Listen to your migraine to help you feel better – and to learn about yourself
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Pain tells us when something is wrong. It also protects us. If you shut your hand in the car door, your hand will hurt will swell up. The resulting inflammation is part of the healing process.
Your head is not so different. Pain is an early warning system for danger.
The hallmark of the migraine attack is a wave of excitation across the brain quickly followed by a wave of inactivity.
The neurochemical changes associated with these waves cause the blood vessels to narrow in the head. Since a lack of blood-flow in the head can be deadly, our body reacts with a massive blood vessel dilation in response. The heightened activity in your brain means you will have trouble moving, thinking, remembering things, and photophobia. In effect, migraines shut us down until the neurchemical balance is restored.
You may be able to point to many reasons for your headache: tension, eye strain, lack of sleep, dehydration, sinus, not eating well, alcohol, your environment.
Some migraines are triggered by visual effects. Other migraine triggers are hormones, diet, or cardiovascular origins.
Many sufferers fail to spot the first stage of a migraine: the prodrome phase. It is characterized by pronounced yawning, drowsiness, food craving, sensitivity to light, increased thirst, or blurred vision. These symptoms can happen days or hours before the onset of a migraine.
The best way to recognise the symptoms is by keeping a record of your day: what you ate, your exercise habits, what you drank, how you felt at different points.
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