As we enter into National Migraine Awareness Month, we want to help our patients understand more facts about migraines. As scientists and physicians continue to learn and research more about migraines, there is a lot of misinformation about migraines floating around the internet.
To bring awareness to National Migraine Awareness Month, we thought it would be helpful to dispel some of the misinformation about migraines and help point sufferers in the right direction for treatment for migraines.
Myth #1: Only Bad Headaches are Migraines
Fact: Migraines have the intense pain of a headache in addition to other symptoms.
These other symptoms include vomiting, nausea, pain behind one eye or ear, seeing flashing lights or spots, light/sound sensitivity, temporary vision loss, and temple pain. Headaches can have mild to moderate pain without extra symptoms while migraines have moderate to severe pain accompanied by other symptoms.
Myth #2: All Migraines Come With Aura
Fact: Only 25 to 30% of migraine sufferers experience aura.
An aura is described as any type of sensory change that occurs before a migraine. Aura can affect your hearing, ability to speak, and vision. You may also experience tingling or muscle weakness.
Some of the signs of aura include:
- Vision loss in one or both eyes
- Seeing flashing lights
- Blind spots
- Tingling, numbness, or pricking,
- Trouble speaking or finding words
- Seeing zigzag patterns
You do not need to experience any of the symptoms above for your headache to be classified as a migraine.
Myth #3: Only Women Experience Migraines
Fact: It’s more common for women to experience migraines, but men also experience them.
Women are two to three times more likely to experience migraines than men. The women with the highest occurrence of migraines are in their thirties. So why do women get more migraines than men? There are a lot of reasons. One of them is the frequent change in hormones. As estrogen levels rise and fall with the menstrual cycle, it can trigger a migraine. Women are also more likely to clench and grind their teeth which causes migraines and is also a sign of TMJ disorder. Although more women experience migraines, they’re not uncommon in men.
Myth #4: Diet Changes Will Improve Migraines
Fact: If food triggers your migraines, then changing your diet can help.
You may have read about optimizing your diet to reduce the frequency of migraines. This might not be worth your while unless a certain food is the trigger of your migraines. To determine whether food might be a trigger, start keeping a food diary and make notes whenever you experience a migraine. If you find a correlation between certain food and headaches, stop eating that food. If the headaches and migraines go away, you will know that that certain food was the trigger.
The most common types of foods that trigger migraines include eggs, onions, dairy, wheat, nitrates found in food, alcohol, MSG, aspartame, aged cheeses, nuts, chocolate, and citrus fruits.
Myth #5: Caffeine Causes Migraines
Fact: Caffeine Withdrawal Can Cause Migraines.
Drinking caffeine usually doesn’t cause migraines. If it does, it’s usually because you’re dehydrated because caffeine stimulates the bladder. Without drinking some extra water, you can easily become dehydrated from drinking caffeine.
On the flip side, if you drink caffeine every day and then suddenly stop, or drastically cut your intake, you can trigger a migraine from the withdrawal.
Additionally, some people see an improvement in migraine symptoms by consuming caffeine. That’s why caffeine is one of the ingredients in some migraine medications. However, we don’t recommend this as a regular treatment option.
Myth #6: Moving to a Better Climate Will Improve Your Migraines
Fact: No one place is absent of weather that can trigger migraines.
Before you pack your bags and head to San Diego, know that you don’t have to move to a new climate to experience fewer migraines. If you know that cold and dry weather triggers your migraines, monitor weather forecasts and plan accordingly. You can stay inside with a heater and humidifier to avoid a migraine. Track the weather patterns that trigger your migraines to know when you need to prepare ahead of time. Although some areas might experience fewer weather changes than Omaha, there are still going to be weather changes. Therefore, you won’t avoid migraines by moving.
Myth #7: There is No Cure For Migraines
Fact: There are many treatments available.
The best treatment for your migraines depends on their cause. For instance, if hormone changes cause your migraines, you might speak with your doctor about taking hormones or changing your birth control.
Another common cause of migraines and frequent headaches is untreated sleep apnea. When you have sleep apnea, you stop breathing multiple times per night. As a result, carbon dioxide builds up inside your body and can cause you to wake up with a migraine. Additionally, those with sleep apnea also frequently clench and grind their teeth which can also cause frequent headaches. In this instance, getting sleep apnea treatment can help put an end to frequent headaches and migraines.
Tired of Migraines? Get Sleep Apnea Treatment in Omaha
If you think you might have sleep apnea and you would like to experience fewer migraines in your life, we encourage you to book a new patient appointment with our Omaha sleep dentist to discuss your options. If you don’t have a diagnosis, we will help set you up with a home sleep test and a diagnosis from a Board Certified Sleep Physician. Then, we will help you find the right treatment for your needs. Please call Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center at (402) 493-4175 to book an appointment today.