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Migraine – causes, side effects and treatments at

Thursday, May 17, 2018 by

A migraine is a primary headache disorder characterized by unilateral (one-sided), throbbing head pain accompanied by focal disturbances of the nervous system, particularly vision-related such as scintillating scotomas (visual migraine).

A migraine tends to recur in an individual and is moderate to severe if left untreated. It can be linked to sensitivity to light and sound and sometimes smell. Moreover, it can be aggravated by routine physical activity.

Some individuals experience visual or sensory changes before, during and after the headache, known as auras.

There are an estimated 30 million Americans suffering from migraine. It occurs about three times more frequently in women than in men and can last from four hours to three days, and may even last longer in some cases.

There are certain foods or ingredients that are likely to trigger migraines, such as alcohol or caffeinated drinks, food additives (nitrates, aspartame or MSG), and tyramine, which occurs naturally in some foods.

Known risk factors and symptoms of migraine

Migraines have a tendency to run in families. If one parent has a history of migraine, the child has a 50 percent chance of developing migraine. It jumps to 75 percent if both parents have a history of migraine.

Other factors that may trigger a migraine include:

  • Alcohol use
  • Bright lights
  • Certain foods
  • Changes in barometric pressure
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Dehydration
  • Excess stress
  • Hormone changes in women during menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause
  • Intense physical activity
  • Loud sounds
  • Severe heat, or other extremes in weather
  • Skipping meals
  • Smoking
  • Traveling
  • Unusual smells
  • Use of certain medications, such as oral contraceptives or nitroglycerin

Not all migraine attacks are the same, and the following symptoms can start a while before a headache, immediately before the headache, during the headache, and after the headache.

  • Feeling sick and physically vomiting
  • Inability to perform regular activities
  • Increased sensitivity to light and sound
  • Increasing pain during physical activity or when straining
  • Moderate to severe pain, usually confined to one side of the head but capable of occurring on either side of the head
  • Severe, throbbing, or pulsing pain

Some people experience other symptoms such as sweating, temperature changes, stomachache, and diarrhea.

Body systems harmed by migraine

Migraines are associated with a small increased risk of ischemic strokes. Severe migraines also affect vision, concentration and overall quality of life.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent migraine

Many healing foods help manage and prevent migraines, which include dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, amaranth leaves, arugula, beet greens, and lettuce), nuts and seeds (almonds, sesame seeds, cashews, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, peanuts and walnuts), red meat (all-natural, grass-fed beef and beef liver), butterbur sprouts, eggs, whole grains (buckwheat, barley, bulgur, whole oats, whole grain breads, quinoa, and farro), and cold-water fish (salmon, herring, halibut, mackerel, sardines, and tuna).

Apple cider vinegar, peppermint, cayenne pepper, chamomile, ginger, and cold compress also help reduce migraine attacks.

Treatments, management plans for migraine

Some of the best home remedies for migraines are herbs and essential oils, such as:

  • Lavender oil
  • Peppermint oil
  • Sweet Basil oil
  • Feverfew

Where to learn more


A migraine is a primary headache disorder characterized by one-sided, throbbing head pain.

A migraine is associated with sensitivity to light and sound and even smell. It can also be aggravated by routine physical activity.

There are an estimated 30 million Americans suffering from migraine. It has a tendency to run in families.

Alcohol and caffeinated drinks, and food additives can trigger migraines.

Sources include:


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