More than 37 million Americans suffer from migraines, with most of them being between the ages of 15 and 55. Migraines are often associated with stress and 70%-80% of those with migraines also have it in their family history. Many migraine sufferers haven’t received an actual diagnosis of migraine from their healthcare provider as it can be misdiagnosed as a sinus headache or a tension-type headache.
If you’ve ever had a headache, then you know how painful they can be. A migraine is much more severe; causing throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, typically on one side of the head. When experiencing a migraine, common side effects include nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to sound and light. Approximately one-fifth of migraine sufferers also experience something called “Aura.” This is a warning associated with migraines that can occur before the headache pain begins. When experiencing aura, some may have visual disturbances like wavy lines, dots, or flashing lights. Some may also experience blind spots starting about twenty minutes to an hour before the actual migraine. The pain and associated side effects can last from hours to days and can be debilitating.
Dietary Causes of Migraines
Alloing with stress, there are certain food and beverages that are also known for triggering migraines. To avoid these painful episodes, keep in mind the following may cause a migraine:
- Foods with nitrates including hot dogs, deli meats, bacon, and sausage
- Alcohol, especially red wine
- Foods that contain monosodium glutamate (MSG) – a flavor enhancer commonly found in fast foods and commercially packaged food products
- Processed foods
- Pickled foods
Migraine Symptom Relief
- Caffeine – Believe or not, small amounts of caffeine may help ease migraine pain. In fact, caffeine is an ingredient in some migraine medications.
- Ginger – Ginger has been known to help ease nausea caused by several conditions, including migraines.
- Yoga – Yoga’s breathing techniques, meditation, and body posture promote health and well-being. Research shows yoga may help relieve the frequency, duration, and intensity of migraines. It’s also said to improve anxiety, release tension in migraine-trigger areas, and improve vascular health.
- Magnesium – Deficiency of magnesium in the body is linked to headaches and migraines. You can get magnesium from foods like almonds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews, peanut butter, oatmeal, eggs, and milk.
If you experience frequent migraines, sinus headaches, tension-type headaches, and cluster headaches, your primary care practitioner may refer you to a neurologist. A neurologist can perform a detailed neurological examination and review your medical history. They will also try to rule out underlying medical problems that could be causing your migraines.
Community Care Physicians has two Neurology practices located in the Capital Region that specialize in adult and pediatric neurology. CapitalCare Neurology is located in Niskayuana, and The Child Neurology Group is located in Clifton Park. For information on our neurology practices, please call our Concierge Care Coordinator at (518) 782-3800.