At least five previous episodes of headaches.
Lasting between 4-72 hours.
At least two of these four: one-sided pain, throbbing pain, severe pain they interfere with, is worsened by, or prohibits routine activity.
At least one associated feature: nausea and/or vomiting, or sensitivity to light and/or sound
A migraine may be indicated by aura, such as visual distortions or hand numbness. (about 15% to 20% of people with migraines experience these.)
Migraines are a common, chronic, incapacitating neurovascular disorder, characterized by attacks of severe headache, autonomic nervous system dysfunction, and in some patients, an aura involving neurological symptoms.
The exact pathogenesis of migraines still needs to be determined, however, more recently the migraine pathophysiology has shifted away from the vascular theory, and now primary neural mechanisms are thought to be the cause.
More than 37 million Americans suffer from migraines; nearly five million of them experiencing at least one migraine attack per month.2 In all, an estimated 13 percent of the world’s population suffer from migraines to a greater or lesser degree.
The pain mechanisms of migraines are not completely understood, but 3 key factors have been found to play a role: the cranial blood vessels, the trigeminal innervation of the vessels, and the reflex connections of the trigeminal system with the cranial parasympathetic outflow. The involvement of the ophthalmic division of the trigeminal nerve and the overlap with structures innervated by C2 explains the common distribution of migraine pain over the frontal and temporal regions, as well as the involvement of parietal, occipital, and high cervical regions by referred pain mechanisms.
The condition is more prevalent among women, with about 15-18 percent of women worldwide getting them, compared to six to seven percent of men. About 60 percent of women affected have menstrual-related migraines, meaning they tend to coincide with their menstrual cycle.
COMMON MIGRAINE TRIGGERS
Food and Drink: Many people experience migraines when they eat certain foods, especially: wheat, dairy, sugar, artificial preservatives or chemical additives, cured or processed meats, alcohol (especially red wine and beer), aspartame, caffeine, and MSG. Caffeine can also trigger an attack - and sometimes excess nuts
Changes in sleeping cycle: Both missing sleep and oversleeping can trigger a migraine
Hormones: Some women experience migraines before or during their periods, during pregnancy or during menopause. Others may get migraines from hormonal medications like birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy
Allergies: Including food allergies and food sensitivities, and chemical sensitivities
Dehydration and/or hunger: Skipping meals or fasting are also common triggers
Physical exertion: Extremely intense exercise or even sex has been known to bring on migraines
Weather changes, and/or changes in altitude.
ARE FOOD ALLERGIES CAUSING YOU MIGRAINES?
Searching the medical literature in PubMed.gov using the search terms “migraine” and “food allergies” will provide you with nearly 160 different studies of this kind, so do yourself a favor and don’t dismiss this potential connection. One randomized, double-blind, cross-over study published in 2010 found that a six-week long diet restriction produced a statistically significant reduction in migraines in those diagnosed with migraine without aura. Some top migraine-inducing foods identified include:13, 14