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Migraine

Migraine

A migraine is a severe form of headache that is also associated with other signs such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, sensitivity to lights, noises and smells.

It is estimated that there are 190 000 migraine attacks experienced every day in the UK with the condition affecting women much more frequently than it does men.

Although the specific causes of migraines are still unknown, the main contributing factor involves blood flow instability in the brain. When the arteries in the brain constrict, a rebound dilation follows, bringing on the migraine.

The cause of migraines is not known but there seem to be several triggers

Symptoms

  • Persistent throbbing or pounding pain – may be on just one side of the head or both
  • Sensitivity to light, sound and movement. 
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Exhaustion
  • Visual disturbances such as flashing lights, black spots, zig-zag patterns or distorted vision.
  • Stiff neck
  • Tingling or stiff limbs
  • Difficulty speaking

Due to the similarity of many migraine symptoms to more serious problem it is important to consult a doctor for a confirmed medical diagnosis before embarking on any form of therapy.

Contributing factors

Stress – Stress can be a significant migraine trigger. You may find that an attack happens when you unwind after a stressful event, after extended period of stress, or at times of crisis. When we are stressed, all our blood vessels constrict. This is a protective mechanism from times gone by to prevent excessive bleeding in the event of an injury. The problem is that once we relax, or the body can no longer keep up this constriction, the blood vessels dilate again. The sudden change in blood flow to the brain is what can trigger a migraine. If you think stress may be a contributing factor in your migraines, a stress test can help pinpoint precise imbalances that can then be targeted with the help of a nutritional therapist. It may also be worth considering some hypnotherapy which will give you some tools to help you to manage your stress levels.   

Hormone imbalances – The fact that three times more women than men suffer from migraines suggests that the menstrual cycle is a significant trigger for women. You may find you are more prone to migraines during menstruation, ovulation or menopause. This is linked to changes in the levels of the two female hormones oestrogen and progesterone. To find out how your hormone levels change throughout your cycle why not consider A Comprehensive Female Hormone Test. A nutritional therapist will be able to help you analyse the results and identify any imbalances. These can then be corrected through a specially tailored diet and supplement protocol.

Medications – Certain medications particularly hormone based drugs, such as the contraceptive pill and HRT, can trigger migraines. If your symptoms change or become more severe when taking these medications you should contact your doctor immediately. If you are interesting in discussing alternatives these hormonal medication do consider a consultation however we do not recommend stopping any medication unless under the supervision of your GP. Book a Consultation.

Food sensitivities – Food is probably the most stereotypical migraine trigger. The start of a migraine attack may trigger a craving for a certain kind of food. This can make it difficult to decide if the food eaten before an attack caused the migraine, or if the attack was starting anyway. Often identifying the trigger food can be a fairly long process involving avoiding certain foods and food families. A food sensitivity test speed up this process and give you lots of answers however a food Intolerance test will look for levels of a certain kind of antibody created in response to proteins found in foods which are common in migraine so is worth having done however you may still need to address other different types of sensitivities not related to the proteins in foods. Food Intolerance Testing. It would be sensible to also have a Consultation to address these other factors. Book a Consultation.

Blood sugar imbalances – Research has shown that people who suffer from migraines frequently suffer from low blood sugar as well. This comes with a wide-ranging list of other symptoms including fatigue, irritability and inability to concentrate. An over-reaction brings about a severe drop in the blood sugar level and symptomatic headache or migraine can result. Blood sugar levels can be greatly influenced by what we eat so if you think low blood sugar is influencing your migraines you might like Book a Consultation.