Suffer From Migraines? You May Be Able to Prevent or Control Migraine Attacks
July 24, 2019
Migraines affect more than 39 million people in the US, including children, and are considered the third most common illness worldwide. Some people may only experience a migraine once or twice a month, but those who suffer from chronic migraines can have an attack 15 or more days per month. Migraines are more serious than headaches, as they are part of a neurological disorder that causes debilitating symptoms.
The underlying cause of migraines varies from person to person and can be complex. Directly addressing contributors of migraines can reduce and possibly even eliminate migraine attacks. Some of the most common contributors to the development of migraines are discussed in this article.
It is estimated that roughly 32 million people in the US suffer from food allergies, including children. This has led researchers to wonder whether food sensitivities, such as allergies or intolerances, could possibly trigger migraines. As of now, the relationship between food sensitivities and migraines is not fully understood. However, there are a few studies that suggest that by eliminating possible trigger foods, the incidence of migraine attacks can be reduced.
For example, a study published in 2010 tested for allergen antibodies associated with 108 foods in 56 patients. Subjects were randomly chosen to consume either an elimination diet (that excluded foods to which they showed an allergic response) or a challenge diet (to which they continued eating foods to which they showed an allergic response. Participants were not told whether their diet was an elimination or a challenge diet. Throughout the diet, study participants were asked to record their migraines (number, intensity, and duration). The results of this study showed that subjects who ate an elimination diet significantly reduced the frequency of migraines, without the need for medication, compared to subjects who ate a challenge diet.
Scientists know that stress is a trigger for migraines. They also know that “coming down” from stress can also trigger migraines. Moreover, migraines can cause stress, which can then trigger subsequent headaches. Many types of stress can trigger migraines, including anxiety, tension, and excitement. Moreover, the stressful event can occur two or three days before the migraine occurs.
To determine whether stress is triggering migraines, consider keeping a journal of stress levels, stressful events, and migraine attacks. This will help to identify any correlation between the two.
Vitamin and/or Mineral Deficiencies
There is a strong correlation between vitamin and mineral deficiencies and migraines. A study presented at the 58th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society revealed that a significant portion of children, adolescents, and young adults who suffer from migraines are deficient in certain vitamins, including Vitamin D, Riboflavin (vitamin B2), CoEnzyme Q10, and folate. This has led researchers to question whether vitamin supplementation could benefit these patients.
Additionally, it is estimated that up to half of migraine sufferers are deficient in magnesium. Magnesium is a thoroughly studied mineral in both its role in the development of and prevention of migraines and researchers suggest that those who suffer from migraines take magnesium to help them ward off migraines.
How to Identify Migraine Triggers
When trying to identify migraine triggers, consider making an appointment to work with a neurologist who specializes in headaches or a functional medicine practitioner. Functional medicine practitioners work with the patient to find the underlying cause of a condition.