What Are The Main Causes Of Migraines – Headaches are a very common condition that most people will experience many times in their lifetime. The main symptom of a headache is pain in the head or face. There are several types of headaches, and tension headaches are the most common. Although most headaches are not dangerous, some types can be a sign of a serious underlying medical condition.
Lifestyle factors that can trigger primary headaches include alcohol consumption, nicotine use, sleep changes, poor posture, and more.
What Are The Main Causes Of Migraines
A headache is a pain in the head or face that is often described as a throbbing, constant, sharp, or dull pressure. Headaches can differ greatly in the type, severity, location and frequency of the pain.
Migraine Headache Triggers Common Food And Drink Triggers
Headaches are a very common condition that most people will experience many times in their lifetime. They are the most common form of pain and are one of the leading reasons cited for missed days at work or school, as well as visits to health care providers.
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There are over 150 types of headaches. They fall into two main categories: primary and secondary headaches.
Dysfunction or overactivity of pain-sensitive features in the head causes primary headaches. They are not a symptom or caused by an underlying medical condition. Some people may have genes that make them more likely to develop primary headaches.
Chapter 3, Episode 3: What Causes Migraine Disease?
Spinal headaches: Spinal headaches are severe headaches that occur when spinal fluid leaks from the membrane that covers the spinal cord, usually after a spinal tap. Most headaches can be treated at home, but prolonged, untreated headaches can cause life-threatening complications, such as subdural hematoma and seizures.
Thunder headaches: A thunder headache is an extremely painful headache that comes on suddenly, like thunder. This type of headache reaches its most intense pain within a minute and lasts for at least five minutes. Although sometimes thunder headaches can be harmless, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. They can be a sign of:
A migraine is a common neurological condition that causes a variety of symptoms, most notably a throbbing headache on one side of the head. Migraines often worsen with physical activity, lights, sounds or smells. They usually last at least four hours or even days.
Anyone can get a headache, including children, teenagers and adults. About 96% of people suffer from a headache at least once in their life.
What Is A Migraine, Exactly?
Headache pain is the result of signals interacting between the brain, surrounding blood vessels and nerves. During a headache, multiple mechanisms activate specific nerves that affect muscles and blood vessels. These nerves send pain signals to the brain, causing a headache.
Headaches tend to run in families, especially migraines. Children who have migraines usually have at least one biological parent who also experiences them. In fact, children whose parents have migraines are up to four times more likely to develop them.
It’s important to properly diagnose headaches so your provider can prescribe specific therapy to help you feel better. Your provider will perform a physical exam, discuss your medical history, and talk about your headache symptoms. This conversation is part of a headache assessment.
After completing the medical history portion of the evaluation, your provider may perform physical and neurological exams. They will look for signs and symptoms of a disease or condition that may be causing the headache, such as:
Common Foods And Drinks Can Trigger Migraine
Neurological tests focus on ruling out diseases that can also cause headaches. A central nervous system disorder may be suspected in the development of severe headaches.
After evaluating the results of your headache history, physical exam, and neurological exam, your doctor should be able to determine what type of headache you have, whether or not there is a serious problem, and whether additional tests are needed.
Although scans and other imaging tests can be important in ruling out other illnesses, they are not helpful in diagnosing migraines, cluster headaches, or tension headaches.
But if your health care provider thinks your headaches are caused by another condition, there are several imaging tests they may order.
Understanding Silent Migraine Symptoms And Triggers
A CT scan or MRI can help determine if your headaches are related to a problem with your central nervous system. Both tests produce cross-sectional images of the brain that can show abnormal areas or problems.
One of the most crucial aspects of treating primary headaches is finding out the triggers. Learning what they are, usually by keeping a headache log, can reduce the number of headaches you have.
Once you know your triggers, your healthcare provider can tailor your treatment. For example, you may get a headache when you are tense or worried. Counseling and stress management techniques can help you better manage this trigger. By reducing your stress level, you can prevent stress-induced headaches.
Not all headaches require medication. A variety of treatments are available. Depending on the type of headache, frequency, and cause, treatment options include:
Difference Between Headache & Migraine
Stress management teaches you ways to deal with stressful situations. Relaxation techniques help manage stress. Use deep breathing, muscle relaxation, mental imagery and music to relieve tension.
Biofeedback teaches you to recognize when tension is building up in your body. Learn how your body responds to stressful situations and ways to calm it down. During biofeedback, sensors are attached to your body. They monitor your involuntary physical responses to headaches, which include increases in:
Occasional tension headaches usually respond well to over-the-counter pain relievers. But be aware that using these medications too often can lead to long-term daily headaches (medication overuse headaches).
For frequent or severe headaches, your provider may recommend prescription headache medications. Triptans and other types of drugs can stop a migraine attack. You take them at the first sign of a headache.
Understanding The Causes And Triggers Of Migraines
Medicines for high blood pressure, seizures, and depression can sometimes prevent migraines. Your doctor may recommend trying one of these medications to reduce the frequency of your headaches.
You can treat the occasional mild headache at home with over-the-counter pain relievers. Other self-care treatments for headaches include:
The key to preventing headaches is to find out what causes them. Triggers are very specific to each person: what gives you a headache may not be a problem for others. Once you’ve determined your triggers, you can avoid or minimize them.
For example, you may find that strong smells stand out to you. Avoiding perfumes and scented products can make a big difference in how many headaches you get. The same goes for other common triggers such as annoying foods, lack of sleep, and poor posture.
Migraine Headaches: Symptoms, Causes & Treatments
Many people, however, cannot avoid triggers or cannot identify them. In this case, a more personalized multidisciplinary approach with a headache specialist is often necessary.
Treating the health problems that cause headaches, such as high blood pressure, can eliminate the headache. Recently, there have been several new advances in our understanding of what causes headaches.
Although researchers are closer than ever to a cure, at this time, there is no cure for primary headaches. Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and preventing future episodes.
If your headaches are interfering with your daily functioning or affecting your mood, it’s important to talk to your doctor. If possible, try to write down how you feel when you are experiencing a headache. Keeping a journal of your headaches and how they make you feel can be helpful when you talk to your provider.
Migraine: Causes And Risk Factors
The information you give your doctor about your headaches is the most important part of the diagnostic process. By giving your provider as much information as possible about your headaches, you are more likely to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan that will help you feel better. Lauren Green does not work for, consult with, own stock in, or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond her academic appointment.
Migraine is the third most common disease in the world and causes suffering to tens of millions of people. In fact, nearly 1 in 4 US households includes someone with migraines.
A migraine is not just a headache, but also includes a collection of associated symptoms that can be debilitating. These include nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and dizziness. People often struggle to determine what triggers their migraines. It can be environmental, hormonal, genetic, secondary to an underlying disease, or triggered by certain foods, such as cheese, red wine, or chocolate. One food that has received a lot of attention in recent years is gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.
As a registered dietitian and board-certified neurologist specializing in headache management, I will often have my patients try a gluten-free diet.
Can Drinking Water Help You Avoid A Migraine?
When someone has celiac disease, a digestive disorder caused by an autoimmune response to gluten, there is a clear link between migraines and gluten. Gluten activates immune cells to release antibodies to attack substances the body considers foreign.
When someone without celiac disease eats gluten, it enters the gastrointestinal tract where the food is broken down and nutrients are absorbed. In the case of celiac disease, that person’s immune system sees gluten as a foreign substance (like a virus or
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