Migraines are severe headaches that involve excessive dilatation and contraction of the blood vessels of the brain, as well as abhorrent stimulation of the trigeminal nerve that innervates the face and head. Stimulation of the trigeminal nerve releases a peptide which can induce inflammation and send pain messages to meninges. There are 6 stages to a migraine including (i) the day before: issues with memory, mood or speech (ii) before the migraine: many people experience a flash of light also known as an aura (iii) the pain, nausea and tenderness associated with the migraine begin (iv) the headache dissipates, although the nausea can remain (v) a person feels fatigued and tired.
Triggers: allergies, constipation, stress, not enough sleep, emotional or hormonal changes, sun glare, flashing lights, lack of exercise, dental problems, hypoglycaemia.
Contributing factors: heredity, female (estrogenic fluctuations), poor nutrition, chemical imbalances in the brain and the overuse of painkillers.
Who to consult: Allergist, dietician, GP, herbalist, homoeopath, meditation practitioner, music therapist, naturopath, neurologist, pharmacist, yoga practitioner.