Millions of people get them – near-debilitating headaches which can last for days and bring your daily life to a standstill. If this sounds like you, then you may be experiencing a migraine. Thankfully, there are ways to relieve the pain.
What Is a Migraine?
If you’re someone with frequent migraines, you know the symptoms better than anyone. It’s a headache that results in a pulsing sensation or severe throbbing pain, normally on one side of your head. It’s often paired with nausea, vomiting, and high sensitivity to light and sound. It’s not unusual for attacks to last for hours to days, with severe pain interfering with daily life. According to the JAMA Network, 17.1% of U.S. women experience migraines. For men, it’s 5.6%.
What Causes A Migraine?
Though we don’t fully understand what causes a migraine, genetics and environmental factors likely play a role. Fluctuations in the brainstem and how it interacts with a major pain pathway, called the trigeminal nerve, might be involved. Chemical imbalances in the brain are another possibility, such as fluctuating serotonin levels. The role of serotonin is still being investigated, but other neurotransmitters are at play, too, including calcitonin gene-related peptides.
Common Migraine Triggers
The most common migraine triggers include:
- Hormonal changes in women
- Drinks, like alcohol, wine, and beverages with high caffeine content
- Intense sensory stimulation
- Problems sleeping
- Intense physical activity
- High or low barometric pressure or other weather changes
- Certain medicine like oral contraceptives
- Certain foods or skipping meals
- Food additives like monosodium glutamate
Phases of a Migraine
The phases of a migraine that someone experiences often dictate the symptoms, too. If you have a migraine, you’ll typically go through four stages:
- Prodrome, one to two days before a migraine. Symptoms include constipation, mood changes, food cravings, a stiff neck, and many others.
- Aura. This typically happens before or during a migraine. In this stage, you may experience strange visual phenomena, like strange shapes. There also could be temporary vision loss, pins and needles sensation, and trouble speaking.
- Attack. This is the migraine phase with the most punch, lasting anywhere from four to 72 hours. It’s not uncommon to have head pain, pain that throbs, sensitivity to sound, light, touch, and smell, and nausea and vomiting.
- Post-drome happens last. In this phase, “you might feel drained, confused and washed out for up to a day.” There may also be feelings of elation, with sudden head movement resulting in the pain once again, but normally briefly.
IV Therapy for Migraine Relief
IV therapy may help you manage or reduce the pain symptoms associated with a migraine. How does it do that? By adding vitamins and other supplements directly into your bloodstream, bypassing the sometimes-lengthy process of naturally converting food to energy after you eat. Your liquid IV mix could contain:
- Vitamin B2. Also called riboflavin, this vitamin is one of eight B vitamins that helps turn food into fuel: it’s also critical for metabolizing fats and protein. The exact mechanism of why B2 helps is unknown, “but it could be because some people who are deficient in it are more prone to migraine.”
- Vitamin D, which is a nutrient found in some foods and fosters the absorption of calcium, helping you to maintain strong bones. But it’s possible there’s a link between vitamin D deficiency and migraine; we just haven’t uncovered it yet.
- Magnesium. This mineral does the heavy lifting by activating enzymes in your body and is vital to nerve transmission and other vital functions. If you have migraines, it could be because your magnesium levels are lower than in people who don’t have migraines, highlighting its importance.
- Coenzyme Q10 helps cells make the energy required for growth and maintenance, but its power to prevent migraines is unknown. One study, however, showed promising results for migraine sufferers who took 100 mg of coenzyme Q10 three times daily compared to others who only took a placebo.
Many people also have used other treatments for migraines, including different therapy and medicine like ketamine, with a lot of success.
Diagnosis & Treatment
If you have frequent migraines, see your healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment options. You may be referred to a neurologist, who’ll ask about your personal and family history of migraines, details about symptoms, and possible triggers. You’ll undergo a thorough medical exam which will likely involve a test such as magnetic resonance imaging or computerized tomography.
Treatment typically involves pain relievers, specific therapy, self-help strategies, and even ketamine therapy.