Migrane

A migraine is usually a severe, throbbing headache where the pain is located at the front or on one side of the head.  Symptoms that occur alongside the headache may include: nausea and sensitivity to light. Around 1 in 7 of all adults in the UK is affected by a migraine but it is more prevalent in women – 1 in 4 opposed to 1 in 15 men.  One cause for this could be hormonal, although unproven.  Women seem to suffer from more attacks around the time of their period – menstrual migraines. At this time levels of oestrogen drop.

During a migraine, the level of the chemical serotonin decreases although the reasons for this drop are not understood.  As the serotonin level drops, the blood vessels go into spasm – contracting then dilating.  As they contract a symptom of aura is experienced where visual problems such as flashing light and stiffness in the neck, shoulders or limbs occur.  Shortly afterwards, the blood vessels dilate (widen) and this is thought to cause the headache.

 

Other migraine triggers

There are other factors that have been identified as triggers for a migraine.  Below is a list of these triggers

Emotional triggers:

  • stress

  • anxiety

  • tension

  • shock

  • depression

  • excitement

Physical triggers:

  • tiredness

  • poor quality of sleep

  • shift work

  • poor posture

  • neck or shoulder tension

  • travelling for a long period of time

  • low blood sugar

 

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