Each one of us has experienced headaches in our life. Most headaches are temporary which may be due to tension or a temporary health condition like cold or fever, but some are signs of severe health problems. A migraine is a type of a headache which is characterized by a one-sided, severe, throbbing or pulsating ache. Migraines are also called vascular headaches because they involve spasm of the arteries of the head, resulting in a pulsating pain. They may last a few hours to days or longer. Stress from work, depression over financial problems, and excitement about an upcoming event: these seemingly normal emotions that you get from everyday living may also lead to migraine attacks. Other emotional triggers are anxiety, tension, and shock.
If you are one of the people who get tension headaches which lead to migraines, you know how important it is to reduce stress in your life. Many people miss this trigger because they don’t recognize the transition between tension headaches and migraine. Remember that migraines occur on one side of the head only. Tension headaches occur on both sides. During stressful moments, the brain releases chemicals, including adrenaline, as the body goes into self-preservation mode. When the brain senses stress it prepares for “fight or flight.” These chemicals cause a range of changes in the brain and body, including muscle tension and dilation of blood vessels. When you have a migraine, these chemicals are released in the brain. For a person who suffers from migraines, these reactions to stress can trigger a painful migraine.
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Stress can come in both negative and active forms. Stress can also make an existing migraine worse. For some people who battle migraines, the attack doesn’t start during the stressful or emotional event. Instead, the migraine symptoms may begin after the stressful event has passed, during what is called the “let-down period.” This occurs after a period of high stress or pressure ends, and the individual relaxes. These migraines often happen on the weekend or at the beginning of vacations when everything has calmed down.
The best strategy is to remove the triggers that cause the onset of a migraine. If you can identify your triggers and prevent them from getting to the next step, you can beat the pain. Trigger points can be difficult to determine initially. Once you take the time to research your body mechanics, diet, past injuries, psychological state, and health status, you will begin to see a pattern. That trend will lead to the appropriate treatment and therapy. You don’t have to suffer chronic migraines anymore.