The Migraine Research Foundation estimates that 12 percent of the U.S. population suffers from migraines. Migraines are more common in women, and about 90% of people who experience a migraine have a family history.
A migraine is usually debilitating to a certain degree
And, if you have experienced a migraine, you know that it’s a different type of headache than a tension headache. A migraine is usually debilitating to a certain degree, causing nausea, sensitivity to light/sound/smells, and dizziness.
Pinpointing triggers is often the most important first step
The cause or reason why people get migraines is unknown, however it is generally understood that there are various triggers of migraines. Pinpointing these triggers is often the most important first step to overcoming them. Triggers are those things that bring on a migraine, and can range from individual foods, chemicals or stressful situations. The triggers for one person may be very different for another.
Keeping a migraine diary
A primary tool for discovering migraine triggers is keeping a migraine diary. This is something that many neurologists will recommend as a first step for someone presenting with migraines. It is important for your doctor to know what was going on right before a migraine presents, and also any details of the migraine. This will help individualize treatment.
- Hormonal changes in women
- Hormonal medications
- Foods – Aged cheeses, chocolate, sugar, dairy products,
- Food additives – aspartame and preservative monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- Sensory stimuli– Bright lights, loud sounds, strong smells — including perfume, paint thinner, secondhand smoke
- Changes in wake-sleep pattern
- Medications – vasodilators, such as nitroglycerin
Headache Diary Resources
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Razi Berry is the founder and publisher of the journal Naturopathic Doctor News & Review that has been in print since 2005 and the premier consumer-faced website of naturopathic medicine, NaturalPath. She is the host of The Natural Cancer Prevention Summit and The Heart Revolution-Heal, Empower and Follow Your Heart, and the popular 10 week Sugar Free Summer program. From a near death experience as a young girl that healed her failing heart, to later overcoming infertility and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia though naturopathic medicine, Razi has lived the mind/body healing paradigm. Her projects uniquely capture the tradition and philosophy of naturopathy: The healing power of nature, the vital life force in every living thing and the undeniable role that science and mind/body medicine have in creating health and overcoming dis-ease. Follow Razi on Facebook at Razi Berry and join us at Love is Medicine to explore the convergence of love and health.