What Causes Migraine Headaches?
Migraine pain occurs in the brain but are commonly triggered by external or internal factors. Some of the more common migraine headache triggers include:
- Bright light
- Emotional or physical stress
- Hormonal changes
- Too little or too much sleep
- Loud sounds
- Smoking or exposure to smoke
- Blood sugar fluctuation (due to missing a meal)
- Certain foods that contain nitrates or MSG, like aged cheese and smoked meat
There is still no exact mechanism proven to cause migraine headaches, and there are likely different underlying causes for different types of migraine sufferers. Most believe that there is a combination of factors, both outside and inside the brain, that trigger a cascade of events to cause migraine pain. This may be related to how the brain communicates with sensory nerves in the face and scalp.
Dr. Jonathan Cabin of The Migraine Institute is a board-certified head and neck surgeon with dual-subspecialty training in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He works with individual migraine sufferers to put migraine headaches in the past, by identifying and eliminating sensory nerve triggers.
What Causes Chronic Migraines?
A chronic migraine lasts 15 or more days a month for a period of three months or longer. There are many reasons why chronic migraines may occur, and these include:
- Nervous System Disorder: An individual who is dealing with an underlying nervous system disorder may be more susceptible to chronic migraines than others.
- Chemical Imbalance: Proper brain function requires optimal chemical balance and clear nerve pathways. However, if an interruption occurs, an individual may experience chronic migraine symptoms.
- Genetics: If a parent, sibling or other blood relative has experienced chronic migraines, an individual may be more prone to chronic migraines than others.
- Vascular Issues: Any problems with the size, shape or blood flow in vessels to or inside the brain may result in chronic migraine symptoms.
Additionally, chronic migraines have been linked to various health conditions, including:
- Brain tumors
- Traumatic brain injuries
A doctor generally performs a series of tests to analyze a patient’s migraine symptoms and provide an accurate chronic migraine diagnosis. At this time, a doctor also may administer other tests to determine if a patient is dealing with health conditions that contribute to his or her chronic migraine symptoms.
What to Expect Before a Migraine Headache
In many instances, migraine sufferers will experience:
- Prodrome: Subtle physical and emotional symptoms, like muscle cramps, depression and anxiety, occurring 1-2 days before a migraine.
- Aura: Occurs in the moments before a migraine attack, typically involving sensory alterations including changes in hearing, speech, touch and vision.
With The Migraine Institute, an individual can work with Dr. Cabin and explore a wide range of cutting-edge migraine relief treatments.
What are the Risk Factors for Migraines?
Common migraine risk factors include:
- Age: Migraines may affect individuals of all ages, but initial migraine symptoms sometimes occur during adolescence. Also, migraines tend to peak in a person’s 30s, but they may become less intense in the years to follow.
- Family History: If a blood relative previously experienced migraines, an individual’s risk of experiencing migraine symptoms may increase accordingly.
- Gender: Boys may be more susceptible than girls to migraines during adolescence. However, women generally are more susceptible to migraines than men.
- Hormonal Changes: Women may experience migraines just before or shortly after menstruation occurs. A woman’s migraine symptoms may change due to pregnancy or menopause as well.
A person who believes he or she is dealing with migraines should not wait to receive treatment. Instead, this individual should meet with a doctor who can analyze his or her symptoms. By receiving a migraine diagnosis, a patient can take the first step to alleviate migraine symptoms both now and in the future.
How to Treat a Migraine Headache
There are many treatment modalities for migraines, including lifestyle changes, alternative/complimentary treatments and, most commonly, medication.
At The Migraine Institute, we offer two cutting-edge treatments for migraine headaches:
- Minimally Invasive Migraine Surgery: We provide minimally invasive surgery for migraines to reduce or remove faulty sensory nerve signals that can cause migraines.
- Botox®: Our Botox® for migraine treatments have been shown to help migraine sufferers prevent this same nerve pain irritability that can trigger migraine symptoms.
Once qualifying for these treatments, Dr. Cabin designs an individualized treatment approach, which can include one or both of these treatments (depending on the specific patient).
Set Up a Migraine Consultation Today
Want to find out more about effective migraines treatment? Call us today at 310.461.0303 or fill out our online contact form to set up a consultation.