Signs and Treatment Options for Migraines

Signs and Treatment Options for Migraines

One of the most common conditions that millions of people around the world experience are migraines. In the U.S. alone, it’s estimated that one in four households have someone living with migraines. A migraine causes severe throbbing pain on one side of a person’s head that can last anywhere from hours to days. Although there isn’t a cure for migraines, you can learn what triggers them and how to manage symptoms. There are a number of medications and natural remedies you can search for online to ease migraine pain.

People of all ages can experience migraines, including children. By recognizing the symptoms and implementing some lifestyle habits into your routine, you can start to better understand your condition. You can search online to learn more about migraines and their symptoms.

Here is what you should know about migraines.

Signs And Symptoms Of Migraines

People with migraines experience a pulsing, throbbing pain usually on one side of the head. But there are also a number of stages that occur before and after the actual migraine. This condition can be debilitating and is the sixth most disabling illness in the world.

Migraine experiences can vary from person to person. This includes the symptoms, frequency and duration of the migraine. While there are different types of migraine headaches, the most common patient will go through four main stages of migraines: prodrome, aura, attack and post-drome.

1. Prodrome
This stage involves subtle changes in your health that begins one or two days before the migraine happens. This can include:

  • Constipation
  • Mood changes
  • Food cravings
  • Neck stiffness
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Frequent yawning

2. Aura
This is a visual disturbance that gradually builds either before or during migraines. It can last anywhere from several minutes to an hour. Some examples of aura disturbances are:

  • Seeing shapes, bright spots or flashes or light
  • Vision loss
  • Pins and needles sensations in arm or leg
  • Weakness or numbness in face or body
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Uncontrollable jerking or other movements

3. Attack
This is when someone experiences the actual pulsing migraine pain. General symptoms you can experience during a migraine are:

  • Throbbing and pulsing pain on one or both sides of the head
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Nausea and vomiting

4. Post-Drome
This is the aftermath of the migraine, which can be endured for hours or days. It’s normal to feel drained and even elated since the pain has subsided. Though it’s also possible that sudden head movements can briefly bring back the pain.

If you’re regularly experiencing migraines, you should see a doctor and learn how to treat them. There are also some instances where you should seek immediate medical treatment that pose a more serious medical problem.

Go to the emergency room if the headache you’re experiencing is:

  • Abrupt and severe like a thunderclap
  • Paired with a fever, seizures, double vision, numbness, mental confusion, etc.
  • Due to a head injury
  • Chronic and made worse with coughing, straining or other sudden movements
  • New and you’re over the age of 50

Causes And Risk Factors

There isn’t an exact reason why people develop migraine headaches, though it can be linked to genetics and some environmental factors. Four out of five people with the condition typically have family members who experience them.

Women are three times more likely than men to develop migraines. The condition is most likely to peak during your 30s for both sexes, and it usually becomes less frequent in the following decades.

Certain things might trigger a migraine. This includes:

  • Stress
  • Certain foods
  • Too much caffeine or withdrawal
  • Changes in weather
  • Menstrual cycle
  • Tiredness

Migraines are triggered by overactive nerve cells. A chain of events lead to the release of certain chemicals that cause blood vessels in the lining of the brain to swell, releasing neurotransmitters that create inflammation and pain.

Treatment Options

It’s important to track the frequency and symptoms of your migraines. This can give doctors a better understanding of your condition and help you develop a routine for treatment. There are different types of over-the-counter and prescription drugs to use.

For best results, it’s recommended you take medication within 10 to 20 minutes of experiencing initial symptoms. Aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen might be able to help mild to moderate migraines. Doctors could prescribe you other types of drugs such as antidepressants, beta-blockers, anti-seizure medication and ergot alkaloids.

You can also try natural remedies to curb and prevent a migraine. If you’re stressed, try meditating or yoga to lower your stress levels. Applying essential oils to your temples and forehead such as peppermint or lavender might be able to provide relief or stop a migraine from coming on.

Living With Migraines

If you’ve ever had a migraine, then you’re aware of how much of an impact it can have on your daily life. Understanding your symptoms and taking medication as soon as you start experiencing them might help decrease the duration and severity of your condition.

It’s also important to understand what can trigger your migraines. This knowledge can lower your chances of developing one and give you more time between outbreaks. Do your best to prevent migraines by living a healthy lifestyle such as getting good sleep, monitoring your caffeine intake and reducing stress. You can search for more natural remedies that have worked for others online.