Migraines can be one of the most frustrating health issues and often are for many people. In fact, 35 million Americans suffer from migraines each year. Additionally, many people will experience them in their lifetimes including 43% of women and 18% of men. However, migraines are a very complex condition. Let’s examine the different types, common triggers, and treatments.
Types of Migraines
Migraines are actually fairly complex in nature with a wide variety of potential types. The type of migraine is determined by a number of things including symptoms and frequency. The most common type of migraine is a migraine without aura, which is a migraine with the typical major headache symptoms associated with them. The other major type is a migraine with aura, which refers to the typical headache symptoms combined with other sensory symptoms as well. These visual symptoms can include seeing bright spots, having blind spots, experiencing ringing in the ears, changes in smell or taste, or tingling skin.
There is also a silent migraine, which is much rarer but occurs when there are symptoms of aura without the headache. Retinal migraines are another type that can be experienced by many people. In these, partial or complete loss of vision is paired with an ache behind the eye that often spreads to the rest of your head. Meanwhile, a migraine with brainstem aura is a type where someone experiences vertigo, nausea, slurred speech, or double vision immediately before the onset of a headache. This often also is accompanied by vomiting. Hemiplegic migraines are extremely rare but are accompanied with temporary paralysis of one side of the body. Finally, menstrual migraines occur during a woman’s period and are triggered by chemical changes.
Many people suffer from extreme bouts of migraines which are ultimately classified as chronic migraine. Those experiencing chronic migraines have migraines for at least 15 days per month. The type of symptoms of the migraines may vary. Over 4 million people in the United States alone suffer from chronic migraines. Those with chronic migraines often have to try a number of treatments to identify methods to improve the condition.
For those experiencing migraines, whether they are chronic or occasional, one of the most important factors in beginning a treatment journey is being able to identify their triggers. Migraine triggers will vary from person to person; however, there are a number of ones that are relatively common. Let’s take a look at some of the most frequently documented triggers.
Stress is perhaps the most common trigger for migraines, which was documented in between 50-70% of patients depending upon the study. For people experiencing migraines due to stress, things like meditation, exercise, and adhering to a good sleep schedule can help reduce occurrences.
Hormones are another major cause, particularly for menstrual migraines. In fact, 75% of women who suffer from migraines experience them during or near the time of their periods. There are a wide variety of ways to address this trigger including methods of birth control to regulate hormones and changes to lifestyle.
Indulging in caffeine and alcohol can be a trigger for many people as well. For individuals suffering from migraines brought on by these substances, identifying the trigger should be quite easy. One of the best methods of prevention is to understand personal limits on consumption as they relate to the onset of migraines and staying within the range that typically does not trigger a migraine response.
A major trigger for many people is light. As one would imagine, this is often a trigger for retinal migraines. Wearing sunglasses outside and limiting time in front of electronic devices can help avoid this trigger.
Another fairly common source of migraines is from dehydration. It can be quite easy to become dehydrated when spending time outside, engaging in exercise, or simply having a very busy day. Making sure to focus on fluid intake is a great way to prevent this trigger from causing major head pain.
There are a variety of treatments that can be used for migraines. These treatments tend to fall into one of two categories: preventive or abortive. Preventive treatments are aimed at reducing the occurrence of migraines and often target triggers. Meanwhile, abortive treatments aim at stopping a migraine once it begins or lessening its severity.
People with chronic of severe migraines may be prescribed pharmaceutical interventions. There are a variety of options including preventatives that are taken daily or abortive medications that work by constricting blood vessels during a migraine. Over the counter medications can also be used by many people.
For those seeking more natural treatment, one thing that tends to be associated with preventing migraines are types of techniques aimed at reducing stress. Things like yoga, meditation, and acupuncture can be used to help promote a sense of calmness and de-stressing that can reduce the likelihood of experiencing migraines. Some people can also use these techniques during a migraine to lessen the impact.
Essential oils are also a method of relief that works for some people. Specifically, people commonly report that lavender oil and peppermint oil are both effective in helping. Peppermint oil has been shown to prevent migraines when used when an attack feels like it is about to start. Lavender oil has been shown in research to reduce the duration and pain level of migraines when taken while experiencing them. Aculief’s Calm Essential Oil Balm contains both of these oils in its custom blend.
Harnessing the body’s natural endorphins can be another effective way at reducing pain from migraines. Our wearable acupressure clip utilizes the body’s natural acupressure feedback system in order to produce these endorphins that can serve to decrease the severity, pain, and length of migraine headaches.
In fact, increasing numbers of people are turning to natural remedies for migraines in order to avoid having to take drugs for the condition. Understanding your triggers and experimenting with different strategies for prevention and relief is an effective way to determine what works best for each individual.