Migraine Headaches

What Causes Migraine Headaches?

Migraine headaches can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'troubling' to 'very serious'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose migraine headaches, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "migraine headaches" as a symptom.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Allergic Tension
  • Dehydration
  • Lupus (SLE)
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Low Carbohydrate Diet Consequences
  • Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
numb/burning/tingling extremities
irritated eyes
history of tender muscles
long-term low-carb dieting
reduced mental clarity
dark areas under eyes
bloodshot eyes
depression with anxiety
frequent 'chills'
incoherent speech
shingles
somewhat disturbed sleep
... and more than 120 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of migraine headaches:
Cause Probability Status
Allergic Tension 99% Confirm
Dehydration 16% Unlikely
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity 13% Unlikely
Ehrlichiosis 5% Ruled out
Hypoglycemia 4% Ruled out
Low Carbohydrate Diet Consequences 2% Ruled out
Sarcoidosis 2% Ruled out
Lupus (SLE) 2% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate chronic headaches, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Do you get Migraine Headaches? Attacks last 4-72 hours with various symptoms affecting mood, vision, hearing, touch, speech, memory, muscles, and a pulsating headache on one/both/alternating sides, leaving you drained, aching, emotional, thinking slowly.
Possible responses:
→ Never had one / don't know
→ Probably had one/minor episode(s) now resolved
→ Major episode(s) now resolved
→ Current minor problem
→ Current major problem
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate either history of migraine headaches or migraine headaches, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Fluoride Toxicity

Persistent headaches are one sign of fluorosis.

Aspartame/Neotame Side-Effects

Double-blind studies have demonstrated that aspartame causes headaches.  [Headache 1988:28(1) pp.10-14, Biological Psychiatry 1993:34(1) pp.13-17, Neurology 1994:44 pp.1787-93.]

Environmental Illness / MCS

Central nervous system dysfunction is common, resulting in headaches, chronic fatigue, poor short term memory, hyperactivity, and increased appetite leading to food cravings and overeating.

Estrogens Low

Women must first be exposed to elevated estrogen levels before low estrogen levels will trigger headache activity.  Constant low levels of estrogen, as in menopause, are less likely to be associated with increased headache pattern.

Liver Detoxification / Support Requirement

A 'sluggish liver' often contributes to headaches.

Low Female Testosterone Level

Migraines are more common among women who have very low testosterone levels.

Low Melatonin Level

Migraines sufferers often are found to have reduced blood levels of melatonin.

Lupus, SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus)

Vascular or migraine headaches occur in 10% of lupus patients.

Magnesium Requirement

Migraines sufferers often are found to have reduced blood levels of magnesium.

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