Migraines and Stress: A Virtual Journey
Take a deep-dive look at what happens to your brain and body during a migraine with this virtual journey video.
NARRATOR: After a long stressful day, you find yourself feeling tired, moody. Something feels off, but you know exactly what this is.
[MUSIC PLAYING] Another migraine is barreling towards you like a freight train.
And for millions of people around the world, these recurring and painful headaches can be severe enough to disrupt everyday life.
The brain is capable of generating trillions of electrical messages every second, but stress, both daily and from major life events,
can be so harmful that it wreaks havoc not only on the mind but the body. Those seemingly innocent moments of everyday stress
caused the body to flood itself with hormones. The heart pounds faster, blood pressure rises, lungs breathe quicker, and muscles tighten,
and we're essentially revving up for no reason. Stress is the most common trigger for people with migraines and has the power
to initiate, worsen, and increase the frequency of attacks. During the first phase of a migraine, called the prodrome,
brain activity becomes abnormal and erratic. Like a warning sign of an oncoming attack, migraine sufferers commonly experience the prodrome
as neck stiffness, mood changes, and fatigue. As the prodrome loosens its grip, a rolling wave-like blackout may sweep across the surface
of the brain as an aura. Along with tingling and numbness in parts of the body, those experiencing an aura may see visual disturbances,
like flashing lights, zigzag lines, or blind spots in their field of vision. Less than an hour later, chemicals in the brain
turn the aura into a migraine attack. Just the stress and thought of suffering through a throbbing
headache, along with other symptoms, like dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound, can worsen and intensify a migraine.
After the attack, the brain is in such dire need of recovery that it undergoes the last hibernation-like phase
of a migraine called the postdrome. For some, the postdrome may be as disabling as the migraine attack itself, leaving the person
in a worn-out hangover-like state of achiness and weakness for hours or days.
It's hard to predict when a migraine will strike again, but with doctor-recommended treatment, smart lifestyle
choices, strong social support, and stress-reduction strategies, like relaxation techniques, biofeedback,
and cognitive behavioral therapy, you can be better prepared when it does.
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