The international healthcare group Bupa estimates that around two million Australians experience migraines. Many health experts blame an unhealthy lifestyle, which seems to be increasingly popular, that consists of a diet that consists of a lot of junk food and little nutrition, demanding and stressful days, and lack of consistent schedule for the prevalence of migraines.
Unhealthy habits are only one piece of the migraine puzzle. Many people with migraines find that certain types of stimuli trigger their migraines. Some of these stimuli include bright lights, loud noise, or certain smells. Others find their migraines occur after they consume certain foods, particularly those containing tyramine, nitrates, or monosodium glutamate, or drinking alcohol. Other common dietary triggers include chocolate, nuts or nut butters, avocado, banana, citrus, dairy, fermented foods, or onions. Some women find their migraines occur in response to hormonal changes, such as occur during menstrual cycles or menopause or when using hormonal contraception. Some sufferers even find changing weather can trigger a migraine.
Some migraine sufferers are able to reduce the number and severity attacks by identifying and avoiding triggers, but this rarely stops the migraines. Part of this is because triggers are everywhere, but also because migraines are complicated and frequently come on even without exposure to a trigger. One of the easiest ways to find your triggers is to keep a headache journal. Be sure to write down as much detail about the migraine as you can, including date, time, symptoms, what you have eaten or been exposed to, weather, and anything else that may seem connected. If you are a woman, you should also consider noting where you are in your cycle.
Each person who suffers from migraines experiences them differently, but migraines are generally classified in two ways, with or without aura.
A migraine with aura is a migraine that is preceded by some type of sensory disturbance. The most common auras are visual and include blind spots, colours, flashing lights, blind spots, or zigzag patterns. However, auras can affect any of the senses, and may include ringing in the ears, dizziness, numbness, weakness, or phantom smells. Auras usually occur within an hour or so before the onset of a headache. The aura can be simply annoying, or can be disabling in their own right, such as when visual disturbances affect a significant part of the field of vision and rendering the sufferer unable to see well enough to function. Occasionally, the migraine aura occurs with some other migraine symptoms, but without the headache. These are known as silent migraines or ocular migraines.
The second type of migraine is the migraine without aura and is characterized by excruciating headache combined with a variety of other symptoms, especially nausea, vomiting, weakness, and extreme sensitivity to stimuli. The worst part of a migraine for most sufferers is the headache, which is most often felt either in the front of the head or in the temples. It can last anywhere from a few hours to three days.
Identifying and avoiding triggers can help, but sometimes triggers are unavoidable, and sometimes migraines occur seemingly out of the blue. There are medications available for migraines, but they don’t always work, and they may have side effects. The good news is, there are other methods of treating migraines, such as chiropractic, acupuncture, biofeedback and relaxation techniques, exercise, and dietary changes. These treatment options have all been shown to be effective at reducing both the frequency and severity of migraines.
If you’re tired of rearranging your life to accommodate your migraines, call Eastland Chiropractic now on 03 9095 7990 to schedule an appointment to find out how we can help you manage your migraine pain.
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