspoons of cayenne pepper mixed with a glass of water endorphins get released by the brain which relieve the pain.
- Green apple scent
A study has shown that sniffing apple scent is a very efficient way of relieving pain due to migraine. Also, aromatherapy has shown positive effects especially when using peppermint, sandalwood, lavender and eucalyptus oil.
- Hot and cold packs
You will never know which one does the trick for you, heat or cold, until you try it. However, avoid using extreme temperatures. Try by putting your hands in hot water (but not too hot so you burn your hands). This could give you the sensation of pressure relief in the head.
Since these approaches work differently for everyone, you should try them all in order to find out which one will be the most effective for you. Source