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What Causes Migraine Headaches?

Although doctors and other medical professionals have been able to define migraine headaches for a while now, the condition is still not clearly understood. There have been various theories thrown about that try to explain what causes migraine headaches, but nothing is 100% conclusive. Much research has been put into this condition, and the medical profession as a whole is making good headway into finding out more about headaches & migraines as we go along. However, until "definite" causes can be identified beyond a shadow of a doubt, there are still some interesting theories that exist which you should hear.

Doctors and scientists from the 1940s were keen on the theory that migraine headaches began with a spasm or partial closing of the arteries leading to the cerebrum or the main section of the brain. Based on their explanation, the first spasm actually decreases the supply of blood to a part of the brain, which causes the aura that sufferers of migraine headaches typically experience. The flip side of that theory is that relaxed arteries can cause increased blood flow, and in either case, pain can result from that change in flow of blood. Medical professionals were convinced that they finally discovered what causes migraine headaches -- unfortunately, they soon found out it wasn't nearly as simple.

Some 30 years later, a new set of doctors and medical professionals introduced the idea that dopamine and serotonin are what causes migraine headaches. These are known as neurotransmitters within the body and they are said to have a direct effect on the blood flow. As mentioned before, an increase or decrease in the flow of blood can lead to severe pain, and hence migraines headaches.

Apart from scientific explanations for what causes migraine headaches, sufferers have been able to identify things that have directly attributed to the on-set of their particular headache attacks. In some cases, people pointed out that certain foods -- things like chocolate, cheese, nuts, MSG, and most notably caffeine -- may instantly trigger migraine headache problems. Others indicated that missing a meal or changing their eating pattern affected them to the point of causing or triggering this type of hard-hitting headache. Then there are some which noticed that a severe lack of sleep -- as well as just too much sleep -- could also induce a migraine headache.

On a side note, it is also found that people with epilepsy, Tourette syndrome, depression, and even simple cases of anxiety stand a greater chance of developing routine migraine headaches. Truth be known, nearly ANY condition that has a higher than normal level of stress associated with it -- like the conditions described above -- can easily trigger a severe migraine headache.

In order to determine EXACTLY what causes migraine headaches in you, a medical professional would more than likely have to sit down with you and go over every detail of your life JUST to narrow down the possibilities. Having said that, although there is a list of specific things that can trigger migraine headache attacks, everyone's situation is different and there is no clear-cut cause for everyone to go by. That means you shouldn't start making drastic life changes (diet, sleep, personal life, job, ect.) in order to get rid of headaches & migraines. After all, just because they changes helped others, that doesn't mean they will help you. In fact, such changes could very well make things worse; its hard to be 100% certain.

Identifying what triggers your migraine headache attacks is, in a nutshell, VITAL. Begin keeping a headache diary of what you do, what you eat, where you go, as well as PRECISE times in which you feel a migraine headache coming on. This way, you can learn what situations & actions trigger your migraine headaches, thereby enabling you to plan ahead and avoid those headache triggering events altogether.

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It is to be taken as suggestions or educational material and not to be considered professional advice.