Where Do Migraines Come From?
Before treating any condition, it’s important to understand where it originates from, and whether treating any root causes may improve symptoms, but unfortunately there’s still a lot to learn about the cause of migraines. Current studies are focusing on brain chemicals like serotonin, as well as other gene-related factors.
It’s not uncommon for people with episodic migraines (fewer than 15 headaches per month) to eventually find that their condition has become chronic. Roughly 2.5% of existing migraine sufferers in America transition into chronic migraines every year. Although the root cause of migraines is still unknown, the triggers are much easier to follow. Each person experiences migraine triggers differently, but most of the common ones include:
- Hormonal changes
- Bright lights
- Strong smells
- Physical exertion
- Changes in the weather
- Eating salty or processed food, or skipping meals entirely
The majority of people who suffer from migraines are women. Many have a family history of this condition and usually experience their first migraine during adolescence and develop more frequent ones during their 30s.
How to Treat Your Chronic Migraines
When you are initially diagnosed with chronic migraines, your healthcare provider will typically want to conduct MRIs and CT scans to ensure that there are no other underlying issues at the root of these painful headaches and related symptoms. Once they receive confirmation that nothing else is causing your headaches, they’ll work with you to formulate a treatment plan.
There are several different types of pain-relieving medications available for chronic migraine sufferers. Depending on the severity of the migraine, some will find relief by using over the counter medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin, while others will need their healthcare provider to prescribe a stronger medication that they can use when necessary.
Depending on your migraine triggers, your doctor may be able to prescribe a preventative medication that stops migraines before they develop. Even if they don’t completely eliminate migraines, they can often improve the severity and reduce related symptoms.
Vyepti is the newest FDA approved preventative migraine treatment option, which is administered as four infusion treatments each year. It works by binding to a protein called calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), and prevents it from activating receptors in the brain which are believed to cause migraines. Studies have shown that it works quickly and many patients experience relief within as little as seven days of treatment.
In addition to finding the right treatment option for you, it’s important to focus on your physical health as well to help limit the severity and frequency of migraines. Stay as active as you can, drink plenty of water, try to stick to a regular sleep schedule and you might notice improvements in not just your migraines, but your overall health and well-being.