Migraines are an unpleasant pounding sensation experienced on one localised side of your head. Some individuals are prone to suffering from regular migraines, whilst others will only experience one migraine in their life.
There are other symptoms associated with a migraine headache, which shouldn’t be confused with a tension headache which feels like tightness across the forehead.
Luckily, a migraine doesn't have to be a permanent ailment and can be alleviated with a range of remedies, some natural home remedies, over-the-counter tablets and for more severe persistent migraines - medication by prescription.
Although it’s not quite clear what triggers a migraine, there are a number of factors we can look at including dehydration, stress, allergies and vision problems. Finding out what ‘could’ be causing your migraine, is the first step in eliminating it. Drinking more water and keeping an eye on your vision or stress levels will help you understand your body to see what could be triggering a migraine. Remember migraines can keep you awake all night, increasing your chances of developing insomnia.
It is thought that blood vessels in the brain become narrower and then dilate shortly afterwards, causing a headache. Another theory suggests brain chemicals increase in activity which causes confusing signals to result in a migraine.
Here are some tips to alleviate your migraine yourself before you see your GP or consider prescriptive medication.
1. Naturally, home remedies such as drinking water to combat dehydration may be the quick remedy solution. Drinking at least 2 litres of water a day may help future migraines from appearing.
2. Drinking tea or coffee could help to narrow the blood vessels, reducing the blood flow and pain. This could be an effective remedy if you don’t normally intake caffeine drinks. If you are a regular caffeine drinker, then this remedy may not be effective for you and you may want to consider drinking less caffeine to see if it helps the symptoms subside. Avoid or limit your consumption in this case.
3. Relax and apply a warm or chilled compress to alleviate pain. A chilled cold compress can have a clever numbing effect. Equally warm compresses help you to relax. Consider taking a relaxing bath with some essential oils.
4. Analyse your diet and cut out foods high in histamine, especially if you have hayfever too. Foods that are high in histamine include wine, some meats and cheeses.
5. Install a blackout blind in your bedroom. Sleeping it out in a completely dark room can mean you wake up without a migraine. If you are sensitive to light, then sleep and darkness could be the combined solution to erasing that migraine from your memory. ‘Sleeping it off’ can be applied to many conditions and it’s one of the most effective treatments when it comes to short-term illnesses or pain.
6. Stay away from alcohol and those horrible hangovers. A terrible hangover could be the cause of your headache, so try to limit your consumption or best stay away from strong liqueurs until you see symptoms diminishing.
7. Take a walk or practise some yoga. Exercise and vigorous breathing helps release hormones called endorphins which act like a natural painkiller.
If none of the above work to subside your migraine, then it’s time to see a doctor and get diagnosed. More importantly, you should not hesitate to book an appointment with your GP if you had a serious head injury in the last 3 months or if you have had cancer previously. Additionally, if you notice any of the following whilst suffering from a migraine, then see your GP immediately.
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