Despite being such a common health concern, there are still many uncertainties surrounding migraines

Migraines impact as many as 1 billion people worldwide, making them the third most prevalent illness in the world.[1] Yet despite this, there is a lot of misinformation spread about migraines, and this can leave people confused by the condition even if they suffer from it themselves.

We’re going to take a closer look at all things migraines, exploring whether some of the most common migraine ‘cures’ stand up to scrutiny.

What are migraines?

Contrary to popular belief, a migraine is more than just a headache. It is a severe bout of head pain which is usually concentrated in one side of the head. Migraines can also cause further symptoms such as sickness, nausea and increased sensitivity to light or sound.[2]

How do migraines appear?

There is no single cause for migraines, as every case is different and comes with its own ‘triggers’. These can include lack of food, alcohol, hormonal changes, environmental changes, lack of sleep and stress, among others.[3]

In general, migraines are caused by the activation of a mechanism in the brain which releases pain-producing inflammatory substances around the nerves and blood vessels of the head.[4]

Because causes of migraines are difficult to pin down, determining concrete cures for migraines can be equally tricky.

Are these real migraine cures?

There is no cure

TRUE AND FALSE

It is true that there is no set cure for every migraine. But this doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do.

Less than 5% of people living with migraines actually seek out treatment or the advice of a headache specialist.[5] So while a one-size-fits-all cure is difficult to determine, bear in mind that there are plenty of measures to put in place which may work for you.

For example, migraine patients are often suffering from co-occurring conditions such as obesity, hypertension or anxiety. In these instances, treating these conditions can alleviate migraine symptoms.[6]

Light and temperature control

TRUE

Sensory sensitivity is one of the most common migraine symptoms, so it’s no surprise that reducing your exposure to harsh lights, noises and temperatures can help ease your pain. Many people find that lying down in a quiet, dark and cool space can reduce the length and severity of a migraine attack.

Creating a sleep routine

TRUE

There is a clear relationship between how well you sleep and whether or not you suffer from migraines. Both sleep loss and oversleeping are common headache triggers, while regular, good quality sleep has been shown to result in fewer headaches.[7] Creating a bedtime routine you can stick to every day can be an effective way of reducing your symptoms.

Following a strict diet

FALSE

While there is a relationship between food and headaches, it’s more about what you’re not eating as opposed to what you are eating. Many people like to blame their migraines on particular foods, such as chocolate, but actually the most common food-related migraine cause is failing to eat altogether. For this reason, following a strict diet can often do more harm than good. There is no migraine diet, but missing meals is a well-established migraine trigger.[8]

It changes for everyone

TRUE

As we mentioned earlier, there are many migraine triggers and these can vary between sufferers. This is part of the reason why it is difficult to determine a single cure for migraines. When the cause changes, so does the cure. In order to alleviate your migraines, you need to identify your own triggers and take steps to avoid them.

Medication

TRUE
There is indeed medication that is safe and effective in its treatment of migraines and cluster headaches.

Popular medication options like sumatriptan have been proven through rigorous research to be an effective means of reducing migraine symptoms. In one trial, 74% of migraine sufferers found that their symptoms had significantly decreased after 15 minutes of taking sumatriptan, compared to just 26% of placebo patients.[9]

Find safe and effective migraine relief treatment right here at Express Pharmacy. And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch on 0208 123 07 03. You can also contact us using our discreet online Live Chat service.

[1] Migraine Research Foundation. Migraine statistics. 2020

[2] NHS UK. Migraine. 2019

[3] The Migraine Trust. More than “just a headache”. 2019

[4] World Health Organisation. Headache disorders. 2016

[5] Hribar, C. Migraine Statistics. Migraine.com. 2019

[6] Rosenberg, J. Migraine has an impact on both healthcare costs and lost productivity. American Journal of Managed Care. 2019

[7] American Migraine Foundation. How Sleep Disorders Interact with Headache and Migraine. 2019

[8] Afridi, S. PhD. Food and diet. The Migraine Trust. 2016

[9] Ekbom, K. MD. et al. Treatment of acute cluster headache with sumatriptan. The New England Journal of Medicine. 1991