What are Migraines?

Headaches are extremely common and most people will experience them throughout their lives from time to time. However, some people suffer from migraines, which are characterised by a throbbing, severe pain on one side of the head.

What are the Symptoms of Migraines?

Other migraine symptoms include visual disturbances such as double vision or blind spots. Vomiting and nausea can also accompany a migraine. In most cases, a migraine will develop from a headache that increases in intensity. However some start with a visual migraine aura and partial blindness and flashing lights. In some cases, temporary weakness on one side of the body can occur.

What are the Causes of Migraines?

The causes of migraines are still a grey area that is continually being researched. It is thought that genetic factors as well as environmental factors can both play a role. A lot of research is focused on the role of serotonin on migraines, as serotonin levels drop when a person is experiencing a migraine. Some of the main triggers associated with migraines include oestrogen fluctuations in women, alcohol (especially wine), aspartame (the food sweetener), stress, missing sleep and changes in the weather.

Traditional Treatments for Migraines

The traditional medical migraine treatment is medicine that regulates blood flow (such as ergotamine) and medicine that blocks the action of serotonin (such as sumatriptan).

Complementary/Alternative Treatments for Migraines

Osteopathy has been known to be a successful migraine cure as it works at releasing tight spinal joints. Certain foods such as cheese, red wine, beer, chocolate, oranges and coffee can also set off an attack, so it is important to try to avoid these foods as much as possible. Relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga have been found to reduce migraine occurrences in some people. Acupuncture can also help reduce the pain and can even have a positive impact on the frequency with which a person will experience migraines.