Migraine: why does it start?

Excess food, change in the rhythm of life, stress, genetics, so many factors that favor the appearance of these headaches.

This chronic disease is characterized by attacks of intense headaches. A distinction is made between migraines with and without aura. Indeed, some seizures are accompanied by transient and totally reversible neurological manifestations. Among these are visual disturbances (bright spots, blurred vision, etc.), sensory disturbances such as tingling at the fingertips or part of the face, or language problems. Symptoms can last between 30 minutes and an hour. These manifestations usually occur just before or at the very beginning of the migraine headache.

In the majority of cases, migraine is triggered without atmosphere. The pain is willingly throbbing, modeled on the beating of the heart. Most of the time, it occurs on one side of the head, at the temple, or in one eye. “What characterizes the migraine attack is the presence of accompanying signs, in addition to pain, that is to say nausea, sensitivity to light and noise, possibly to smells. The crisis can hamper the pursuit of its activities. In some patients, the pain can last up to 72 hours,” sums up Dr. Sylvain Redon from the Pain Assessment and Treatment Center – Timone Hospital ( Marseille ).). In children, migraine does not manifest in quite the same way. Often, it is characterized by paleness on the face and prominent digestive disturbances (such as vomiting).

Studies have been carried out to understand what is the origin of migraine. According to a recent study conducted by the University of California at San Diego ( United States ), it would find its source, in the people concerned, even before coming into the world, in utero. This research, conducted with more than 50,000 people, shed light on some prenatal factors like hormone levels in the womb during pregnancy.

If the precise origin of migraine remains undetermined, certain triggering factors are now well identified. First of all, this disease is linked to a genetic predisposition. “Migraines are triggered by a sensitivity to certain factors. Some daily deviations may be responsible. For example, a different sleep rhythm, a stressful situation, hormonal factors such as the decrease in estrogen levels that accompanies menstruation,” emphasizes Dr. Sylvain Redon

The weather also seems to have a role in the onset of a migraine attack. Indeed, the drop in atmospheric pressure can have repercussions for some people. “Food excess or deprivation are also factors favoring the onset of a migraine attack. In addition, dehydration plays a role,” warns Dr. Redon. In some migraine sufferers, the consumption of alcohol, chocolate, or cold cuts can also promote the onset of an attack.

If there is no miracle solution to avoid migraines, it is possible to reduce the risk. “Without focusing solely on the triggering factors, it is useful, on a daily basis and as far as possible, to try to limit them”, finally recommends the Marseille neurologist.