Learn about what causes migrain headaches


Though there is much about migraine headaches that is still not understood, some researchers think that the cause of a migraine may be functional changes in the trigeminal nerve system, a major pain pathway in our nervous system, and by imbalances in brain chemicals, which include serotonin, that regulates pain messages going through this pathway. During a headache, the serotonin levels drop. Researchers believe this makes the trigeminal nerve to release substances called neuro-peptides that travel to the brain's outer covering. There they cause the blood vessels to become dilated and inflamed, resulting into headache pain. Another view is that as levels of magnesium, a mineral involved in nerve cell function, also drop right before or during a migraine headache, it is possible that low amounts of magnesium causes nerve cells in the brain to misfire.
Some Migrain Headache Triggers -
Irrespective of whatever the exact mechanism of migraine headaches is, a number of things may trigger them. Commonly migraine headache triggers include:
Hormonal changes - though the exact relationship between hormones and headaches is not clear, fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone can trigger headaches in many women with migraine headaches. Women with a history of migraines very often report headaches immediately before or during their periods. There are some which report more migraines during pregnancy or menopause. Hormonal medications, like contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy, may worsen migraines.
Stress - stress is a major migraine trigger. A period of hard work which is followed by relaxation may lead to a weekend migraine headache. Stress at work or home can also instigate migraines.
Sensory stimulus - Bright lights and sun glare mal also play a role in producing head pain. So can unusual smells like pleasant scents, such as perfume and flowers, or unpleasant odors, such as paint thinner and smoke.
Physical factors - Intense physical exertion, which includes sexual activity, may provoke migraines. Changes in sleep patterns that is too much or too little sleep can also initiate a migraine headache.
Changes in the environment - A change of weather, season, altitude level, barometric pressure or time zone could prompt a migraine headache.
Medications - there are certain medications that can aggravate migraines.

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