What really causes Migraines?
Migraines are vascular headaches that occur when there is uneven dilation of the blood vessels. Imagine a garden hose that is narrower in some places and widens out in others and then becomes narrower again. As the water flows through the hose it will meet resistance in the narrower places and then flow with ease in the widened place only to “hit” the narrow places again. This is exactly what occurs with migraine headaches when the blood vessels of the head dilate unevenly.
The blood flows through the narrow passages and then will enter a place where the blood vessel has dilated. This does not produce pain because the flow of the blood is not impeded. It is when the blood continues on its path from the widened area into another narrow area that pain is produced. The blood continues to travel through the vessel but now it must go through a smaller space. When the blood “hits” this smaller space there is literally an impact. The same amount of fluid must now squeeze through a narrower space. This creates pressure on the blood vessel wall, which in turn can produce pain.
Oftentimes, as migraine sufferers we can actually feel a throbbing or pulsating, a bonging pain that is rhythmic. This is the impact of the surge of blood on the narrowed vessel that occurs with each beat of the heart. This vessel has now become inflamed and possibly distended due to the onslaught of blood trying to enter a narrow space from a dilated space. The result is pain.
So is that why I get Migraines on my day off?
You bet it is. A typical pattern for migraine sufferers is that they do well (suffer no migraines) during times when they are expected to perform. But as soon as the pressure is off, here comes the migraine. The reason for this is that during times that we must produce, the times when we must perform, the times when we have to be all and do all, we produce certain neurotransmitters and adrenal hormones to enable us to accomplish the tasks at hand.
These substances are potent vasoconstrictors. Because the blood vessels are narrowed and there is no dilation going on—we will have no pain. But as soon as the pressure is off, the body will say, “Phew, I am free of those vasoconstrictors for a while, let’s dilate and return to good health and circulation.” If the dilation process happens unevenly, then we have the pain of the migraine.
So what does the body want?
Constricted or dilated blood vessels? What does the body prefer to have? Common sense tells us if our blood vessels are wide and open, blood flow is easier and blood pressure drops. Blood can more easily access all areas without the need for the heart to pump as hard. It is easier on the whole body if the blood vessels are dilated (not constricted) to allow easy access of the blood to the tissues. Therefore, when the vasoconstrictive substances are not present or not present in such large amounts, the body will try to return to its preferred state. This can be likened to a default. Everything goes back to the default unless otherwise stated or chosen
So what should we do ?
Help the blood vessels to dilate evenly, and do it naturally, by ensuring your body has the right balance of vitamins and minerals needed to remain in a relaxed muscular state..
Common migraine is accompanied by nausea, a general feeling of ill-being, and sometimes depression and irritability. Common migraine sufferers usually lack the warning aura. Their head pain normally involves the entire head, not just the temple or one side of the head. Fully formulated Magnesium based supplements can help. An example of a fully formulated supplement like Migraine Stop contains Magnesium to relax the soft muscle tissue in the neck and shoulders (to get blood flowing evenly), as well as B group vitamins and zinc to improve the absorption of Magnesium, together with Folinic Acid & Passionflower to ease the stress and tension that often becomes a part of a Migraine Sufferers life.
Further lifestyle changes, such as cutting back on sugar and alcohol intake, will also make a significant difference to the frequency of Migraines.
Complimentary Healthcare Group
CHG provides media articles backed by clinical data and research on complimentary options for healthcare. Supported by a unique group of Doctors around the world, CHG provides a snapshot on alternative health and the growing clinical evidence to support the uses of alternative medicines.
Dr. Richard Teague