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Migraine is a type of neurological disease, which causes instant and chronic headaches at times. It is often accompanied by symptoms like nausea, sensitivity to lights, sound, and smell, and loss of appetite. These symptoms can last from 4 hours to 3 days. Nevertheless, effective migraine treatment can help get rid of the irritating symptoms and relieving your condition. The initial and significant step is to observe your problem and reach out to your doctor if you feel like having a migraine. 

How do you know it is a migraine? 

One of the obvious characteristics of this kind of headache is throbbing pain in one side of the head. Although it can occur on both sides, people experience it on one side very often. 

Other symptoms you may feel during the headache episodes can be-

  • Numbness in one or both sides of the body
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sensitivity to light, sound, and smell
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Mood swings
  • Elevated thirst
  • Constipation
  • Observation of black dots and wavy lines
  • Ringing sounds 
  • Inability to speak and see properly
  • Weighty sensations in the arms and legs
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness in the muscles

If you experience these signs and symptoms along with a severe headache, you may have a migraine. Consult with your doctor to confirm the case and look for effective migraine treatment

What causes migraines? 

No exact causes result in the condition. However, healthcare professionals find out the following reasons that can be liable for the condition-

  • The irregular blood supply in the brain
  • Genetic factors
  • Irregular secretion of brain chemicals in the brain

Although the causes of this disease are not known, some factors can trigger the symptoms. 

What can elicit migraine? 

Various factors can elicit the symptoms of this neurological disorder. They may include lifestyle, eating habits, and environmental aspects. Let us know what those factors are. 

  • Stress 

Stress is one of the common triggers for many physical and mental health issues. Migraine is one of them. Stress can trigger this neurological illness and can even make it worse. 

  • Dietary factors

Eating some foods can be dangerous if you are a migraineur. Avoiding the dietary factors that trigger severe headaches can support your migraine treatment. They may include the following-

  • Foods containing caffeine

Caffeinated foods such as chocolates, too much coffee, or other stuff containing the ingredient can evoke throbbing headaches. However, for some people taking caffeine can be helpful during an episode of headache. Consider your stand before using caffeine. 

  • Alcohol

Alcohol is a powerful trigger of migraines. People with this illness should avoid the use of alcohol to manage their condition. Red wine, in particular, is a dangerous drink if you have such headaches. 

  • Cured meats

Cured meats, including hot dogs, deli meat, ham, and sausages, comprise a preservative known as nitrate. These foods can secrete nitric oxide in your blood, causing severe headaches. It happens because nitric oxide widens the blood vessels in the brain. 

  • Artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame are known to prompt the symptoms of migraines. If you are undergoing migraine treatment, your doctor may ask you to avoid foods and drinks containing artificial sweeteners. 

  • Fermented and pickled foods

Pickled and fermented foods comprise a high proportion of Tyramine, which can be bad for you if you are migraineurs. Such foods are-

  • Kombucha
    • Pickled jalapeños
    • Pickles
    • Pickled okra
    • Kimchi
    • Aged cheese

Aged cheese has Tyramine like that of pickled and fermented foods. The more cheese is aged up, the more content of Tyramine increases in it. The breakdown of protein makes this ingredient. 

  • Salty foods

If you have migraines, avoid using salty foods, particularly those containing dangerous preservatives. Using a high amount of sodium not only makes your headaches worse but also leads to hypertension. 

  • Frozen foods

Frozen foods such as ice cream can elicit migraine headaches in some people. Moreover, if you eat frozen foods just after returning from heat or exercise, you are more likely to face the condition. 

  • Disturbed sleeping patterns

Inadequate sleep is a common trigger of severe headaches. A person should sleep around 6-8 hours during the night. However, this figure increases for people with migraines. They should have a restful sleep off around 7-9 hours. Taking sufficient sleep can support your migraine treatment.

  • Lights, sounds, and smells

Many people experience worse symptoms when they are exposed to dazzling lights, powerful sounds, and hitting smells. If you are one of them who are sensitive to bright lights and fragrances, avoid their exposure. 

What are the diagnostic tests for migraines?

For proper treatment, your doctor may conduct an accurate diagnosis. He or she may ask you about the history of your headaches. Moreover, tell the characteristics of your condition. Following are some of the common diagnostic tests for migraines-

  • Physical test

This test examines the physical causes of your condition. They may include the following-

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Exhaustion
  • Breathing disorders
  • High blood pressure
  • Infections
  • Weakness in the muscles
  • Neurological diagnosis

This test looks after the abnormalities in your brain, which can result in migraines. They may include-

  • Injuries
  • Abnormalities in blood vessels
  • Tumor
  • Trauma
  • Blood clots
  • Hemorrhage
  • Inflammation
  • Psychological test

Under this diagnosis, your doctor may ask if you have anxiety, stress, depression, or other psychological issues. If these causes are ruled out as the culprit, your doctor may help overcome these problems along with carrying on your migraine treatment. 

  • CT scan

CT scan helps in generating a cross-section image of your brain. With the help of this test, your doctor may identify the cause responsible for your condition.

  • EEG

 It stands for Electroencephalogram. Your doctor may go for this test if you suffer from seizures during severe headaches.

  • MRI

The practice of creating comprehensive pictures of your brain through magnetic resonance imaging can help identify the cause of migraines.

  • Urinalysis

This test helps review if you have thyroid problems, diabetes, and infections, which can cause throbbing headaches.

  • Spinal Tap

This test may help your doctor identify the infections of the spinal cord or brain.

  • Eye test

Pressures or strain on the eyes can also cause irritating symptoms. Therefore, your doctor may conduct this test to confirm the case.

These are some common diagnostic tests for migraine headaches. As soon as your doctor identifies the cause of your condition, he may start with effective and well-working migraine treatment.

What can help treat migraines? 

Medications and lifestyle changes can help manage your symptoms and prevent complications. However, it is crucially important to take your medications on time and make supportive lifestyle adjustments. Migraine medications are of two kinds-

  • Acute treatments
  • Preventive treatments  

Acute treatment relieves the pain and eases off a migraine attack. Some of the common drugs under this medication class are-

  • Analgesics

Analgesics may help to ease your head pain. Some of these medications are ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen. Consult with your doctor for proper dosage, as some painkillers can cause liver diseases over time. Moreover, they may also lead to side effects such as nausea, stomach irritation, and heartburn. 

  • Triptans

Triptans can help alleviate headache symptoms. They work by normalizing in the brain chemicals and relaxing down the blood vessels. Some of the common medications under this drug class are Sumatriptan, Zolmitriptan, Frovatriptan, and Rizatriptan. 

  • Ergots

Ergots can help in migraine treatment. These medications calm down the blood vessels in the brain. However, they may lead to certain side effects like dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. 

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

These medications are also effective in relieving migraine symptoms. However, like the painkillers, they may also be bad for your liver. People using these medications complain to have nausea, stress, and stomach irritation. 

Preventive treatments aim at putting off the migraine symptoms. In addition, they also diminish the occurrence of headaches. Some of the most effective medications under this drug class are as follows-

  • Antidepressants

Antidepressants are the most frequent preventive treatments for this neurological disease. They work by reducing your stress and normalizing your brain chemicals. 

  • Beta-blockers

Beta-blockers are other effective medications for severe headaches. They relieve symptoms of high blood pressure, exhaustion, and drowsiness. 

  • Botulinum toxins

Botulinum toxins are an effective migraine treatment for people with severe and frequent migraine headaches. They are given to the patients in the form of an injection. 

  • Monoclonal antibody CGRP blockers

Monoclonal antibody CGRP blockers can prevent severe head pains. Like botulinum toxins, they are also given in the form of injection and hinder the molecule, which triggers neurological illness. 

What are the helpful lifestyle adjustments?

Lifestyle adjustments are equally crucial for your treatment. As the causes are not known, prevention may help counter throbbing headaches. Some of the well-working lifestyle changes are-

  • Avoid foods that trigger the symptoms

Some foods and drinks can elicit the symptoms of migraines. They are as follows-

  • Aged cheese
  • Spicy and fatty foods
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Food preservatives
  • Excessive caffeine
  • Citrus fruits
  • Alcohol
  • Processed foods
  • Too many chocolates
  • Take adequate sleep

Irregular and disturbed sleep can elicit the symptoms of migraine headaches. Therefore, if you have the condition, make time to go to bed and wake up in the morning. Take at least 7-9 hours of restful sleep. 

  • Drink plenty of water

Water acts as a healer for everyone. If you have a migraine, drinking plenty of water will prevent dehydration and support your migraine treatment. 

  • Reduce your stress

Stress is another common trigger of severe headaches. Moreover, it can make your condition worse. Therefore, look for practices like yoga and meditation to reduce your stress. You can also make time for your hobbies, spend time with your family and friends, and do something that makes you happy to overcome anxiety. 

  • Try not to skip your meals

Skipping meals can result in migraine headaches. Therefore, take your meals on time and try not to skip your food. 

  • Prevent yourself from lights, sounds, and smells

Many people with migraine complain of having symptoms after exposure to dazzling lights, powerful smells, and disturbing sounds. Therefore, if you are one of those people, keep yourself away from these triggers. 

  • Quit smoking

Smoking can make this neurological illness more critical. Tobacco damages brain functioning and results in causing throbbing headaches. For that reason, giving up smoking can lend you a hand in migraine treatment. 

  • Do exercises regularly

Regular exercises can improve blood circulation throughout the body, including the brain. Moreover, physical activities will also help you feel good and support your healing procedure. 

  • Keep a journal

Keeping a record of your daily foods and drinks and the occurrence of your symptoms can help in your healing. If you identify that a certain food or drink triggers your symptoms, avoid them the next time to prevent uneasiness. 

Can natural treatments help?

There are always some home treatments, which can work like magic that too without any side effects. Similarly, some of the natural remedies for migraines are-

  • Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy deals with massaging the body and head with essential oils, such as lavender oil, peppermint oil, and Rosemary oil. It relaxes the person, reduces stress, and ultimately diminishes the symptoms of severe headaches. 

  • Onion

Onion can behave as an analgesic. It contains anti-inflammatory properties, which reduce inflammation, widen the arteries, and relax the blood vessels to cut off the pain.

  • Ice pack

An ice pack can be an effective at-home migraine treatment. It deadens the affected part of your head and reduces the inflammation, giving you prompt relief from headaches. 

  • Mint leaves

Mint leaves are an effective home remedy for migraines. They comprise menthol, which can ease the symptoms of severe headaches quickly. Moreover, they are rich in essential oils and antioxidants, which diminish inflammation and relax the blood vessels to relieve your condition.

Migraine can affect a person’s life adversely. Therefore, taking treatments is crucially important. Above are some medications, lifestyle adjustments, and at-home migraine remedies. However, you should always consult with your doctor before using any solution. Treatments for this neurological disease aim at managing the symptoms and preventing complications. The only thing you need to do is use medications on time and make essential lifestyle adjustments.

Do natural remedies like cream of tartar for migraine headaches work?