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.
Possible Causes Of Smell Loss
COVID-19The loss of smell, with or without changes in taste, related to COVID-19 infection typically occurs without the nasal congestion or runny nose that is typically seen with a cold. Associated symptoms may also include headache, a dry cough, shortness of breath, high fever, stomach problems, and a persistent sore throat. More severe symptoms such as these often point to COVID-19 or the flu. During the pandemic, anyone who has a new loss of smell or taste, even without any of those other symptoms, should be suspected of having COVID-19 and be tested, whether or not they have been previously vaccinated. Polymerase chain reaction testing for COVID-19 can be easily obtained and will identify those patients with COVID-19.
Patients that experience a loss of smell from COVID-19 that does not get better after several months may benefit from, smell retraining therapy. This treatment, which can be done at home by sniffing four different scents twice a day for four to six months, has proven to improve the smell for some, but not all patients. An ENT specialist may advise additional therapies, such as sinus rinses with topical nasal steroids. Parosmia, or altered sense of smell, may occur weeks or months after loss of smell with COVID-19.
What Is The Connection Between Covid
From a headache perspective, this is one of the presenting symptoms of COVID-19.
This virus is behaving very differently than a lot of other viruses in the past. It appears that one of the first symptoms that people have, before they develop cough, is they will get anosmia, which is lack of sense of smell. They can get really bad headache at that time. Sometimes cough doesn’t come until another couple of days later. There is a theory that this anosmia is actually due to the virus crossing over and invading the cribriform plate into their brain, causing a viral meningitis like picture.
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When To Get Medical Help
If you have hallucinations with your migraine attacks, make an appointment with a doctor. Theyll talk with you about your symptoms, do a physical exam, and order tests to rule out any other potential causes of the hallucinations.
They might order a blood or urine test as well as any imaging tests like a brain MRI.
Theyll be able to determine whether the hallucinations are part of an aura or are a symptom of another medical issue. Once the underlying cause of the hallucinations is found, appropriate treatment can be given.
If the hallucinations are determined to be part of an aura, your doctor will go over the best ways to help treat aura symptoms and how to minimize them. This may include:
- putting a cold compress on your forehead or the back of your neck
- going into a dark, quiet room to lie down and close your eyes
- taking medication, for both prevention and treatment
Prevention medications that may be used if the hallucinations are part of the aura include:
Do Migraine Attacks Last Longer Or Happen More Frequently Than Cluster Headaches
A migraine attack typically lasts between 4 and 72 hours, says Rajneesh. Thats longer than a cluster headache lasts, which is between 15 minutes and three hours.
Most people with migraine have one or two migraine attacks per month, but some people have them much more frequently. About 1 percent of the population has chronic migraine, which is defined as having at least 15 migraine days per month, according to American Migraine Foundation.
Cluster headaches come in bouts, or cluster periods. These periods last for weeks or months, according to the International Headache Society, and are separated by remissions lasting months or years.
During a cluster period, the frequency of headaches ranges from one every other day to as many as eight per day.
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What Is A Vestibular Migraine
Migraine can affect the vestibular system of the inner ear, which impacts the way the brain controls balance and the way a person experiences the space around them. When this system does not work properly, a person may experience feelings of vertigo, unsteadiness, or dizziness that can be triggered by movement.
A doctor may think a person has vestibular migraine when the person experiences these kinds of symptoms for minutes or hours.
A person with vestibular migraine may also have a history of migraine headaches. About 40% of people who suffer from migraine headaches also have vestibular symptoms. However, a person can also experience vestibular migraine without headaches.
Vestibular migraine can cause a feeling that the ground is moving or falling, or cause problems coordinating movement. It can also impact the senses and distort hearing.
Other than a headache, symptoms can include:
- sensitivity to light, sound, or smell
- nausea or vomiting
- discomfort turning, bending down, or looking up
- feeling of pressure in the head or the ear
- ringing in the ears, known as tinnitus
- partial or complete loss of vision
- visual disturbances, such as flashing lights, spots, or blurring
These symptoms can vary in severity. There may be warning signs that vestibular symptoms are about to happen. A person may see flashing lights or other visual disturbances, a phenomenon also known as an aura.
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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Community Experiences Of Sensitivity To Smell
Migraine.com advocates share their experiences of migraine, including sensitivity to smells. In this “What’s Your Secret: Smells” video, the many ways odor can interact with migraine is discussed. Various tips on how to avoid odors include alternative cleaning products, shopping for make up, and how to manage the scent overloaded holidays. Avoiding scent triggers can be tricky when an odor is ok one day but not the next but our advocates are always sharing their tips including home-made remedy tools.
Can Migraine Cause Olfactory Hallucinations
Sensitivity to smell is common in those who live with migraine, affecting around 95 percent of people with the condition.
During a migraine attack, olfactory hallucinations can also occur. These are much more rare, and during these hallucinations the person smells specific things that those around them dont smell. The smells are also associated with the headaches. The smells typically occur before or during a migraine attack.
Olfactory hallucinations with migraine occur in approximately 0.1 percent of adults with migraine.
In one study, most people with olfactory hallucinations associated with migraine had migraine without aura and less than 15 headache days monthly. All of them had sensitivity to light and sound with their migraine attacks. This was a small study, and more research is needed.
While the specific smells can vary among people, the smells can be either undesirable or pleasant. Theres no one specific kind of olfactory hallucination associated with migraine.
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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.
For Someone Whose Migraines Are Triggered By Stress How Do They Deal With That During The Unsettling Times Of A Pandemic
We’re all weathering the storm and each person’s weathering it differently in terms of the degree of stress they’re facing. It could be a family members illness, or themselves, financial stressors, etc. Theres a lot on people’s plates. Managing stress levels and focusing on mindfulness can be extremely important in that setting. In the beginning of this in March, I personally was very, very stressed about the pandemic itself. I have several family members very important to me, who are immune compromised. So, my profound level of worry was beyond a normal stressor, I recognized that was a toxic stress level. I started doing more practice of yoga and of mindfulness, meditation, deep breathing, because I knew that I needed to do that.
Sometimes that’s not enough. Although I think that’s an important first mainstay of treatment, we need to recognize when we need to treat patients with medication and with psychotherapy to help. If the stressors are the biggest cause of the uptick of headache, addressing stress and mental health, rather than just throwing more medications at the headache, is going to be extremely important. As with any health condition, treating the underlying cause of uptick is more important than putting a bandage on it.
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Migraine Is Much More Than Just A Headache
There are different types of migraine that involve different symptoms. There are many features or symptoms that are a part of migraine. There are also differences in how severe a symptom might be.
The most common symptoms of a migraine attack include:
- throbbing headache
- sensitivity to light, noise and smell
What Affects Our Ability To Smell
Loss of your sense of smell can be alarming, especially lately because its one of the hallmark symptoms of COVID-19. But there are several other conditions that may affect your sense of smell.
Sense of smell may also fade a little with age, though this may be caused by certain medications or underlying conditions.
Some more serious causes include head or facial trauma or a brain tumor. These affect the nerves that connect the smell receptors to the brain. You may need surgery, but it may not bring back your sense of smell.
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What Causes Migraines
Doctors dont know exactly what causes migraines. It appears that migraine headaches may be caused in part by changes in the level of a body chemical called serotonin. Serotonin plays many roles in the body, and it can have an effect on the blood vessels. When serotonin levels are high, blood vessels constrict . When serotonin levels fall, the blood vessels dilate . This swelling can cause pain or other problems. Another aspect that is being studied is that migraine headaches go along with a spreading pattern of electrical activity in the brain.
Some research suggests there could be a heredity factor for migraines, meaning they may run in families. Researchers have identified some genes associated with migraines. They are unsure, though, why these genes seem to impact some people more than others. The American Migraine Foundation reports that if one of your parents has migraines, there is a 50% chance that you will, too. If both of your parents have migraines, your chances jump up to 75%. Ultimately, migraines seem to be caused by a combination of factors: genetic, environmental, and lifestyle.
Women are more likely to have chronic migraines . This is likely linked to hormones. Hormones fluctuate each month around the time of your period. They can also fluctuate if you are pregnant or going through menopause.
What Is That Smell
Hyperosmia is the medical term for sensitivity to smell. About 95 percent of people living with migraine are sensitive to smells.1 Sensitivity to smell has not been studied as much as migraine aura or light sensitivity. But it happens often and can be distracting or cause nausea as another symptom.
In some people, the change may be a small increase in the ability to smell things far away. In other people with migraine, smells may trigger an attack or increase its severity. Some also report increased sensitivity to smells in between migraine attacks.2
More women with migraine report sensitivity to smells than men.3
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Smell And Taste Disorders: A Primary Care Approach
STEVEN M. BROMLEY, M.D., University of Pennsylvania Smell and Taste Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, New York, New York
Am Fam Physician. 2000 Jan 15 61:427-436.
See related patient information handout on problems with smell or taste, written by the author of this article.
The senses of smell and taste allow full appreciation of the flavor and palatability of foods and also serve as an early warning system against toxins, polluted air, smoke and spoiled food products.1 Physiologically, the chemical senses aid in normal digestion by triggering gastrointestinal secretions.2
Smell or taste dysfunction can have a significant impact on quality of life. Deficits of these senses can adversely affect food choice and intake, especially in the elderly, and have been implicated in weight loss, malnutrition, impaired immunity and worsening of medical illness.3,4 Patients frequently report increased use of sugar and salt to compensate for diminished senses of smell and taste,5,6 a practice that is detrimental to those with diabetes mellitus or hypertension.
The rightsholder did not grant rights to reproduce this item in electronic media. For the missing item, see the original print version of this publication.
How Is Acm Diagnosed
A doctor often must first eliminate the possibility of other conditions that show similar symptoms.
According to a 2012 review of ACM, doctors should consider screening for electrolytes, glucose levels, and drugs.
If you dont have a history of migraine, your doctor may order imaging tests, such as an MRI or CT scan of your brain. If they suspect you have an infection, they may recommend a spinal tap.
Your doctor may also use the length of your episode and the symptoms present to rule out any other conditions. Its important that your doctor considers your personal health history and your familys medical history.
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Confusional Migraine Or Photo Epilepsy
Photosensitive epilepsy affects about 3 percent of people with epilepsy and is common among children. It occurs when flashing lights or certain patterns trigger seizures, which are shifts in the brains electrical activity.
Headaches sometimes precede seizures. The symptoms during a seizure may include uncontrollable muscle spasms, falling, and clenched teeth, as well as loss of consciousness, followed by confusion.
Most seizures last less than 2 minutes. For a seizure that lasts more than 5 minutes, get treatment immediately. By contrast, an ACM attack may last for hours.
Classic migraine attacks can sometimes be triggered by light or sound. Photosensitive epilepsy is relatively rare compared to the number of people who experience photosensitive headaches or migraine.
It isnt clear what causes ACM, and research about what might trigger this is ongoing. More ACM cases are being studied with neuroimaging.
One possible cause is a bump on the head, which is reported in of ACM cases. Emotional stress and strenuous exercise have also been suggested as triggers.
In contrast, triggers for other types of migraine have been well-documented. Common migraine triggers are:
- environmental factors, such as odors, noise, bright lights
How Are Migraines Diagnosed
To diagnose a migraine, your healthcare provider will get a thorough medical history, not just your history of headaches but your familys, too. Also, they’ll want to establish a history of your migraine-related symptoms, likely asking you to:
- Describe your headache symptoms. How severe are they?
- Remember when you get them. During your period, for example?
- Describe the type and location of your pain. Is the pain pounding? Pulsing? Throbbing?
- Remember if anything makes your headache better or worse.
- Tell how often you get migraine headaches.
- Talk about the activities, foods, stressors or the situations that may have brought on the migraine.
- Discuss what medications you take to relieve the pain and how often you take them.
- Tell how you felt before, during and after the headache.
- Remember if anyone in your family gets migraine headaches.
Your healthcare provider may also order blood tests and imaging tests to make sure there are no other causes for your headache. An electroencephalogram may be ordered to rule out seizures.
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