Prevent migraine headaches

Dr (Maj) Pankaj N Surange
MBBS, MD, FIPP (Hungary)
Interventional Pain and Spine Specialist

Recurrent Headaches Could be Migraine If you have Headache Triggered by Light, sound….…. Triggered by Smoking, alcohol…… Associated with Nausea and Vomiting………

1. What are migraine headaches?

Migraines are disabling headaches that most likely stem from problems with the nerves and blood vessels in the head. Migraine headaches typically last from 4-72 hours. They may occur as often as several times a week to only once a year.

Migraine headaches affect about 15% of the population. Three times as many women as men have migraines. Over 80% of migraineurs have family members who have migraines. The following types of migraine headache have been identified:

•Migraine without aura (common migraine): This type accounts for 80% of migraine headaches. There is no aura before a common migraine.

•Migraine with aura (classic migraine): This type is usually preceded by an aura and is usually much worse than a common migraine. Most often, an aura is a visual disturbance (outlines of lights or jagged light images).

•Status migrainosus: This is the term used to describe a long-lasting migraine that does not go away by itself

2. Are Migraines Hereditary?

Yes, migraines have a tendency to run in families. Four out of five migraine sufferers have a family history of migraines. If one parent has a history of migraines, the child has a 50% chance of developing migraines, and if both parents have a history of migraines, the risk jumps to 75%.

3. Can Migraines Be Prevented?
Yes. You can reduce the frequency of your migraine attacks by identifying and then avoiding migraine triggers. You can keep track of your headache patterns and identify headache triggers by using a headache diary .Recalling what was eaten prior to an attack may help you identify chemical triggers. Stress management and coping techniques, along with relaxation training, can help prevent or reduce the severity of the migraine attacks. Women who often get migraines around their menstrual period can take preventive therapy when they know their period is coming.
Regular exercise — in moderation — can also help prevent migraines.

4. What Pain Medications Are Responsible for Causing Rebound Headaches?
Many commonly used pain relief medications, when taken in large enough amounts, can cause rebound headaches. Drugs once thought of as “safe” are turning up as the likeliest culprits. These include:

Aspirin
Sinus relief medications
Acetaminophen
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications
Sedatives for sleep
Codeine and prescription narcotics


While small amounts of these drugs per week may be safe (and effective) — at some point, the continued medication use can lead to the development of low grade headaches that just will not go away.

5. Can Allergies Cause Headaches?
It is a misconception that allergies cause headaches. However, allergies can cause sinus congestion, which can lead to headache pain. If you have allergies, the treatment for your allergy will not relieve your headache pain. The two conditions generally must be treated separately. See your doctor to ensure proper treatment.

6. What Food Triggers Headaches?

Some of the most common food, beverages, and additives associated with headaches include:

Aged cheese and other tyramine-containing foods: Tyramine is a substance found naturally in some foods. It is formed from the breakdown of protein as foods age. Generally, the longer a high-protein food ages, the greater the tyramine content. The amount of tyramine in cheeses differs greatly due to the variations in processing, fermenting, aging, degradation, or even bacterial contamination. Tyramine is also found in red wine, alcoholic beverages, and some processed meats.

Alcohol: Blood flow to your brain increases when you drink alcohol. Some scientists blame the headache on impurities in alcohol or by-products produced as your body metabolizes alcohol. Red wine, beer, whiskey, and champagne are the most commonly identified headache triggers.

Food additives: Food preservatives (or additives) contained in certain foods can trigger headaches. The additives, nitrates and nitrites, dilate blood vessels, causing headaches in some people.

Cold foods: Cold food, like ice cream, can cause headaches in some people. It’s more likely to occur if you are overheated from exercise or hot temperatures. Pain, which is felt in the forehead, peaks 25 to 60 seconds and lasts from several seconds to one or two minutes. More than 90% of migraine sufferers report sensitivity to ice cream and cold substances.

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