Is it a Migraine? What You Need to Know

Have you ever experienced a headache that was particularly painful and debilitating? You may have been suffering from a migraine. Migraines can cause significant pain which can make performing daily activities challenging. Some people experience such intense migraines that they will seek treatment at the emergency room. Migraines can extremely disrupt your life by making daily activities such as work, caring for children and driving impossible.

Keep reading to learn more about migraines and how they can be treated.

What is a Migraine?

A migraine is more severe and debilitating than just a typical headache. Migraines also typically last longer than headaches, with some lasting up to 3 days. Often migraines affect only one side of the head. Migraines may be caused by a variety of different factors including environmental and genetic influences. Many people who experience migraines also have family members who suffer from them as well. Migraines often first begin in adolescence but can occur at any age.

Certain lifestyle habits can also cause migraines including lack of sleep, lack of exercise and foods that are high in sugar or that are heavily processed. Some people can identify certain triggers that can cause their migraines such as hormonal changes, eating sugary and processed foods, alcohol or caffeine consumption and acute periods of stress. Some people may have a migraine be triggered by loud noises or bright lights. Migraines may also be a side effect of certain medications.

Symptoms

The symptoms of migraines vary from person to person. Some people may have migraines that last longer than others, or that are more severe. Migraines often have four stages, but not always. The four stages of migraines include:

Prodrome

  • Often occurs a day or two before a migraine headache begins
  • Symptoms may include:
    • Constipation
    • Mood changes
    • Stiffness in neck
    • Increased thirst
    • Increased urination

Aura

  • Most people do not experience an aura
  • Symptoms may last several minutes to an hour
  • Auras may include visual, sensory, motor and verbal disturbances
  • Symptoms may include:
    • Difficulty speaking
    • Trouble seeing
    • Weakness
    • The sensation of pins and needles
    • Muscle twitches and jerks

Attack

  • May last up to three days
  • Symptoms may include:
    • A headache affecting one side of the head
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Increased sensitivity to light, scents, and sounds
    • Sweating
    • Diarrhea
    • Dizziness

Post-drome

  • The last phase of a migraine
  • May last up to 24 hours
  • Symptoms may include:
    • Moodiness
    • Weakness
    • Fatigue

Treatment

The best treatment for migraines is generally prevention. Preventing migraines may include a variety of lifestyle changes. Common changes recommended for the prevention of migraines include:

  • Dietary changes
    • Avoiding triggers such as alcohol or caffeine
    • Drinking more water
    • Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet
  • Medications
    • Certain medications can help to prevent migraines from occurring
  • Getting regular physical activity
  • Sleeping at least seven to nine hours a night

There are many treatment options that can help to alleviate pain and reduce the duration of a migraine including prescription medications. Some lifestyle remedies and alternative therapies may help ease migraine pain including muscle relaxation exercises, acupuncture, massage, cognitive behavior therapy, and meditation.

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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