If you suffer from constant headaches, you probably know the feeling of one coming on. There you are, at your desk or in the car, and your vision gets a bit blurry. You may see spots of light and feel a bit nauseous. Before long, all you want to do is lie down in a dark room to ease the pain and throbbing in your head.
This is not an ordinary headache – it's a migraine. About 1 out of every 11 people, 30 million Americans, suffer from these constant headaches. They tend to run in families and occur more often in women than men. But anyone who gets them – man, woman or child – only wants to know two things:
Before I address those two questions, let's take a look at the common types of migraines.
The Classic Migraine
The two most common types of migraines are the ones with a migraine aura and ones without a migraine aura.
These types of migraines usually progress through five stages:
The Causes of Migraine Headaches
According to Stephen Ross, associate professor of neurology at Penn State's College of Medicine, most migraines are the result of a hereditary tendency for nerve cells to overreact to normal stimuli. "Your brain is normal," he explains, "your nerves are normal. It's their reaction that's abnormal."
In migraine sufferers, the upper surface of the brain, the cortex, is overly sensitive to a number of things like stress, hormones, changes in the environment and even various foods and drinks. When the nerves overreact to those things, blood vessels become dilated and inflamed, leading to pain. "Any of these triggers will cause an electrical response in the brain," says Ross. He also notes that about three quarters of people can identify the specific triggers of their constant headaches, whether it is stress, red wine, chocolate or something else.(3)
Other common triggers include smoke, chemical odors, change in sleep patterns, loud noises, missed meals, caffeine, food additives and abrupt weather changes. The best way for you to identify your triggers is to keep a headache diary. Any time you have a headache, write down what you've eaten, how much sleep you've had and whether there have been changes in the weather or your environment. You may be able to identify a pattern that will help you lessen or avoid those triggers.
Those will be the causes of migraine headaches for you.
On the Horizon…
Some interesting things going on in research into other causes of migraine headaches are:
Meanwhile, if you suffer from those constant headaches known as migraines, you probably have a routine in place to deal with them. Watch your triggers, reduce stress the best you can and get regular sleep. Before making any other changes to your diet, exercise or supplement regimen, consult a professional health care provider for advice.
Dr. Blankstein has been practicing for over 30 years as a leading Cardiologist. Trained in traditional medicine and Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Disease, he knows the importance of good medical care. This consideration has allowed him to discover safe and natural ways of healing. His dedication to bringing the latest and best in health solutions to his patients and the public has given him the experience to research and develop proven natural remedies for many illnesses.