So What Exactly Are Migraines And Why Do People Get Them
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a migraine is a brain disease that causes various uncomfortable symptoms that can last anywhere from four hours up to three days.
While the exact cause of migraine headaches is unknown, the Migraine Research Foundation says that both genes and environmental factors likely play a role. We also know that the symptoms are brought on by a change in chemical activity that impacts both the central and peripheral nervous systems, explains Jessica Ailani, M.D., director of the MedStar Georgetown Headache Center in Washington D.C.
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.
Tracking Your Migraine Symptoms
Keeping a record of your migraine symptoms may help you figure out patterns and triggers to your attacks. It may be helpful to record such things as:
- When and where your pain or symptoms start
- Whether the pain spreads to your entire head or neck
- How well and how quickly acute treatment helps reduce the pain or other symptoms
- How long your pain or symptoms last
- Whether you experience other symptoms such as vision changes, nausea, or light sensitivity
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It’s Not Over Until You Say It Is The Migraine Hangover Is A Common Experience That Few People Talk About
You are not alone if you’ve ever thought to yourself, “I just don’t feel right” or “I don’t trust myself to drive,” even after your Migraine attack is on its way out.
The postdrome phase, aka the Migraine hangover, is a real phenomenon, and it’s more common than you might think. Most people think of alcohol when they hear the word “hangover.” People with Migraine, though, experience all the symptoms of a hangover without the fun of a party.
Migraine hangover symptoms can leave you feeling like you’re in a fog, exhausted, and unable to concentrate. They can linger for hours or days after the attack phase’ of the Migraine is over.
To fully understand why this happens, it’s helpful to get a big picture’ look at a Migraine attack including all the phases so that you have an understanding of how the typical attack progresses and where your symptoms fit into the picture.
How do you know if you are experiencing the Migraine postdrome phase? Wondering how long your Migraine hangover will last? Discover more about this often misunderstood phase of Migraine here.
Why Does Weakness Occur During Migraine
Doctors do not know for sure why weakness often comes with hemiplegic migraine. However, several genetic mutations may provide some answers. Changes to the CACNA1A, the ATP1A2, and SCN1A genes seem to create errors in how nerve cells in the brain work which may cause the migraine and weakness.3
Other doctors found that certain nerve cells become overactive during hemiplegic migraine. This may also contribute to the symptoms of migraine, including weakness.3
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What Else Can I Do To Prevent Migraines
While there are no sure ways to keep from having migraine headaches, here are some things that may help:
Eat regularly and do not skip meals.
- Keep a regular sleep schedule.
- Exercise regularly. Aerobic exercise can help reduce tension as well as keep your weight in check. Obesity can contribute to migraines.
- Keep a migraine journal to help you learn what triggers your migraines and what treatments are most helpful.
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.
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Eek How Can I Tell If Im Having A Migraine Or Just A Tension Or Sinus Headache
Migraine headaches can cause various symptoms before, during, and after the attack. Not all people experience all symptoms, and your migraine may be entirely different than a friends.
Symptoms can come on gradually or suddenly. Sometimes they start overnight, causing people to wake up with a migraine, but not always, the Mayo Clinic notes. Basically, every migraine headache is slightly different, and theres no cut and dry list of symptoms that pertain to everyone.
All that said, there are a number of ways migraines differ from regular headaches. If you experience any of these symptoms, youre likely suffering from a migraine and not something that’ll go away by popping some Advil.
Signs Your Headache Is Actually A Migraine
Once you know the symptoms you can properly treat your pain.
If you think your really bad headaches arent migraines, you may want to take a closer look at your symptomsespecially if youre a woman.
More than half of all migraine sufferers are never diagnosed, according to the Migraine Research Foundation. And according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, migraines are three times more common in women than in men. Crazy, right?
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Migraines Vs Cluster Headaches
Cluster headaches differ from migraines mainly in that they follow patterns of occurrence. They cluster together in short, episodic attacks during a period of weeks or months. Sometimes, an entire year can pass between two headache clusters. Migraines tend not to follow this kind of pattern.
Symptoms of migraines and cluster headaches are similar. In both cases, pain is severe. Cluster headaches can cause many distinct symptoms that migraines dont cause, including:
- red, bloodshot eyes
- swelling of the eyelids
- shrinking of the pupil
- runny nose or congestion
- drooping of the eyelids
- agitation, annoyance, or restlessness during a headache
If you observe any of these symptoms during a severe headache, youre likely experiencing a cluster headache, not a migraine. Your doctor can usually diagnose cluster headaches by examining the nerves in your eye or discovering an abnormality during MRI scans linked to cluster headaches. Talk to your doctor about getting checked for cluster headaches if you have these symptoms.
Medications for pain relief may be enough to treat your symptoms. Common pain relievers that can help migraine symptoms include:
If your pain continues, talk to your doctor about other treatment options.
If you have at least six migraines per month or three migraines a month that severely interfere with your daily life, your doctor may recommend preventive medications that are effective against migraine symptoms, including:
What Are The Symptoms Of Migraines
The primary symptom of migraine is a headache. Pain is sometimes described as pounding or throbbing. It can begin as a dull ache that develops into pulsing pain that is mild, moderate or severe. If left untreated, your headache pain will become moderate to severe. Pain can shift from one side of your head to the other, or it can affect the front of your head, the back of your head or feel like its affecting your whole head. Some people feel pain around their eye or temple, and sometimes in their face, sinuses, jaw or neck.
Other symptoms of migraine headaches include:
- Sensitivity to light, noise and odors.
- Nausea and vomiting, upset stomach and abdominal pain.
- Loss of appetite.
- Feeling very warm or cold .
- Pale skin color .
- Euphoric mood.
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What May Cause Headache And Fatigue
Fatigue and headache are shared symptoms of many conditions. Not all of these conditions are considered serious. However, some may require lifestyle changes or ongoing treatment.
As you consider the reasons why you may be experiencing headache and fatigue, make sure to think about your lifestyle, including your sleeping patterns, diet, and any medications youre currently taking.
Here are 16 conditions and other factors that could cause both headache and fatigue:
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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Muscle Weakness May Contribute To Tension Headaches
By , Reuters Health
5 Min Read
– Strength training might help prevent tension headaches, or at least reduce their pain, according to a small Danish study.
Researchers found that neck and shoulder muscles were up to 26 percent weaker in people with regular tension headaches, compared to those without. They also saw strength imbalances between sets of muscles that hold the head straight.
In order to be able to treat tension-type headache patients non-pharmacologically . . . It is very important to work towards a further understanding of muscle-skeletal impact on tension-type headaches, lead author Bjarne K. Madsen, a physiotherapist at the Danish Headache Center in Glostrup, said by email.
Previous studies have found that muscle strength and weakness were associated with tension-type headaches, Madsen and his colleagues note in the journal Cephalalgia. More work is needed to determine whether the muscle weakness is a cause or effect of this most common type of headache, they write.
People with tension-type headaches may feel like they have a tight band wrapped around their head but with less pain than is felt from cluster headaches or migraines, which tend to strike one side of the head. Cluster headaches are often accompanied by sinus congestion or runny nose, while migraines cause throbbing, moderate-to-severe pain and sometimes nausea and/or vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound.
SOURCE: bit.ly/1EUGI6j Cephalalgia, online April 1, 2015.
Who Gets Migraines What Are The Risk Factors
Its difficult to predict who may get a migraine and who may not, but there are risk factors that may make you more vulnerable. These risk factors include:
- Genetics: Up to 80% of people who get migraine headaches have a first-degree relative with the disease.
- Gender. Migraine headaches happen to women more than men, especially women between the ages of 15 and 55. Its likely more common in women because of the influence of hormones.
- Stress level. You may get migraines more often if youre high-stress. Stress can trigger a migraine.
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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
Weakness On One Side Of The Body
When an arm goes limp, it can be a sign of a migraine.
Some people experience muscle weakness on one side of the body before a migraine attack. This can also be a sign of a stroke, however, so consult a doctor to rule out any other causes.
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Age Can Play A Role Your Symptoms
Symptoms of the postdrome phase vary from person to person, and may also vary in adults, adolescents, and children. Migraine hangover symptoms in adults tend to last a little longer – up to a full day – than symptoms in younger folks.
- Sensitivity to light and/or sound
- Mood changes, like sudden unhappiness
- Head pain
- Numbness or tingling
What Are The Stages Of A Migraine
The Migraine Research Foundation says that migraine is a neurological disease that affects 39 million people in the U.S. Migraines, which often begin in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood, can progress through four stages: prodrome, aura, attack and post-drome. Not everyone who has migraines goes through all stages.
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What Is The Prognosis For People With Migraines
Migraines are unique to each individual. Likewise, how migraines are managed is also unique. The best outcomes are usually achieved by learning and avoiding personal migraine triggers, managing symptoms, practicing preventive methods, following the advice of your healthcare provider and reporting any significant changes as soon as they occur.
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.
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How To Get Rid Of Nausea With Home Remedies
Migraine induced nausea can be just as disabling as the head pain itself and sometimes even more so. Treating the symptoms of an attack, either over the counter or with prescriptions, can help lessen the burden of Migraine and throwing up and get you back to your normal, healthy activities more quickly. Here are a few worth trying:
You Also Have A Stiff Neck Or High Fever
If you have a headache and a fever, you may think its the flu. But add in the telltale symptom of a stiff neck, and you may have meningitis.
The infection, which can be bacterial or viral, affects the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. The swelling of these membranes is what can trigger a headache and stiff neck. You may also have nausea, vomiting or even seizures if you have meningitis. Although meningitis is hard to diagnose because it can mimic other infections, if you have a headache along with these other symptoms, its best to get checked by your doctor.
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Community Experiences Of Migraine And Weakness
Migraine.com advocates write about their experiences with migraine and the associated symptoms, including weakness. Some describe feeling weakness during the postdrome phase while others explore the symptoms of hemiplegic migraine and share a video of what it’s like for someone to have a hemiplegic migraine attack.
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
BPPV is a problem with the inner ear, and its the most common inner ear disorder, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. It can happen when the little crystals in the semi-circles of the ear, called otoconia, become dislodged.
This can bring on the symptoms of vertigo. When people have BPPV, its positional vertigo the spinning feeling happens when you move your head or turn over in bed, says Mueller.
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Lifestyle And Home Remedies
Some people find relief from migraine symptoms using home remedies. These include:
- practicing relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, and yoga
- getting enough sleep each night
- resting in a dark, quiet room when symptoms start
- placing an ice pack on the back of the neck
- gently massaging painful areas of the scalp
- keeping a diary to help identify migraine triggers
Six Warning Signs Of A Migraine Headache
Migraine headaches have multiple phases and understanding each phase in more detail can help migraine sufferers manage this condition. It is common for people who suffer from frequent migraines to experience warning signs before the migraines begin. These warning signs are also known as the premonitory phase or prodrome phase, which marks the beginning of a migraine attack. A research study completed by the American Headache Society determined that about 32% of people with migraines experience a prodrome. This phase begins 60 minutes to six hours before a migraine attack, and can last several hours or may even occur over several days and can present numerous symptoms. These symptoms can include irritability, concentration problems, food cravings, sensitivity to bright lights and nausea, among many other warning signs listed by the American Migraine Foundation. Research shows early identification of migraine prodrome symptoms can help signs in a timely manner, the more effective. Here are six common migraine warning signs or prodromes:
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