Water and Migraines
Before looking at the role water plays in migraines it's worth thinking about what a migraine is. Firstly it's no run of the mill headache. Migraines are debilitating headaches that can be so painful they cause the sufferer to have to go to bed. Migraine headaches are often associated by a number of other symptoms such as flashing lights affecting your vision, nausea and in severe cases vomiting. Secondly it's highly unlikely that you will suffer a one off migraine. Sufferers often identify trigger factors that cause migraines on a repeating basis. So, of you wake up on Monday with a bad head ache after a few bottles of Rioja don't call the boss, chances are if he's read this article he'll spot you a mile off.
Migraines are unpleasant headaches but understanding the value of correct hydration can really help manage the condition. In order to do this we need to look at what makes a migraine happen. It's now believed that a migraine occurs when blood vessels in the head, particularly those in the region of the temples and the eyes, dilate (medical word for stretch really). Now these dilating blood vessels have nerve fibres coiled around them and as the vessels dilate the nerve fibres are stretched and cause the release of chemicals causing pain which then causes swelling and further dilation. That's some vicious circle!
The actual causes of a migraine vary, the triggers as they are called, vary from individual to individual. The list is extensive and may include food types, hormonal changes – particularly in women, lack of sleep, environmental triggers such as humid weather, strenuous exercise and hydration issues. The first thing a migraine sufferer will need to do is keep a diary to identify the triggers that affect them specifically. It's pretty certain that in most cases, along with other triggers, the H Factor will be identified. H for hydration is a key issue and research has given some idea about the specific role it plays here. It is thought that dehydration will impact a cells ability to function and in the case of nerve cells causes the signals issued by the nerve cells to become distorted leading to increased levels of pain which just reinforces that vicious circle.
It's a widely held view that rehydration is important in dealing with a migraine. The Migraine Trust, The UKs leading migraine charity places the call to action "Take a break, rehydrate and recuperate" on its website but perhaps there is a need to avoid dehydration in the first place.