young adult man holding his face in painDealing with frequent headaches is a struggle that many Americans face; daily, weekly, or even monthly headaches can affect your quality of life, job performance, marriage, and social life. There are numerous over-the-counter headache remedies, holistic approaches to stopping headache pain, and even yoga poses to combat the pain brought on by headaches. For many people, none of these treatments work, and they’re left with the throbbing, often-debilitating pain of a migraine headache.

Many people who have headaches in Wilmington, Delaware, use the word “migraine” to describe their very painful headache, but migraine headaches are actually difficult to diagnose. A migraine headache is not just a headache but a disabling neurological disease with a variety of symptoms and treatment modalities. The American Migraine Foundation estimates that approximately 39 million Americans live with migraine headaches. The number may be much higher because the American Migraine Foundation points out that many headache sufferers never get that official diagnosis.

After reading this blog, you may realize that your diet may be triggering your headaches, or, if you have already explored that option, you may soon discover that your terrible headaches are caused by something called Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (commonly referred to as TMD or TMJ).

Disorders of the temporomandibular joint in Wilmington, Delaware, affect the jaw joints and surrounding muscles and ligaments. TMD may be caused by trauma, a misaligned bite known as “malocclusion,” arthritis, or wear and tear of the jaw joints. If your headaches in Wilmington are not relieved by a change in your diet, then you may have to find a neuromuscular dentist in Wilmington, Delaware, with experience in diagnosing and treating TMD.

Signs and Symptoms of Migraine Headaches

A migraine is characterized by a number of signs and symptoms; the signs and symptoms may vary greatly from patient to patient:

  • Head pain that’s moderate, severe, or intense
  • Head pain that is hard to endure and can become unbearable. Unrelenting pain, or “intractable pain,” are terms often used to describe the pain of a migraine headache
  • Head pain may be one-sided or two. It could be in the front of the head and the back of the head. Some migraine sufferers even describe pain behind the eyes or over the cheeks.
  • Head pain that is throbbing, pounding, or pulsating
  • Head pain that is worsened with movement
  • Nausea and vomiting

Sensitivity to light, noise, or certain smells.

The presence of an aura prior to the headache; the most common auras are visual ones that may be flashes of lights or spots.

Head pain lasting from several hours to several days

Foods, Drinks, and Chemicals to Avoid if You Have Migraines

Not every migraine is tied to a trigger, but knowing what foods may trigger migraines could help you reduce the number of headaches you get. While the exact causes of migraines can never really be known, we do know that brief changes in brain activity can lead to migraine headaches. The changes in brain activity affect your blood vessels and nerve signals and can result in throbbing headache pain that lasts for days. Food is thought to be a trigger in about 10-20% of migraine headache cases; these foods may trigger migraine headaches:

  • Cultured dairy like yogurt
  • Chocolate
  • Caffeine
  • Baked goods with yeast including bagels, doughnuts, sourdough bread, and coffee cake
  • Fruit or juices like citrus, dried fruit, bananas, plums, papaya, passion fruit, avocados, figs, and dates
  • Nuts and nut butter
  • Olives
  • Soy products
  • Onions, tomatoes, corn, peppers
  • Vinegar

If you feel this list is your whole diet, please don’t be discouraged. You cannot eliminate all of the foods you love at one time. However, you can gradually eliminate certain migraine-causing foods to see which ones may be the culprit.

Tyramine is a natural compound that forms in protein-rich foods that get better with age, such as cheese. The following cheeses have been known to trigger migraines:

  • Brie
  • Bleu
  • Muenster
  • Cheddar
  • Parmesan
  • Swiss
  • Feta
  • Mozzarella

Some additives like MSG, nitrates, and nitrites have been known to trigger migraines. These additives add flavor to food and help them last longer, but they cause your blood vessels to swell, which can cause a headache. Please read the labels of your favorite foods to see if they contain any of these common additives. The artificial sweetener aspartame has been known to cause migraine headaches. Alcohol (wine, beer, champagne, and hard liquor) causes migraine-like headaches in many people.

Get Migraine Treatment in Wilmington, Delaware

If you try an elimination diet and still get headaches, it’s time to call Wilmington neuromuscular dentist, Dr. Michael T. Rosen, at (302) 994-0979 to schedule an appointment. You may also submit our online contact form, and one of our Wilmington, DE dental team members will reach out shortly.