Common Symptoms Of A Migraine
The main symptom of a migraine is usually an intense headache on 1 side of the head.
The pain is usually a moderate or severe throbbing sensation that gets worse when you move and prevents you carrying out normal activities.
In some cases, the pain can occur on both sides of your head and may affect your face or neck.
Headaches Related To Stress Or Mood Disorders
Work to reduce stress and promote relaxation in your environment. Self-massage or massage therapy may help ease the tension that causes ongoing headaches. You may also benefit from reducing stimuli and resting in a dark, quiet room.
Your doctor can help you address your stress, anxiety, or mood disorder through a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and medication.
Your doctor may prescribe antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications that can help relieve the tension and stress causing your prolonged headaches. Some medications for anxiety also work to reduce headache.
Give It To Me Straight: How Long Do Migraine Attacks Last
Auras can also impact your hearing or speech and, in rare instances, cause fainting or partial paralysis. Aura symptoms typically last anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour and will sometimes occur without a headache ever happening.
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How To Find Relief
There isnt one right way to treat a migraine. If your migraines are infrequent, you may be able to use over-the-counter medications to treat symptoms as they occur.
If your symptoms are chronic or severe, OTC treatments may not be helpful. Your doctor may be able to prescribe stronger medication to treat existing symptoms and help prevent future migraines.
Recovery Phase Or Postdrome
The worst is over, but this phase can come with a variety of symptoms. You may notice effects opposite of those you experienced in the warning phase. For instance, after feeling like you couldnt stand the sight of food for hours or days, you may suddenly be starving.
These symptoms may last a day or two:
- exhaustion and fatigue
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What Are The Treatments For Migraine
There is no absolute cure for migraine. However, lots of treatments are available to help ease the symptoms of a migraine attack.
When a migraine attack occurs, most people find that lying down in a quiet, dark room is helpful. Sleeping can also help. Some people find that their symptoms die down after they have vomited .
Most people affected by migraine will already have tried paracetamol, aspirin and perhaps anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen before they seek advice from their doctor. If ordinary painkillers alone are not relieving your symptoms, your GP might prescribe you a triptan to be taken in addition to over-the-counter painkillers . Triptans are available in different forms to suit individuals , although it is important to note that some people develop short-term side effects when taking triptans. Your doctor may also prescribe you anti-sickness medication. If your situation does not improve after treatment, you might be referred to a specialist migraine clinic.
It is important to avoid taking painkillers on more than two days per week or more than 10 days per month as this can in fact make things worse by triggering medication overuse headaches.
When To See A Doctor About Shortness Of Breath
Obviously you should discuss stubborn breathing troubles with a doctor especially if you have other worrisome symptoms, like pain or trouble staying upright. In older patients who mostly feel short of breath during exercise, its much more likely to be a symptom of disease of the heart and/or lungs.
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What Is Happening In Your Brain When You Have A Migraine
But during a migraine, these stimuli feel like an all-out assault. The result: The brain produces an outsize reaction to the trigger, its electrical system firing on all cylinders. This electrical activity causes a change in blood flow to the brain, which in turn affects the brains nerves, causing pain.
Whats A Migraine What Does A Migraine Feel Like
A migraine is a common neurological disease that causes a variety of symptoms, most notably a throbbing, pulsing headache on one side of your head. Your migraine will likely get worse with physical activity, lights, sounds or smells. It may last at least four hours or even days. About 12% of Americans have this genetic disorder. Research shows that its the sixth most disabling disease in the world.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
- Will my child grow out of their migraines?
- What medications do you recommend for me?
- What should I change about my lifestyle to prevent my migraine headaches?
- Should I get tested?
- What type of migraine do I have?
- What can my friends and family do to help?
- Are my migraines considered chronic?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Migraine headaches can be devastating and make it impossible to go to work, school or experience other daily activities. Fortunately, there are some ways to possibly prevent a migraine and other ways to help you manage and endure the symptoms. Work with your healthcare provider to keep migraines from ruling your life.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/03/2021.
Preventative Medication And Therapies
If you experience frequent migraines, your GP might discuss preventative medication options with you.
It is important to note that preventatives for migraines are not pain medication, but help to reduce the number of migraines. They take time to work, so the minimum time period required may be three to six months. Contact your GP or specialist for further information. All of these treatments have their advantages and disadvantages and some of the medications might not be suitable for everybody.
You might find that this medication reduces the frequency and severity of your attacks but does not stop them completely. You will need to continue your other migraine treatments when you experience an attack.
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends that GPs and specialists should consider the following drugs and therapies if they think you might benefit from preventative treatment:
Beta blocking drugs
These drugs are traditionally used to treat angina and high blood pressure. It has been found that certain beta-blockers prevent migraine attacks. Beta-blockers are unsuitable for people with certain conditions.
This drug is typically prescribed for the treatment of epilepsy but has also been found to help reduce the frequency of migraines. Again, it is not suitable for everyone. In particular, women who are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant should be advised of the associated side effects.
Botulinum toxin type A
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What To Expect After Symptoms Of Aura And Headache
Many migraine headaches gradually fade in intensity. Some people find that taking a 1- to 2-hour nap is enough to relieve their symptoms. Children may only need a few minutes rest to see results. This is known as the resolution phase.
As the headache begins to lift, you may experience the recovery phase. This can include a feeling of exhaustion or even of elation. You may also feel moody, dizzy, confused, or weak.
In many cases, your symptoms during the recovery phase will pair with symptoms you experienced during the warning phase. For example, if you lost your appetite during the warning phase you may now find that youre ravenous.
These symptoms may last for a day or two after your headache.
How Do You Know If Youre Having A Migraine Attack
People with migraine often have different symptoms, as the presentation of migraine can vary from person to person. But if your head pain is moderate to severe, lasts several hours, causes a throbbing or pounding sensation, gets worse with physical movement and interferes with your life, work or school activities, you may be experiencing migraine. The head pain can be on one or both sides of your head, in the front or back. It can also be in or around your eyes or behind your cheeks.
Migraine can also cause nausea and/or vomiting and increase your sensitivity to light, smells and noise. Some people experience migraine with aura, a visual disturbance that typically occurs before the headache pain begins and resolves within an hour or less.
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What Medicines Help Relieve Migraine Pain
For mild to moderate migraines, over-the-counter medicines that may help relieve migraine pain include:
- an acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine combination
People who have more severe migraines may need to try abortive prescription medicines. A medicine called ergotamine can be effective alone or combined with other medicines. Dihydroergotamine is related to ergotamine and can be helpful. Other prescription medicines for migraines include sumatriptan, zolmitriptan, naratriptan, rizatriptan, almotriptan, eletriptan, and frovatriptan.
If the pain wont go away, stronger pain medicine may be needed, such as a narcotic, or medicines that contain a barbiturate . These medicines can be habit-forming and should be used cautiously. Your doctor may prescribe these only if they are needed and only for a short period of time.
What Are The Four Stages Of Migraines
The various four stages of migraines include:
- Prodrome: Also known as the preheadache stage, it precedes a migraine attack. It can last for several hours or several days. During this phase, taking medication, practicing a stress-relieving technique, or avoiding trigger factors can prevent a migraine attack. Some of the common symptoms include:
- Changes in mood
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What Symptoms Must You Have To Be Diagnosed With A Migraine
Migraine with aura . This is a headache, plus:
- Visual symptoms or vision loss.
- Sensory symptoms .
Migraine without aura . A common migraine is a headache and:
- The attacks included pain on one side of your head.
- Youve had at least five attacks, each lasting between four and 72 hours.
Plus, youve experienced at least one of the following:
- Nausea and/or vomiting.
- Lights bother you and/or you avoid light.
- Sounds bother you and/or you avoid sounds.
What Causes A Migraine
The cause of migraine headaches is complicated and not fully understood. When you have a headache its because specific nerves in your blood vessels send pain signals to your brain. This releases inflammatory substances into the nerves and blood vessels of your head. Its unclear why your nerves do that.
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What Are The Types Of Headaches What Type Of Headache Is A Migraine
There are over 150 types of headaches, divided into two categories: primary headaches and secondary headaches. A migraine is a primary headache, meaning that it isnt caused by a different medical condition. Primary headache disorders are clinical diagnoses, meaning theres no blood test or imaging study to diagnose it. A secondary headache is a symptom of another health issue.
How Do I Know If I Have Chronic Migraine
Chronic migraine is currently defined as having 15 or more headache days per month for three months, and at least 8 of those headache days include migraine symptoms or are treated like migraine. About 3 to 5% of people in the U.S. experience chronic migraine. Episodic migraine is defined as 14 or fewer headache days per month. It can become chronic in some people if its not recognized or treated.
A primary care physician or headache specialist can provide a diagnosis and help you manage your migraine. If you think you may have episodic or chronic migraine, keep track of all of your headache daysboth migraine and other types of headacheand speak to your doctor.
Timing can play a role in diagnosis of other headache disorders, such as new daily persistent headache and hemicrania continua. Both disorders involve constant head pain that continues for over three months without relief. NDPH commonly has a distinct, sudden onset, while hemicrania continua is marked by pain only on one side of the head.
Its important to share your symptoms and duration of pain with your doctor so they can diagnose and treat your condition appropriately. Factors like time, as well as location of pain and your specific symptoms, can help with getting a correct diagnosis and working on a treatment plan tailored to your lifestyle and headache.
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What Is A Migraine Attack
Migraine is not just a bad headache. It is a neurological disease with different symptoms and treatment options than other headache disorders. A migraine attack includes debilitating head pain that interferes with your ability to function normally. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light, noise and smells.
What Are The Symptoms Of Migraine
The main symptoms of migraine are an intense, throbbing or pounding headache often affecting the front or one side of the head, nausea and sometimes vomiting , and an increased sensitivity to light smells and sound. The throbbing headache is often made worse by the person moving.
Other symptoms of migraine might include poor concentration, feeling hot or cold, perspiration , and an increased need to pass urine. This can occur before, during or after the migraine attack.
People might also experience stomach aches and diarrhoea.
It is common for people to feel tired for up to two or three days after a migraine.
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How Common Is Migraine
Migraine is the third most prevalent illness in the world, according to the Migraine Research Foundation. Almost 1 in 4 households in the U.S. includes someone with migraine.
Migraine is much more common in women, affecting three times as many adult women as men. Migraine is poorly understood and often undiagnosed and undertreated. The condition has a tremendous economic impact: People who live with migraine may have high medical costs, limited support, or poor access to quality care. In fact, migraines are a common cause of disability and ranked second with respect to life lived with disability.
Recovery Or Postdrome Stage
This is the final stage of an attack, and it can take hours or days for a drained, fatigued or hangover type feeling to disappear. Symptoms can be similar to those of the first stage . Often, they mirror these symptoms. For example, if you lost your appetite at the beginning of the attack, you might be very hungry now. If you were tired, you might feel full of energy.
Being aware of the different stages of the migraine attack can be helpful. It can help you prepare for an attack, get a diagnosis and decide when to take acute treatment, such as painkillers or adapt your activities.
It is useful to have a rescue treatment plan for when attacks occur. This may include painkillers such as a triptan, a NSAID or paracetamol. It often also includes anti-sickness medication.
For other people, being aware of the stages and symptoms of a migraine attack can help their understanding. It may also help with the frustration and lack of understanding people often face around migraine, especially at work and in education.
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Does Ibuprofen Help With Migraines
Many people who have migraines find that over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol, aspirin and ibuprofen, can help to reduce their symptoms. They tend to be most effective if taken at the first signs of a migraine attack, as this gives them time to absorb into your bloodstream and ease your symptoms.
Can Migraines Be Prevented Or Avoided
Medicine to prevent migraines may be helpful if your headaches happen more than 2 times a month. You may want to consider this medicine if your headaches make it hard for you to work and function. These medicines are taken every day, whether you have a headache or not.
Preventive medications for migraines can include prescription drugs often used to treat other ailments. Anti-seizure medicines, antidepressants, medicines to lower blood pressure, and even Botox injections are some of the preventive medications your doctor may prescribe. Calcitonin gene-related peptide inhibitors can also help prevent migraines. They do so by blocking a gene-related peptide in your sensory nerves. This peptide is known to increase during a migraine attack, so blocking it can help prevent migraines.
There are also a number of non-medical treatments designed to help minimize migraine pain and frequency. One is an electrical stimulation device, which has been approved by the FDA. It is a headband that you wear once a day for 20 minutes to stimulate the nerve linked to migraines. Another non-medical treatment is counseling aimed at helping you feel in more control of your migraines. This counseling works best when paired with medical prevention of migraines, as well.
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Talking With The Er Doctor
You may want to talk with the ER doctor about:
- Your history of severe migraines and whether you have been to the ER for a severe migraine before
- Any medicines you have taken to treat a severe migraine in the past, how well they worked, and any side effects you experienced from them
- Which medicine might be best to treat your severe migraine
- The possible benefits and side effects of the medicine
Ask your doctor
What Are Migraine Headaches
Migraine headaches are severe headaches that cause intense pain. They can start suddenly and get worse quickly. A migraine headache typically lasts from 4 hours to 3 days if not treated. Migraines are thought to run in families.
Symptoms of a migraine headache can include:
- A severe headache, often with throbbing on one side of the head
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty doing physical activities like walking or climbing stairs
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