Migraine FAQs

Ultimately the best treatment for migraine is the one that works for you. There are a various ways of tackling a migraine problem. Many people are happy to have a prescription from their doctor and find that if they catch it quick enough they can prevent a full migraine by taking a pill. Some people prefer to tread very carefully and avoid triggers. Those who area bit more determined to resolve their migraine may explore physical therapies, like osteopathy, chiropractic or herbal and natural therapies like naturopathy.

Migraine auras can be very weird and quite scary, when you find that your headache is causing you full blown visual hallucinations its only natural to be concerned. After all, it should go without saying that strange sensory changes in the face and head can be a sign of something serious.

The good news is that generally speaking migraine auras are are strange and disconcerting but are no causes for concern. To be sure that it is migraine aura that you are experiencing it is important that you seek professional advice.

Can a migraine be caused by cancer or a brain tumour?

No a migraine cannot be caused by cancer or a brain tumour. There are instances where a cancer or a brain tumour could cause migraine-like symptoms however. If you are seriously concerned about your wellbeing it is essential that you seek professional advice as opposed self diagnosing.

What causes migraine?

Migraines are thought to be related to changes in nerve activity in the brain. A deeper understanding of migraine reveals its underlying cause as being muscle and soft tissue tension in the neck, jaw and scalp. There are many complex nerve pathways in the head and neck region with nearly infinite connections and reflexes built into them. Complex neurological reactions to muscle tension and inflammation

People with migraines frequently have what is called an ‘aura’. An aura is essentially some kind of sensory symptom other than pain that comes in prior to or during a migraine. Migraine aura’s can come in the form of strange sensations, visual hallucinations and even perception of specific smells.

There is some evidence that chronic migraine suffers do suffer from subtle forms of unhealthy change in the brain. There are also extremely rare instances when migraine is associated with stroke. We don’t know enough about migraines yet to be able to say that they do damage to the brain. What is most likely is that the underlying cause of the migraine (eg. chronic emotional stress) does some gradual low level harm to the brain over time, and that migraines are one of the symptoms of this issue.

There are many possible reasons why you can suddenly start getting migraines. Part of the reason will most likely be some ongoing issue that you had not previously been aware of. Some people for example get migraines caused in part by an old whiplash injury they thought had healed up.

The timing of your migraine onset is often determined by your general state of wellbeing. If you are seriously tired, stressed or have been eating poorly for a period of time these could all be reasons why you have strutted getting migraines now.

There are extremely rare instances where migraine is associated with stroke. Take some comfort from the fact that the overwhelming majority of migraines are non associated with any serious illness, no matter how severe the pain is. If you have undiagnosed headaches it is always wise to seek professional advice regarding a correct diagnosis.

There are many ways that you can attempt to manage your migraine headaches. Learning more about triggers and avoiding them is one approach. Taking general steps to improve your general health and wellbeing like better sleep, better diet and reducing stress can all be valuable. Choosing specific treatments like spinal mobilisation and acupuncture to release tension from the neck and jaw can be extremely useful also.

There is a relatively long list of foods that can trigger migraines, not all migraine sufferers have the same triggers. The most well known migraine triggering foods and food contents are chocolate, dairy and wine, caffeine, citrus and MSG. If you are unsure about which foods trigger your migraines it can be useful to keep a food diary alongside a migraine diary and see if you can identify a pattern.

If you are willing to work on your stress levels, your diet, your sleep patterns, identifying your migraine triggers and resolving any muscle tension and scar tissue indoor neck and jaw there is every chance you will have success in resolving your migraines. If you are lucky even ticking a handful of these boxes may help a great deal.

A classic migraine involves intense throbbing pain, usually on one side of the head and towards the front of the head. Migraines are generally characterised by pain that is more intense than tension type headaches. Migraines are often also associated with ‘aura’ symptoms which take the form of sensory hallucinations.