New studies show a migraine allergy link that could help many sufferers to finally identify their painful headache triggers and gain relief. Food and environmental allergies may play a crucial role in the occurrence of migraines for many. It has not been determined how allergens cause migraines, but medical professionals have their own theories about the link.
According to Dr. Jonathan Field, Director of the Allergy and Asthma Clinic at the new York University School of Medicine and Bellevue Medical Center in New York City, sinusitis may play a key role. He says that one of the most common causes of migraines is allergic sinusitis. When people with allergies are exposed to allergens such as animal hair, pollen, dust or mold, the sinuses swell up and can cause migraines by acting as a trigger in the nerves of the brain that react to changes in pressure. Once these nerves notice a change, they send signals to the brain that cause migraine symptoms.
Dr. Clifford W. Bassett, the Medical Director of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York says that studies have determined that the odds of experiencing migraines are noticeably higher in those that have allergic rhinitis as opposed to those that do not have allergies.
Dr. Field also says that food allergies likely play a significant role in triggering migraines. The idea is that some foods contain properties that are drug-like to certain people, which trigger migraines. There is no clear evidence of this connection, and more research is necessary to determine this link scientifically, but one study showed a noticeable improvement in the occurrences of migraines in those that changed their diets.
Histamines may also play a role in migraines. This is a chemical that the body produces to fight allergic reactions. They often cause certain parts of the body to swell, and can cause migraine pain reactions. Dr. Bassett believes that by testing for allergies to foods, medications and environmental elements, patients can experience greater migraine pain relief.
Both doctors recommend certain steps to help avoid migraine pain if you believe that they are triggered by allergies. For instance, avoiding the triggers of the migraine, which means identifying allergies and preventing them can go a long way in fighting migraines.
They also recommend using a sinus rinse with natural salt water to irrigate the sinuses and keep them clean. This can prevent build up of histamines and improve sinus problems significantly, and that can help to offset some of the severe allergic migraines that people experience.
While these steps may be helpful in preventing certain kinds of migraines, they may not be enough to eliminate them all together. By recognizing and identifying your triggers, and working to avoid them, you can help to prevent many migraine headaches, but if you suspect that you suffer from migraines, you should also talk to your health care provider about treating them.