The intense migraine pain can cause vomiting, nausea, sensitivity to sounds and smells, light and alterations in vision, etc. If you suffer from occasional migraines, these symptoms will subside within a day or two. However, the symptoms and causes of chronic migraines tend to stay for about 15 to 20 days at a stretch.
The actual cause and treatment of a chronic migraine are somewhat shrouded in mystery. Even though researchers have investigated some possible causes, they have not succeeded in offering any substantial explanation. The most accepted theories of causes of a chronic migraine include:
- An underlying disorder in the central nervous system
- Irregularities in the blood vessel system in the brain or the vascular system
- Genetic predisposition
- Abnormalities and anomalies in the chemicals present in the brain and nerve pathways
- Scientists are still trying to find the precise reasons behind a chronic migraine. And therefore, the most effective means of curing it is to avoid all that triggers a migraine in the first place.
These triggers differ from person to person. So, here are some identified causes of chronic migraines.
Foods and drinks
Foods particularly the salted ones such as cheese and salami and other processed foods can trigger migraine headaches. People with family history of migraines as well as those who are presently suffering from it should not take long gaps between meals or shouldn’t skip any meal. Alcohol and caffeine can also trigger migraine headaches. These days, you’ll find many food items that contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame and eating such foods can trigger a migraine pain. Read food labels to avoid monosodium glutamate as well.
Stimulation of the senses
In normal cases, bright lights, strong smells, loud noises can be noted as causes of a chronic migraine. Stay away from bright sunlight, flashlight, perfume, and smoking. Even though they can vary from one person to another, these are some of the most common migraine triggers you can look at to know what may be the cause of your migraine attack.
Alterations in hormone levels
A shift in the hormonal cycle is regarded as a common trigger for migraine attacks in women. Many women complain of developing migraine symptoms during and after their monthly period. Also, cases of hormone-induced migraines during pregnancies and menopause phase have also been noted. This is due to the change in the estrogen levels during these times and can also be considered as a cause of a chronic migraine.
There are some medicines like birth control and hormone replacement therapies which may be one of the causes of a chronic migraine. In case you are already suffering from it, these hormone medicines can make your migraine worse. Other medicines like vasodilators can also be a cause of migraine pain as well.
Mental and physical stress
When you are under constant mental stress, it can cause you a severe migraine headache. Work and home front are the two most common sources of stress and anxiety, and the regular stress has the power to damage your mind and body. Therefore, you should learn to manage it effectively to improve the quality of your life. Also, extreme physical exertion, exercise, and even sexual activity can be a cause of migraine headaches.
Change in sleep cycle
If you are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis, then you become more susceptible to migraine headaches. But this doesn’t mean that you will spend the weekend sleeping in compensation. Too much of sleep can also lead to migraine headaches. If you’re looking at the causes of chronic migraine pain, make sure you include the number of hours you sleep on a daily basis.
Change in weather
You will be surprised to know how the changes in weather conditions can be one of the causes of a chronic migraine. Shifts in biometric pressure and temperature can also affect those suffering from a migraine. But, your overall health and immunity can also determine whether you would be able to tolerate the change in the seasons better.
Factors that trigger a migraine attack
Apart from these causes of a chronic migraine, there are several risk factors which can also trigger this debilitating pain. Even though a migraine can start at any age, in most cases it affects a person during the adolescence period. It is also found that migraines start improving at the age of 30 even though there can be an exception to this. Genetics can also be considered here. If a close member of your family has a migraine, you are more susceptible to it. It has been observed that over 90 percent of people suffering from this ailment have a family history of migraines. Gender is another factor that you should take into consideration. Even though boys are mostly affected by a migraine during their childhood years, girls are three times more vulnerable to this disease once they hit puberty.