Today's modern world is composed of so many things to do that keeps almost every one of us busy and exhausted after a hard days' work, and being healthy and in top shape is essential for us to fulfil our daily tasks. However, there are times when some medical problems arise which affect our usual routine, and one of these medical conditions includes a headache. This can be characterized by sharp pain, throbbing, or a dull ache in any part of the head which may occur on one or both sides, can be isolated to a certain location, or can radiate across the head from one point to another, or have a viselike quality.
Although there are plenty of health diseases that include headaches as a symptom, headaches can also be caused by various environmental factors such as food, allergens, alcohol or strong odours. This pain in the head is hereditary, which means it tends to run in families. Even though there are lots of different types of headaches, let's discuss the most common type and one of the worst that many people worldwide experience: migraine.
Triggers of migraine
It is crucial to note that not everyone reacts similarly to triggers. This is why it is important for someone who suffers migraines to know which factors stimulate their migraine to avoid having migraine attacks. These triggers include:
Stress - It is said that almost 50% to 70% of people suffering from migraines have undue stress and tension as one of their major migraine triggers. Migraine patients need to know what factors can cause them stress to avoid migraine attacks.
Lack of sleep - Sleep is one of the most important aspects of our daily lives as it renews and rejuvenates all parts of the body. Irregular schedules and not getting enough sleep increases someone's risk of getting migraine attacks.
Hormonal changes - According to reports, migraines related to hormonal changes are significantly higher in women than men. Many have reported migraine attacks during their menstrual period, where estrogen and progesterone levels occur.
Alcohol or caffeine consumption - Many migraine patients have reported that they are more likely to have migraine symptoms when consuming caffeine or alcohol. It is important to know your limit if you are planning on taking anything with these compounds.
Weather conditions - Excessive cold weather conditions, including excessive heat, can cause weather-related migraines. This is due to the stress that your body experiences when extreme weather occurs can trigger migraine attacks.
Diet - While it looks like food is harmless in connection to having migraine attacks, certain kinds of foods have been reported to trigger this condition. These include foods that contain histamine and MSG, chocolate, dairy products, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, processed meats, and any food with a strong odour. Migraine patients need to be aware of the food that can trigger their migraines.
Water intake - Water is essential to our body. It performs many important tasks that keep our body healthy, like protecting our body organs and tissues and carrying oxygen and essential nutrients to our cells. When the body loses a significant amount of fluid, it can lead to dehydration. Dehydration is said to cause headaches as the brain can temporarily contract due to fluid loss.
Brightness - While sensitivity to light or photophobia is commonly seen in people with light-coloured eyes, it is also common in individuals that are subjected to migraines. For those who suffer migraines, even natural light can become a problem. Photophobia is included as one of the criteria in diagnosing migraines. Natural, bright light, flickering bulbs, or sources of glare can trigger a migraine.
Odours - Strong odours trigger certain nerve receptors in the nasal passages that can cause a migraine attack. Osmophobia is a common symptom of migraine. Hence, it is important to refrain from smelling anything that contains strong odours like food, perfumes, chemicals, or gasoline to avoid getting migraine attacks.
Certain Medications - Many pharmaceutical drugs on the market can cause headaches as one of their side effects. Some of them include birth control pills, cardiovascular drugs, and pain relief medications. But there is also a condition called Medication Overuse Headache (MOH caused by medication prescribed by your doctor that can also cause more migraine attacks.
Botanicals that may help
Ginger - This tropical plant has been widely used as herbal medicine since early times. Ginger is known to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. Traditionally it has been used to help manage some health problems such as headaches, stomach pain, nausea, arthritis, cold and flu symptoms, neurological problems. A scientific study suggested that ginger has the same characteristics as Sumatriptan, a common prescription migraine medication. There are various preparations available in the market for ginger aside from the roots that are typically used in cooking, such as ginger tea or ginger capsules.
CBD - Also known as Cannabidiol, CBD is a non-psychoactive and non-intoxicating cannabinoid that is extracted from hemp plants that became popular due to the number of health benefits that it can give to the body. Many people use CBD oil for pain and inflammation, including stress and anxiety. In addition to this, CBD is said to help in the regulation of sleep, easing anxiety and stress.
According to some anecdotal evidence, because CBD can help reduce pain intensity and inflammation, it can also help manage migraines. What's more, CBD comes in many forms, such as CBD hemp oil capsules, tinctures, topicals, vape, edibles and drinks, allowing each user to find a suitable format for experiencing pain relief.
Valerian - Known as the all-heal herb in the early times, Valerian is widely used to manage insomnia, headaches and anxiety. Furthermore, many people use this plant to relieve different types of pain, such as menstrual pain, rheumatic and migraine pain. Valerian can be taken as a tea, capsule or tincture containing its extract from its dried roots.
Peppermint - Native to Europe, Asia, and America, peppermint is an aromatic plant that belongs to the mint family with the main chemical components of menthol and menthone. It is not only known for its culinary purposes but also for medicinal uses. Peppermint is commonly used to treat pain from tension headaches, migraine headaches and nausea. To reap its benefits, you can take peppermint in the form of capsules, tea as well as an essential oil that should not be taken orally and must be diluted with a particular carrier oil before applying to the skin.