Two million plus Australians are affected by the debilitating symptoms of migraines. A recognised medical condition, migraines can affect anyone, but women are three times as likely to be sufferers as well as those under the age of 40. For about half of all people who get migraines they are an inherited condition.Migraines are a severe type of headache that can seriously impact your quality of life, with many sufferers knowing exactly when a migraine attack is coming on. Some symptoms include:
- Feeling nauseous
- Sensitivity to light and noise
- Pulsating, throbbing pain lasting from a few hours to a few days
- Disturbed, blurred or streaked vision
No one really knows what causes migraines, however most medical practitioners agree that the following can be contributing factors:
- Diet, in particular: cheese, chocolate, citrus fruits and alcohol (red wine)
- Food additives and preservatives
- Inadequate or irregular sleep
- Hormonal fluctuations - particularly as part of the menstrual cycle
- Stress - emotional and physical
- Sensory stimuli such as bright and flickering lights, odours and pollution
Prevention is the best cure for migraines. Try reducing stress and getting adequate and quality sleep. Avoid processed foods, and the trigger foods listed above if relevant to you, and don't skip meals in case your migraine relates to low blood sugar. And keep a headache diary to identify your own personal migraine trigger factors.
Natural supplements that may help include Omega 3 (most easily taken in fish oil capsules), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) and Magnesium. And drink plenty of water.
Prompt action can often keep the pain from becoming severe. Over-the-counter medications, such as paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin, can be useful for migraine pain relief. It can help to take these medications in soluble or liquid form, particularly if nausea and vomiting are a problem. Combination analgesics (such as paracetamol and caffeine) may also be useful in relieving migraine pain.
If your migraines are diagnosed as chronic, your GP may prescribe specific medication. Your local Community Pharmacy can help with medication and natural remedies for migraines but it's important to contact your GP if your migraine lasts longer than 72 hours.