A migraine can cause unbearable pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on one side of the head, accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine pains can last for hours to days, and the pain can be so severe that it interferes with your daily activities.
The diagnosis of migraine headaches is determined based on symptoms and clinical history. There are two most common categories of migraine headache: 1) without aura (previously known as common migraines) and 2) with aura (previously known as classic migraines).
Migraines can begin at any age and Women are more likely to get migraines and are hereditary.
Migraine pain will progress through four stages: prodrome, aura, attack and post-drome. Everyone who has migraines may not go through all stages.
One or two days before a migraine, you might notice modest changes that warn of an upcoming migraine, including:
- Mood changes
- Food cravings
- Neck stiffness
- Increased thirst and urination
- Frequent yawning
Aura might occur before or during migraines. Auras are reversible symptoms of the nervous system. Usually visual, but can also include other disturbances. Each symptom usually begins gradually, builds up over several minutes and lasts for 15 to 60 minutes.
Examples of migraine aura include:
- Seeing various shapes and bright spots(visual phenomena)
- Vision loss
- Uncomfortable tingling, prickling sensations in an arm or leg
- Numbness in the face/one side of the body
- Difficulty speaking
- Hearing noises or music
- Uncontrollable jerking or other movements
A migraine usually lasts from four to 72 hours if untreated, varies from person to person. Migraine attacks might occur rarely or strike several times.
During a migraine, you might have:
- Pain usually on one side of your head, sometimes both sides
- Pain that throbs or pulses
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Nausea and vomiting
After a migraine attack, you might feel drained and confused for up to a day. The pain may occur briefly with sudden head movement.
When to see a doctor
Migraines are often undiagnosed and untreated. If you regularly have signs and symptoms of migraine, keep a record of your attacks and how you treated them and consult the doctor.
See your doctor immediately if you have any of the following signs/symptoms, which could indicate a more serious medical problem:
- Severe headache like a thunderclap
- Headache with severe fever, double vision, numbness etc.
- Severe headache after a head injury
- A chronic migraine pain that is worse after coughing, exertion, straining or a sudden movement
What Can Trigger a Migraine Headache?
Some common migraine triggers include:
- Changes in weather
- Feeling very tired
- Skipping meals
- Changes to your sleep
How Are Migraine Headaches Treated?
There’s no cure for migraine headaches. But many medicines can treat or even prevent some of them. Common types of migraine treatments include:
- Pain relief
- Nausea medicine
- Preventive medicines
If you don’t respond to other treatments and you have 3 or more migraine days a month, your doctor may suggest these medicines, taking them regularly may reduce the severity and frequency of your headaches. They include seizure medicines, blood pressure medicines (like beta blockers and calcium channel blockers), and some antidepressants.
People may feel less migraine symptoms when they eat on a regular schedule and get enough rest. Regular exercise — in moderation — can also help prevent them. If lifestyle changes did not show results, you have other options.
Don’t let migraines rule your life. Get the right diagnosis and expert treatment. Make an appointment with an expert pain specialist at Advanced Spine and Knee Hospital.