Dr Steven Allder, Consultant Neurologist, was featured in OK! Magazine in an article on migraines

Migraines are unbelievably common in the UK, affecting up to 12 million people.
They can be triggered by a multitude of factors ranging from genetics, food intolerances and allergies through to hormones, lifestyle, environment and wider medical issues.

Migraine facts

  • Women are three times more likely to suffer with migraines than men. This is likely to be attributed to hormones.
  • Migraines can be debilitating and seriously impede the quality of life for many sufferers. The effects can last hours through to days.
  • They are extremely painful and symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, all varying in intensity and duration.

Dr Allder’s tips to effectively manage migraines

Review your lifestyle

When people are getting the same repetitive headaches they should review factors such as stress, anxiety, sleep, exercise, diet and hormones.

Try to make lifestyle adjustments e.g. decrease stress, increase sleep, drink more water etc to improve and ultimately eliminate the onset of migraines.

Many people also have success with non-drug complementary therapies such as chiropractors, acupuncture and cranial therapy.

Symptoms diary

Make a record of your migraines to review with a medical expert to help speed up the diagnosis process. Record the following factors:

  • Pain intensity (1-10)
  • Location of pain
  • Type of pain
  • Duration – number of hours and changes in symptoms throughout this period
  • Symptoms (vomiting, noise / light sensitivity, restricted vision ability to perform tasks e.g. not able to walk, work, restricted vision etc.)
  • Menstrual cycle (if applicable)

Food diary

Food intolerances, allergies and dietary habits can trigger the migraines. Similarly, fasting and skipping meals can result in a migraine. Common offenders include: coffee, carbonated drinks, alcohol, citrus fruit, cheese, nuts and chocolate. Make a record of meal and snack times as well as quantities consumed.

Research family history

Genetic disposition to the condition is a leading cause of migraines. Therefore it is advisable to understand as much as possible on the circumstances and treatment. Useful information to support a diagnosis includes: symptoms, medication, what was and/or wasn’t successful in management migraines in the past.

Seek medical advice

Your GP will conduct a physical examination to check the function of the nervous system, blood pressure, vision and neck pressure. Any medication you are taking and a drug history will also be reviewed. GP’s will be able to prescribe medication and refer to a neurologist or other medical experts if applicable. It is here where information such as the migraine, food diaries and family history will assist in speeding up both diagnosis and referrals.

Prepare for future migraines

Some migraine sufferers feel an “aura” before the onset of the migraine. This can include visual disturbances like blind spots, blurred vision and coloured spots. There may also be sensations such as numbness, dizziness and pins and needles. Preparing for a migraine can help reduce symptoms.

How to prepare for a migraine

    • Water: have water easily accessible. It’s important to keep hydrated!
    • Have medication to hand: taking this at the earliest stage possible is key for many people.
    • Sensory distractions: have things like wet towels to soothe the head and sunglasses for bright light.
    • A quiet, dark room for sleeping.
    • Emergency contact numbers to hand.

To book a consultation with Dr Allder simply click the button below or call 02033553536

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