Headaches & Migraines
What is a Migraine Headache?
A migraine is a powerful headache that often happens with nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light. Migraines can last from 4 hours to 3 days, and sometimes longer.
The American Migraine Foundation estimates that more than 36 million Americans get them, women 3 times more often than men. Most people start having migraine headaches between ages 10 and 40. But many women find that their migraines improve or disappear after age 50. They generally last between 4 and 72 hours.
What Causes Migraine Headaches?
Migraine headaches are a symptom of an overall condition known as migraine. Doctors don’t know the exact cause of migraine headaches, although they seem to be related to changes in the brain as well as to genes that run in families. You can even inherit the triggers that give you migraine headaches, like fatigue, bright lights, weather changes, and others.
What Can Trigger a Migraine Headache?
- Stress – when you’re stressed, your brain releases chemicals that can cause the blood vessel changes that can lead to a migraine.
- Foods – some foods and drinks, such as aged cheese, alcohol, and food additives like nitrates (in pepperoni, hot dogs, lunchmeats) and monosodium glutamate (MSG) may be responsible for up to 30% of migraines.
- Caffeine – getting too much or withdrawing from it can cause headaches when the level in your body abruptly drops. Blood vessels seem to get used to caffeine, and when you don’t have any, you may get a headache. Caffeine itself can be a treatment for acute migraine attacks.
- Changes in weather – storm fronts, changes in barometric pressure, strong winds, or changes in altitude can all trigger a migraine.
- Having your period
- Feeling very tired
- Skipping meals
- Changes to your sleep
Dr. Laura Jansons
Dr. Jansons is in private practice in Arlington Heights, Illinois. She provides neuropsychological assessment for adults and children and is growing her neuorotherapy and neurofeedback clinic. She has been providing direct therapy, assessment, professional training, and scholarly contributions in her field since 1990.
Dr. Jansons began her career at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Clinical Psychology and master’s degree in Human Developmental Counseling. Her doctorate is from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology and she completed her Neuropsychology Certificate Training at Fielding Graduate University. She is a Board-Certified Fellow of the American Board of Professional Neuropsychology. She is also Board Certified in Neurofeedback with the Board Certification International Alliance (BCIA).
Dr. Jansons’ research interests are in Large Scale Brain Systems, neural network dynamics, and cerebellar and vertically organized brain functioning. She is a co-partner in many projects including a start-up company for developing a web portal for patients and advanced clinicians, and she participates in the technical development of custom brain entertainment therapies. She is also a performing musician.