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One Migraine is One Too Many

Steps you can take to prevent the next one…

Everyone can experience Migraines differently, but there is one common thread – pain that brings you to a dead stop. Diagnosing a Migraine involves ruling out all other problems. Migraine is primarily linked to head pain but can be abdominal. It is a neurological disease. It typically begins in adolescence, but those aged 35- 45 years have the biggest issue with Migraines. Once you have had a Migraine, you most likely will have this problem for a lifetime.

Migraines can occur with an “Aura” (visual disturbances) or without (Common Migraine). At the start of an “aura” Migraine there may be slurred speech and confusion. People report seeing spots, flashing light, tracks of bright white light and colors. Then there are decreases in vision. Common Migraines skip these symptoms. 

During an attack, the brain makes inflammatory, pain generating chemicals around the nerves and blood vessels in the head. You may also have other symptoms, such as dizziness, light and sound sensitivity, nausea and vomiting, etc. It may last a few hours or up to 6 days. There are medications you can take preventively and some when a Migraine strikes. 

Once you have had a Migraine, you never want another. Look for risk factors. Some you cannot control - age, heredity, menstruation, menopause, and gender. Some risk factors involve lifestyle, such as stress, depression, weight, sleep, fasting, scents, flashing lights and caffeine. Change these and lower the possibility of suffering again.

There may also be food allergies and triggers. Get allergy tested so you can remove problems from your plate. There are no tests for triggers, so it’s up to you to find the culprits. 

Possible Migraine Triggers

  • Aged/fermented cheeses

  • Alcohol

  • Apple Juice/Cider

  • Aspartame (NutraSweet ™)

  • Avocado

  • Chocolate

  • Citrus

  • Coffee

  • Corned Beef

  • Dairy

  • Intensely sweetened foods

  • Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) 

  • Nitrites 

  • Nuts

  • Over-ripe Bananas

  • Pork

  • Processed foods that are cured/smoked/pickled/canned 

  • Red Skinned Apples & Pears 

  • Soy 

  • Sulfite Dried Fruit 

  • Tea

  • Vinegar -Balsamic & Red

One Migraine is one too many. Giving up a favorite food or losing some weight may be difficult, it sure beats the incapacitation of your next Migraine.    

Jennifer Giffune, R.D.N. is a freelance author, professional speaker, and nutrition counselor. Are you ready to make a change? Jennifer sees clients for nutrition counseling in Westfield and on-line. To make an appointment with Jennifer, call (413) 579-5450 or email her at jen@jenthedietitian.com.

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