Migraines need to be taken seriously, consider preventative solutions

November 15, 2016

Anne Stewart

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     Athena, the goddess of reason in Greek mythology was born out of the god Zeus’ head when he had a splitting headache.

     I always imagine that it was a migraine, and whenever I come down with one, I feel like a full-grown, armor-clad god or goddess is trying to bore its way through my right temple. I, along with many others, suffer from migraines like these on a monthly basis.

     Migraines are the third most common disease in the world, affecting one in every seven people, and it is more common than diabetes, epilepsy and asthma combined, according to migrainetrust. org.

     Migraine pain is undeniable for those going through it, but there isn’t much you can do when a migraine decides to creep up and take over your day.

     I know a woman who had migraines as frequently as I do, if not even more. She was able to reduce her number of migraine attacks to one or two migraines per year by taking coq10 and riboflavin every day.

     The thought of having so few migraines a year seems unattainable, a different world entirely. But if it were possible for me, or for you, wouldn’t you want to know how?

     Maybe we can’t be told an easy answer. I’ve come to learn that this may be the case where this health concern is related. But if we take ownership over our migraines, over our health, maybe it can be remedied.

     These extreme headaches can affect someone’s quality of life and should be taken more seriously both by the general public and doctors.

     I’ve visited my doctor many times about my experience with migraines. To my disappointment, the only advice I received concerns prescription medicines like Sumatriptan and changes to my daily habits that I can consider adopting.

     I am disappointed, because the cause of migraines is unknown, so we don’t know how to prevent them from happening.

     But many factors trigger migraines, including food and drink such as wine, chocolate, gluten or cheese, stress, a lack of physical activity and hormonal changes.

     Along with dozens of diagnoses, there are also a wide variety of suggestions for remedies. You can keep a food and headache journal in hopes to narrow down what might be setting your migraines off, and adjust your diet to avoid them.

     If stress triggers your migraines, you might try mindfulness or more exercise. I have used essential oils like peppermint or lavender and even dabbled with Emotional Freedom Techniques to cope with the pain.

     Even so, there is a lack in information on what really causes them.

     Additionally, there is new reason to be concerned about the long-term effects of chronic migraines. According to an article in the journal “Value of Health,” migraines may be a progressive disease that affects long-term psychological functioning, and they may even cause permanent neurological damage.

     If this is the case, migraine sufferers need to be taken seriously by medical professionals.

     If it is more serious than previously believed; we have to take ownership of our own health. I know that for me, that will be seeking out all possibilities and ruling out what doesn’t work for me.

     I am usually the first to say that tracking what I eat to discover what triggers my migraines is a great idea, but am the worst at following through.

     With class, homework, work and nearly an hour-long commute every day, it isn’t like I have much free time on my hands. I’m sure many people understand this.

     But until a cure is found, it is up to us migraine sufferers to do the best we can. Preventative measures, while they will differ from person to person, can help.