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偏頭痛の女性
偏頭痛の女性

偏頭痛が発生するメカニズムとは?5つの原因と5つの対処方法

偏頭痛の女性

ときには日常生活までもがままならなくなってしまう偏頭痛、日常生活を見直すことで解消できるかもしれません。

偏頭痛は、頭部の血管の拡張が原因で発生します。

頭部の血管が拡張しないように、また拡張してしまった血管を収縮させるような対処方法をとることで、つらい偏頭痛を解消できるかもしれません。

本記事では、偏頭痛の症状、発生のメカニズム、原因、対処方法をご一緒に考えていきましょう。

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1.偏頭痛の症状

夜

頭痛には様々な種類があり、その種類によって対処方法も異なります。

このため、今起きている頭痛はどのような頭痛の症状なのかを把握することが大切です。

ここでは、偏頭痛にあてはまる症状をご紹介します。
以下の症状に当てはまる数が多いほど、偏頭痛である可能性が高くなります。
偏頭痛の症状

  • 片方のこめかみだけが痛い、といった片側性の痛み
  • 心臓の動きにあわせて、ズキンズキンと痛むような症状
  • 動くと気分が悪くなり、仕事や生活に支障を来す
  • 吐き気、嘔吐などの症状
  • 匂い、音、光などの刺激に敏感になる
  • 頭痛になる前に、目の前にチカチカと輝く光が現れ視野の中心から片隅にかけて部分的に見えにくくなる、といった前兆がある

いかがでしたか?以上のような症状が多くあてはまる場合、偏頭痛であることが考えられます。

ただし、偏頭痛はただちに命にかかわるようなものでないのに対して、頭痛のなかには脳腫瘍くも幕下出血など、生命にかかわる病気が原因となる頭痛もあります。

いつもの頭痛にまぎれて危険な頭痛を見逃す可能性もあるため、自己判断はせず一度は病院で受診することが大切です。

2.偏頭痛が発生する原因

偏頭痛が起こるメカニズムはまだ正確には解明されていませんが、よく知られている説をみてみると、偏頭痛は収縮した血管が拡張するときに起こると考えられます。

以下に一般的知られている説を二つご紹介します。

2-1.血管説

頭部の血管が拡張することによって、頭痛が起こると考える説です。

血管の拡張によって偏頭痛が発生するプロセスは以下のとおりです。

  1. ストレスや睡眠不足が誘因となって、頭の血管が拡張する
  2. これを鎮めるためにセロトニンという物質が多量に放出され、この作用で血管が収縮する
  3. 時間の経過とともにセロトニンが減少すると再度血管が拡張し、このときに頭痛が発生する

2-2.三叉神経血管説

脳神経のなかで最も大きい三叉神経が関与しているとする説です。

  1. 脳から伝えられた何等かの刺激が三叉神経を刺激
  2. 三叉神経の末端から、血管を拡張させる作用をもつ様々な神経伝達物質が分泌される
  3. この働きで拡張した血管や、それにより発生した炎症が神経を刺激し、頭痛が発生する

ここまでみてきたように、偏頭痛は何等かの原因により血管が収縮、拡張したときに起こることがわかります。

それでは、どのような原因で血管の収縮、拡張が起こるのでしょうか?

次に、この原因を調べてみましょう。

3.偏頭痛が起こる原因

血管が拡張し、偏頭痛が起こる原因は、日常生活のなかに多く潜んでいます。
この原因を理解することが、偏頭痛の予防につながります。

どのようなことが原因で血管が拡張して偏頭痛が起こるのか、5つの原因を以下にご紹介します。

  1. 温度変化:急に暖かくなる季節の変わり目や、お風呂でシャワーを浴びているときなどの温度変化によるもの
  2. 気圧変化:雨、台風などの低気圧の影響で血管が収縮し、その後血管が拡張するため
  3. ストレス:ストレスを受けているときに収縮していた血管が、ストレスから解放されたときに拡張することにより起こる
  4. アルコールの摂取:アルコールには血管を拡張させる作用がある
  5. 月経:女性の月経時にはよりスムーズに経血を排出するために、プロスタグランディンという子宮を収縮させるホルモンが分泌されるが、このホルモンは全身の血管にも働き、血管の収縮、拡張がおこる

こうして挙げてきた原因のなかには、生活のなかで注意をすれば避けられるものもありますね。

偏頭痛に悩まされている方は、一度、日常生活のなかに偏頭痛の原因となってしまうものがないか、見直してみてはいかがでしょうか。つらい偏頭痛の予防につながるかもしれません。それでは次に、予防をしても偏頭痛が起きてしまった場合の、対処方法をご紹介します。

4.偏頭痛への対処方法

偏頭痛が起きたとき、病院に行く前に自宅で行える5つの対処方法をご紹介します。

  1. 頭部を冷やす:血管を収縮させるために、痛む箇所をジェルシートや保冷剤などで直接冷やします。反対に入浴やシャワーを浴びることは血管を拡張させてしまうため避けるようにしましょう。
  2. 人ごみやまぶしい光を避ける:騒音やまぶしい光などがストレスとなって偏頭痛が起こる場合があります。このようなときは、人ごみを避け、サングラスなどで光を防ぎましょう。
  3. カフェインを摂る:コーヒーや緑茶に含まれるカフェインには血管を収縮させる働きがあるため、軽い偏頭痛の場合はおすすめです。
  4. 特定の食品を避ける:人によっては、チョコレート、チーズ、ワインなどを食べると偏頭痛が起こることがあります。偏頭痛がよく起こる方は、これらの食べ物との関連を一度チェックしてみるとよいでしょう。
  5. 規則正しい生活:睡眠不足、眠り過ぎが偏頭痛を招く場合もあります。生活の乱れはストレスの要因ともなりますので、規則正しい生活を心がけましょう。
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まとめ:頭部の血管の拡張が偏頭痛の原因。これを理解した対処をしましょう

ここまで、偏頭痛の症状・発生のメカニズム・原因・対処方法をご紹介してきました。

ときには生活にも支障を来してしまうほどの痛みがある偏頭痛は、頭部の血管の拡張により起こるものであることが、おわかりいただけたと思います。

ここでもう一度、偏頭痛が発生する原因と対処方法をまとめてみましょう。

偏頭痛が起こる原因

  • 温度変化
  • 気圧変化
  • ストレス
  • アルコールの摂取
  • 月経

偏頭痛への対処方法

  • 頭部を冷やす
  • 人ごみやまぶしい光を避ける
  • カフェインを摂る
  • 特定の食品を避ける
  • 規則正しい生活

本記事でご紹介した偏頭痛の予防方法、発生したときの対処方法をご参考に、つらい偏頭痛を解消し、快適な生活を送ってください。

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