It is rare for a migraine to occur unexpectedly without any triggers. A literature review of 25 publications reveals that stress is the most common trigger of migraines. Nearly one in four households in the United States has someone who suffers migraine attacks.
A migraine is a pounding headache that lasts 4 to 72 hours in adults and 1 to 72 hours in children. Loud noise, bright lights, activity, or movement make it hurt more and nausea and vomiting are common. According to research, women are more prone to migraines than men. Literature shows that there are seven types of migraines, some with similar symptoms and some with unique ones.
As we mentioned earlier, migraines barely occur without any triggers. Though triggers do not cause migraine disorders in individuals, they increase the risk of these attacks occurring. Up to 95 percent of migraineurs can identify the activities that cause their migraines. If you do not know what causes yours, here are the most common triggers:
Diet: certain food and drinks such as those with caffeine are known to cause migraines. Dieting, dehydration, or skipping meals triggers migraines for some people.
Hormonal changes: women are more susceptible to migraines compared to men, often due to fluctuations in estrogen. Some women regularly experience migraine attacks during their menstrual period. Menopause, birth control, or hormonal therapy also cause hormonal changes in individuals and could trigger migraines.
Medicine: certain kinds of medicine such as nitroglycerine increase the risk of migraines. If you suspect that your medication is causing migraines, visit a doctor and ask for alternative prescriptions.
Stress:the literature review of 25 publications that we mentioned, in the beginning, reveals that out of ten factors, stress was the most common cause of migraines with 58% of 7,187 migraineurs citing it as a top trigger.
Infections: cold and flu are common triggers of migraines, especially among children.
Sensory stimuli: light, sound, and smell may trigger migraines.
Weather: variations in weather conditions prompt migraines.
Now that you know the common factors that aggravate migraines let's explore the habits that can help migraines.
Here are some simple everyday habits that can aid in keeping your migraine attacks at a minimum.
Natural supplements that contain Vitamin B12, or those that are magnesium-rich such as migraine stop help to reduce the risk of migraine attacks. If you decide to take supplements as a means to stop migraines, be sure to consult an expert first. For pregnant and nursing mothers, it is advisable only to take supplements that have been prescribed by a medical doctor. Pumpkin seeds, black beans, avocados, and bananas are magnesium-rich foods that you can take in place of supplements if you have daily access to them.*
Over the counter medication only offers temporary relief to migraine patients. Your headache will stop for about ten hours, but you'll end up getting a rebound headache after the medicine wears out in your system. In the long run, pills, especially those which contain caffeine, end up making your migraine problem worse. Consider cutting down on the over the counter meds if you find yourself taking them more than once a week. Visit a doctor and seek a long-term solution to your migraine.*
Avoid waiting too long between meals. Doing so lowers your blood sugar levels and this could trigger a migraine. Always carry with you a healthy snack that gives you long-term benefits such as dried fruit or vegetables. Remember to stay hydrated as dehydration could prompt a migraine too. Ensure that you take a balanced diet and limit foods that cause migraines. Preferably, eat vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meat, and healthy fats.*
Too much or too little sleep could trigger a migraine. Sleep helps to reduce depression, anxiety, and it keeps your immune system strong. Regular sleep patterns help reduce the risks of migraine attacks. That means that you should go to bed and wake up at around the same time, daily. A study was conducted by the University of California on 43 women with chronic migraine. The women were divided by half, into two groups. One group practiced healthy sleeping, and after six weeks, 50% of those who followed sleep suggestions had improvements in their headaches, and they no longer met criteria for a chronic migraine. As such, a healthy and regular sleep schedule is a must for migraineurs who want to improve their condition.
Exercising often helps you to relax and reduce stress, which is one of the major causes of migraines. Yoga, tai chi, swimming, and taking walks are excellent exercise ideas that help in migraine management. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, moderate intensity exercise for about 150 minutes a week strengthens your muscles, boosts your mood, help to release endorphins which decrease sensitivity to pain and reduce obesity, which is also a migraine trigger. Work with your doctor to start an exercise program that is suitable for your body. If you experience headaches before or after exercising, notify your doctor.
Magnesium is a nutrient that the body needs to regulate; blood sugar, blood pressure, muscle, and nerve function, make protein, DNA, and bone. This nutrient can be found in some foods although it has depleted in our soils and oceans. Magnesium is one of the most common nutrient deficiency that faces humans. Magnesium plays a huge role in the human body and is especially beneficial to migraineurs.* A high intake of magnesium helps in migraine management and in the long-term, it dramatically reduces the risk of migraine attacks.* Here are the long-term benefits of magnesium for migraines.
Magnesium relaxes blood vessels, and this allows them to dilate. This dilation reduces constrictions and spasms which could cause migraines. Magnesium serves as a complementary partner for calcium. While calcium is essential in our bodies, it increases spasms. Long-term intake of magnesium helps to counteract the spasms brought about by calcium, and this helps to manage migraines.
Magnesium reduces inflammatory makers in the body, including those relating to the walls of arteries. In addition to this, it regulates the activity of brain neurotransmitters. Magnesium is essential for GABA function. This is a neurotransmitter that produces happy hormones such as serotonin which calms the brain, helps you relax, boosts your mood, and prevents stress. When unbalanced, inflammatory makers and brain neurotransmitters prompt migraines in individuals. Eating green leafy vegetables regularly or taking magnesium supplements like migraine stop improves the body’s ability to regulate these two triggers.
Excessive platelets aggregation leads to the formation of tiny clots in blood vessels, which could lead to blockage. Blocked blood vessels are causes of some pains in the body, including migraines.* High concentration of magnesium helps to reduce such platelet activity.*
Vigorous exercise aggravates migraines in some individuals. If this kind of a migraine happens to you and you love exercising or are trying to lose weight, for example, long periods of magnesium intake could benefit you and enable you to go back to exercising. During exercise, calcium helps the body to produce lactic acid. This acid acts as a fuel to muscle tissue. Proper distribution of lactic acid to muscle cells stimulates energy burn which causes soreness and pain. Adequate intake of magnesium reduces lactic acid build-up and muscle tension, which can worsen headaches.
We have already established that irregular sleep patterns and insomnia can cause or worsen migraines. Magnesium supplements help you avoid sleeplessness by relaxing muscles, quieting your mind, and regulating your heartbeat. Hence, enabling you to fall asleep faster.*
Men require 400-420mg of magnesium daily. For women, 310-320mg is the recommended daily amount. This amount is recommended for breastfeeding women too. Pregnant women require a little more magnesium daily, 350-360mg. The amount needed for children varies depending on age:
Ensure that you get your recommended daily amount of magnesium to help manage your migraine. Let’s look at a list of the sources of magnesium.
An estimated 80 percent of the population is deficient in magnesium. Studies reveal that magnesium is the answer for some subsets of patients suffering migraines. In one double-blind study, a group receiving 600mg of magnesium daily for a 12 week period reported a 41.6% reduction in headaches. The other placebo group reported only a 15.8% decrease in migraines, proving that magnesium deficiency contributes a lot to migraine pains and intensity. Eat magnesium-rich foods and daily supplements to reap the amazing benefits of magnesium today.