What Causes Migraine Headaches?

The person having a migraine attack develops an intense throbbing or dull aching pain in the forehead, temples, and neck. According to various sources, the exact reason for migraines is not known yet. The researchers are not certain whether the cause of migraines can be attributed to genetics, brain chemical imbalances, or some other factors. The research is still ongoing to identify the root cause of migraine attacks.

Although the reason for these intense headaches is not known, there are several factors that trigger migraines. Generally, the person about to suffer a migraine will experience some pre-migraine triggers, which are as follows:

Hormonal fluctuations.

Women are more susceptible to migraines compared to men. This happens because they experience extreme changes in their hormone levels throughout their lives. Menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause cause a drastic imbalance in the hormones. On top of that oral contraceptive medications also contribute to these hormonal changes. Therefore, women experience migraines more often than men.

 Stress and anxiety.

Stress is the most common trigger which causes the progression of headaches into migraines. Chronic stress can increase the frequency of migraines. People with anxiety disorders are also prone to intense headaches.The intense persistent pain in turn gives rise to more stress and the cycle continues.

Lack of sleep.

Sleep is a restorative activity which is a must. It heals your body and gets you ready for the next day. However, people with sleepless nights or inadequate sleep are highly likely to experience migraines. Such people develop daytime fatigue.

 Bright lights.

Some people develop a high sensitivity to the light. Exposure to bright lights can lead to headaches that can manifest into migraines. Their sensitivity to light prevents them from working on computers or using any device that emits bright light. Stepping out in the sun or sitting in a bright room can also stimulate their senses and cause headaches.

Loud noises.

Some might become highly sensitive to the noises. This hypersensitivity to the noise in some people can make a normal sound feel unbearable to their ears. This can lead to a pulsating or throbbing pain in the head.

Strong smell.

Strong odors can affect people who have high sensitivity to smells. This can irritate them and cause pulsating headaches.

 Physical strain.

Some activities require intense physical strain and rapid movements. This can aggravate headaches, which can lead to severe migraines. Activities such as weightlifting, sexual activity, exercising, vigorous sports, etc. can potentiate the risk of migraines in some people.

Certain types of drinks and beverages can also induce migraines. Such drinks can include alcohol, excessive intake of tea or coffee (basically caffeine), wine, etc. Some drinks have psychoactive properties, which can trigger some imbalances in the brain chemicals and give rise to headaches.

 Skipping meals.

Not having meals at the right time or skipping a meal can lead to headaches. If you skip your meals, your sugar levels go down, this can give rise to migraines. So, make sure you do not miss your meals and have them on time.

Certain types of drugs can produce some side effects and intense headaches or migraines can be one of them. Some medications have vasodilator properties, that can increase pain sensitivity and spread the pain in the head.

Risk factors of migraines

Some people are more likely to experience migraines than others. Given below are some factors that potentiate the risk of developing this neurological disorder:

  • Gender – In comparison to men, women are more susceptible to this condition. This happens due to extreme changes in the hormone levels in the body.
  • Age – In general, a person might develop this condition between the ages of 10 to 40.
  • Genetics – Although it is not certain that migraines happen due to genetic factors, the likelihood of offspring inheriting this neurological condition from there through genetic makeup is quite possible. A condition like migraines might run in the family.
  • Chronic health conditions – Some chronic neurological conditions such as anxiety disorder, depression, sleep disorder, epilepsy, etc. can lead to migraines.

When to see a doctor?

Mild and moderate degrees of headaches might happen for some time and disappear soon. But severe forms of headaches along with throbbing or pulsating pain happening in the forehead, temples, one side of the head, or around the neck is a migraine.Migraines cause unbearable pain, and this is how you will be able to differentiate between normal headaches and migraines.

If migraines happen on a frequent basis, then it is necessary to seek treatment, otherwise, it can get worse with time. The treatment usually involves medications and some positive changes in the day-to-day habits.

Your doctor will ask you several general questions to confirm the symptoms of migraines and prescribe you certain pain reliever medications to manage the pain. You might think about using some OTC medication to manage the condition on your own, but it can potentiate the risk even more. Therefore, you must see your doctor when migraines happen frequently.



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