Why do humans get migraines? The potential
answer is a real headache. Hey everyone, Matt Lieberman here for DNews.
Just about everyone knows someone who’s had a migraine, or if you’re really unlucky,
you suffer from them on a chronic basis. The Mayo Clinic defines a migraine as a “headache
[that] can cause intense throbbing or a pulsing sensation in one area of the head and is commonly
accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.” They can
last anywhere from minutes to several days in length, and the pain and disorientation
can be so intense that it renders the sufferer incapable of doing just about anything. So why do we get them? There isn’t one answer
for sure, but a new study authored by researchers at the University of Toronto offers a compelling
clue: participants who witnessed physical abuse between their parents were more likely
to get migraines. Men were 52% more likely and women were 64% more likely to get migraines
if they had witnessed domestic violence as a child than those who hadn’t. This means,
potentially, that migraines are, at their core, caused by how the brain develops long
before we reach adulthood. The headaches themselves are thought to be brought on by abnormal brain
activity and an imbalance of serotonin in the brain. Now serotonin is one of many neurotransmitters
found in the human brain, and it’s been proven that when under intense levels of stress
and anxiety, the brain produces greater amounts of fear-related chemicals, such as adrenaline,
and less of the chemicals associated with relaxation and joy, like serotonin. With this
in mind, it’s possible to build on the University of Toronto study and say that witnessing domestic
physical violence raises the risk of migraines by adding viscerally stressful memories to
a still-developing mind. If the pattern of abuse is constant, the brain can very easily
get used to overproducing adrenaline and under producing serotonin. So what can migraine sufferers do to avoid
migraines? Avoid salty or overly processed foods, remain well hydrated, and avoid caffeine,
to start. Try to reduce stimulation. Bright lights and thumping bass are not your friend.
Also, regular exercise can help release serotonin into the body, reducing anxiety and making
migraines less likely. Now we want to hear from you: Have you ever
suffered from a migraine? How do you or your loved ones cope with them? Let us know in
the comments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *