Information About Migraines is Vital

Migraines can seriously affect the well-being of those who experience them. People of all ages have them, and they can be incapacitating when they occur. More than 90 percent of people who experience them cannot work or function normally while having a migraine. They can last for a couple of hours to several days and the symptoms that occur with them may vary from one person to the next. In a more severe form, migraines can be accompanied with extreme sensitivity to light, sound, touch, or smell. It may also include pain in your temples or behind your eye or ear, visual disturbances – possibly including vision loss, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and numbness in the extremities.

A migraine is much more severe than a headache and it is not the same thing. It is actually a collection of neurological symptoms that typically occurs on one side of the head. In about 1/3 of the cases, it can affect people on both sides of the head. About 1 in every 4 homes in America has someone in it that is affected by migraines. This is about 12 percent of the population. About three times as many women (18%) as men (6%) will experience them, and about 10% of this number are children. They are considered to be the 6th most disabling illness in the world.

What Is Known about Migraines?

It is not yet understood exactly what causes migraines. There are some theories, but researchers are not in agreement. Part of the reason for this is that migraine sufferers say that their symptoms may differ between attacks. There are also different types of migraines, and some sufferers will have more than one type.

Some people will have a warning before the symptoms appear. One type of clue is called an aura, but only some sufferers experience it. It refers to a sensory clue that they receive that occurs between 10 to 30 minutes before a migraine starts. Others may experience different symptoms, possibly as much as two days ahead of time. These symptoms might include being constipated, having stiffness in the neck, being irritable, being more thirsty than usual, yawning frequently, depression, or unusual food cravings.

There are many known triggers of migraines, and different ones may start a migraine in different people. Some of the most common triggers are caused by the weather. Changes in temperature, air pressure and humidity, are known to start migraines in many people. Food triggers include withdrawing from caffeine, missing meals, and drinking alcohol. Not getting enough sleep, or getting too much, along with changes in your sleep habits can also trigger migraines. Going through a period of stress and anxiety can also cause a migraine, but you may have one when you are more relaxed, too.

Some types of migraines indicate that you need to make a fast trip to an emergency room. They reveal more serious problems than just a migraine. The symptoms you must watch for include a headache that comes with a fever, a stiff neck, seizures, double vision, difficulty speaking, feeling weak, and having mental confusion. Another symptom is when you develop a sudden and severe headache. If you develop a headache following a head injury, and it seems to get worse, see a doctor quickly. Also, see a doctor quickly if you have a chronic headache that worsens after physical exertion, coughing, or making a sudden movement.

When getting a diagnosis for migraines, the doctor may use several tests. After the initial blood tests, other tests may be necessary in order to rule out other possible causes. These tests will likely include an MRI, CT, and possibly a spinal tap. The scans will help to determine whether or not there are tumors, infections, bleeding within the brain, and other problems.

Treatment for migraines involves basically two forms: taking medications to relieve the pain, and taking medicine to prevent it. Medications to relieve the pain are taken after the migraine has already started. Medications to prevent a migraine are taken on a regular basis to prevent it or to at least reduce the frequency. Standard pain relievers, will help in some people when it is a rather mild one. Over-the-counter medicines designed for migraines may help to give relief for moderate migraines, but these should not be taken for long periods because they may cause ulcers and headaches from overuse. Several types of prescription medications are available.

When a migraine comes, there are some things that you can do to ease the pain. Since light can be a trigger, as well as noise, you want to find a room that is quiet and dark where you can lay down. Drinking or eating some caffeine may also help. It is often put into medications that treat migraines and many people find it helps. Some people, however, also find that it is a trigger. Try to relax and release your stress. Massaging or exercising your neck may also help because these muscles often tense up during a migraine.

Once a migraine has passed, there is a final phase, called post-drome. These symptoms may last up to 24 hours after the migraine has stopped. In addition to feeling washed out during this time, you may also feel confusion, dizziness, be sensitive to sound and light, and be moody. Some people will feel elated instead of being washed out.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is it a good idea to keep track of your migraines and create a record?

A: Yes. This is recommended and may help you find the triggers that initiate your migraines. Jot down how severe they are and how long they lasted.

Q: Should you record the foods you eat?

A: Yes. It is very important to record the foods you ate before the headache started, and your meals and snacks, too. It is possible that the trigger may be something you are not aware of, such as dark chocolate, cheese, or red wine (any alcohol can be a trigger). After doing this for a month or two, you will likely start to see a pattern.

Q: Do various alternative therapies work?

A: Some may be more helpful than others, but it will vary with the individual. Research continues on this, but there has been some success with biofeedback, massage therapy, acupuncture, and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Q: Can taking natural supplements help?

A: Some people may be helped by natural supplements. Before taking these supplements, be sure to ask your doctor about them.

Disclaimer: The articles on this website are not meant to encourage the self-management of any health or wellness issue. Nor are they meant to encourage any one type of medical treatment. Treatment or advice used by a reader may have varying results, as each individual is different. Any article reader with a health-related question, is encouraged to seek a proper consultation with a doctor or certified health provider. The articles on this website should not be used to disregard any medical or health-related advice, nor should they be the root cause for delay in seeing a doctor or a certified health provider.

The articles on this website should not be used to start the use of dietary supplements or vitamins, natural or herbal products, homeopathic medicine or other mentioned products prior to a proper consultation with a doctor or certified health provider.

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