Posts Tagged ‘migraine attacks’

14 Helpful Summer Air Travel Tips for Migraine Sufferers

Thursday, June 27th, 2013



If the thought of air travel gives you a headache, then you’ll be glad to know that there are many ways to avoid suffering a migraine attack while traveling in the summertime. Regardless of your destination, by following these simple air travel tips you can avoid migraine headaches from jet lag, dehydration, and barometric pressure changes that often occur after a flight.

14 Helpful Summer Air Travel Tips for Migraine Sufferers

1- Check your medicine supply.

Weeks before you get on the plane make sure you have enough migraine preventative medications, painkillers, or natural migraine supplements to last during and after your trip. Don’t leave it for later; your head will already be filled with other last-minute travel details. This is one thing you do not want to forget.

Top 25 Natural Migraine Treatments: Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs

2- Plan Ahead.

In addition to refilling your prescriptions and ordering more vitamin supplements, make sure your itinerary is up to date. Check for flight delays and weather warnings. Check your luggage, and make sure it’s the right size for airline guidelines.

3- Talk to your doctor.

This may be a good time to tell your migraine specialist about your air travel plans, so that he can suggest medications that help to prevent headaches while in flight, such as sumatriptan.

4- Treat motion sickness.

Do you normally get sick and woozy on long car trips or boat rides? If so, then drugs for motion sickness may help you adjust to air travel, and avoid triggering a migraine headache.

Ask your doctor if you can take acetazolamide the day before your flight and on your travel date, to prevent headache from altitude changes.

5- Check the weather.

This may seem obvious, but a lot of people aren’t prepared for the drastic change of climate they experience the moment they leave the airport. Check weather sites for temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and altitude conditions in the area you’re visiting, and take whatever precautions necessary to prevent getting a migraine attack.

Struck by Lightning…and Migraines?

6- Book non-stop.

Every time the plane goes up into the air, you experience drastic changes in oxygen levels that cause your blood vessels to fluctuate, increasing your chances for a migraine headache. Cut down on the number of ascents you make in one day by planning a non-stop flight whenever possible.

7- Sleep well.

If you’re in for the long haul, then you may not get very much rest on the plane, especially if you’re flying coach.  Get your trip off to a good start by sleeping well the night before.

8- Bring shades.

The overhead lights can trigger migraines, so bring along a pair of dark sunglasses to wear during the day and a sleep mask for nighttime.

9- Eat healthy foods.

Don’t plan on getting nourishing, migraine-friendly meals once you’re in the air. Have something satisfying to eat before your flight, and pack nutritious snacks in your carry-on bag that don’t contain migraine triggering ingredients.

10- Forgo alcohol and caffeine.

When choosing a drink from the beverage cart, try to avoid refreshments containing caffeine or alcohol, and they can both trigger migraine headaches.

11- Do drink water.

Dehydration is one of the most common causes of headache during air travel, and the most preventable. Drink more water than usual a few days before, during, and after your flight. Staying hydrated is the key to preventing headaches while traveling, especially during the summertime when we lose a lot of fluids through perspiration.

12- Use a nasal spray.

Prevent excruciating sinus headaches caused by changes in air pressure while flying; use a spray nasal decongestant while ascending and descending. If you’re susceptible to sinus-triggered migraines, then you may want to use pseudoephedrine, with your doctor’s approval.

13- Breathe fresh air as soon as possible.

Once you get off your plane, don’t spend any more time in the airport than is necessary. Your body is hungering for fresh oxygen, so get yourself a breather as early as you can.

14- Check for your medications.

This is worth repeating. You may have intended to pack your painkillers, prophylaxis pills, or natural migraine supplements, only to find out upon reaching your airport that you left your first-aid kit behind. Check your carry-on and luggage for your migraine meds, and visit your nearest walk-in pharmacy if your worst suspicions are confirmed.

Your turn!

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

Share with your friends!

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Like this? Read more:

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Image courtesy of Victor Habbick/freedigitalphotos

Keeping a Migraine Diary: 8 Important Clues to Jot Down

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013



Tracking headache triggers in a migraine diary is one of the best things you can do for yourself in migraine prevention, but it requires dedication. Many people are hesitant to commit to a migraine journal, because they’re afraid it will be overwhelming, or not effective. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Using a migraine diary efficiently doesn’t need to be time-consuming, and it may provide some important clues in finding out what factors most influence how often you get migraine attacks.

Keeping a Migraine Diary: 8 Important Clues to Jot Down

Why keep a migraine diary?

Studies show that the best way to prevent migraine attacks is to practice trigger avoidance. By eliminating certain foods from your diet and practicing good “migraine hygiene,” you will effectively reduce the number of migraine headaches you get each month substantially.

What’s the catch? Well, you need to know what those migraine triggers are…and the best way to find out what’s causing your migraines is to play detective. By tracking down helpful clues in your migraine diary, you learn more about hidden factors that provoke migraine attacks- things in your daily life, like sleep habits, hormone levels, vitamin deficiencies, even the weather!

While many migraine advocacy sites offer free templates to help you start your own migraine diary, you don’t need to access the Net just to keep track of migraine attack triggers; a simple pencil and notepad is sufficient and more practical for on-the-fly notes and availability when you’re not getting a Wifi signal.

7 important items to list in your migraine diary

1- Date and time

This is basic- always list the date, day of the week, and time when you first start noticing the beginnings of a migraine headache, including symptoms such as tiredness, elation, changes in appetite, strange scents, and migraine auras.

Also, keep track of when your headache ended, and how long it took you to recuperate.

2- Rate the pain

On a scale of one through ten, was this the worst headaches you’ve ever experienced, or was it on the usual pain threshold? Did your headache start at one side of the face and spread out, or was it confined to one specific area of your head?

3- Food

There are hundreds of food items that may contribute to migraine headaches, so it’s important to always write down what you eat each day.  Migraine triggers in food vary for each individual, so don’t compare your red-light foods to others who suffer from chronic migraine attacks.

Here is a list of migraine food triggers.

4- Sleep

Did you sleep in? Weekend headache is a common trigger for migraines, as it disturbs your body’s need for regularity. Take notes if you fall asleep for a nap in the afternoon, or wake up later than usual while on vacation.

5- Weather changes

What was the weather like today? Was it very hot and humid? You may find that you’re more prone to migraines during certain seasonal changes. While you can’t avoid the weather, you can take measures to control symptoms that trigger migraine attacks. Keep the windows shut during pollen season, or run a humidifier in your office when the air is dry.

6- Physical activity

Believe it or not, some migraine attacks are started by even mild physical exertion. “Exercise migraines” can also happen from coughing, strong bowel movements, sudden jerks of the head, or sexual intercourse.

Read more about exertion migraines.

7- Unusual headaches

This may be the most crucial, yet most underappreciated detail to include in your migraine diary. Migraine attacks usually follow a pattern; migraines with aura are preceded by unusual visual disturbances, sudden fatigue, and increased sensitivity to bright lights, sounds, and scents.

If you experience any out-of-the-ordinary headache symptoms, then keep track of all the details and speak to your doctor.

8- Medications and natural treatments

Which migraine preventatives are you using, and how much? If you took over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers, then keep track of how many milligrams you consumed each day.

This can also be an effective way to determine if your natural migraine treatments are working well!

If you’re currently taking butterbur extracts, magnesium pills, vitamin B2, or coenzyme Q10 tablets for migraines, then write down the amount you are using and the time of day you take your supplements.

Often, natural vitamins and minerals can help migraines significantly, but you need to know how much your body needs in order to control biochemical reactions that trigger migraines.

Want to make it easier? Opt for natural migraine pill formulas that combine all four ingredients in one dose. Experiment with different times of the day for supplementation, and vary the amount you take to get the best results.

Your turn!

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

Share with your friends!

If you found this article helpful, then please share with your friends, family, and coworkers by email, twitter, or Facebook.

Like this? Read more:

How to Make a Migraine Headache Diary

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Image courtesy of samuiblue/freedigitalphotos

Migraines and ADD/ADHD- Prepare for Sensory Overload!

Monday, May 13th, 2013



You’re not imagining it- if you get frequent migraines, then ADD/ADHD (yes, adults can have it) may also account for your long list of ailments, like nausea, crushing headaches, brain fog, attention problems, and hypersensitivity to lights, sounds, touch, scents- everything! Here are some findings that scientists have linking chronic migraines and ADD/ADHD.

Migraines and ADD/ADHD- Prepare for Sensory Overload!

Migraines and ADD/ADHD

Millions of people suffer excruciating headaches from migraines, and likewise, millions of adults in the US struggle with attention problems and sensory overload caused by ADD/ADHD.

Today, scientists believe that migraines and ADD/ADHD have more in common than we realized, and may provide important clues in devising appropriate treatments for people suffering from  fatigue, disorientation, and a low tolerance for noise, even when they’re not having a migraine attack.

“…we think that this association between ADHD and migraine is mediated by a mutual comorbidity in mood disorders,” explains author Ole Bernt Fasmer, MD, PhD, regarding the study that was published in Psychiatry Weekly.

What do they have in common?

It can’t be a coincidence that some of the strongest migraine triggers involve the senses. In addition to changes in weather, food ingredients, and hormone fluctuations, many sensory-based environmental factors increase your risk for having a migraine attack, including:

  • Bright fluorescent lighting
  • Glare from harsh sunlight
  • Flickering lights
  • Stark white backgrounds
  • Black and white striped or zigzagged patterns
  • Strong perfumes
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Loud noises
  • Chatter, people talking all at once
  • Large crowds

10 Surprising Facts about Migraines you probably didn’t know

Interestingly enough, the same migraine triggers associated with hypersensitivity are the same ones that bother adults with attention problems ADD/ADHD.

And it isn’t a coincidence. In a famous 2012 study conducted by researchers in Norway, Migraine, Asthma, Mood Disorder, and Comorbid Adult ADHD, scientists found that males with ADHD have a 23% risk for migraines, compared with 11% of the general population. Furthermore, females, who are three times more likely than males to suffer from migraines, have a 34% risk of having severe migraines and ADD/ADHD, compared to 25% in women who don’t have attention problems.

What exactly is ADD/ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD/ADD) is a condition that we use to describe people exhibiting a certain set of behaviors in relation to their ability to focus, filter out sensory stimuli, and form and execute goals, along with several other cognitive skills.

Currently, about 9 million adults in the US have some form of ADD/ADHD.

Treatments for migraines and ADD/ADHD

As always, learn as much as you can about migraines and ADD/ADHD, and visit an experienced doctor for a correct diagnosis.

To treat migraine headaches and attention problems from ADD/ADHD, your doctor may prescribe medications that address your specific symptoms.

Additionally, many natural vitamins and herbs can help to boost cognitive functioning and sustain energy, enabling patients of migraines and ADD/ADHD to maintain mental focus and alertness throughout the day.

These include essential B vitamins, including riboflavin and vitamin B12, which help to preserve the nervous system.

Other beneficial nutrients include magnesium, CoQ10, and butterbur extracts.

Your turn!

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

Share with your friends!

If you found this article helpful, then please share with your friends, family, and coworkers by email, twitter, or Facebook.

Like this? Read more:

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Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/

New Migraine Treatment, Aided by Chili Peppers

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013



It’s bio-logical, say scientists; chili peppers may provide an important key to preventing migraines. Scientists are using capsaicin oil to develop a treatment tailored specifically for chronic migraine headaches.

New Migraine Treatment, Aided by Chili Peppers

Researchers from Amgen, a biotech company in Thousand Oaks, California are working on a new preventative medication for migraines that they hope will put an end to throbbing headaches, eye pain, and muscle stiffness for many.

Migraine science

Scientists believe they have found a strong correlation between the brain’s reaction to chili peppers…and migraine triggers.

When you rub hot chili oil on your skin, your brain reacts by releasing calcitonin gene-related peptides (CGRP), which direct blood flow to the affected areas.

Similarly, CGRPs – the same chemicals triggered by capsaicin oil- also lead to migraine attacks. The trigeminal nerves of the brain release CGRPs, which send out pain signals, causing blood flow to the brain, resulting in debilitating migraine headaches that can last for several days.

By targeting CGRPs, scientists believe they can block receptors from receiving pain signals from CGRPs, effectively aborting a migraine before symptoms like throbbing headaches, nausea, and dizziness can start.

Cure for migraine?

Amgen researchers believe they have found a medication that can block CGRPs from triggering migraines. To test their theory, they are practicing on chili oil.

  • Test subjects rubbed chili pepper ointment on their hands, triggering the release of CGRPs associated with migraine.
  • At the same time, researchers injected the Amgen drug under their skin.
  • According to their reports, their experimental migraine treatment did effectively block CGRP release from the chili oil, and prevented increased blood flow to the affected areas.

If successful, the new Amgen drug will be the first prescription medication of its kind that’s formulated specifically for migraines, and not for comorbid or associated conditions like epilepsy, depression, or hypertension.

Your turn!

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

Share with your friends!

If you found this article helpful, then please share with your friends, family, and coworkers by email, twitter, or Facebook.

Like this? Read more:

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Image courtesy of iamharin/freedigitalphotos

Do Migraines Cause Brain Damage?

Monday, April 22nd, 2013



Migraines are not only excruciating headaches; they also raise your risk for brain damage. If you experience more than three migraines each month, in addition to chronic brain fog and fatigue, then you should ask your doctor for an MRI brain scan to check for possible brain damage.

Do Migraines Cause Brain Damage? Migravent

Migraines are a brain disease

According to latest research, migraine patients are a high risk category for “progressive brain damage,” a silent type that shows no unusual symptoms.

Researchers from the Netherlands conducted a study on the risk of brain damage in migraine patients, and results showed a high correlation between migraine attack frequency and increased risk for brain abnormalities.

For the study, they gathered 56 test subjects, including 28 female migraine patients and 28 non-migraineurs for the control group.

Scientists conducted MRI scans, examining key targeted areas of the brain for possible brain damage, noting white matter hyperintensities in the cerebral matter of migraine patients that were absent in the control group brain scans.

Researchers confirmed an unusually high rate of brain damage in migraine patients, deformities in parts of the brain that control thinking skills, as well as autonomic functioning needed for respiration and blood pressure.

Migraine patients who experienced more than three migraine attacks each month exhibited more brain abnormalities than patients who had fewer than three migraine episodes each month.

Furthermore, Migraine patients with a 15+ year history of migraines had the most severe signs of brain damage, compared to patients who have been experiencing migraine attacks for fewer than 15 years, proving a direct correlation between severity of migraines and brain damage.

More migraine comorbidities

In addition to brain damage, other serious conditions linked with migraines include stroke, heart attack, and epilepsy. Additionally, migraine patients are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.

5 Effective Natural Supplements for Depression

What does all this mean?

If you get more than three migraine attacks each month, and you’ve been experiencing migraine attacks for at least 15 years, then migraine prevention isn’t just a matter of finding relief from pain and nausea- it can also save your life.

If you’ve been procrastinating on trying a new approach to migraine therapy, then don’t wait any longer. Speak to your doctor, and ask him what other options are available that you haven’t tried, including natural preventive tools for migraines.

Some good ones to try:

•Restrictive dieting, such as gluten-free, dairy-free, or specific migraine target avoidance
•Keeping a migraine diary to track frequency
•Natural supplementation of vitamins, minerals, and herbs that help migraine patients, such as vitamin B2 (riboflavin), magnesium, coenzyme Q10, and butterbur extracts
•Gentle daily exercise, including yoga, stretching, and low-impact aerobics

Your turn!

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

Share with your friends!

If you found this article helpful, then please share with your friends, family, and coworkers by email, twitter, or Facebook.

Like this? Read more:

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Brain damage risk linked to migraine frequency

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Image courtesy of everyone’s idle/flickr

Ease Stress, Effortlessly! 5 Migraine Management Tips

Thursday, April 18th, 2013



Stress is one of the greatest triggers of migraine attacks, as it weakens your immune system, causes brain fatigue, and deprives you of much-needed energy. Here are some excellent tips to help you reduce stress now, and prevent migraines later.

Ease Stress, Effortlessly! 5 Migraine Management Tips- Migravent

Imagine a place…

John Lennon was really onto something when he famously asked the world to imagine a better place to live in; guided imagery is one of the best tools for relaxation, as it uses positive affirmations, controlled breathing, and focused meditation to help you improve circulation, relax your muscles, lower your heartbeat, and achieve a deep, restful state, thus reducing migraine triggers in stress.

Try it! Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and visualize a scene that makes you feel safe, relaxed, and comfortable. Breathe in to the count of three, hold your breath for three counts, and exhale to the count of six. Repeat, and continue for at least 15 minutes.

Take a hike…

Sometimes, you just need to remove yourself from a stressful environment. A power walk is a great tool for warding off a stress-related migraine while also burning calories, easing stress, and boosting your cardiovascular health.

Try it! On your lunch break, reserve at least 10 minutes after eating for a brief stroll or jog in the area. At home, take your dog for a run, or enjoy a casual walk around the neighborhood after supper.

Lean on somebody…

Sometimes, you just need a hug. Physical contact with a friend, relative, or even a loyal pet is a proven method of stress reduction, and a great tool for migraine management!

Try it! When you feel anxious or depressed, ask somebody for a hug! You’ll both feel better for it.

Can Anxiety Attacks cause Migraines?

Have a cuppa…

To ease headaches and lower stress levels instantly, brew yourself a hot cup of decaffeinated coffee or herb tea.

Try it! Buy a tea sampler containing a selection of herb teas that relieve migraine symptoms; good choices are chamomile, mint, licorice, and decaffeinated green tea.

Nourish yourself…

Eating healthy, migraine trigger-free foods while also taking beneficial supplements that ease migraine symptoms is an important part of migraine management. Choose nutrients that boost circulation, support the nervous system, maintain cardiovascular health, and sustain proper immune system functioning.

Try it! Vitamins, mineral, and herbs that benefit migraine patients most are butterbur extracts, vitamin B2, vitamin B12, coenzyme Q10, magnesium, and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

Your turn!

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

Share with your friends!

If you found this article helpful, then please share with your friends, family, and coworkers by email, twitter, or Facebook.

Like this? Read more:

5 Effective Natural Supplements for Depression

Migraines, Women, and Depression: 9 Myths and Truths

Overcome Depression with Migraine- 4 Lifestyle Habits that Help

Image courtesy of photostock/free digital photos

Cause of Migraines to Remain a Mystery, say Researchers

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013



It’s the chicken and the egg syndrome all over again; does eating chocolate cause a migraine attack, or do migraines make you crave caffeine? While having any chronic illness can lead to depression, is there any truth to the notion that feeling despair exacerbates pain, including excruciating migraine headaches? According to some scientists, we may never understand the exact cause of persistent migraines.

Cause of Migraines to Remain a Mystery, say Researchers- Migravent

Migraine trigger avoidance- don’t try this at home

Scientists have identified hundreds of migraine triggers that may increase your chances of having a migraine attack. Naturally, health experts have jumped on the boat in advising migraine patients to avoid all migraine triggers, from food preservatives such as MSG and alcoholic beverages such as wine and beer, to strong scents and even exercise.

But according to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center researcher Timothy T. Houle, Ph.D, most people with migraines who eliminate foods such as dairy products, gluten, and ripe fruits from their diets are doing so unnecessarily, as only individual scientific examination can truly determine if your migraine attacks are being caused by stress, hormonal fluctuations, or a penchant for aged cheese.

11 Headache Triggers you Never Thought Of

“Correctly identifying triggers allows patients to avoid or manage them in an attempt to prevent future headaches,” he says. “However, daily fluctuations of variables – such as weather, diet, hormone levels, sleep, physical activity and stress – appear to be enough to prevent the perfect conditions necessary for determining triggers.”

Only science will tell

“The goal of this research is to better understand what conditions must be true for an individual headache sufferer to conclude that something causes their headaches.”

Because the migraine trigger modality is often inconsistent, patients may suffer from migraine anxiety, the fear of leaving the house lest a migraine occur, or end up following a wild goose chase that either doesn’t work, or results in even worse migraine attacks caused by medication misuse.

For the Wake Forest study, scientists examined nine women who suffered from migraines with aura and migraine without aura.

Participants recorded stress levels in a daily diary and also submitted to urine tests for hormone levels.

Scientists also took into account weather conditions, a common migraine trigger, dating back three years.

Researchers noted that due to their inability to simulate “migraine triggers” consistently and accurately for each patient in a manner that satisfies scientific standards, they were not successful in proving that any one factor increases one’s risk of experiencing a migraine attack.

All the more so, they concluded, it’s impossible for a patient of migraines to reliably determine her migraine triggers by trial and error alone, without the benefit of scientific applications.

Your turn!

Do you agree with the idea that migraine triggers are almost possible to track?

Besides prescription medication, what other strategies do you use to prevent migraines?

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

Share with your friends!

If you found this article helpful, then please share with your friends, family, and coworkers by email, twitter, or Facebook.

Like this? Read more:

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Paging Doctor Migraine, Where are you?

Thursday, February 28th, 2013



In learning how to manage migraines and prevent headaches, it’s important to find a migraine doctor who is resourceful, knowledgeable, and most of all, understanding. Good luck with your search, because a true migraine doctor is like the proverbial needle in a haystack of would-be headache specialists.

Paging Doctor Migraine- Migravent

(Please speak to a migraine doctor, or other qualified physician, before starting any new migraine treatment. What follows is not medical advice.)


Try Googling for a “migraine doctor” in your area and you’re likely to meet a lot of dead ends. That’s because today’s physicians are sadly undereducated in the treatment of migraine patients, despite the major advancements scientists have been making in the field of migraine-related neurological studies.

As a result, very few doctors become migraine doctors, because few medical students receive appropriate training to recognize the symptoms of migraine disorder, and therefore don’t even take migraines seriously, writing them off as a pseudo-disease that doesn’t even deserve its own classification.

In fact, only about 50% of migraine patients ever receive a diagnosis for migraines, and not for lack of awareness- they know their headaches are from migraine- but because they have given up on the system, and have relented to self-treatment for their chronic headaches, and other symptoms of nausea, fatigue, and dizziness.

Only about half of migraine sufferers ever receive diagnosis, and even fewer eventually find the right treatments to prevent future migraine attacks.

Migraine awareness, please

Migraine awareness efforts on behalf of the many migraine advocacy groups like MAGNUM,, and the Migraine Support Group on Facebook are helping to educate the medical community, but we are still far behind where we should be.

Until scientists receive more grants to fund migraine research, providing an incentive for medical students to pursue the Golden Goose of migraine cures while gaining recognition for doing so, we will continue to see a very meager representation of migraine doctors in the specialty of neurology, or even chronic pain treatments.

Enter alternative treatments

One positive outcome we’re seeing as a result of the lack of quality migraine medical care is a growing interest in a more natural approach to migraine treatments.

More often than not, people are finding that they can reduce migraine severity and frequency by implementing natural migraine preventative strategies, and without all the harmful side effects that many analgesics, opioids, and other prescription migraine medications may cause, such as dizziness, nausea, memory loss, and risk for overdose.

And the science is behind many of today’s natural migraine treatments, including the use of butterbur extracts, magnesium, riboflavin, and Coenzyme Q10 in benefiting patients of migraine.

Your turn!

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

Share with your friends!

If you found this article helpful, then please share with your friends, family, and coworkers by email, Facebook, or Google+.

Like this? Read more:

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Not all Migraine Triggers Cause Headaches- New Research

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013



Does light sensitivity trigger migraine attacks, or is it the other way around? Here’s the scoop on the latest research on migraine attacks, with and without aura.

Not all Migraine Triggers Cause Headaches- New Research- Migravent

According to a new study on migraine triggers, scientists have found that not all triggers are as powerful as we think; warning migraine patients not to jump the gun on migraine trigger avoidance when it comes to things like exercise and indoor lighting.

Migraine triggers that aren’t

In the study, which was published by Neurology, scientists examined 27 patients of migraines with aura, all of which have previously attributed bright lights and strenuous exercise with triggering severe migraine attacks.

  • Scientists exposed each participant to “migraine triggers” such as exercise, bright flickering lights, or a combination of both, in an effort to see if they would experience a migraine attack.
  • Migraine patients who were told to exercise either ran or pedaled on an exercise bike for 1 hour, exceeding their maximum pulse rate by 80%.
  • Participants were also told to look at a series of bright, flashing lights for 30-40 minutes.
  • After 3 hours, 11% of migraine patients experienced a migraine with aura.
  • Another 11% developed a migraine headache without aura.
  • Most interestingly, none of the study participants suffered a migraine attack as a result of light exposure alone.

What causes migraine attacks?

Migraine headaches are a genetic neurological illness that causes crushing, excruciatingly painful headaches that can take anywhere from several hours or days to disappear.

In addition, migraine attacks inflict symptoms such as severe nausea, uncontrollable vomiting, fatigue, and dizziness in its patients.

Migraines with aura include an extra phase which occurs previous to the migraine headache. Stroke-like symptoms such as strange visual disturbances, vertigo, disorientation, sudden speech slurring, partial paralysis, and sometimes loss of consciousness can strike minutes before debilitating head pain.

Migraines with aura patients are at a higher risk for heart attack and stroke than patients who don’t receive the premonitory aura, according to research.

Although scientists know that migraines occur as a result of a nervous system malfunctioning, they do not know enough about the exact cause to be able to find a “migraine cure.”

By keeping a migraine diary, you can effectively find out exactly which migraine triggers in food or your environment are the real culprits here.

“Our study suggests that if a person is exposed to a suspected trigger for three months and does not have a migraine attack, they no longer have to worry about avoiding that trigger,” says study author Jes Olesen, MD.

What can we learn here?

Scientists theorize that rather than triggering migraine attacks, extreme light sensitivity and eye pain may occur in the earliest stages of a migraine, as a symptom of the migraine attack itself, and not as a migraine trigger.

So if you’ve been avoiding things like indoor lighting, you be causing yourself unnecessary stress.

More so, if you’ve been excluding moderate exercise from your daily routine as a means of trigger avoidance, then you may be causing yourself unnecessary harm.

“People with migraine with aura are told to avoid possible triggers, which may lead them to avoid a wide range of suspected factors,” says Olesen. “Yet the most commonly reported triggers are stress, bright light, emotional influences and physical effort, which can be difficult to avoid and potentially detrimental, if people avoid all physical activity.”

In addition to avoiding migraine triggers in food,  health experts also recommend daily exercise, meditation, and vitamin supplementation as a natural means of managing migraines.

Your turn!

Which migraine triggers do you actively avoid?

Are there any migraine triggers that you’re uncertain about?

Do you have any questions or suggestions?  Please leave your comments below.

Share with your friends!

If you found this article helpful, then please share with your friends, family, and coworkers by email, Facebook, or Google+.

Like this? Read more:

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Image(s) courtesy of Sura/

3 Undeniable Truths about Chronic Pain

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013



If chronic pain is triggered by emotions, then does that mean that migraines are a mental illness? Do people who suffer from fibromyalgia just need to de-stress? People have many misconceptions about chronic pain, half-truths that stem from the brain-pain connection.

3 Undeniable Truths about Chronic Pain- Migravent

Chronic pain is widespread. Migraines inflict millions of people with frequent, debilitating headaches, nausea, and fatigue. Out of all migraine sufferers, approximately 75% are female. Unlike common acute headaches, migraine attacks begin in the brain as a result of a neurological disorder, and are usually hereditary. Migraines become “chronic” when they occur over 15 times each month, for a period of at least 3 months.

Chronic pain triggers. Much of chronic pain is influenced by specific “triggers” that increase your likeliness to suffer from a migraine or a fibromyalgia flare-up.  Chronic pain triggers don’t cause migraines- we’re not able to say with conviction exactly what causes chronic pain symptoms, but we do understand that certain things like emotions and thought have a huge effect on their outcome, and how we respond to medication.

#1: Stress increases pain.

The brain is the root of all chronic pain, as it continuously receives messages from neurotransmitters all over your body that relay information about pain…and emotions. In perceiving pain signals, the brain takes into account both physical and emotional cues at the same time.

Overwhelmingly, pain is exacerbated by stress, anxiety, depression, panic, vulnerability, and guilt.

Migraine Triggers in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

#2: Pain is never just “made up.”

The fact that emotionally-triggered pain cannot be viewed from an MRI or X-ray doesn’t make it any less real. Whether pain is caused by tense muscles, arthritis, a fractured hip, or a migraine set off by a hectic work schedule, chronic pain is in every case irrefutably real for the sufferer, even if it’s not always evident through diagnostic imaging.

#3: Positive reinforcement works.

Accepting that emotions like anxiety and depression can trigger migraines or other types of chronic pain, the next logical conclusion is that the power of thought can also be used to decrease or prevent pain. This is true to a certain extent.

Consider the placebo effect- if you believe that a certain medication will work, you increase your own odds of recovery. This has been proven in countless studies, where sufferers of chronic pain who were optimistic not only responded well to treatment, but they also learned how to cope better with their pain symptoms on a daily basis than people with the same ailments who help a more negative view.

Much of chronic pain recovery relies on your mood, which you can manage effectively by repeating positive affirmations.

Instead of, “I hope I don’t get a migraine attack,” switch to, “If a migraine happens, I will deal with it.”

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Like this? Read more:

Can Anxiety Attacks cause Migraines?

Migraines, Women, and Depression: 9 Myths and Truths


Chronic Pain: It Is All in Your Head, and It’s Real

Diagnosing Chronic Migraine

Image(s) courtesy of Victor Habbick/