Dale Sandvall, D.C., DIBAK 5920 Interstate 20 W # 110 Arlington, TX 76017
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Tag Archives: Migraine Headaches Kennedale

Learn About Migraine Headaches from Kennedale’s Dr. Sandvall

Migraine headaches, Kennedale‘s Dr. Dale Sandvall would like you to know, aren’t just a pain in the brain. They’re often an indicator that something more serious is wrong, and deserves your attention.

Look at this list of things known to cause migraine headaches, taken from MayoClinic.com:


  • Foods. Aged cheeses, salty foods and processed foods may trigger migraines. Skipping meals or fasting also can trigger attacks.
  • Food additives. The sweetener aspartame and the preservative monosodium glutamate, found in many foods, may trigger migraines.
  • Drinks. Alcohol, especially wine, and highly caffeinated beverages may trigger migraines.
  • Stress. Stress at work or home can cause migraines.
  • Sensory stimuli. Bright lights and sun glare can induce migraines, as can loud sounds. Unusual smells — including perfume, paint thinner, secondhand smoke and others — can trigger migraines in some people.
  • Changes in wake-sleep pattern. Missing sleep or getting too much sleep may trigger migraines in some people, as can jet lag.
  • Physical factors. Intense physical exertion, including sexual activity, may provoke migraines.
  • Changes in the environment. A change of weather or barometric pressure can prompt a migraine.
  • Medications. Oral contraceptives and vasodilators, such as nitroglycerin, can aggravate migraines.</blockquote>


It might seem at first glance that there’s isn’t a lot of similarities in the items on that list, but look deeper. Consider: research has recently shown that salt can have effects on the brain similar to that of cigarettes or cocaine, causing a rush of dopamine, a neurotransmitter than makes you feel ‘up.’

We’ve known since the 60s that tyramine (in aged cheese) causes your brain to release norepinephrine, a fight-or-flight neurotransmitter. Aspartame and MSG are both in the class of chemicals called ‘excitotoxins’ that overstimulate neurons and thus the release of neurotransmitters including dopamine. Alcohol and caffeine both stimulate the release of dopamine; stress triggers norepinephrine; sensory overstimulation can release both norepinephrine and dopamine…you get the idea.


Or In Case You Didn’t…

The idea is that literally every one of the common triggers of migraine headache triggers one of a very short list of neurotransmitters that is directly attached to the process of stimulating your brain — either positively (in the ‘high’ of a dopamine rush) or negatively (in the ‘panic’ of a norepinephrine rush).

The connection between norepinephrine and dopamine can be found in their relationship with a third chemical — serotonin. Serotonin’s function in the brain can largely be summarized as “modulating the way neurons response to dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine.” Serotonin levels, then, are directly relevant to dopamine and norepinephrine levels.

So it should come as no real surprise that recent research has proven that low serotonin levels are powerfully associated with the likelihood of a migraine headache. In practical terms, if you want to avoid a migraine, keeping your serotonin levels balanced is almost certainly part of the key.


To schedule a consultation with Dr. Sandvall on how you can best adapt your lifestyle to maintain a high serotonin level and thus minimize the impact of migraine headaches in your life, call the office today!