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Sammie Ward

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A Rundown on Migraine Headaches
By Sammie Ward   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Friday, November 23, 2007
Posted: Tuesday, September 19, 2006

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75% of the 28 million people who suffer from migraine headaches are women

A Rundown on Migraine Headaches


Sammie Ward

The first time I heard of Migraine headaches it was at work. A co/worker of mine was lying on the sofa in the employee lounge in the dark, with the door close. When I asked the staff members what was going on with her, I was informed that she was suffering from a migraine headache. I’ve had my share of headaches, especially when the dreaded time of month comes around, or from a rough day at work, but I’ve never had a headache where I had to lay quietly in the dark. Curiosity got the better of me, I wanted to know more about migraine headaches.


What Is A Migraine Headache?

75% of the 28 million people who suffer from migraine headaches are women. Sufferers describe it as an intense throbbing, pounding pain, usually on one side of the head that can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. There isn’t a cure for migraines and more than half of the sufferers are not diagnosed by their doctors.

According to Dr. Jada Hamilton, of the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. “Migraines headaches is caused by an enlargement of blood vessels and the release of chemicals from nerve fibers that wrap around the blood vessels. When a migraine occurs, the temporal artery enlarges, stretching the nerve around the coil, causing the nerve to release chemicals. The chemical causes pain, further enlarging the artery, and the pain intensifies.”

Migraine headaches attacks the Sympathetic Nervous System in the body (the part of the body that control responses to stress and pain). This causes activity in the intestine causing nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Sympathetic activity also delays emptying of the stomach in the small intestine, preventing oral medication from being absorbed, making it difficult to treat migraines.

The activity of Sympathetic also causes sensitivity of light and sounds. It also decreases circulation of blood, which leads to paleness of the skin, along with cold hands and feet. Dr. Hamilton says that “migraine attacks are usually preceded by warning symptoms. The symptoms may include sleepiness, irritability, fatigue, and depression. Sufferers usually know when an attack is beginning.” Migraine sufferers experience what is known as a episode that varies from person to person. Many have visual disturbances that predicts a headache 20 to 30 minutes before it starts. These disturbances are called “aura” flashing lights or distorted shapes that began in the middle of the visual field. Auras can appear with or without the headache.

Causes of Migraines


Migraine headaches are set off by ‘triggers’ that causes headaches in patients. Examples of triggers are:

*lack of sleep

* bright lights


* fasting

* alcohol


*cigarette smoke


*hormones (menstral)




*aged cheese


Preventing Migraine

Many doctors believe the best way to reduce the occurrence of migraines and make them less painful is through taking daily dose of medication and change of lifestyle. Patients who have migraines more than 3 days a month respond well to drugs used to treat cardiovascular, antidepressants, seizure, muscle relaxants, and serotonin. B12 and magnesium may also reduce frequent migraines.

In addition to daily medication, patients should maintain regular meals, sleep, and plenty of exercise. Try to keep stress down at a minimum by participating in relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga to help reduce headaches.

       Treating Migraine Headaches

Migraine sufferers with mild and occasional migraines can treat themselves with over the counter non-prescription pain relievers such as: Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, and Aleve. However patients that suffers from moderate to severe migraines need pain medication that attacks the cause of the headache and dilation of the temporal arteries. Therefore prescription such as: Triptans, Ergots, Midrin, Imitrex, Inderal, and Toradol injection are often prescribed by physician for severe migraine headaches.

For more information contact: The American Neurological Association* 5841 Cedar lake Road Suite 204, Minneapolis, MN 55416* PH: (952)-545-6284* FAX (952) 545-6023* website:

American Council For Headache Education* 19 Mantue Road, MT Royal, NJ 08061* PH: (856)-423-0258* FAX (856) 423-0082* Website:


Sammie Ward is a fiction and nonfiction writer. She is the author of four novels, one novella, thirty five short stories, and twenty health articles. Her short stories and articles have been featured in True Confessions, Family Digest, Jive, Amag, and Black Romance to name a few.

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Reader Reviews for "A Rundown on Migraine Headaches"

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Reviewed by Kimmy Van Kooten 10/27/2006
Thanks for this very informative article! I will pass this on to my sister, who suffers constantly!
Love and Peace to you!
Reviewed by Elizabeth Taylor (Reader) 9/20/2006
Many headaches diagnosed as migraine are simple food allergies, too.

Good informative article.


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