Ever had the feeling that someone had taken an axe to the side of your head from the inside? Or have an intense throbbing pain over your temple? Then you could be one of the 8.5 million people in the UK suffering from a migraine headache.

The International Headache Society has recorded 29 different types of migraines! Yes, that’s right, 29. Here we will go through some of the signs and symptoms of migraines, common types and treatment.

According to the IHS, the most common types of migraines include Common (without aura), Classic (with aura) and Retinal/Visual (visual changes but no headache).


Signs and symptoms:

  • Pain on one side of the head though can be bilateral
  • Pain can be throbbing
  • Sensitivity to light/sounds
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Visual changes (migraine with aura)

The exact cause of migraines is unknown, but they’re thought to be the result of abnormal brain activity temporarily affecting nerve signals, chemicals and blood vessels in the brain. There has recently been a genetic link with a gene called TRESK which plays a key role in nerve cell communication. Migraines can also be triggered by certain smells, foods and bright light along with lack of sleep, dehydration and hormonal issues.

Treatment of migraines:

  • Over the counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • Triptans (causes blood vessels to return to a normal state)
  • Manual Therapy/Osteopathy to reduce muscle tension,
  • Acupuncture
  • Anti-emetics – these medications can prevent the nausea associated with some migraines
  • Lying in a quiet, dark room
  • There is some evidence to support use of cold therapy, “daith” piercings and botox therapy

Currently, there are several medications recommended for use as a prophylaxis (preventative) in migraines. These include beta blockers (normally used in blood pressure), SSRI’s (normally used in depression or anxiety) and anti-epileptics (used for seizures). Other prevention strategies can include keeping a diary of when your migraines appear, what you eat/drink around that time and your hormonal/stress status.

If you suffer with migraines and would like to try osteopathy or acupuncture, why not call for more information on treatment or book an appointment with us under “contact us/online booking”.

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