If you’ve ever suffered from a migraine headache, you know that it is no joke. If you have never experienced one, a simple Internet search on what it feels like may shed some light on its horror. Here are just a few examples our friends over at the Huffington Post found:
"Like a jackhammer going off inside the brain."
"Your brain/eyeballs are throbbing & your head might explode if you're not [lying] down in a pitch black, silent room."
"Thunder and lightning inside of your head combined with a serious need to toss your cookies."
Migraines episodes can have long lifespans, even lasting for days at a time. Most people who have migraine headaches often say they would do anything (A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G) to make them go away and never come back. Well, what if we told you that there is a proven connection between carrying excess weight and migraines?
In a study published in the journal Neurology, researchers found that out of 3800 adult participants, those who had a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher were 81 percent more likely to develop a migraine. In other words, the clinically obese participants were at extremely high risk for feeling that jackhammer inside their brains. Additional research has also shown that migraines are much more prevalent among adults with higher levels of total body and belly fat.
The mechanisms for exactly how adipose tissue, or fat, contributes to migraines are yet to be fully defined, but researchers theorize that they may stem from the type of inflammation produced by the amount and location of the adipose tissue. Another hypothesis is that the weight-migraine connection originates from the parts of the brain that are involved in the body’s metabolic processes. Still another theory is that it is food-related, and the foods most associated with weight gain are also those that are known to trigger migraines, like chocolate, some cheeses, and alcohol.
Whatever the true cause, the correlation between obesity and migraines must be acknowledged. So, back to that “I’ll do anything” statement…
If you feel that your BMI may be on the high side and know first hand the debilitating effects of migraine headaches, this may be the time to take much needed steps to lose weight and especially fat. And if you haven’t yet felt the migraine crush, you’re going to want to get out of the camp that puts you at higher risk for it.
Speak to your doctor about how to better manage your migraines, and how weight loss might help.