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Explore treatment options during June Migraine Awareness Month

According to Migraine.com, people who get migraines have reported for decades that their minds don’t function normally during a migraine attack. Research on the topic has been difficult and inconclusive, but quality studies exploring cognitive dysfunction during migraines continue.

A study published in the October 2014 issue of Cephalalgia found that participants performed worse on a series of tasks during an untreated migraine attack than when they were not experiencing an attack. The tests consisted of speed reading, learning verbally and recalling verbal information. Difficulty thinking during a migraine has often been thought to be related to distracting pain; however, researchers argue that cognitive dysfunction appears to be less about the pain and more about the brain’s activity during a migraine. Researchers note that the cognitive impairment arises in the earliest stages of a migraine attack, many times before the pain begins, and even when medications control the pain, cognitive dysfunction can remain. Researchers claim that there is no permanent brain damage even after the most violent migraine incident.

The underlying triggers for migraines can be varied and the exact nature of the cause is still unexplained. Because individuals may have varied symptoms, and there are various types of migraines, there is no specific test for migraines. Some of the most common symptoms are throbbing pulsating pain, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, nausea, pain on just one side off the head, vision changes, visual auras and vomiting.

Others might experience weakness, vertigo, diarrhea, difficulty concentrating or feeling dizzy. It is recommended that sufferers keep track of their symptoms and report them to their doctors because several migraine symptoms are noted in other disorders and diseases.

The U.S. Headache consortium offers up the goals for long-term migraine treatment as reduction of frequency and severity of attacks, reduction of the amount of disability during migraine attacks and improvement of the overall quality of life by headache prevention, and avoidance of escalation of headache medications.

Some natural remedies for migraines include vitamins, minerals and botanicals. Natural migraine treatments include Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamins D, C and E, minerals such as magnesium, potassium, or other supplements such as fish oil, CoQ10, flax seed, ginkgo biloba, feverfew, valerian,caffeine and ginger root. Many over-the-counter preparations may incorporate some of these components to aid migraine sufferers.

Other complementary and alternative practices to reduce migraines are meditation, yoga, acupuncture, tai chi, hypnotherapy, chiropractic adjustments and massage therapy. Migraine sufferers should always check with their physicians for help in migraine management. Many alternative therapies have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug administration for specifically managing migraines so it is important to seek medical advice.

Experts state that migraines are more than just pain and cognitive dysfunction — if chronic, they can disrupt a person’s life. People with chronic migraines may limit their activities, eat very cautiously, or be nervous about an oncoming attack. Some of the issues associated with chronic migraines include quality of life, sleep disorders, depression, limited social life, work interruptions, anxiety, and low energy.

If you suffer with migraines, consult a doctor. It is interesting that although migraine is widespread, only about half of sufferers work with their doctors to manage the headaches. It is recommended that you use a migraine journal to keep a record of each migraine attack. By keeping track of the weather conditions before the headache and the foods that you consumed, it will help your doctor give you the best advice on avoiding future attacks. It is also recommended that you write down what makes the migraine worse and what helps it improve, and also note if others in your family have migraines because migraines tend to be familial. This information will help your doctor with diagnosis, and treatment options.

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Jane Riley is a certified nutritional adviser. She can be reached at janerileyfitness@gmail.com, (808) 212-1451 and www.janerileyfitness.com

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