Hormonal changes – For women, fluctuations in estrogen will trigger a headache. Women with a history of migraines often experience migraines before or during their periods.
Foods and beverages – Salty foods, processed meats, and aged cheese can bring on a migraine. Skipping meals will also produce a migraine. Food additives, such as aspartame, wine, and caffeine-high drinks will produce headaches.
Stress – Emotional and physical stress is known to produce a headache.
Sensory stimuli – This includes bright lights, sun glare, and loud sounds, as well as paint thinner, secondhand smoke, and perfume.
Changes in the weather – This is due to barometric pressure, excessive heat, and cold temperatures.
Family history – This type of headache tends to run in families.
Sex – Women are three times more likely to suffer from this type of headache.
Pregnancy – Being pregnant is a risk factor for migraines.
Abortive agents – To stop a migraine attack, the doctor can prescribe triptans, such as Imitrex, Zomig, and Maxalt.
Preventive medications – Antidepressants are used for prevention, such as amitriptyline and nortriptyline. In addition selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) (Zoloft, Prozac, and Paxil) and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) (Cymbalta and Effexor) are used to raise levels of brain chemicals.
Radiofrequency denervation – The doctor can use radiofrequency energy to destroy a portion of the nerve root and disrupt pain signal transmission. A needle is inserted between the cervical vertebrae using x-ray guidance. In a recent clinical study, this procedure had a 75% efficacy rate.
Botox – The neurotoxin botulinum toxin type A is used for preventing migraines. To paralyze and block acetylcholine release from the nerve cells, the doctor uses a tiny needle to make several injections along the temples, forehead, back of neck, and jaw. A recent study found that Botox was effective for reducing the symptoms of migraine headache, as well as the severity of the pain.
Acupuncture – This procedure involves inserting fine needles into the back of the neck. Based on studies, this stimulates the release of endorphins (feel-good chemicals) from the brain and into circulation. In a large research study, acupuncture was found to be better than placebo for the treatment of headaches.
Sphenopalatine ganglion block (SPB) – This involves injecting the sphenopalatine ganglion nerves with a long-acting anesthetic. The procedure involves numbing a nostril, and inserting a catheter through to reach the targeted nerves. In a recent randomized clinical trial, participants had a mild decrease in migraine headache pain after the SPB.
Radiofrequency denervation – If the SPB works with an anesthetic, the doctor may decide to use radiofrequency energy to destroy the nerves or a portion of the root. One clinical study showed that this procedure had a 75% success rate.