What causes the blood vessels to dilate during migraines and headaches?
I have been suffering from migraines for a long time now. I was wondering, what causes the blood vessels to enlarge? Generally when I take a hot shower it is worse (I know that this is due to my body trying to cool off), and when I do cardio it is absolutely intolerable, I feel light headed like I'm gunna pass out. What would be causing this feeling? Why would, with the conditions of migraines, I feel light headed as if I am to pass out? Some if you will ask me to see a doctor, but I am, but no meds are really helping me at the moment. I just want a better understanding of what happens. Would infrared light, which increases circulation, help? Or would it only further dilate my temporal artery. Any help with this load of questions will be much appreciated xD. Thanks in advance.
- Memere RN/BALv 76 years agoBest Answer
I've been suffering from migraines since I was 10. You're right, the blood vessels dilate but only with migraines, An ordinary headache, the vessels constrict. The reason the hot shower didn't work is because with migraines, you need ice. Always use ice on your migraines. Heat only inflates them more. As far as why they dilate, I don't know, but It's something I'm going to look up for you. Migraines will make you feel dizzy, have blurred vision, give you nausea and affect speech. Stay away from bright lights especially strobe lights. This only worsens the migraine. I will get back to you when I look up why the vessels dilate
EDIT, I looked up several sources and only one Dr. gave an answer that he is only guessing at. He said the vessels first constrict and the brains reaction is to pump more blood thereby dilating them. Every other report said they don't know why the blood vessels dilate. It has nothing to do with emotions, stress according to them. So that's the best I can do. Oh, the one Dr. that gave an explanation said that it begins in the occipital area of the brain, (back of the head) where the nerve is for the eyes, thus causing the blurred vision. That makes sense. So, you are just as much in the dark about this as is many doctors putting you in good company. When I was a child, my mother would put me in bed, close all the blinds and put a black cloth on my eyes so no light would make it worse. WE didn't know about the ice until I went to college for nursing. Ice really works. Try it. Hot showers are good for sinus headaches because it makes the sinuses drain. Hope that answers you question. Blessings.
- 4 years ago
The pain from a migraine is caused from the blood vessels of the brain dilating and spasming so the only thing that's going to stop the pain of the migraine is some thing that's going to open up the vessels again either a migraine medication like imitrex, or time. There are also medications you can take to help prevent migraines from occurring. Hope this helps.
- PrfessorLv 56 years ago
Medical researches don't know what causes migraines. If they did, they would have had a cure by now. They can describe the symptoms, but the cause is a medical mystery.
One thing that might help is brown sunglasses, especially the kind that are darker at the top than at the bottom. Those kinds of sunglasses filter out blue light. Many people are sensitive to blue, not just people with migraines. Besides 3 kind of color-sensing cone-cells in the eye (red, green, blue) there are also cells called macular ganglia that are sensitive to blue light. They play a role in regulating our sleep cycle, but in people with migraines the signals seem to get crossed.
- Anonymous6 years ago
It's emotional... the brain can do anything it wants to do with blood vessels. The only guy who writes about this is Dr. Sarno - "MindBody Prescription" - you can get it off Amazon. He deals with psychosomatic disorders - people in terrible pain without a thing wrong with them. And part of this situation is migraine headache.
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- Mr ELv 76 years ago
likely cerebral ischemia/hypoxia. migraines are caused by adrenal insufficiency. chronic overstimulation of the adrenals from chronic nerve interference from upper cervical vertebral subluxation exhausts them causing vacillations in blood pressure which can be severe enough to produce migraines. see an hio method chiropractor to correct the cause. failure to correct the cause and keep it corrected can result in aneurysm and stroke. nutritional support for the adrenals is bioflavinoids and pantothenic acid.