Nearly 40 million Americans suffer from Migraines. And most of those are women. The most primary types are those that have an aura (often a more severe migraine), and those that do not have an aura, (a more common migraine). I suffer from epilepsy and often times experience an aura myself. An aura for a migraine may include blind spots, flashes of light, vision loss, hearing sounds that nobody else can hear, tingling and/or pins and needles in the limbs, often including motor or verbal impairment. It is considered a neurological disorder. Involving brain chemicals as well as nerve pathways. A migraine attack can be very debilitating, affecting most areas of your life.
What is a Migraine
One will experience a severe pulsing/throbbing pain, usually on one side of the head, but can be on both sides. Some may also include the following
- Blurred vision
- Fainting (often caused by light-headedness)
- Feeling extremely exhausted afterward
- Pain made worse by movement
- Sensitivity to lights, smells, and/or sounds
Migraines generally can last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours. But some have experienced a migraine lasting for days. Everyone is different, as well as the attack itself. Those symptoms listed above happen several days before a migraine, during the migraine attack, as well as after the attack. Often people think that migraines and headaches are the same things, but that is far from the truth.
Besides yourself suffering from a migraine, it also affects those around you. Family friends, work, chores, just to name a few. Let those close to you, know how you feel. And if you need help, always ask.
Know Your Triggers
When you learn what triggers your migraines, you can sometimes avoid some of those triggers. Most common triggers are:
- Alcohol, especially wine.
- Caffeinated drinks, especially those that are high in caffeine.
- Change in weather as well as barometric pressure.
- Changes in your routine.
- Changes in sleep patterns.
- Computer screens. (this is also true for those that have epilepsy)
- Coughing (repeatedly).
- Drugs, such as cannabis and cocaine.
- Foods such as processed, and salty foods. Even aged cheeses. (happens most often, then occasionally)
- Grinding your teeth,
- Head Injuries.
- Hormonal changes due to periods, pregnancy and menopause.
- Hormonal replacement therapy.
- Oral Contraceptives.
- Muscle tension.
- Nitroglycerin (any vasodilators medicine).
- Physical exertion.
- Sexual activity.
- Skipping meals, not eating a balanced diet.
- Video games, those especially with a flashing light, like a strobe light.
I am sure I could add to this list. If you would like to help me out here, leave your comment below. I’d really appreciate it. What triggers your migraine???
Although migraines can begin at any age, women/girls are 3 times more likely than men/boys. And most usually occurs in adolescence. Reaching its worse in your mid-30s. If there is a family history, one is more prone to also develop migraines.
Please keep in mind that I am not a doctor. I am sharing some information I read at my doctor’s waiting room, last week. It seemed like a useful article to write about. And, personally, I have learned a lot. I didn’t know the severity of migraines.
Self-care would be of course avoiding whatever triggers your migraines, when possible. Avoiding your triggers can be one of the most important things you can do for yourself.
There are actually more medications for migraines than I had originally thought.
- Acupuncture – relieves pain, as well as some other conditions.
- Aimovig – inhibits the activity of a molecule that is known to play a role in having migraines.
- Analgesic – to relieve pain
- Anti-depressants – may prevent having migraines.
- Anti-psychotic – can help reduce severe nausea and vomiting, as well as reducing anxiety.
- Anti-seizure medications – reduce the frequency of migraines.
- Botox – has been shown to help treat chronic migraines, in adults.
- Cardiovascular drugs (beta blockers) – may reduce the severity and frequency of migraines.
- Nerve pain medication – blocks pain caused by damaged nerves.
- Neurotoxin – paralyzing muscles, which then reduces or eliminates spasms and muscle activity.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory – decreases inflammation, relieves pain, & reduces fever.
- Opioids – which treats pain, and is often prescribed for those that can not handle other medications.
- Stimulant – even though it is stated above that some stimulants, such as caffeine, can be a trigger for many, for some it is not a trigger and often helps with increasing neurotransmitter levels, blood pressure, and heart rate.
- Triptan – relieves pain and symptoms that can come with migraines and cluster headaches.
There are clinical trials, testing new treatments, interventions as well as other tests to prevent and detect migraines. If you are interested in learning about any of these trials, you could Google it, or start by checking out Mayo Clinic.
There are specialists that can treat migraines, as well as your primary care doctor. If, your not getting help with your migraine pain. Especially if you have more than 4 attacks a month, or attacks lasting more than 12 hours, it is vital that you make an appointment with either your primary doctor or a neurologist. Get treatment, and continue with treatment as advised.
I believe our middle daughter suffers from migraines. From about the time she was a sophomore in high school, she has suffered from headaches. Now she’s about 3 years out of college and still gets headaches. Just this morning I shared this article with her. The more and more I did my research on migraines, the more it started sounding like maybe this is something she may suffer from.
One more time I would just like to remind those of you reading this article that I am not a doctor, nor do I claim to be. I’m just sharing information that I have learned while reading and researching migraines. If you suspect that you may suffer from migraines, please go see a physician. Only a physician can diagnose you.
Too many people, when they get old, think that they have to live by the calendar. — John Glenn