In this post I want to discuss migraine headaches specifically, as such headaches affect a large number of people and can be debilitating.
The Migraine Research Foundation states that migraine headaches, or “migraines,” are the third most prevalent illness in the world. Within the United States, 1 in every 6 US citizens, or about 56 million people, struggle with them. Typically migraine headaches affect people who identify as female more than those who identify as male. In addition, those who suffer from migraine headaches, often have a family history of them.
Overall, migraine headaches can be classified as either chronic, meaning they occur 15 or more days per month, for over three months, or acute, meaning they occur less than that. Based on data from the National Center for Health Statistics, of the 56 million US citizens who struggle with migraine headaches, 4 million of them struggle with chronic ones.
For those who get migraine headaches, either chronic or acute, they can be very debilitating. The most common symptoms are: “auras” (which are flashing lights, or blind spots, that often progress to tunnel vision); increased sensitivities to light, smell, and sound; and nausea. After the headache subsides, you are often left feeling exhausted and confused, with continued sensitivities to light, smell, and sound; all of which may last for up to 24 hours.
Regarding intensity, migraine headaches can get so painful that those with them are unable to function; and chronic sufferers may be classified as disabled by the Social Security Administration.
While we don’t know the exact physiological cause of migraine headaches, we do know they have a neurological basis.
The most common circumstances associated with having migraine headaches are: being under stress, alcohol intoxication, changes in sleep patterns, changes in barometric pressure (which often lead to changes in weather), hormonal fluctuations, sensory changes (for example, sudden interaction with certain smells, or bright or flashing lights), or diet.
In my personal practice, I have found that integrating massage therapy into one’s treatment plan is very beneficial. With regular massage therapy, my clients often state that their migraine headaches have reduced in intensity and frequency, if not outright been eliminated. Even getting a massage while you currently have the headache can be helpful. Therefore, I recommend adding massage therapy to your “self-care” plan.
If you have any questions about this post or would like to schedule a massage with me, you may reach me at www.humantouchmassagemn.com
In my next post I will be writing about chronic pain.
I look forward to working with you.
In this blog, I give my reflections on various topics, including medical research. The views expressed in this blog are my own and do not reflect any other organization. I am properly trained as a professional massage therapist and health coach; however I am not a physician, psychologist, or other official medical practitioner. Please consult your own medical provider as you make your health and wellness decisions.