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Migraine Headaches:  Facts and Treatments

Migraine Headaches: Facts and Treatments

With an estimated 50 million migraine sufferers chances are that you either suffer from migraine headaches or you know someone who does. A migraine headache is characterized by intense pulsing or throbbing pain, typically on only one side of the head. And they are commonly associated with nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.

What Causes a Migraine?

The exact cause of migraines are unknown. Scientists had long believed that they were linked to the dilation and constriction of blood vessels in the head. However, it is now believed that migraine has a genetic cause. People with migraines often have recurring attacks that can be aggravated or triggered by specific factors.

Common Migraine Triggers May Include:
• Food and drink: Sensitivity to specific chemical additives and artificial preservatives in food, cured or processed meats, alcohol
(especially red wine and beer), aspartame, caffeine (too much or too little) and MSG.
• Stress: Emotional stress can trigger a migraine, even after the emotional trauma has passed.
• Hormones: menstrual periods, menopause, birth control pills or hormone replacement
• Changes in normal sleep pattern
• External stimuli: bright lights, strong scents and loud noises
• Missing meals and dehydration
• Weather changes such as storm fronts, barometric pressure changes or changes in altitude.
• Excessive fatigue

Who Is Affected By Migraines?

Out of the estimated 50 million migraine sufferers a migraine is three times more prevalent in women. It is most commonly seen in people between the ages of 25 to 55 but it can be seen in children and teens as well.

Frequency and Duration of Headaches

The frequency of migraines varies widely among individuals. They may occur as often as several times a week or as rarely as a few times a year. Most migraines last about 4 hours to 3 days, but severe ones can last up to a week. Individuals diagnosed with migraines who have headaches that occur 15 or more days a month lasting 4 hours or longer for at least 3 consecutive months are considered Chronic Migraine sufferers.

Migraines with Aura

“Aura” can be described as a change in vision or hearing. These symptoms can occur before, during or after the start of the migraine and can last from 15 to 60 minutes. Visual auras include flashing lights, zigzag lines, or blind spots. Other auras may include changes such as ringing in the ears, smelling a strange odor, having an odd taste in the mouth.

Treatment Options

The common solution for migraine pain is the use of over-the-counter or prescription medications which can be effective in relieving the pain. They are most effective when they are administered at the onset of a migraine. Some lifestyle alterations such as eating regularly scheduled meals with adequate hydration, regular exercise, and adequate sleep along with the avoidance of other triggers can help to reduce migraine frequency. Botox, injected at the sight of the migraine can be helpful in reducing migraines.

Another known solution for migraine pain is acupuncture. According to research conducted by WebMD, “Researchers found that compared with standard medical care, acupuncture offers substantial benefits in preventing headaches and improving the quality of life for people who suffer from frequent headaches, especially migraines.”

As a massage therapist I have felt limited in how I can help with migraine pain until I recently discovered a cold stone treatment called the Migraine Miracle® which can dramatically and quickly reduce the pressure and pain of a migraine and many different types of headaches.
The treatment will take approximately one hour. Before we start the treatment we will access which of the four essential oil blends would be most appropriate for the treatment. We will then wrap the feet in warm towels and a customized trigger point release massage will be performed. The essential oils will be applied to different pulse points on the face and neck. After completion of the pressure point massage, cold marble stones will be strategically placed on the forehead, orbital area, sinuses and neck, followed by 15 minutes of rest.

Migraine sufferers benefit greatly with cold therapy by reducing swollen blood vessels and the aromatherapy alters the headache physiologically by calming the brain. Head off the migraine before it gets you “down”.

By Shannon Thrasher

Migraine Miracle® treatments may be scheduled with Rhonda Mock or Shannon Thrasher. Continue Reading

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