Don't avoid migraine triggers


Migraine triggers should not be avoided.

At the pain congress currently taking place in 2010, the experts presented astonishing findings: So-called migraine triggers such as chocolate or sparkling wine should not be avoided. On the contrary: it is better to drink a sip of sparkling wine every now and then, because this can accustom the organism to supposed migraine triggers. Stress and anger are also not triggers for migraines. Rather, they are a result of pre-symptoms.

A migraine announces itself with pre-symptoms
According to new estimates, around 10 percent of Germans suffer from recurrent migraines. Women are affected about three times as often as men. A migraine manifests itself with a headache, sensitivity to light, but also with symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. Some people develop sensitivity to noise during a seizure. A pain attack often announces itself through so-called harbingers. Such symptoms appear a few hours before an attack. A precursor is, for example, the cravings attack.

Around 70 percent of migraine sufferers know such a craving. Affected people then eat lots of sweets such as Chocolate. Since migraines occur after the cravings, many patients assume that consuming chocolate would have provoked the attack. But that is a mistake, as Rostock headache expert Peter Kropp explained at the start of the German Pain Congress 2010. A study found that chocolate is not a migraine trigger at all. Only the craving for chocolate indicates an impending migraine. The brain knows very well that it needs a lot of energy for the approaching attack. For this reason, the craving for sweets in advance is correspondingly high.

In recent years, patients have almost always been vaccinated in, so they should avoid so-called migraine triggers such as sparkling wine, wine or stress. But such avoidance tactics inevitably lead to an intensification of symptoms. It is better to de-sensitize the body, according to the advice of the experts. Here too, studies would have shown that such an avoidance attitude only intensifies migraine symptoms. Professor Peter Kropp advises those affected to drink a glass of wine from time to time. This also works with a diluted spritzer.

Stress and strife do not trigger migraines
Stress, strife and worry were also mistakenly seen as migraine triggers. But here too, many doctors and patients are subject to a misconception. Signs of a migraine include Agitability, fatigue, nervousness and difficulty concentrating. This inevitably leads to stressful situations. So far, it was thought that stress and strife would encourage migraines. Rather, they are the results of the harbingers.

No really adequate remedies for migraines have yet been found. Although there are numerous medicines for pain, no method has yet been developed to completely prevent migraine attacks in advance. On the contrary, studies have shown that the frequent use of pain relievers even increases migraine symptoms. "If these drugs are taken more and more frequently and in higher and higher doses, they can cause headaches themselves and of course have side effects, for example on the stomach and intestines," says Dr. Stefanie Förderreuther, neurologist of the German Migraine and Headache Society.

Relaxation, acupuncture, biofeedback: alternative treatments for migraines
Relaxation techniques, cleaning of the intestinal flora (intestinal dysbiosis), biofeedback, neural therapy, yoga, autogenic training, light endurance sports, osteopathy and acupuncture are recommended. Acupuncture as a migraine prophylaxis is now also mentioned by scientists as a sensible method. According to the study, this is at least as effective as conventional drug prophylaxis. The advantage: there are no side effects. Such procedures can help reduce susceptibility to acute pain. On the other hand, areas in the brain could also be activated that are responsible for reducing the pain. Behavioral therapy can also help sufferers to learn how to better deal with the symptoms and the associated stress. (sb, 07.10.2010)

Also read:
Migraines: stress or chocolate are not triggers
Botox is said to help with chronic migraines
Magnetic impulses against migraines
New study: acupuncture effective in the brain?
Migraines: Heart attack and stroke risk increased
Headache radiating from the back of the head

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