A migraine is a vascular headache that involves the excessive dilation or contraction of the brain's blood vessels. There are two types of migraine; common and classic. In common migraines symptoms start slowly producing a throbbing pain that may last for two to seventy two hours. The pain is severe and is often centered at the temple or behind one ear. Alternatively it can begin at the back of the head and spread to one entire side of the head. It is usually accompanied by nausea, vomiting, blurred vision and tingling and numbness in the arms and legs that can last for up to 18 hours. A classic migraine is similar to a common migraine but is preceded by a set of symptoms referred to as an aura, which can consist of speech disorders, weakness, and disturbances in the senses of vision and/or smell. The aura can consist of brilliant stars, sparks, flashes, or simple geometric forms passing across the field of vision. The most common symptom is an inability to see clearly. The visual disturbances may last for just a few seconds or persist for several hours and then disappear.

Any number of things can trigger a migraine in a susceptible individual including allergies, constipation, stress, liver malfunction, too much or too little sleep, emotional changes, hormonal changes, sun glare, flashing lights, lack of exercise, and changes in barometric pressure. Dental problems may also be a factor. Low blood sugar is also associated with migraine; studies have shown that blood sugar levels are low during an attack, and the lower the blood sugar level the more severe are the symptoms.

The conventional treatment for migraines include amitriptyline , diazepam and propranonol which are used as a preventative rather than as treatment for an acute attack. For acute attacks patients may well be exacerbating their condition as some pain relievers may actually increase the likelihood of an attack.

Case Study

Miss C Born in 1974. Family history of migraines/headaches. Presented with common migraine symptoms The migraines were so debilitating she would have regular days off work each month with her employer's becoming more unpleasant with each episode of illness. On checking for food sensitivities the patient was found to be intolerant to cheese, citrus fruit, chocolate caffeine and alcohol. Her B vitamin and sulphur levels were low. After 3 months the patient reported a 85% improvement with less severity of symptoms when she did have an attack and only one day off from work in that time. In a study reported in the medical journal 'The Lancet' 93% of migraine sufferers obtained relief from eliminating foods which they were intolerant to.

Studies have shown that women who suffer migraines round the time of their period do so because the oestrogen levels are low. These women would probably benefit from the use of natural progesterone cream. After the menopause the headaches usually decrease.Immediately prior.