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What Causes Migraines?

What Causes Migraines?

We all experience tension headaches or what most people consider normal “everyday” headaches from time to time. In most cases, tension headaches cause mild to moderate discomfort and often last between 30 minutes to a few hours.

In contrast, migraine headaches are more intense and can last up to three days. By definition, a migraine is more than just a simple headache. It is a complex neurological disorder that causes severe throbbing or pulsating pain, usually on one side of the head – often accompanied by sensory, visual, and auditory disturbances, including nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, blurred vision, dizziness, and tingling in the extremities.

Causes Of Migraines

The exact cause of migraines is not well understood, but researchers have identified various factors that can potentially contribute to the onset of migraines or trigger migraine episodes. These include:

1. Genetic Predisposition

Migraines tend to run in families, suggesting a genetic component could underlie their development. Researchers believe that certain genes or genetic mutations may increase one’s susceptibility to developing the condition. According to The Migraine Trust, genetic factors account for up to 60 percent of the risk of developing migraines.

2. Dietary Factors

Certain foods and beverages can trigger migraines in some individuals. Potential dietary triggers include aged cheeses, alcohol (especially red wine), chocolate, aspartame, monosodium glutamate (MSG), caffeine, and processed foods.

The mechanisms are not entirely understood, but these foods and drinks may influence the release of neurotransmitters or vasodilation, both of which have been implicated in migraine development.

3. Hormonal Changes

Hormonal fluctuations, particularly of estrogen, can trigger migraines. This could explain why many women tend to experience recurrent migraines during their menstrual period, pregnancy, or menopause, or when using hormonal contraceptives.

4. Psychological Stress

Stress is one of the most common triggers of migraines. This can be emotional stress from work, personal relationships, or significant life changes. Stress stimulates the release of stress hormones, which can cause inflammation and provoke vascular changes in the brain, which can culminate in a migraine attack. Interestingly, relaxation following a stressful period can also trigger migraines, known as a “let-down headache.”

Mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety can also cause changes in brain chemistry, structure, and functioning – which could ultimately lead to the onset of migraines.

5. Sensory Stimuli

Bright or flickering lights, loud sounds, or strong smells can induce migraines. These stimuli might activate the nervous system in a way that results in a migraine attack. For example, bright lights can lead to changes in the brain’s visual cortex, which may trigger migraines in susceptible individuals.

6. Poor Sleep Patterns

Both sleep deprivation and excessive sleep can trigger migraines. Regular sleep patterns are essential for maintaining stable serotonin and melatonin levels, two important neurotransmitters involved in sleep regulation. Dysregulation of these neurochemicals has been identified as a potential cause of chronic pain syndromes, including migraines.

7. Medications

Certain medicines can aggravate migraines. These include vasodilators (drugs that expand blood vessels) and some types of hormonal contraceptives. The exact mechanisms are not entirely understood but may relate to changes in blood flow or hormone levels.

8. Traumatic Head Injuries

Traumatic brain injury can lead to the onset of migraines or other types of headaches known as post-traumatic headaches. The injury can cause nerve damage or lead to changes in the brain and the way it processes pain, which can potentially lead to the development of migraines.

9. Physical Exertion

Overexertion from intense physical activity can also provoke migraines. The cause is not entirely understood, but it might be related to the increased blood flow during peak physical activity – which is thought to cause blood vessels in the neck and head areas to dilate, a process that has been implicated in migraine development.

10. Weather Changes

Changes in weather or barometric pressure can trigger migraines in some individuals. The exact mechanism is unclear, but researchers believe these changes can alter the brain’s chemical balance or influence blood pressure, leading to a migraine attack.

11. Dehydration & Hunger

Skipping meals or not drinking enough water can also trigger migraines. Low blood sugar from fasting can lead to migraines, while dehydration can lead to changes in brain volume and increased pain sensitivity.

Ketamine Therapy for Migraines

Among the various treatment options for migraines, ketamine therapy emerges as a particularly promising solution. Ketamine is a powerful anesthetic that has been used in medical settings for decades. More recently, it has shown tremendous potential in treating a range of neurological and psychiatric disorders, migraines included.

Ketamine’s effectiveness in mitigating migraines is largely attributed to its unique mechanism of action. It works by blocking NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptors in the brain, which are integral to pain transmission. This action can help to reset hyperactive pain signaling pathways, which are often overactive in those suffering from migraines.

Ketamine infusions can provide significant relief for those dealing with migraines, particularly for those who find little to no respite from traditional treatments. The therapy is typically well-tolerated and can provide rapid relief from symptoms. Furthermore, some patients have reported long-term improvement in their migraine frequency and severity after undergoing ketamine therapy.

The specifics of ketamine therapy can vary depending on individual patient characteristics and the severity of the migraines. In general, though, it involves a series of infusions administered over several weeks.

Final Thoughts

Migraines can take a significant toll on an individual’s quality of life, but with the right combination of lifestyle changes, traditional treatments, and innovative approaches like ketamine therapy, effective management of this debilitating condition is possible.

Midwest Ketafusion® is committed to helping you reclaim your life from the debilitating effects of migraines. We offer a range of innovative treatments, including ketamine therapy, tailored to your unique needs. Our team understands the impact migraines can have on your daily life, and we are here to help you navigate this journey towards improved health and well-being.

If you’re grappling with migraines and are in search of an effective treatment, reach out to Midwest Ketafusion® today. Our expert medical team will guide you through the process, answering any questions you may have and determining if ketamine therapy is the right option for you. Don’t let migraines control your life any longer. Contact us today and start your journey towards a life less burdened by migraines.


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