Image by: DasWortgewand
By Robert Spencer
It’s pretty well-known that guys don’t get migraines very often. They afflict about 16% of women while only about 5% of men suffer from them. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t get them every now and then. So today I’d like to talk about what migraines are, how we can get them, and what we can do about them.
#1) So What is a Migraine?
Most people describe migraines as intense headaches that come with a plethora of symptoms: sensitivity to light and sound, vomiting, nausea, etc. It can feel similar to a concentrated hangover only the symptoms can last up to three days – straight. Nasty stuff. Migraines can come out of nowhere and the symptoms don’t occur without the actual migraine headache.
While they are more prevalent in adult women, men are susceptible to them as well. In children (yes, kids can get it too), boys are more susceptible to them than girls are. 70 to 80% of people who get migraines find that they have a family history of migraines.
#2) What are the Triggers?
Depending on the person, various things can trigger a migraine. For those with chronic migraines, triggers can include:
Changes in routine
Too much or too little sleep
Bad stress and good stress (like excitement)
Bright and flickering lights
Variation in your caffeine intake
Environmental factors like humidity changes, weather changes, noises, or even sudden increases in the pollen count
Changes in diet (missing a meal, not eating a balanced meal, etc.)
If you notice any of these things as a trigger for a migraine (or what you think may be a migraine), head over to your physician to find out what he can do for you. He may be able to give you medication in the form of a pill or a shot. He may also be able to give you tips on how you can specifically reduce your chances of getting a migraine. Unfortunately, since every person’s triggers are different, I can’t give you each specific and personalized tips other than trying to avoid those particular triggers.
However, your doctor will probably have you keep tabs on your migraines by making a migraine diary that specifically lists when your headache pains started, how often they happen, if you notices any other symptoms, how long they lasted, where the pain was located, and whether or not it throbbed. If you want, go ahead and start this as soon as you can so you can show it to your doctor when you see him.
#3) Home Remedies
Try to be boring. Migraines flare up when your body gets stressed. The preemptive strike would be to not do anything that gets your blood pressure up: keep to a regular schedule, go to bed at the same time every day, get up at the same time, etc.
Don’t skip meals or get dehydrated. Drink plenty of water (especially when it is hot, with your caffeine intake, and when you’re drinking). Try to keep a bottle of water and a snack handy at all times.
Lavender oil. Don’t drink the stuff. You’re supposed to inhale the vapors. Put a couple drops in a couple cups of boiling water and take a deep breath. It should help soothe your migraine symptoms.
Peppermint oil. If you’re not big on lavender, check out peppermint oil. You don’t have to boil any water for this stuff. Just open the bottle and take a deep breath. It should help open up the blood vessels and help to control your blood flow.
Reflexology. Check out some reflexology techniques online or get a book on it at your local bookstore. Massage in general is supposed to ease tension and soothe headache symptoms.
Omega-3’s If you can stomach eating something, grab some flaxseed muffins or something else that is high in omega-3s. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation. You can find them in most fish and nuts.
Caffeine. If you check the ingredient list for a bunch of those over-the-counter headache pills, you’ll find that a lot of them contain caffeine. Go ahead and have a cup of tea (grab peppermint so that you can huff the steam too) or a cup of coffee if you can stomach it.
Cool headband or a warm one. It might be a placebo affect after our mothers helped treat our headaches with cold compresses when we were younger. Whatever the reason, I’m not going to balk at it.
Now it’s your turn. Are you prone to migraines? What do you do to help soothe the symptoms? Do you take medication? What about your girl? What does she do if she gets a migraine? Let us in on your thoughts. Write down your ideas and questions in the comment section below.