Despite inquiries and requests over the last few years, I've dodged the topic of marijuana and migraines - Well, just the topic of cannabis altogether. After last night's results in Washington state and Colorado, I decided it's worth bringing up the topic. Sorry Mom and Dad, but this one's about the Devil's Weed. For the rest of you, try to stay focused and read on.
If you're serious about reducing the number of migraines you suffer, then you might want to pay close attention to your sleep pattern.
Migraines are thought to be related to your over- or hyperactive nerve cells, and these nerves tell your blood vessels to either expand or constrict. During this process, your blood flows and so do all the other chemicals involved, many of which lead to your brain.
While you might think more sleep results in less migraines, studies suggest the opposite. There are around 6 sleep cycles the average human journeys through, the most well-known and most powerful being REM.
During deep sleep and the latter stages, dopamines and several important "euphoric" neurotransmitters flood your brain, which results in waking up rested and "feeling good".
However, certain types of sleeping disorders can cause the release of serotonin as opposed to dopamines. This, of course, can result in the opposite, "feel like crap" sensations.
Also, REM is thought to provoke migraines. In essence, the more your eyes flutter or move, the more likely you will develop a migraine. More commonly, think about the nights you might have spent on the Internet because you couldn't sleep. If you stared at the screen too long, you might have developed a headache. In the case of REM migraines, imagine the same situation but tenfold.
The good news is there are certain medications that help reduce the amount of serotonin seeping in. They are antidepressants that are sometimes used to treat migraines. Medication affects people in different ways, so the best way to seek treatment is to keep track of your migraines and the surrounding situations, and then speak with a doctor or neurologist.
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Migraines happen. It's a real downer, but it's definitely not the end of the world.
For me, the worst part of a migraine is that it never ends. Sometimes you wish you could just drill a hole in your head to release the pressure, or maybe have a root-canal performed on you to redirect the pain.
You can't really control when migraines attack either. Whether at work or play, migraines do not care, and sometimes they come on at the most inopportune moments, such as an important meeting, a rare social outing, or while taking a test.
There are "medicines" out there, but there's only one sure thing you can do to take on a migraine:
Have a Plan
You can't prevent all migraines, but here are some ways to plan for them to either a) know how you can get through the day with them or b) live around them. The latter is unfortunate, since no one wants to be controlled by pain.
1. Keep a Journal
This is rather difficult to maintain sometimes, but it's important to jot down the times and days you tend to experience a migraine. This way you can figure out if there are any patterns in your behavior. For instance, where were you when a migraine came on, what were you doing, and did you notice any sort of trigger? (A trigger is something that induces a migraine or something you notice right before a migraine strikes, such as a smells or a nervous twitch.)
2. Have a Remedy Ready
Whether it's medicines, treatments, or just being home, have a plan of attack. Again, try different things to relieve your migraines and scribble down what works and what doesn't. This way you'll be able to know what to do in case of a migraine.
Example of Intense Stimuli
3. Avoid Stressors and Intense Stimuli
What makes a migraine difficult to deal with, is the fact it can be debilitating. That said, if you want to avoid the feeling of being useless (and trust me, others probably will not understand why you cannot perform at 100%), try to avoid stressful situations altogether.
Avoid Intense Stimuli: Meaning don't do anything that you would normally consider a brain-teaser. More accurately, don't strain your eyes. This will only make things much worse. And if something arouses high energy, I would avoid that too. You're not going to be able to run eight miles - and as for the sex myth, that's more for regular tension headaches.
Episodes and Information Related to Migraines.