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Migraines

 

One of the group of vascular headaches that usually involve one side of the head. These headaches are very painful and can result in visual disturbances and nausea.

 

Symptoms

Migraine headaches are characterised by a variety of symptoms, which often include:

  • Severe throbbing pain located in the forehead or on one side
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Tingling and numbness of the limbs
  • Loss of appetite
  • Preference for a darkened place
  • Attacks last several hours or up to a day or more
  • In some cases, visual disturbances may be present or may precede the headache itself- these are referred to as an "aura".

 

Causes

Migraines involve excessive constriction and dilation of blood vessels in the brain.

They can be triggered by any number of things including:

  • Food allergy and chemicals in food and alcohol
  • Stress and tiredness
  • Hormonal changes such as those that occur at the time of ovulation and menstruation
  • The oral contraceptive pill
  • Flashing lights or bright glare
  • Too little or too much exercise or sleep
  • Changes in barometric pressure (humidity)
  • Poor posture and muscle tension
  • Emotional changes.

 

Natural Therapies

  • Feverfew has been clinically proven to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines and reduce the amount of associated vomiting
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) has been clinically proven to decrease the frequency of migraine attacks and reduce the duration of each migraine episode by about 50% when taken in doses of 400 mg daily over periods of longer than three months
  • The mineral magnesium may be of benefit. Magnesium taken on an empty stomach can help prevent constriction of the blood vessels.
  • Cold compresses applied to the forehead can also help.

 

Lifestyle Factors

If you suffer from frequent migraines, a food diary will help to identify triggers in your diet. Common culprits include caffeine, chocolate, aged cheeses, citrus fruits, processed meats, the food additive MSG, and red wine. (Hint - a migraine may take as long as 48 hours to develop after the food has been eaten).

Take regular stretch breaks when you are working or driving for long periods of time. This will help to improve blood flow and prevent muscles going into spasm.

Wear good quality sunglasses to protect your eyes from glare, particularly when you are out in the snow or near water.

 

Remedy

Taking Feverfew and vitamin B2 daily helps to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine.

 

Important Notes

Regular pain-killers are not effective in the treatment of migraine, and sufferers require an ongoing treatment plan developed in conjunction with their health care professional.

Consult your healthcare professional if

  • If you suddenly start having migraines without previous history
  • Your migraines increase in frequency or severity.
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