Migraines are the most painful, debilitating type of headache. Those who suffer from migraines know that despite all the treatments available, relief is often hard to come by. And given that migraines plague their victims with nausea, dizziness and sometimes flu like symptoms sufferers often find it difficult to make it to the doctor to be treated at all.
The Way Migraines Work
Almost anything can cause a migraine to attack (Do you know what your migraine triggers are?). Many people note that excessive caffeine, certain foods, dry winds, or even changes in seasons can cause migraines. Other complaints are being in a stuffy room, certain emotions, exercising, sex, or cold foods are less common, but still as likely to cause migraines to occur.
The first sign is typically a visual warning such as spots or flickering lights, referred to as aura (“oar-a”). The sufferer may notice zig-zag lines or black spots in their vision. They may notice specific odors or numb limbs. Other people are given no warning at all, they are just suddenly blindsided by debilitating head pain that does not respond to over the counter medication.
Why Migraines Happen
Many of the symptoms are caused by the diameter of the blood vessels in the head. They believe that hormonal changes, specifically in the amount of serotonin cause the blood vessels to constrict, and when they begin to dilate, or get larger again, this is when the pain begins. Another hormone that they contribute to migraine headaches is estrogen.
Home Remedies for Migraines
1. Drink Caffeine
Caffeine restricts blood vessels and can decrease the pain. Be careful about the amount of caffeine that you take in. If the amount of caffeine you take in is excessive, it can cause a rebound headache when the effects wear off.
Taking magnesium capsules in the amount of 400 to 600 mg each day has proven effective in reducing the incidence of migraine pain associated with menstruation. Unfortunately, if you take more than the recommended dosage, you could suffer from diarrhea, which is honestly more pleasant than the pain from a migraine!
3. Cold Compress
A cold compress helps constrict the blood vessels and reduce the effects of the pain. Since the blood vessels open slower, as the compress warms, they have an easier time adjusting to the additional flow of blood which results in less pain.
4. Hot or Cold Shower
Depending on the type of headache and the cause, either a hot or cold shower may help decrease the pain associated with migraines. It is thought that a cold shower will constrict the blood vessels, creating less blood flow. A hot shower opens the blood vessels further, allowing them to take on the excess blood flow that is causing the pain.
Getting Medical Treatment
The natural remedies are not meant to get rid of a migraine completely. While many people swear by these remedies, they are simply meant to get you through to seek medical help. Any migraine, especially in someone who has never had one before could be a sign of another underlying illness that could be more serious than a simple migraine.
Be sure to speak with your physician if you have persistent migraines or if you suspect that they could be a symptom to an underlying cause.
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