Have you ever felt a sharp, severe pain in your head? Practically every person does at one point or another, but some experience it far more than others. These people are known as migraine sufferers. They have frequent migraines which can disrupt their life.
There are many causes for migraine headaches, but one that some are now thinking of as being a cause is smoking. But is there really a connection between smoking and migraines?
What is a Migraine?
It’s a bit silly to discuss the connection without first discussing what a migraine headache is. Well, it’s basically a very severe Ã¢â‚¬Å“attackÃ¢â‚¬Â. The migraine isn’t formally known as a type of headache, even though in almost all cases a headache is part of a migraine attack.
Someone who is having a migraine attack may be extremely sensitive to light and sound, have a pounding pain in their head, and dizziness. If you’re having a migraine, you might also feel nauseous and throw up. How bad the pain is will depend on the severity of the attack. It can range from mild to severe.
You may have anywhere from 1-20 migraine attacks a month. The more you have migraines, the worse your migraine condition is said to be.
Who Gets Migraines?
Primarily women get migraines, and these very often happen during their period. However, anyone can get a migraine, including both younger kids and older people. No matter what age you are, you are not immune from getting a migraine.
Are Smoking and Migraines Connected?
Some may not think so, but smoking and migraine headaches are indeed connected. Smoking can cause a person to experience a migraine attack, which is why it is no surprise that many smokers are also migraine sufferers.
How Are Migraines and Smoking Connected?
It’s not enough for doctors to say that the two are connected, because that really does little to explain it to people who are smokers and have migraines. That’s why we’ll explain how the two are connected.
Cigarettes and cigars contain nicotine, a very powerful, addictive chemical. This chemical is known to encourage the blood vessels to tighten and constrict blood flow.
As you might already know, a migraine occurs under conditions in which the blood vessels have been constricted. So, when you smoke, you tighten your blood vessels thus typically causing a headache or migraine.
It’s important to note that not every smoker gets migraines from smoking. Some are not as prone as others are to migraines, and so they may not have migraines despite smoking.
How Can I Get Rid of Migraines Caused by Smoking?
Now that you know how and why the two are connected, what is the best way of getting rid of the migraines experienced as a result of smoking?
Well, most people have great success in eliminating migraines by simply quitting smoking. This is because when you remove the nicotine (the stimuli), you are getting rid of the cause for the migraine.
Other people have success by reducing how much and how often they smoke cigarettes. This isn’t nearly as effective as quitting all together, but it can provide some relief, particularly for those smokers who can’t quit completely.
Still others opt for medications prescribed by their doctor. You may want to talk to your doctor about the options available to you.
Like This Article? Sciencebeta has a free 3 times weekly digest of the most interesting and intriguing articles in psychology, neuroscience, neurology, and cognitive sciences. Want to give it a try? Subscribe right here