It is estimated that over 28 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches while approximately 45 million suffer from other chronic headaches. For migraine sufferers, these headaches can last a few hours to a few days, and they commonly report intense pain with combinations of nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.
Much is not known about the direct causes of migraine headaches, but one leading theory suggests that they stem from the inflammation of the trigeminal nerve and the blood vessels surrounding the brain. Serotonin, a naturally produced chemical that regulates pain travels through the trigeminal nerve. A rise or decline in serotonin can lead to the expansion and constriction of the blood vessels surrounding the brain, resulting in pain for the individual.
For those who experience migraines, lifestyle modifications may help to control the frequency of these headaches. Five healthy lifestyle changes you can consider include:
Avoid foods that may trigger your migraines – Everyone seems to have individual triggers, but common trigger foods include chocolate, red wine, processed meats and aged cheese.
Avoid excessive caffeine – Stay within moderate caffeine levels, or if necessary, avoid caffeine completely.
Have a consistent bedtime – Changes in sleep pattern, or getting too much or too little sleep may set off a migraine.
Exercise regularly – incorporate an exercise routine into your day to boost energy levels and overall fitness.
Meditation – Stress is believed to play a major role in triggering migraines. Take time to relax each day.