The brain’s primary function is to send out neuron signals from the brain to the entire body. These neuron signals travel to the gut system, the cardiovascular system, the endocrine system, and the musculoskeletal system to make sure each of these systems is doing its jobs properly. Each of the systems has a bidirectional connection to the brain and vice versa. When there are unwanted pathogens that start to attach and disrupt the neuron signals, it can cause the body to not only be dysfunctional but also cause the brain to develop neurological disorders that will cause a person to be in pain. In this article, we will be taking a look at how migraines and headaches affect the brain, their symptoms as well as ways to treat them naturally. By referring patients to qualified and skilled providers who specialized in neurological services. To that end, and when appropriate, we advise our patients to refer to our associated medical providers based on their examination. We find that education is the key to asking valuable questions to our providers. Dr. Alex Jimenez DC provides this information as an educational service only. Disclaimer
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How Migraines Affect The Brain
So migraines are a chronic disorder with episodic attacks that can cause severe throbbing pain on one side of the head. Research shows that migraines are genetically influenced complex disorders that are often characterized by moderate-to-severe headache episodes that are accompanied by nausea and an increased sensitivity to light and sound. Migraines are considered as integrated mechanisms and complex pathophysiology that when someone is having a migraine attack they are functionally disabled and it can last from a few hours to days depending on how severe it is.
Other studies have shown that migraines are the commonest causes of recurring, severe headaches that may be triggered by internal or external influences that affect the individual or it can even come by itself for no reason. When a person is suffering from migraines and is enduring in-between attacks, many individuals have to deal with the predisposition to future attacks, anticipate anxiety, and the changes in their brain function.
When a person is dealing with a migraine, it can progress into four stages depending on how severe the symptoms are as research shows. They are:
- Prodrome: Slight changes within 1 to 2 days. Some of the symptoms include mood changes, constipation, increased urination, and neck stiffness.
- Aura: Occurs before or during a migraine attack and lasts up to 60 minutes. Symptoms include vision loss, seeing flashes of light, numbness on the face, and tingle sensation on the arm or leg.
- Attack: Migraines that last about 4 to 72 hours if it is left untreated. Some of the symptoms include pulsing pain, sensitivity to light and sound, and feeling nauseated.
- Post-drome: An individual will feel drained and confused after a migraine attack and feel wiped out throughout the entire day.
Other research studies have found that some risk factors are associated with migraines can include genetics, gender, and chronic stress. By figuring out what are the risk factors that can cause the development of a migraine is beneficial for individuals to make small changes in their lifestyle to prevent migraines from forming.
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How Headaches Affect The Brain
Throughout the entire world, everyone has dealt with some form of headache from any situation that a person is dealing with. Headaches are throbbing pain that is in the head and it is due to that can impact a person’s life. Research studies have found that headaches affect most people due to a wide variety of factors that impact their lives. Some of these factors can be both personal and social burdens that a person is dealing with. Whether it is due to being in pain, having a disability, damaged quality of life, or financial situation, can cause a person to feel stress and developed a headache from these factors.
When individuals are dealing with a headache for a few hours are considered acute headaches. Studies have found that acute headaches are broadly classified as primary headaches due to them having no underlying cause. However, if the headache becomes a constant nuisance it can become chronic. Research shows that chronic headaches are due to causes like metabolic abnormalities, central nervous system infections, and intracranial tumors.
Some of the causes and symptoms of headaches, as research shows, can be triggered by a variety of things that can affect a person. Sometimes it can be hereditary or can be triggered by environmental factors that a person is dealing with. Some of the symptoms that are caused by headaches include:
Treating Headaches and Migraines
There are ways to actually treat headaches and migraines without the usage of medication and are beneficial for individuals that are suffering from it. Research has shown that going to massage therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and acupuncture can relieve headaches and migraines from coming back. Other ways to relieve headaches and migraines include:
- Resting in a quiet, dark room
- Limit caffeine intake
- A hot or cold compress on the head or neck
All in all, everyone deals with headaches and migraines due to stressful factors that can impact the body and the brain’s health. Finding ways to dampen the effects of migraines and headaches from processing further will provide the individual relief from these throbbing pains that are pounding on the head. Eating the right foods, exercising daily, meditating for about 30 minutes to an hour can help lower the stress that a person is dealing and they can continue to be on their wellness journey.
Baraness, Leeran. “Acute Headache.” StatPearls [Internet]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 28 Dec. 2021, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK554510/.
Medical Professional, Cleveland Clinic. “Headaches: Types, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment.” Cleveland Clinic, 3 June 2020, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9639-headaches.
Medical Professional, Cleveland Clinic. “Migraine Headaches: Causes, Treatment & Symptoms.” Cleveland Clinic, 3 Mar. 2021, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/5005-migraine-headaches.
Murphy, Christie. “Chronic Headaches.” StatPearls [Internet]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 12 Dec. 2021, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559083/.
Ruschel, Marco A. Pescador, and Orlando De Jesus. “Migraine Headache.” StatPearls [Internet]., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 30 Aug. 2021, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK560787/.
Staff, Mayo Clinic. “Migraine.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2 July 2021, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/migraine-headache/symptoms-causes/syc-20360201.
Staff, Mayo Clinic. “Which Treatment Is Best for Your Headaches?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 10 May 2019, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-daily-headaches/in-depth/headaches/art-20047375.
Steiner, T J, and Manuela Fontebasso. “Headache.” BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.), BMJ Group, 19 Oct. 2002, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1124385/.
Weatherall, Mark W. “The Diagnosis and Treatment of Chronic Migraine.” Therapeutic Advances in Chronic Disease, SAGE Publications, May 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4416971/.
The information herein on "How Migraines and Headaches Affect The Brain" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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