Symptoms While the cause of migraines is not well understood, it seems to involve widening and narrowing of the blood vessels in the brain, which triggers changes in brain chemicals, inflammation, and pain. In the day or two before a migraine starts, you may experience symptoms such as fatigue, excessive yawning, food cravings (such as for chocolate), irritability, or restlessness.
These symptoms usually develop 24 to 48 hours before a headache starts.
- Food cravings
- Loss of appetite.
- Mood changes (depression, euphoria or feeling of well-being, or irritability).
- Changes in energy level (restlessness, sleepiness, excessive energy, nervousness, or calmness).
- Change in consciousness (drowsiness or hyperalertness).
- There are many steps you can take at home to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks and treat the symptoms, such as reducing stress, taking prescription drugs, and identifying and avoiding migraine triggers.
- Find healthy ways to deal with stress. Migraine headaches seem to be more common during stressful times or right after you have “let down” after a stressful time.
- Practice relaxation techniques to reduce muscle tension and stress.
- Take preventive drugs as prescribed by your doctor.
- To help identify triggers of your headaches and determine if your headaches are becoming more severe or more frequent, keep a headache diary.
- Seek help if you think that your migraines may be linked to depression or anxiety. Proper treatment of these conditions may reduce the frequency of your migraines.
- Acupuncture, which involves putting very thin needles into the skin at certain points on the body to produce energy flow along the body’s meridians. This may help relax muscles and reduce headache pain.
- Biofeedback to reduce stress.
- Feverfew, which is a herb that may help prevent migraines. More research is still needed to prove its benefits.
- Butterbur, which is a herb that has been shown to help prevent migraines in some people.
- Relaxation techniques, which may help reduce stress in your life.