Smoking and Migraines

September 21, 2017 Uncategorized 0 Comments

Smoking and Migraines

Is there a connection between smoking and migraines?

The correct answer is “maybe” to “probably”. There is currently no study data specifically addressing this issue. Studies of smoking and chronic headaches in general (not all chronic headaches are migraines) are available, but their application to migraines is limited.

A study of smoking and patients with chronic cluster headaches yielded some telling results. Smoking patients who decreased their smoking by less than a half of a pack daily reduced their headache frequency by an amazing 50%. This study just asked patients to cut down n their smoking, not to eliminate it. Imagine the results that might have been achieved if the smokers quit entirely!

In another study, 53% of migraine patients who eliminated smoking in conjunction with the elimination of personally identified food triggers experienced a complete cessation of migraines. By contrast, only 13% of non-smoking patients who eliminated their food triggers became migraine-free.

Many migraineurs (people who suffer from migraine headaches) are sensitive to strong smells, like perfume, food odors, and, yes, tobacco smoke. Others are specifically sensitive only to the scent of tobacco smoke. Still others are allergic to cigarette, cigar, and pipe smoke.

All of these people report having smoking or secondhand smoke trigger a migraine. Sometimes the smoke is the only trigger, sometimes it is part of a combination of triggers. Experts and sufferers agree there must be a link between smoking and migraines, somewhere, waiting to be uncovered.
Many of the commonly known effects of smoking are particularly detrimental to those prone to headaches and head pain. These side effects include elevated blood pressure, inflammation or irritation of the sinus cavities and nasal passages, and higher risk of stroke. Health officials all agree on one thing, smoking is contraindicated for everyone in every situation and migraine sufferers are no exception.

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