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According to the National Headache Foundation, migraines affect more than 28 million people. Almost half experience chronic migraines. Migraine sufferers typically experience pain on one side of the head, accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to both light and sound. Migraines can occur at any time, but morning time is typical and can last from hours to days.
There are two types of migraines; classic and common. Classic migraines are characterized by an aura, light spots that occur just before the onset of the headache. A common migraine is one that occurs without the aura.
During a migraine, blood vessels in the head go through a cycle of constriction and dilation. The nerve pathways in the brain change and the blood vessels become inflamed.
Common “triggers” of migraine headaches include:
The best treatment for migraine headaches is one of prevention.
Migraine prevention may include changes in diet, implementing healthy stress management techniques, getting adequate sleep, regulating hormones, and proper supplementation, specifically magnesium.
More than 50% of migraine sufferers have low levels of magnesium!
Magnesium deficiency in migraine sufferers is not surprising at all, since studies have consistently shown Americans in general are not getting enough magnesium. In fact, nearly 80% don’t get the RDA.
Magnesium is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. It is a necessary mineral for the transmission of nerve impulses, temperature regulation, detoxification and energy production. Besides migraines, some other commons signs of low magnesium status include, muscle spasms, restless legs, fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, constipation, menstrual cramps, arrythmias and palpitations.
The neurotransmitter serotonin regulates pain messages in the brain via the trigeminal pathway. There is evidence linking changes in serotonin levels and receptor activity, to the occurrence of migraine headaches. Magnesium concentration has a positive effect on serotonin receptors as well as a variety of other migraine related receptors and neurotransmitters.
The role of magnesium therapy has been studied extensively as natural preventative treatment for migraine sufferers. Two double blind trials found that oral magnesium reduces the incidence of migraine headaches. In one study, a 20-day treatment of oral magnesium normalized 90% of the patients.