Friday, May 9, 2008

Myths And Truths About Migraines

Have you experienced a migraine headache? Here are some of the myths and the truths about migraines:

1. Myth: Migraines are just bad headaches.
Truth: Migraines are far worse than a bad headache. They are characterized by throbbing head pain, nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. Attacks can last from 4 to 72 hours. Also, if both your parents have migraines, there is a 75% chance that you will have them, too. If it’s one parent, then the odds are 50%. Even if a distant relative has them, the odds are 20% you’ll get them.
2. Myth: I’ll know a migraine if I get one and over-the-counter drugs will fix it.
The research shows that half of all people who get migraines have not been properly diagnosed by a doctor, whether it’s because they haven’t gone to a doctor or the doctor missed the diagnosis. If the store-bought pain or allergy medication you are taking isn’t working to decrease headache pain, talk to your doctor.
3. Myth: Migraines are caused by stress and other psychological problems.
Migraines are a neurological disorder and not a psychological one. Scientists now believe that the intense pain of a migraine attack is a result of inflammation caused by an interaction between the main sensory nerve of the brain and the brain’s blood vessels. While stress may trigger that response, it’s not the cause of the migraines.
4. Myth: Before a migraine you will see an aura.
Not everyone experiences visual symptoms before a migraine. Only 1/3 of migraine sufferers see an aura beforehand. If you do experience visual symptoms or auras, they may show up 15 minutes to an hour before the migraine hits.
5. Myth: Avoiding certain foods, like chocolate, can cure a migraine.
Truth: You may be able to curb the frequency of migraines by avoiding anything that triggers them, but eliminating these foods won’t cure you of migraines.
See a list of the most common > trigger foods, or email me at and put migraine trigger foods in the subject line.
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