For years, many of us, have believed that migraines were caused by inflammation of the blood vessels of the brain. But now many doctors are beginning to rethink that theory and they have come to the conclusion that our nerves are the cause of a lot of this pain.
First, you need to know what a migraine is. It is not an ordinary headache. Migraines are more painful and are usually accompanied with one or more of these symptoms: nausea, sensitivity to light, or sensitivity to sound. The pain of a migraine may be in various places in your head and the pain can even shift. You can feel this pain in your temple region, your forehead, the back of your neck at the base of your head, or even at the top of your head. And unlike regular headaches migraines occur more often, at their peak from a couple times a week to a couple times a month, depending on the severity.
This new thinking isn’t actually new. Many doctors have been thinking that the pain from migraines has been due to the nerves and not the blood vessels for over ten years. Other doctors, are just now realizing this.
If the nerves are the base of our pain where does our blood vessels play in all of this? They are actually innocent bystanders.
The pain from a migraine actually starts in the brain. The brain is where the nerves live. How does a migraine start? Many things can cause a migraine. Even being hit in the head can cause it. You can get hit, the nerves instantly react. The nerves releases neuropeptides. This causes the blood vessels to dilate. But the key is that the pain and the nerves are the reason why the blood vessels dilate. The blood vessels did not do this by themselves.
Okay, now are you wondering if other migraine triggers act in the same manner. Most do act this way. For instance, stress can cause migraines. Stress can also cause our nerves to react. Their reaction releases the neurpoeptides, once more. Sometimes, allergy can irritate one’s nerves. Again, the nerves releases neuropeptides. Caffeine withdrawal can even be related to the nerves. How? Doctors use to believe that caffeine caused the blood vessels to dilate and this was why too much caffeine was bad for headache sufferers and why people got headaches if they were going through caffeine withdrawal. But that isn’t the full story. Caffeine blocks receptors for a neurotransmitter called adenosine. Adenosine is a pain reliever. When these receptors are blocked adenosine is able to act stronger and have a more powerful pain relieving effect. Then when caffeine is taken away, the receptors are not blocked. The body makes less adenosine and what is made is not as strong. The nerve circuits are now being used more and pain begins to occur, sometimes powerful pain.
So what are you supposed to do? No, running out to your local pharmacy doesn’t always help. Some of the pills that contain caffeine may help, if you are in caffeine withdrawal. What doctors are finding that is working for many patients are drugs that were actually first created for epileptic patients, such as Topiramate (Topamax). These types of drugs seem to have a calming effect of the nerves. With time and regular use, they seem to be helping many patients have less migraines.
What else can you do to help your migraines? Many doctors think that many alternative therapies do work. Taking such supplements as Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) and Coenzyme Q10 seem to help migraine sufferers, especially if they take 400milligrams of Riboflavin or 300 milligrams of Coenzyme Q10 daily. Doctors also advises you to do all that you can to avoid stress. Stress can definitely irritate our nerves.
Some great techniques for handling stress are: exercise, massage, meditation, acupressure and yoga.
If you have ever suffered from a migraine, you know how painful it is. If you haven’t talked to your doctor about whether or not any of the epileptic drugs on the market could help you, maybe you should think about talking it over with him/her soon.