Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Why Does Stress Cause Migraines

Discovering Your Migraine Triggers

Does Stress Cause Headache – See If Stress is Causing Your Headaches!

Migraines affect the lives of about 36 million people in the United States. These debilitating headaches often come with warning signs that can help you head them off at the pass. While your warning signs may fill you with dread, if youre able to identify exactly your triggers, you may be able to avoid migraines altogether.

Some common migraine triggers include:

  • Weather changes
  • Duration
  • Intensity

This helps us pinpoint the cause or causes of your episodes so we can treat you accordingly.

How To Tell If Your Headache Is Caused By Anxiety

Tension headaches are often diagnosed in relation to a person’s overall health and lifestyle. Only a medical professional can officially diagnose a tension headache, but there are some questions many ask themselves to begin to identify the cause of a headache.

  • Do I have migraines?
  • Am I feeling stressed or anxious?
  • Do I have any other symptoms of physical illness, like a fever?

Because self-diagnosis is not recommended, a visit to the doctor isn’t a bad idea. This is especially true, as many symptoms of anxiety mimic those of physical health problems .

Chronic Stress Hurts The Cardiovascular System

Scientists believe stress increases the risk of these health concerns because of the inflammation-causing chemicals released during the fight-or-flight response, according to research published in Biological Psychiatry. To investigate how this happens in the body, scientists studied the brain activity of adults while the subjects were shown unpleasant pictures.

Researchers found that adults whose brains were more actively working to counteract the effects of stress were also more likely to have increased blood levels of inflammatory chemicals. Learning to regulate the stress response could help keep the heart healthy and reduce inflammation. Biological Psychiatry editor Dr. John Krystal says:

As we identify the key mechanisms linking brain and body, we may be able to also break the cycle through which stress and depression impair physical health.

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What Type Of Doctor Do You See For Ocular Migraines

If you have ocular migraines, you can see an ophthalmologist oran optometrist.

Optometrists are eye care specialists who offer primary vision care services, including:

  • Vision testing
  • Correction of visual problems
  • Treatment and management of visual issues and eye diseases

On the other hand, ophthalmologists are medical practitioners who specialize in eye and vision care. They differ from optometrists in their degrees of schooling as well as what they can diagnose and cure.

An ophthalmologist is a healthcare professional who has finished college and has at least eight years of further medical studies. He or she is licensed to practice medicine and surgery. Ophthalmologists hold a Doctor of Medicine degree.

Optometrists are healthcare professionals who complete four additional years of school after finishing undergraduate studies. They hold a Doctor of Optometry degree.

Chronic Stress Impacts Other Emotions

Try These 9 Simple Headache Hacks for Fast Relief

Have you ever arrived home after spending an hour in traffic only to have a minor annoyance at home set you off? Thats because stress makes people grouchy, and a study published in Nature Communications has learned why.

Chronic stress eats away at a brain mechanism important for social skills and healthy cognition. It does this by affecting pathways in the hippocampus, a portion of the brain involved in memory, learning, and emotion, literally interfering with healthy responses. Interestingly, these affected pathways are the same ones involved in neurodegenerative diseases like epilepsy. Researchers plan to explore stress potential impact on those diseases as well.

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How Can I Tell If I Have A Migraine Or A Sinus Headache

Many people confuse a sinus headache with a migraine because pain and pressure in the sinuses, nasal congestion, and watery eyes often occur with migraine. To find out if your headache is sinus or migraine, ask yourself these questions:

In addition to my sinus symptoms, do I have:

  • Moderate-to-severe headache
  • Nausea
  • Sensitivity to light
  • If you answer yes to two or three of these questions, then most likely you have migraine with sinus symptoms. A true sinus headache is rare and usually occurs due to sinus infection. In a sinus infection, you would also likely have a fever and thick nasal secretions that are yellow, green, or blood-tinged. A sinus headache should go away with treatment of the sinus infection.

    Treatment For Anxiety Headaches

    The first thing to do, if you haven’t already, is talk to your doctor. Theyâll likely ask about your symptoms and health history. Try to give as much detail about your symptoms as you can.

    Your doctor may suggest:

    Medicine. Some drugs for anxiety, such as anxiolytics, tricyclic antidepressants, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors , can also treat headaches. If they don’t work for you, you may need more than one drug.

    You’ll have regular checkups to see how well the medicine works for you and to make sure your headaches don’t get any worse.

    Therapy. You might also get different types of therapy to help with anxiety issues. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to be particularly effective for people with anxiety and migraines. It helps you become more aware of your thoughts and behaviors so you can change them to lessen your worry and anxiety. You can often see results within a few months.

    Pain relievers. You can start with over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen. Prescription drugs called triptans may help if you have both migraines and tension headaches.

    Muscle relaxants.Tizanidine may help prevent some tension headaches.

    Alternative remedies

    Certain non-medication treatments may help, too.

    Biofeedback. You use a machine that relays electrical signals to help you control your muscle movements andbreathing to help you relax.

    Heating pads. Putting them on your shoulders and neck may help ease tension and keep the headache away.

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    Stress Triggers Headache In People With Migraine But Not In People Without Migraine

    In a 2010 study published in Headache, a sample of 200 consecutive new patients admitted to a Cleveland clinic were surveyed in an effort to better understand the prevalence of various migraine triggers. Of the 182 who reported having at least one trigger, the most common was emotional stress , followed by too much or too little sleep , and odors .

    In another study, conducted by W.J. Becker of the University of Calgary, stress was found to initiate headache in those predisposed to migraine, but not in people without migraine. In other words, stress may trigger a migraine attack and if occurring too often, it can also lead to more frequent attacks that eventually become chronic.

    Make Time For Relationships And Personal Growth

    Shocker: Tension Causes Tension Headaches, Study Says

    Studies show that talking with other people relieves stress. Schedule together time with your partner, and deliberately get off the couch and do something fun. Reach out to your support network, and offer support to others. By increasing personal interaction and prioritizing the things that make you happy, stress will instantly be minimized.

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    How Are Migraines Diagnosed

    Your doctor can diagnose migraines by the symptoms you describe. If the diagnosis is not clear, your doctor will perform a physical exam. Your doctor might want to do blood tests or imaging tests, such as an MRI or CAT scan of the brain. These tests can help ensure there are no other causes for the headache. You may also be asked to keep a headache journal. This can help your doctor identify the things that might cause your migraines.

    If headache pain is getting in the way of your daily activities, its time to see your family doctor. Read More

    What Is An Anxiety Headache

    Anxiety headaches happen along with a feeling of anxiety. Having a headache may make you anxious. Or a headache can be a physical symptom of your anxiety.

    Doctors believe the two can be linked, but they donât understand exactly how.

    It may have to do with how the brain works. The cells in your brain that control mood, sleep, and pain use a chemical called serotonin to send messages to each other. When people get migraines, these cells get much more active than normal. That changes your serotonin levels, which may lead to anxiety.

    As doctors learn more about how headaches and anxiety affect each other, they can offer better treatments for both. Make sure to tell your doctor about both conditions so you can get the care you need.

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    Chronic Migraine Stress And Your Brain

    Frequent or severe stress can change your brainâs functions and structures. These changes will only get worse as the stress continues.

    If you have chronic migraines, your brain acts differently than the brains of healthy, migraine-free people. Even between headaches, your brain can be in an overexcited state. Changes in brain structure may result from frequent migraines.

    How To Identify Triggers

    Migraine vs. headache: How to tell the difference

    If you have migraine, almost anything can be a trigger. This means it can be very difficult to identify your potential triggers. It may also be a combination of a few things that seems to lead to a migraine attack. And a trigger may not lead to a migraine attack every time, which can confuse things even more.

    Here is an example of how combinations of triggers can work: A young woman has identified that her migraine attacks appear to be triggered when she skips meals, is feeling stressed and when she is about to have her period. If she comes home late from a very stressful day at work, her period is just about to start, and she goes straight to bed without eating a proper meal, she will almost certainly have a migraine attack. However, if she skips dinner another time, when the other triggers did not happen, she will probably not have migraine attack.

    Many people find that they sometimes go a long time without having a migraine attack. During this time, your body may seem to be less sensitive to triggers and you may find that even the combination of your usual triggers doesnt result in a migraine attack.

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    Coeliac Disease And Gluten Sensitivity

    Coeliac disease is a serious condition where a persons immune system reacts when they eat gluten and causes damage to the lining of their gut. When this happens, they have symptoms such as diarrhoea, bloating, vomiting and stomach cramps. There can also be serious complications if it is not treated, such as anaemia. There is no cure for coeliac disease and people with it need to avoid gluten all their life.

    There have been studies into the link between coeliac disease and migraine. There is no evidence to suggest that coeliac disease causes migraine. It is thought that if people with coeliac disease and migraine follow a gluten-free diet, this may help with both of their conditions.

    Gluten sensitivity is when a person has a bad reaction if they eat gluten. They may have similar symptoms to coeliac disease, but there is no damage to the lining of their gut or the risk of serious complications that can happen with coeliac disease.

    Gluten is found in foods that contain wheat, barley or rye. These include pasta, bread, cakes, some sauces and most ready meals.

    One of the symptoms of gluten sensitivity is headache. But there is no evidence that gluten sensitivity causes migraine. However, if you are sensitive to gluten, you may find that if you eat food containing gluten, it makes migraine attacks more likely or the symptoms more painful.

    Stress Affects The Body On A Biological Level

    When we think of how can stress cause headaches, we have to first look at the body on a biological level. On the most basic level, the stress response begins in the brain, which triggers the release of an adrenaline hormone known as epinephrine, which increases heartbeat, pulse, and blood pressure.

    Over time, chronic stress may result in high blood pressure, and mood disorders like anxiety and depression. Some people may also develop addictions to drugs or alcohol in an effort to cope with stress, according to Harvard Health. People may turn to food to cope with the tension, stop exercising, or have difficulty sleeping. These side issues may lead to obesity or other health problems.

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    How Can You Reduce Or Manage Stress

    Donât let stress get out of control. Take these tips to manage or prevent it:

    • Get some exercise. Make time for a 30-minute daily walk.
    • Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Add more fresh fruits, veggies, and whole grains.
    • Write out your stress. Start a journal. Let your emotions and thoughts flow out so you can deal with them instead of letting stress build up.
    • Get enough sleep each night. About 85% of people with migraines say they sleep poorly. Stress can keep you awake at night. When you sleep well, your body and mind can recharge for the next day. Set a regular bedtime routine and stick to it.

    Are Migraine Headaches More Common In Women Than Men

    Headaches, Migraines, and Headband Sensations (How chronic stress and Anxiety can cause these)

    Yes. About three out of four people who have migraines are women. Migraines are most common in women between the ages of 20 and 45. At this time of life women often have more job, family, and social duties. Women tend to report more painful and longer lasting headaches and more symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting. All these factors make it hard for a woman to fulfill her roles at work and at home when migraine strikes.

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    How To Know When Its A Stress Migraine

    It can be pretty tricky to work out the exact cause of your migraine attack, but it can be super helpful for migraine management.

    Stress and anxiety are common triggers for migraine. So give yourself a once-over for the common symptoms of both if you feel a migraine attack coming on.

    Typical symptoms of stress and anxiety include:

    What Are Some Ways I Can Prevent Migraine

    The best way to prevent migraine is to find out what triggers your attacks and avoid or limit these triggers. Since migraine headaches are more common during times of stress, finding healthy ways to cut down on and cope with stress might help. Talk with your doctor about starting a fitness program or taking a class to learn relaxation skills.

    Talk with your doctor if you need to take your pain-relief medicine more than twice a week. Doing so can lead to rebound headaches. If your doctor has prescribed medicine for you to help prevent migraine, take them exactly as prescribed. Ask what you should do if you miss a dose and how long you should take the medicine. Talk with your doctor if the amount of medicine you are prescribed is not helping your headaches.

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    What Is The Prognosis For People With Migraines

    Migraines are unique to each individual. Likewise, how migraines are managed is also unique. The best outcomes are usually achieved by learning and avoiding personal migraine triggers, managing symptoms, practicing preventive methods, following the advice of your healthcare provider and reporting any significant changes as soon as they occur.

    What Are The Four Stages Or Phases Of A Migraine Whats The Timeline

    Do You Have A Headache Or A Migraine? Here

    The four stages in chronological order are the prodrome , aura, headache and postdrome. About 30% of people experience symptoms before their headache starts.

    The phases are:

  • Prodrome: The first stage lasts a few hours, or it can last days. You may or may not experience it as it may not happen every time. Some know it as the preheadache or premonitory phase.
  • Aura: The aura phase can last as long as 60 minutes or as little as five. Most people dont experience an aura, and some have both the aura and the headache at the same time.
  • Headache: About four hours to 72 hours is how long the headache lasts. The word ache doesnt do the pain justice because sometimes its mild, but usually, its described as drilling, throbbing or you may feel the sensation of an icepick in your head. Typically it starts on one side of your head and then spreads to the other side.
  • Postdrome: The postdrome stage goes on for a day or two. Its often called a migraine hangover and 80% of those who have migraines experience it.
  • It can take about eight to 72 hours to go through the four stages.

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    I Get Migraines Right Before My Period Could They Be Related To My Menstrual Cycle

    More than half of migraines in women occur right before, during, or after a woman has her period. This often is called “menstrual migraine.” But, just a small fraction of women who have migraine around their period only have migraine at this time. Most have migraine headaches at other times of the month as well.

    How the menstrual cycle and migraine are linked is still unclear. We know that just before the cycle begins, levels of the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, go down sharply. This drop in hormones may trigger a migraine, because estrogen controls chemicals in the brain that affect a woman’s pain sensation.

    Talk with your doctor if you think you have menstrual migraine. You may find that medicines, making lifestyle changes, and home treatment methods can prevent or reduce the pain.

    Green Light Illuminates A Possible Connection

    Light sensitivity, referred to as photophobia, is a well-known symptom of migraine. Scientists now have a detailed understanding of the pathways that connect light and migraine pain, as well as the processes that transpire via these pathways, thanks to novel research from Dr. Rami Burstein of Harvard University.

    In 2010, Dr. Burstein and his team published a study in Nature Neuroscience pinpointing a previously unknown pathway by which light increases migraine headache. The findings stemmed from their work with blind patients early on in the study, which led them to find that some of the blind patients could detect the presence of light, while others could not detect light at all. For the latter group, light had no effect on migraine. But for blind patients who could still detect light, its presence could make migraines more painful especially blue light.

    Inspired by these findings, Dr. Burstein set out over the next five years to better understand the effects of all colors of light on the migraine experience. By exposing patients with normal eyesight to wavelengths of white , blue, green, amber, and red lights during a migraine, the team found that nearly all of the colors increased headache intensity in patients with normal eyesight . The single outlier was a narrow band of green light that actually seemed to ease headache intensity. It is this discovery that gave rise to the groundbreaking treatment now commonly referred to as green light therapy.

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