Migraines can be best summed up as an intense and often debilitating headache. Some of the most common migraines are aura (classical migraines) and without aura (common migraines).

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Migraines that you may experience as a child may not necessarily occur till you reach a certain adult age. Experts are of the opinion that women are more prone to migraines than men. If you have a family history of migraines, chances are that you run the risk of having migraines too. It is important to note that there are certain myths and rare facts about migraines that are worth knowing.

A migraine usually starts out as a headache. Some of the early migraine symptoms include: food cravings, depression, low energy, frequent yawning, irritability and stiff neck.

What Are The Myths Associated With Migraines?

There are a number of myths that will be busted about migraines. If you thought you knew it all, be prepared for some insightful information. 

Myth 1: Migraines Are Caused By Mental Illness

Migraines are not caused by mental illness, nor are they the result of constricted blood vessels. They are also not remotely related to headaches brought on by stress or sinus issues. Migraines can occur due to genetic nervous system disorder, which you may have inherited by both parents. This false myth about migraines should come as a relief to some migraine sufferers. 

Myth 2: Migraines Do Not Last For More Than A Day

If you thought a migraine didn't last for more than a day, think again. Migraines can last for up to 72 hours or longer. Migraines can even persist for week or months. Some people suffer from migraines on a daily basis. A chronic migraine could lead to you having severe headaches for more than 15 days a month. 

Myth 3: All Doctors Can Treat Migraines

In truth, not all neurologists can treat migraines. Not many healthcare providers are adequately trained to relieve you of migraines. 

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Myth 4: Only Women Suffer From Migraines

This myth about migraines couldn't be far from the truth. Although women are three times more likely to suffer from migraine, men are also susceptible to it. 

Myth 5: All Migraines Are Alike

Not all migraines are the same. There are different types of migraines – 'aura' migraine and 'non-aura' migraine. There are subtypes including basilar-type migraine, retinal migraine and abdominal migraine among others. One person's migraine could be vastly different from another person's migraine. Also, the duration of a migraine could differ from person to person. 

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Myth 6: Migraine-Prone People Are Intelligent

People who suffer from migraines were said to have different personalities and behaviours. They are considered to be resentful, conscientious, inflexible and perfectionists. However, not all people suffering from migraines have the same personality. They all deal with their migraines differently.

What Are Some Of The Rare Facts About Migraines?

There is more to a migraine than what meets the eye. Were you in the know that eating ham, avocados and lentils could set off a migraine? Or that medicine for migraines could trigger headaches? Some of the rare and surprising facts regarding migraines include:

How What You Eat Can Trigger A Migraine

There are a number of foods which contain chemicals and can trigger migraines and other forms of headaches. If you are a lover of Chinese food, you need to be careful. Chinese food has traces of monosodium glutamate, or MSG, which can cause a migraine. If you are prone to migraines, avoid tyramine, a natural compound which is found in citrus fruits, avocados, processed meats, nuts and even onions. It is important that you keep a check on what you consume on a daily basis to prevent a migraine attack.

Smokers Are Prone To A Rare Kind Of Migraine

Smokers are prone to cluster headaches. Some of these symptoms include intense pain felt on one side of the head. Some smokers may also feel angry and agitated, while some might even want to harm themselves. In order to curb the pain, an oxygen mask or a shot of Imitrex may have to be used by a doctor.

Women and War Veterans Are Susceptible To Migraines

Another rare fact about migraines is that women are more likely (three times more likely) to experience migraine attacks throughout their lifetime than men. War soldiers who have experienced combat-related traumatic brain (CTBI) injury as well as concussion are also likely to have migraines. 

Suicide Risk And Migraines

Studies have suggested that patients experiencing chronic migraines are more likely to commit suicide than those who do not have chronic headaches. We bet you were not aware of this rare migraine fact. This could result from the fact that depression co-occurs with migraines, as well as anxiety and bipolar disorder.

Children Are Also Prone To Migraines

Surprisingly, children can also suffer from migraines. Children might have stomach cramps as a sign of migraines; however, children who are in school also tend to experience pediatric migraines. This could escalate to migraine headaches when they hit their teens.

Migraines Can Have Life-Threatening Effects

It is a rare known fact that migraines have fatal effects too. There have been a number of scientific studies which suggest that migraines could have life-threatening consequences and also could lead to heart disease, stroke and can even lead to coma.

Exercise Can Prevent Migraines

Another great fact is daily exercise helps in warding off migraines. A 40-minute workout at least thrice a week will keep migraines at bay. Doctors believe sweat reduces stress hormones that are usually the cause of migraines.

Migraines & The Menstrual Cycle

The hormones that keep a check on a woman's monthly menstrual cycle also trigger migraines. A number of women experience migraines when they get their first period or become pregnant. Women find migraine relief after menopause. Hormones found in oral contraceptives can alter the frequency and severity of migraines. It could also trigger migraines in women who may not have had them in the past.

Migraine Medication Can Trigger Headaches

If you are in the habit of taking migraine medicine more than thrice weekly, you could develop medication overuse, which leads to a headache. Early on, medication will provide quick relief from migraine. However, once you stop taking the medicine, you will be left with a chronic migraine which could take a number of weeks to wear off. 

Migraines Can Be Predicted

Most individuals may experience early signs of a migraine attack. Mood swings, food cravings and uncontrollable yawning could take place 24 hours before a migraine attack. There are sensory symptoms like flashing lights, numbness or blind spots which are an indication of an impending migraine.

No Concrete Cure for Migraines

It's a sad fact that there is no concrete cure for a migraine. However, doctors can help you manage the condition and reduce the effects of migraine. Some people choose to opt for fast-acting drugs to prevent a migraine, while some choose to make lifestyle changes to prevent migraines. If you didn't know about this rare fact about migraines, you do now.

These rare facts and myths about a migraine throws light on a condition that deserves attention, medical and otherwise. 

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: December 21, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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