Is It Hard To Diagnose
Migraine aura without pain can be hard to diagnose. It can be confused with stroke or seizures. Your doctor will have to rule out other, more common, health conditions before diagnosing you with migraine aura without pain. A migraine diary is an important tool in helping your doctor accurately diagnose silent migraine.1,,2
If You Have Migraines Put Down Your Coffee And Read This
- By Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
During medical school, a neurologist taught me that the number one cause of headaches in the US was coffee.
That was news to me! But it made more sense when he clarified that he meant lack of coffee. His point was that for people who regularly drink coffee, missing an early morning cup, or even just having your first cup later than usual, can trigger a caffeine withdrawal headache. And considering how many daily coffee drinkers there are , its likely that coffee withdrawal is among the most common causes of headaches.
Later in my neurology rotation, I learned that caffeine is a major ingredient in many headache remedies, from over-the-counter medicines such as Excedrin and Anacin, to powerful prescription treatments such as Fioricet. The caffeine is supposed to make the other drugs in these combination remedies work better and, of course, it might be quite effective for caffeine-withdrawal headaches.
But then I learned that for people with migraine headaches, certain drugs, foods, and drinks should be avoided, as they can trigger migraines. At the top of this list? Coffee.
So, to review: the caffeine in coffee, tea, and other foods or drinks can help prevent a headache, treat a headache, and also trigger a headache. How can this be?
Articles On Migraine Symptoms
If you’re like a lot of other people, you probably think a migraine means you’ve got a splitting headache. But there’s a lot more to it than that. Along with the pain, your body will send you other signs, from shifts in your spirits to feeling sick to your stomach. The sooner you recognize what’s happening, the quicker you can get the right kind of relief.
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When Should I Seek Help For My Headaches
Sometimes, headache can signal a more serious problem. You should talk to your doctor about your headaches if:
- You have several headaches per month and each lasts for several hours or days
- Your headaches disrupt your home, work, or school life
- You have nausea, vomiting, vision, or other sensory problems
- You have pain around the eye or ear
- You have a severe headache with a stiff neck
- You have a headache with confusion or loss of alertness
- You have a headache with convulsions
- You have a headache after a blow to the head
- You used to be headache-free, but now have headaches a lot
What Causes Ocular And Visual Migraines
Currently, there is limited research on what causes ocular and visual migraines.
Although studies have shown a change in blood flow into the eye during ocular migraines,the exact cause of this change remains unclear.
However, scientists sometimes associate the condition with genetics, meaning it may run in the family.
According to research, up to 70% of migraine patients have a personal or family history of migraine.2
Migraine triggers play a vital role in the onset and frequency of migraines.
Common migraine triggers include:3
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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
Treating Migraine Aura Without Headache
When migraine aura without headache is frequent or severe, your doctor can recommend treatment options, such as low dose aspirin, calcium channel blockers or other medications.
My favorite treatment has been baby aspirin, if they dont have any contraindication for baby aspirin, says Dr. Digre. Calcium channel blockers often will treat aura without headache if its frequent.
For people who experience onset of migraine aura later in life, the symptoms can be very severe and last for several days. In that case, Dr. Digre usually prescribes a calcium channel blocker, but other medications can be used.
There arent any specific lifestyle adjustments to treat migraine aura without headache. However, taking steps like getting adequate sleep, decreasing stress and avoiding known migraine triggers may help prevent aura without headache.
The American Migraine Foundation is committed to improving the lives of those living with this debilitating disease. For more of the latest news and information on migraine, visit the AMF Resource Library. For help finding a healthcare provider, check out our Find a Doctor tool. Together, we are as relentless as migraine.
Reviewed for accuracy by the American Migraine Foundations subject matter experts, headache specialists and medical advisers with deep knowledge and training in headache medicine. to read about our editorial board members.
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I Get Migraines Right Before My Period Could They Be Related To My Menstrual Cycle
More than half of migraines in women occur right before, during, or after a woman has her period. This often is called “menstrual migraine.” But, just a small fraction of women who have migraine around their period only have migraine at this time. Most have migraine headaches at other times of the month as well.
How the menstrual cycle and migraine are linked is still unclear. We know that just before the cycle begins, levels of the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, go down sharply. This drop in hormones may trigger a migraine, because estrogen controls chemicals in the brain that affect a woman’s pain sensation.
Talk with your doctor if you think you have menstrual migraine. You may find that medicines, making lifestyle changes, and home treatment methods can prevent or reduce the pain.
Types Of Migraine And Headaches That Can Cause Nausea
Part of the diagnostic criteria for determining if someone has a migraine headache versus another type of headache are the presence of unilateral head pains , nausea and vomiting, and sensitivity to light or sound, Dr. Segil says. The thing is, most migraines, including the ones without a visual component, cause nausea and vomiting, so deciphering which type you have may not be easy.
That said, here are the types of migraine that are most likely to make you feel queasy:
Often when people think of migraine, they envision the type that comes with a warning. Thats technically called a migraine with aura because it involves visual disturbances that alert you to an impending attack. According to the Cleveland Clinic, these are actually less common, only affecting about 15 to 20% of people with migraine.
Migraine without aura, on the other hand, is more common and accounts for approximately 70 to 75% of people with migraine, according to the American Migraine Foundation. The part to remember here is that nausea and vomiting are common with both, but Dr. Schim says it does not seem to be worse with one compared to the other.
Vestibular migraines pack a one-two punch. Not only can you experience nausea and throbbing head pain, but your balance can also take a hit, along with fun sidekicks like dizziness and vertigo . Another fun sensation to watch out for is feeling like youre falling down even though youre sitting still.
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How To Tell You’re Having A Migraine
Migraines are severely disabling, with symptoms ranging from intense head pain to nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. If you suffer from migraines, it’s helpful to know some common warning signs, so you can prepare for or try to prevent one. Watch this video for signs that a migraine might be around the corner.
Can Using Birth Control Pills Make My Migraines Worse
In some women, birth control pills improve migraine. The pills may help reduce the number of attacks and their attacks may become less severe. But in other women, the pills may worsen their migraines. In still other women, taking birth control pills has no effect on their migraines.
The reason for these different responses is not well understood. For women whose migraines get worse when they take birth control pills, their attacks seem to occur during the last week of the cycle. This is because the last seven pills in most monthly pill packs don’t have hormones they are there to keep you in the habit of taking your birth control daily. Without the hormones, your body’s estrogen levels drop sharply. This may trigger migraine in some women.
Talk with your doctor if you think birth control pills are making your migraines worse. Switching to a pill pack in which all the pills for the entire month contain hormones and using that for three months in a row can improve headaches. Lifestyle changes, such as getting on a regular sleep pattern and eating healthy foods, can help too.
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Talk With Others Who Understand
On MyMigraineTeam, the social network and online support group for those living with migraine headaches, members talk about a range of personal experiences, including silent migraines.
Do you have silent migraines? Do you have tips on preventing silent migraines or treating them when they happen? Comment below or post your migraine tips and experiences at MyMigraineTeam. Youll be surprised to learn how many others share similar stories.
How To Identify Triggers
If you have migraine, almost anything can be a trigger. This means it can be very difficult to identify your potential triggers. It may also be a combination of a few things that seems to lead to a migraine attack. And a trigger may not lead to a migraine attack every time, which can confuse things even more.
Here is an example of how combinations of triggers can work: A young woman has identified that her migraine attacks appear to be triggered when she skips meals, is feeling stressed and when she is about to have her period. If she comes home late from a very stressful day at work, her period is just about to start, and she goes straight to bed without eating a proper meal, she will almost certainly have a migraine attack. However, if she skips dinner another time, when the other triggers did not happen, she will probably not have migraine attack.
Many people find that they sometimes go a long time without having a migraine attack. During this time, your body may seem to be less sensitive to triggers and you may find that even the combination of your usual triggers doesnt result in a migraine attack.
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What Is Migraine Aura Without Pain
Migraine aura without pain includes changes in vision or changes in the other senses and speech but no head pain. Symptoms gradually build over 5 to 20 minutes and then go away after about 1 hour. The lack of head pain sets it apart from other types of migraine with aura. Also, no other disorder can be found to be blamed for the symptoms.1
Is It A Trigger Or A Warning
We know that the brain of someone with migraine likes balance, like regular sleep and meal patterns. We also know that migraine can be triggered by alcohol and the menstrual cycle. The evidence for other triggers, such as exercise, eating chocolate and bright light, is less certain.
It can sometimes be difficult to tell if something is really a trigger, or if what youre experiencing is an early symptom of a migraine attack.
Studies have found that sometimes what you may think is a trigger is actually to do with the premonitory or warning stage of a migraine attack.
During this stage, you may get symptoms such as changes in your mood or emotions, cravings for certain foods, and being more sensitive to light, sound or smells.
These symptoms can lead to you think that something is triggering your migraine attack. For example, at the beginning of a migraine attack, you may start to crave sweet foods. You may then eat some chocolate to satisfy the craving. When you then get a headache, you may think that eating chocolate was the trigger. But actually you were starting to have a migraine attack when the cravings started and the cravings were the warning sign.
The same could be true for other triggers. If you are more sensitive to light in the warning stage, you might think bright lights are a trigger. If you are more sensitive to smells, you might think certain scents are a trigger.
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What Are The Causes Of A Migraine
Migraines arent the same as other types of headaches. Migraine is a genetic neurological disease in which there is an interplay between the pain neurons in the brain and the blood vessels.
Migraines can be set off by different stimuli, foods, and conditions. These triggers vary from person to person, with the most common including:
Who’s More Prone To Migraines
Certain people are more prone to developing migraines. Theres a strong genetic component. In fact, approximately 80% of people who experience migraines have a parent, sibling, or child with the condition. People who menstruate are more likely to get migraines than people who do not. Obesity is another risk factor.
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Triggers For Vestibular Migraine
These triggers dont all apply to everyone who gets vestibular migraines. There may be only a few things on this list that affect you. Triggers tend to have a genetic component, so if there are other people in your family who suffer from migraines, ask if they know what triggers apply to them.
Triggers are also cumulative: any one of these alone may not give you a migraine, but 2 or 3 at the same time can be a problem. This inconsistency can make it harder to figure out what affects you. Small quantities may be okay. Test foods with caution over time to see what affects you.
Immediate Action Required: You Should Call 999 Or 112 For An Ambulance Immediately If You Or Someone You’re With Experiences:
- paralysis or weakness in one or both arms or one side of the face
- slurred or garbled speech
- a sudden very painful headache resulting in a severe pain unlike anything experienced before
- headache along with a high temperature , stiff neck, confusion, seizures, double vision and a rash
These symptoms may be a sign of a more serious condition.
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When To Consider A Service Dog For Migraines
Now that we have covered exactly what a migraine is and what a service dog and therapy dog is, lets look into when to consider a service dog for migraines. While many with migraines choose to just deal with each episode on their own, a service dog is a great way to ensure you recognize the early symptoms, prevent migraines and make episodes that do occur as tolerable as possible.
Anyone who experiences severe complications during a migraine requires attention as they most often are unable to help themselves. Service dogs can be trained to retrieve the phone for someone who may have issues with dizziness, eyesight complications, or head pain that is too severe to think properly, which makes the process of calling for assistance much easier. Of course, this is just one example, and there are numerous ways in which a service dog can help for migraines.
For individuals who live with someone else and are rarely home alone, migraines may not cause a threat to long-term health. However, individuals who live alone need a proper plan in place in case the migraine symptoms become severe. In some instances, you may not live alone, the individual may not live alone, but they are often by themselves, whether it is at home, at the office or in any other area, and it is helpful to have a trained faithful companion by your side.
Common Types Of Migraine In Children And Youth
Children can also suffer from chronic or episodic headaches, and it is important to recognize the symptoms
According to the National Headache Foundation, 20% of school-aged children from 5 to 17 are prone to headaches. Of that population, 15% will suffer from tension-type headaches, while the other 5% will be prone to migraine .
Headaches and migraine can happen to anyone, at any age, including young children. Not only that, but the intricacies and symptoms of the disorder are different in children than in adults common migraine symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound are not always prevalent in child sufferers. Children, in addition, cannot always vocalize or describe in detail what they are feeling, which makes diagnosis even more difficult. These patients may go undiagnosed for years, leading into adulthood, which can take a toll on their emotional and mental well being.
The American Migraine Foundation outlines a few key differences between childrens migraine and those of adults:
- migraines in children are typically shorter in duration and occur less frequently
- the pain children experience tends to be more bilateral, such as across the forehead, rather than unilateral
- while common symptoms may not be reported, a lot can be deferred from a childs behavior, such as wanting to sleep or lay down in a dark, quiet room.
Common Migraine Without Aura
Classic Migraine With Aura
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