Friday, June 2, 2023

Are Migraines Caused By Stress

How Long Do Ocular Migraines Last

How to treat and prevent stress-induced migraines

Most of the time, ocular migraines are relatively short-lived in duration. Sometimes, they last for as little as 20-30 minutes before disappearing completely. In other cases, especially if they are accompanied by more traditional migraine symptoms, ocular migraines may last longer. If your vision does not return within an hour, contact a doctor, or seek emergency care to ensure your migraine symptoms were not caused by something more serious.

Cefaly Can Help You Manage Your Stress Migraines

If your migraine treatment routine is causing you stress, it may be time to try CEFALY. CEFALY is an FDA-cleared , drug-free migraine prevention and treatment device. CEFALY is free of the serious side effects associated with many migraine medications, and many CEFALY users report that using the device makes them feel calm and relaxed. If you suffer from migraine symptoms, learn how CEFALY can help.

Deena E. Kuruvilla, MD

Deena E. Kuruvilla, MD, a board-certified neurologist and the director of the Westport Headache Institute, where she employs a holistic biopsychosocial approach to diagnosis and treatment. She held clinical appointments at the Yale University School of Medicine prior to starting her own practice and has authored many articles, book chapters, and research publications.

How Are Migraines Treated

Migraine has no cure. But your migraines can be managed with your doctor’s help. Together, you will find ways to treat migraine symptoms when they happen, as well as ways to help make your migraines less frequent and severe. Your treatment plan may include some or all of these methods.

Medicine. There are two ways to approach the treatment of migraines with drugs: stopping a migraine in progress and prevention. Many people with migraine use both forms of treatment.

Acute treatment. Over-the-counter pain-relief drugs such as aspirin, acetaminophen, or NSAIDs like ibuprofen relieve mild migraine pain for some people. If these drugs don’t work for you, your doctor might want you to try a prescription drug. Two classes of drugs that doctors often try first are:

  • Triptans, which work by balancing the chemicals in the brain. Examples include sumatriptan , rizatriptan , zolmitriptan , almotriptan , eletriptan , naratriptan , and frovatriptan . Triptans can come as tablets that you swallow, tablets that dissolve on your tongue, nasal sprays, and as a shot. They should not be used if you have heart disease or high blood pressure.
  • Ergot derivatives , which work in the same way as triptans. They should not be used if you have heart disease or high blood pressure.

Prevention. Some medicines used daily can help prevent attacks. Many of these drugs were designed to treat other health conditions, such as epilepsy and depression. Some examples are:

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How Can Stress Cause Headaches

Everyday stress can bring on headaches in a variety of ways. Thats because stress causes us to change our behavior without even realizing it.iv

You may still experience the occasional tension headache, but practicing the above techniques should help reduce their frequency and severity. Looking for a quick and effective way to get rid of a stress headache? Try an over-the-counter headache relief medication like Excedrin.You may still experience the occasional tension headache, but practicing the above techniques should help reduce their frequency and severity. Looking for a quick and effective way to get rid of a stress headache? Try an over-the-counter headache relief medication like Excedrin.

And while relaxation therapies and simply cutting down on the stress in your life can help to reduce the occurrence of tension headaches, chronic tension headaches may be indicative of a more serious issue. Consult a doctor to discuss and learn more about your headaches.


How Stress Triggers Migraines


The fact is multiple stressors can lead to migraine attacks. Sometimes it is the accumulation of multiple difficult situations or activities other times it is tied to specific life-changing events. Generally, there are a few different categories of stressors of which people with migraine should be aware:3

  • Physical, environmental and other external stressors
  • Psychological stressors such as trauma , socioeconomic and/or social stressors
  • Physiological stressors

Many patients report that they experience a migraine after a stressful situation. Although post-stress migraine attacks can occur within minutes or hours, they more often manifest within a few days. Specifically, migraineurs have cited an increase in daily hassles 1-3 days prior to attacks.5 Not only does this lead to greater feelings of stress and anxiety, but it also enhances mood swings, irritability, and fatigue. This supports other findings that daily challenges are one of the leading causes of stress-triggered migraines.

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The Connection Between Stress And Chronic Migraines

Avoiding Triggers

If youve ever had a migraine, you know you dont want to have another one. Therefore, youre willing to go out of your way to avoid things that trigger migraine headaches.

Common triggers for migraines may include

  • Menstrual cycles
  • Varying levels of caffeine consumption
  • Exercise and exertion
  • Bright, flickering lights
  • Stress and Anxiety

One of the reasons stress and anxiety tend to trigger migraines because it alters patterns to the brains allostatic load.

Managing Stress And Migraines

It is impossible to eliminate all the stress in your life, but sometimes it is possible to manage many of the things that create the most stress and tension in your life. It is important to try and reduce stress because long-term stress can lead to chronic migraine. Studies have suggested that long periods of stress can cause occasional headaches to become more frequent and chronic.4

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Treating Other Stressful Conditions That Trigger Migraine

Other health conditions can cause significant stress, which triggers migraine attacks in people susceptible to migraine. The most common examples include post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and physical or sexual abuse. This makes it important to find a treatment that helps reduce the symptoms and stress of these other conditions.4

Disrupted Routines And Schedules

Dr. Joseph Sirven – Tips for managing seizures, migraines and stress

When it comes to Migraine, consistency is key, and the pandemic threw regular routines out the window. “An inconsistent schedule in eating, sleep, hydration, and exercise may very well play a role in setting off headaches during this time,” says Dr. Wells, but notes that this might improve as people begin to strike a rhythm with at-home work.

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What Commonly Triggers A Migraine

People who get migraines may be able to identify triggers that seem to kick off the symptoms. Some possible triggers include the following:

  • Stress and other emotions
  • Biological and environmental conditions, such as hormonal shifts or exposure to light or smells
  • Fatigue and changes in ones sleep pattern
  • Glaring or flickering lights

Stress Headaches: Signs Symptoms And Treatment

Stress headaches fall under the category of primary headaches. This means that the headaches are not caused by any underlying illness or condition. The primary trigger for this type of headache is stress, which causes the muscles in the shoulders and neck to contract which leads to pain in the base of the skull where the neck meets the head. The pain then extends to the back of the head and is often described by patients as a dull, vice-like pressure felt around the head. This is a very common headache type which affects even those who are not prone to various other primary or secondary conditions.

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Can Migraine Be Worse During Menopause

If your migraine headaches are closely linked to your menstrual cycle, menopause may make them less severe. As you get older, the nausea and vomiting may decrease as well. About two-thirds of women with migraines report that their symptoms improve with menopause.

But for some women, menopause worsens migraine or triggers them to start. It is not clear why this happens. Menopausal hormone therapy, which is prescribed for some women during menopause, may be linked to migraines during this time. In general, though, the worsening of migraine symptoms goes away once menopause is complete.

Stress Can Be Unique To You

Why stress is not the cause of migraine

Pinpointing stress triggers isnt always as easy as looking at a list of possible stressors.

You may need to decide for yourself what causes stress or ask your loved ones or therapist to discuss what your triggers might be.

Preventing stress-induced migraine often starts with addressing stress in your life as a trigger.

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When Should I Seek Immediate Help Or Contact My Healthcare Provider

  • You are experiencing the worst headache of my life.
  • You are having neurologic symptoms that youve never had before, including speaking difficulty, balance problems, vision problems, mental confusion, seizures or numbing/tingling sensations.
  • Your headache comes on suddenly.
  • You have a headache after experiencing a head injury.

Schedule a visit with your healthcare provider if:

  • The number or severity of your headaches increase or your headache pattern changes.
  • Your medications no longer seem to be working or youre experiencing new or different side effects.

Migraines Can Be Managed With Proper Care And Treatment

In the United States alone, strokes account for nearly140,000 deaths every single year. If you or a loved one are experiencing a stroke, seek immediate medical attention to prevent long-term damage and disability. According to the CDC, Patients who arrive at the emergency room within 3 hours of their first symptoms often have less disability 3 months after a stroke than those who received delayed care.

Understanding your migraines and your specific migraine triggers may help you avoid or at least minimize the occurrence of these disorienting episodes. However, even with the most robust prevention, migraines will still occur for many sufferers. With the inherent elevated stroke risk associated with all migraines , its crucial to know how to recognize the symptomatic discrepancies between the two, and act fast if faced with a potential stroke.

If you or a loved one has experienced a stroke, you know that it can have a significant impact on ones life. Here at Saebo, we are committed to stroke support and recovery to improve the overall quality of life for all survivors and their families.Saebo offers a wide range of products that combine cutting-edge technology with evidence-based rehabilitation techniques. Our offerings and network of Saebo-trained therapists can help you or a loved one to obtain all the necessary tools to maximize stroke recovery.

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Symptoms Of Retinal Migraine

The symptoms of retinal migraine may include:

  • partial or total loss of vision in 1 eye this usually lasts 10 to 20 minutes before vision gradually returns
  • headache this may happen before, during or after the vision attack

Its unusual for an episode of vision loss to last longer than an hour. The same eye is affected every time in almost all cases.

Vision may slowly become blurred or dimmed, or there may be flashes of light. Some people see a mosaic-like pattern of blank spots , which enlarge to cause total loss of vision.

How To Avoid Stress And Anxiety Triggers

VA Secondary Conditions to Migraines

The causes of stress and anxiety differ from person to person. But there are some common triggers including:

Social problems, like conflict in the workplace, discrimination, and living in an unsafe environment can also cause stress.

Traumatic events, like losing a loved one, experiencing physical and sexual assault, or going to war, can also cause profound stress. The stress from catastrophes like these can result in the clinical diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder .

Seems like stress can hit you from every angle, right? Its important to take stock of your life and determine the sources of stress you can eliminate, like a bad job or a toxic relationship.

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How Stress Triggers Migraine

As you may know from experience, stress can cause attacks. In fact, studies suggest it might be the most common migraine trigger. In one migraine study, 1000 migraineurs were asked to identify their triggers, and 80% said stress was one of them. According to the American Headache Society, four out of five people with migraine say their attacks can be triggered by stress. To make matters worse, doctors believe that high stress levels make migraine sufferers more susceptible to other triggers, including hormonal changes, and that suffering migraine attacks may make people worse at handling stress over time.

Why would your brain react to high levels of stress by putting you in such intense pain that you canât do anything but lie down? As with so many questions about migraine brains, scientists donât have a clear-cut answer yet. It may have something to do with the âflight or fightâ responseâthe physical reaction to stress you might remember learning about in schoolâwhich causes a rush of chemical and vascular activity in your brain that can make attacks more likely.

Managing And Preventing Headaches

Because the majority of headaches experienced by adults are tension headaches, and these headaches are caused by stress, a great proportion of these headaches can be avoided or at least minimized with effective stress management techniques. Additionally, because stress can make migraine sufferers more susceptible to their migraine triggers, stress relief techniques can help avoid many of these severe headaches as well. And, finally, because stress management techniques can strengthen the immune system , those who practice regular stress management techniques can avoid at least some potential secondary headaches by avoiding the health conditions that cause them.

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As If Stress Werent Bad Enough On Its Own It Can Both Trigger And Worsen Headaches

Modern life is stressful and, unfortunately, that doesnt seem likely to change any time soon. From the moment your alarm clock jolts you out of bed until youre finally done for the day, you are likely to experience some amount of stress. This can be in the form of anxiety or other psychological pressures, or physical stress such as eye and neck strain from sitting at a computer. While a little stress is tolerable, too much can have damaging effects on your health.i Many symptoms can be attributed to the mental and physiological pressures were under. These can range from fatigue to stomach upset to sleep problems. Top of the list? That nagging headache.ii

Effects Of Repeated Migraines On The Brain


The basal ganglia have also been implicated in migraine. In general, the basal ganglia play an important role in pain processing . Migraineurs with more advanced forms of the disease, reduced response to noxious thermal stimulation in the caudate, putamen and pallidum associated with larger volume in caudate 8. These may be explained by ongoing inflammation, enhanced iron accumulation or increased dendritic complexity. Hypometabolism in the caudate has been reported for familial hemiplegic migraine 33.

Decreased grey matter in anterior cingulate cortex 9, 10, 34 and insula 9, 10 in migraine patients has been reported. These changes correlate with the frequency of migraine attacks or duration of the disease 9, 10. Decreased cortical gray matter volume in the cingulate cortex is reported in patients with depression 35 too. Interestingly, migraine is also associated with an increased rate of affective illness including depression 36 with patients who have higher frequency headaches as in daily chronic headache 37 at an increasing higher risk of depression.

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Southern Pain Clinic Can Help

Migraine headaches can be debilitating. Fortunately, you dont have to suffer alone. Help is available.

For information on how you can find relief from chronic headaches and tools to reach a diagnosis and helpful treatments, please contact Southern Pain Clinic today.

We look forward to hearing from you.

How To Eliminate Migraines

Ultimately, we can check for the various stressors to learn what may be triggering your headaches and how stress has shifted your cortisol, digestion, hormones and neurotransmitter levels. We can also look at your genetics to see what your body specifically needs to heal.

My Adrenal Recovery and Wellness Program includes several of these panels, as well as consultations with me to identify the root issues and work through my Dr. Doni Protocol to reverse your symptoms and ultimately eliminate migraines.

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Getting Immediate Relief For Your Tension Headaches

You can often feel a tension headache starting to build up in your head. You can feel the first signs of tension building up in the muscles of your head. When you sense that first sign of tension, slow down and stop whatever it is you are doing for a moment. Pay attention to the tension and accept it. This in and of itself may short circuit and stop the tension.

Other things that might help stop the buildup of tension are:

  • Take a walk
  • Take a moment and slow down whatever it is you are doing.
  • Take some deep breaths to release your tension.
  • Massage the muscles in your head and neck to release the tension. This can be very effective.

If none of these measures work, you might want to take an over the counter pain killer that you know and that works well for you. Experiment with your medication, and figure out the smallest does that will stop your headache effectively.

But the most important thing to do is to take measure that will help you prevent the occurrence of tension headaches in the future.

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