Headaches and Migraines

Headaches and Migraines Headaches are either primary like migraines or tension headaches. Secondary headaches are due to underlying conditions like meningitis and temporal arteritis More than 90% of primary headaches are migraines. 18% of migraine sufferers are women and 6% in men. Migraines are recurrent headaches that last 4 to 72 hours.

Symptoms include one-sided, pulsating with associated nausea, vomiting and light sensitivity. 1/3 of migraine sufferers have an aura which consists of a flash of light or some visual symptoms before the migraine begins. A migraine is an abnormal electrical activity of the brain that causes levels of serotonin to rise and then drop suddenly making blood vessels swollen and inflamed. Though most migraines are genetically inherited the triggers are either dietary or environmental.

Triggers of Migraines:

Alcohol especially beer and red wine

Erratic sleep or meal patterns

Artificial sweeteners that contain aspartame

MSG Foods with tyramine like aged chedder or phenylethylamine like chocolate

Cigarette smoke

Stress

Menstruation

High altitude

How to avoid migraines?

1. Maintain regular sleep schedules- don’t sleep in on weekends. Boo!

2. Drink plenty of water when you travel and avoid alcohol during the flight

3. Regular exercise and enjoy other stress relieving time (listen to music, play with your dog)

Dr. Frank’s Tips to treat migraines

1. Lay down in a dark room

2. The herb feverfew available at health food stores

3. Magnesium and fish oils

4. Acupressure – press the web between your index finger and thumb on the same side of your headache for five minutes.

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