Those of us who suffer from migraines know just how painful and annoying they can be. Oftentimes, we do our best to just grin and bear it, brush it off, or combat our migraines with different medications and other forms of treatment. Many American adults deal with migraines on a regular basis. In fact, it is estimated that about 2 to 3 million American adults suffer from chronic migraines. While we do our best to work through them, migraines can be indicators of more deeply-rooted issues in our bodies. While migraines can be symptoms of many conditions, they seem to be most prevalent linked to things like hormonal imbalances or changes, reactions to certain types of food, neuropathic pain, and the occurrence of a stroke. Check out the below to see if your symptoms match with one of these larger issues.
Women tend to get menstrual migraines that strike in the days leading up to the start of their periods. Since progesterone and estrogen levels decrease right before the start of a period, this is when women tend to experience the worst migraine symptoms. Additionally, women who take birth control with high dosages of estrogen and stop taking them during the week of their period might notice even more severe migraines due to the sudden stoppage of that extra estrogen into the body. Women who use hormone replacement therapy during menopause also tend to experience severe migraines.
These types of migraines are often treated with NSAIDs (like Ibuprofen) and triptans (which cause blood vessel shrinkage and relieve pain). A few of the most common ways to prevent migraines from hormonal imbalances is to try a birth control that helps combat migraines, remain on birth control during your period, cut down on salt intake, or try non-medical treatments like acupuncture or taking magnesium.
Reactions to Foods
Much of what we eat tends to either help or harm us, but we often don’t know which until our symptoms progressively worsen. Many types of food and food additives have been scientifically linked to migraines. Foods that trigger migraines can include wheat, gluten, dairy, corn, yeast, citrus, and eggs. MSG and aspartame are two additives that also tend to trigger migraines, as do some food dyes. Those with autoimmune disorders like Celiac’s and Hashimoto’s often experience negative reactions (including migraines) to these foods.
Elimination diets can help sort out which foods might be causing migraines to occur. Some individuals with severe migraines have found that switching to a Paleo diet significantly decreases migraine symptoms since this diet eliminates the processed foods that often function as triggers. Taking supplements to keep levels in balance can also help. If you decide to go Paleo, you will need to make sure you are getting enough Magnesium and Vitamins B2, B6, B12, and Folic Acid.
Neuropathic pain has many sources (including connections with physical injuries or autoimmune disorders), but one of the most telling symptoms of peripheral neuropathy is the occurrence of migraines. Inflammation in the brain negatively impacts cranial blood vessels and dura, leading to migraines. Those with B12 or folate deficiencies, diabetes, cancer, or inflammatory conditions are at risk for developing peripheral neuropathy with migraine pain as a symptom.
Those with peripheral neuropathy tend to struggle with migraines as well as cervical and spinal pain. Getting chiropractic adjustments done on your neck and back can help to reduce symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, including migraines. According to a chiropractor in Charlotte NC, adjustments can help realign the vertebrae in your spine and relieve pressure and inflammation.
Last, but certainly not least, is the occurrence of a stroke. Studies show that those who experience migraines with auras are at an increased risk of suffering from an ischemic stroke. Women, those over 45, those who smoke and have aura migraines, and women using contraceptives with migraine auras are all at increased risk of having a stroke. Migraines can cause inflammation in the arteries, making your blot clot and arteries stiffen, putting you at a greater risk for a stroke.
Keeping inflammation at bay is crucial for avoiding a stroke. This might involve changing your dietary habits to consume less inflammatory substances, as well as getting proper exercise. Correcting vitamin deficiencies can also be critical in avoiding a stroke and migraines with auras.
Migraines have been connected with many medical issues over the years, and research is still trying to pinpoint root causes. If you are experiencing severe and repeated migraines, you should contact your doctor with your concerns. Doing so could potentially save your life.