Migraines are debilitating headaches thought to affect around 15 percent of the population. Tiny blood vessels in the brain rupture, causing microscopic bleeds. Although these are normally harmless, they cause a great deal of pain.
Symptoms of migraine include:
• Severe headache on one or both sides of the head
• Vision disturbances – flashing lights, changes in color
• Aversion to light and noise
Symptoms of a migraine can last anywhere from a few hours up to 72 hours. They are usually followed by a period of exhaustion and weakness. The typical sufferer can have up to three migraines a month so they have a significant negative impact on quality of life.
However, there are ways you can relieve or prevent them altogether:
1. Keep a food diary. Some migraines are related to food intolerances and by using a food diary you will be able to see if there are any reoccurring triggers that preceded your migraine and you can eliminate those foods from your diet.
2. Many migraines are known to be triggered by caffeine, chocolate, cheese and alcohol so reduce or stop your consumption of these products.
3. Raised blood pressure can cause migraines. Even if you don’t have a blood pressure problem, there can be fluctuations in pressure that cause the vessels to rupture, resulting in migraine. Peppermint has been shown to lower blood pressure and has been shown to be an effective tonic at aborting migraine. A study published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice tested menthol, the main ingredient of peppermint, on patients suffering with migraines. Some had a placebo and some had menthol applied to the forehead and temples. The study found "the menthol solution was statistically superior to the placebo for pain relief. The menthol solution was also more efficacious in the alleviation of nausea and/or vomiting and phonophobia and/or photophobia. In the per-protocol population, there was significantly higher number of patients who experienced at least one pain free/pain relief after the application of menthol rather than the placebo.