Wednesday, December 13The Voice of London

Is London giving you a migraine? These 4 things might be

According to the migraine trust, around one in seven people in the UK suffer from migraines.

What exactly is a migraine?

Many people think of a “bad headache” when they hear of migraines, but sufferers say that is “much more than just a headache”.

“Living in a city makes migraines so much worse”

 

Here is how some twitter users have described migraines:

Peter Goadsby, Professor of Neurology at King’s College London says: a “migraine is an inherited tendency to have headaches with sensory disturbance. It’s an instability in the way the brain deals with incoming sensory information, and that instability can become influenced by physiological changes like sleep, exercise and hunger.”

The national migraine centre has listed these four things as some of the most common triggers: stress, alcohol, lack of sleep, and cold weather. Brilliant.

“exercise stimulates the body

to release the natural pain controlling chemicals”

 

Being a student in London, it seems that these triggers resonate a lot with the lifestyle.

Here are what a couple of students had to say about it:

Stephen, 21, University of Westminster says: “Yeah, sounds a lot like a general students lifestyle. stress and lack of sleep being the main, unavoidable factors.”

Grace, 19, London College of Fashion says: “I get migraines a lot. And I am not surprised by these triggers. In fact, I think living in a city makes migraines so much worse. Especially when you’re always on the go, and there are flashing lights everywhere.”

In 2004, Mark Forshaw published a book called ‘Understanding headaches and migraines’ in which he states: “being exposed to artificial lights, either at home or at work or in the form of neon lights in cities, all may contribute to light pollution headaches or migraines.”

So, it seems like living in a city is probably not the best idea if you suffer from chronic migraines.

But, alas, there is still hope.

The national migraine centre suggests recording a diary of your migraines, and the factors that seem to have triggered it. After a while, it will be evident what you need to avoid and do to control your migraines.

Exercise is also a suggested method to control migraines. “Fit people have improved blood sugar balance, better breathing, and better pain control compared with unfit people – exercise stimulates the body to release the natural pain controlling chemicals known as endorphins and encephalins, relieves depression, and promotes a general sense of well being.”

If all else fails, medication is also available.

The NHS website says: “Triptan medicines are a specific painkiller for migraine headaches. They’re thought to work by reversing the changes in the brain that may cause migraine headaches. They cause the blood vessels around the brain to contract (narrow). This reverses the dilating (widening) of blood vessels that’s believed to be part of the migraine process.”

For more information visit: migraine.org.uk

 

Word: Brenda Zini I Subbed: Michael Ward