Less stress - still migraine?

Study shows connection between migraine attacks and decreasing stress

A migraine attack triggers a real thunderstorm within minutes in the head of the affected person: brain metabolism and blood flow get out of step and trigger piercing and pulsating pain. Often unilaterally focused in the temporal area or behind one eye, the pain reaches a strength that can cause a person to fall like an ax. Bright light or loud noises are then pure torture, violent movements trigger nausea until vomiting. Relief often only provides rest and a darkened room, sometimes a cooling compress. © SXC / Podbregar
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Migraine through relaxation? What sounds like a paradox, US neurologists have found in a study: In the recovery phase immediately after a stressful period, the risk of migraine is dramatically increased. In the journal "Neurology", the scientists also give a tip on how to reduce this risk again: relax in good time and do not even accumulate so much stress.

Migraine is one of the most common causes of regular headaches. About one in ten people in Germany have ever been affected or suffer from recurring attacks. However, many migraine sufferers can reduce the number of migraine attacks by avoiding certain triggers. A regular sleep pattern and abstinence from certain foods are examples of such a customized lifestyle. Increased stress has long been considered a risk factor for the painful attacks.

Three months detailed diary

A study by American neurologists now comes to the conclusion that a decreasing level of stress also brings with it an increased migraine risk. The physicians around Richard Lipton from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York let the participants of their study keep an electronic journal for three months.

In this diary, which was specially programmed for the study, the subjects recorded information about occurring migraine attacks and possible triggers. They also experienced perceived stress, and whether they felt happy, depressed, relaxed, nervous or bored, for example. Added to this were other lifestyle details and possible migraine triggers such as sleep times, certain foods and alcohol.

Almost five times higher migraine risk

In 17 study participants, a total of 110 migraine attacks occurred in the three months of the study. A total of 2, 011 diary entries had to be evaluated by the researchers. The result surprised physicians: "This study shows a remarkable relationship between the decrease in perceived stress and the onset of migraine headache, " explains study leader Lipton. display

With decreasing stress, migratory risk was almost five times higher in the first six hours than at other times.

Especially interesting: how strong or how little stressed the subjects felt in general had no effect on their migraines. The easing of the stress level alone made the frequency of headache attacks soar. But if you do not have stress, you can not stop it.

In case of increased stress, the analgesic hormone cortisol is shed. The neurologists speculate that a fluctuating cortisol level contributes to migraine as stress eases. The scientists therefore advise migraine patients to pay particular attention to their stress level. "It's important to notice growing stress in good time and relax in stressful times so that he does not overconcern, " says co-author Dawn C. Buse. Your recommendation is simple relaxation techniques like yoga or a quiet walk, or simply a few minutes calm and conscious breathing. (Neurology, 20141; doi: 10.1212 / WNL.0000000000000332)

(Albert Einstein College of Medicine, March 27, 2014 - AKR)