headacheIf you’re under the illusion that a migraine is just a bad headache, you’re very wrong. Ask anyone suffering regularly from migraines, or even someone who has only ever had one, and they’ll tell you that a migraine is like the worst headache on the planet, then doubled. The scary thing is that a vast amount of people are regularly affected by migraine attacks, and a lot of it is down to the stressful lives we lead nowadays.

It is thought that migraines are more common in men than women, and out of the 8 million sufferers in the UK alone, 18% of these are female, compared to 6% of men. Of course, children are also affected, however these are thought to decrease in severity as they get older, despite the fact that in this age group, boys are more likely to be affected. Why is this? Well, hormones play a big part in migraine causation, especially in adult females with hormonal disturbances during the menstrual cycle and the menopause.

What causes a migraine?

There are countless triggers to a migraine attack, and these are generally variable on a person to person basis. Stress is a major cause, as well as poor diet and little exercise, however an intolerance to bright lights, noise, smoking, alcohol, hormonal causes, consumption of certain foods, such as chocolate and nuts, and consumption of certain ingredients in food, such as monosodium glutamate (MSG), are all common triggers to a migraine attack.

What are the different types of migraine?

There are two types of migraine – migraine with aura, and migraine without aura.

Whilst you might think that migraine without aura sounds less severe, this is actually worse than the first type, and can last anything up to three days, with debilitating symptoms rendering the person basically useless until the attack passes. Migraine with aura can last for around an hour and is accompanied by visual disturbances, and occasional nausea and vomiting.

Symptoms of a migraine include flashing lights before the eyes, tunnel vision, temporary blindness, zigzag lines, dizziness, numbness, vertigo, confusion, fainting, inability to stand light or sound, low blood pressure, and extreme pain in the head, usually around the front and the temples.

As you can see, a migraine is not a pleasant experience, and is not simply a bad headache.

What is the treatment for migraines?

There is no cure for migraines unfortunately, and it’s more about managing symptoms and cutting down on attack frequency. There are many effective methods for this, however the most common does still tend to be medication. This isn’t always the best option, because side effects can be unpleasant, they don’t work for everyone, and they don’t always alleviate symptoms enough. Other options are more holistic and include stress management, acupuncture, chiropractic treatment, deep relaxation, exercise, and looking at the overall diet, as well as cutting out triggers.

If you are struggling with the symptoms of migraines and the frequency of attacks, call the practice now on (03) 9381 1991 to arrange an appointment.

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