What Are The Symptoms
Vestibular migraines donât always cause headaches. The main symptom is dizziness that comes and goes. Vestibular refers to the inner ear, which controls your hearing and balance. If youâre having a vestibular migraine, you may feel:
- Dizziness that lasts more than a few minutes
- Extreme motion sensitivity — feeling sick or dizzy when you move your head, eyes, or body
- Feeling disoriented or confused
- Feeling unsteady, like youâre in a rocking boat
- Sensitivity to sound
You could get dizzy and have balance problems without having a migraine at all. Other times, the vertigo symptoms happen before, during, or after the headache. Sometimes, you might have migraines for years before the vertigo symptoms begin.
How Does My Doctor Rule Out Something Else
Theyâll likely order an MRI to check your brain and run hearing and balance tests to look for problems with your ears.
- Meniere’s disease. Before you get dizzy, usually one of your ears feels full or stuffy, or hurts. During an attack, one or both ears may ring, or you might lose hearing. This doesn’t usually happen with a vestibular migraine.
- Brainstem stroke. Along with vertigo, you mayalso have numbness, weakness, trouble speaking, and other stroke symptoms. If you have any of these symptoms, or if you have new vertigo that has not been diagnosed, get immediate emergency help.
Reducing Migraine Triggers In The Office
Its not clear what exactly causes migraines. Research indicates it could be hormonal, environmental, or a misfire in the brain somewhere. What is clear, though, is that there are many environmental factors that can trigger a migraine. If employers can help reduce those triggering factors, they may see the number of sick days due to migraine attacks go down. That means a boost to productivity and reduced insurance costs, too.
Some of the most common triggers are those associated with the five senses, including loud noises and strong smells. Implementing a no-perfume policy and encouraging coworkers to keep noise to a minimum can be a good start towards creating a migraine-friendly workplace.
Stress is another common trigger for migraine sufferers. Some jobs are naturally more stressful than others. However, employers may be able to help by moving the employee into a position they find to be less stressful. They may also offer assistance through job-sharing with another employee.
Finding those solutions can make a big difference to the well-being of the employee without any loss of productivity for the employer.
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What Happens During The Test
- As it begins, youll hear the equipment making a muffled thumping sound that will last for several minutes. Other than the sound, you shouldnât feel anything unusual during the scanning.
- For some MRI exams, youll need a shot of a contrast material into your vein. It helps doctors see certain structures in your brain on the scan images.
- Feel free to ask questions. Tell the person giving you the test or the doctor if you have any concerns.
How Ms And Migraine Are Considered To Be Alike
MS and migraine have some similarities, including:
- Theyre both chronic and consist of attacks followed by periods of remission. The majority of patients with multiple sclerosis have a form of the disease called relapsing-remitting MS, which means their disease is characterized by episodes of neurological symptoms and/or disability, known as relapses. And, of course, many with migraines also experience them off and on for extended durations. However, the duration of the neurological symptoms is quite different between these two conditions, lasting usually less than one hour in migraine patients and a couple of weeks, on average, with an MS relapse.
- They can involve visual symptoms. Certain MS symptoms, for example, optic neuritis, can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from those of a migraine attack, especially migraine with aura, in which visual symptoms commonly occur. Fortunately, the duration of the visual symptoms as well as their characteristics help differentiate both conditions.
- They both have triggers that can contribute to attacks. Like those with migraine, people with MS often report triggers for their relapses or attacks, especially stress.
- They affect individuals differently. While people with MS have different levels of disability and rates of progression of their disease, migraineurs often describe unique triggers and symptoms associated with their attacks. In other words, the experience of either issue varies greatly from person to person.
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When To See A Doctor
Headaches come in three varieties: Tension, sinus, and migraine. More than 95% of headaches arent caused by an underlying disease or structural abnormality. Instead, they spring from common conditions such as stress, fatigue, lack of sleep, hunger, changes in estrogen level, weather changes, or caffeine withdrawal. Most people dont need a doctor visit or a brain scan. Instead, they need over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription medications, rest, and relaxation.
If you find yourself taking painkillers for headaches more than a couple of times a week, see your doctor. Red flags that signal the need for medical evaluation include:
- Not having had headaches before
- Headaches that worsen over the course of a few weeks
- A headache that comes on fast
- Headache associated with fever
- Severe headache in an older person
- Headache associated with symptoms or signs like swelling in the back of the eyes
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What Is A Vestibular Migraine
Doctors look for at least a five- to eight-year history of migraine symptoms and developing dizziness to identify vestibular migraines . The term vestibular refers to the inner ear and your sense of balance.
The vestibular symptoms are quite variable, Dr. Cherian says. They could include a spinning feeling, a sensation of movement and the perception that things are moving out of proportion to the environment.
Symptoms can last for minutes or days. And, they can knock you off your feet.
Vestibular migraines can be quite debilitating, he says. Even though there is not always a headache, the dizziness, light and sound sensitivity, and/or the nausea are sometimes quite incapacitating.
Its difficult to say how common vestibular migraines are. One study suggests that 1.7 percent of the general population may have them.
The research on this is still evolving, Dr. Cherian says. In my 18 years of practice, I have not seen many cases.
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Do I Need To See A Neurologist For Migraines
Patients should see a neurologist for any headache that is disabling, McLauchlin said. This applies to you if you have to stop what you are doing and lie down during a headache. If your headaches cause pain in other areas or if the pain is on only one side of the head, you may need to see a neurologist.
Can You Pass Out From Migraine
In these cases, or what seems to be a seizure immediately following a faint, movements of the head may make it worse. Migraine is a very common, migraines typically present with self, wait a little while for your skin to warm back up and then repeat. Keep a headache diary see the leaflet called Migraine trigger diary. So someone having a migraine often seeks out a cool, fatigue and irritability.
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Diagnosing Headache And Dizziness
Because there are so many ways to describe the sensation of dizziness and so many potential causes you and your doctor may need to spend some time discussing your health to get to the root of the problem.
Diagnosing and treating the headache is typically easier than treating the dizziness, says Spears.
Vestibular migraine is a diagnosis of exclusion, he says. That means that other conditions that may be causing the dizziness must be ruled out first.
If a person is experiencing dizziness, they should speak with their doctor a medical workup may be necessary, says Spears. Depending on their age, that may involve a brain MRI to rule out a stroke, or they may be referred to an ear, nose, and throat doctor to make sure its not a vestibular disorder, he says.
Lack Of Understanding About Migraine
Dr Debashish Chowdhury, Professor and Head of Neurology, G B Pant Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research and Incharge, Headache Clinic, GIPMER, New Delhi said, There is a lack of understanding amongst people about the severity of migraines. In a study we recently conducted, about 50 percent to 60 percent of migraineurs were undiagnosed, despite recurrent headaches. Because migraine falls on a spectrum, ranging from infrequent or mild attacks to recurrent ones, many pass it off as merely a headache. With busy work-from-home schedules, paired with fear of contracting COVID-19 infection and difficulty in accessing in-person care, people are avoiding seeking medical help for the condition, instead attributing symptoms to associated comorbidities, such as stress or depression.
He continued, Financial worries due to job loss or salary cuts also contribute to aggravated migraine attacks, which is more noticeable recently. The effects of migraine on ones quality of life also reportedly worsened, particularly for many migraineurs working as essential healthcare workers at this time. Symptom neglect and failure to treat the condition can lead to migraines becoming chronic. A fundamental need is to recognize migraine as a serious condition with severe disability and adopt a holistic treatment approach. Early detection can be a key enabler of a smoother patient journey and an improved quality of life.
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Types Of Migraine Auras Visualized And Explained
Even if no headache is involved, silent migraines can be extremely disruptive to daily activities. The classic “half-moon” visual disturbance , alterations in color perception, and other vision problems are also common.
A silent migraine can last from 15 to 30 minutes, but it is usually no longer than 60 minutes. It can recur or appear as an isolated event.
What Happens Physiologically During 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.
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How To Treat An Ear Infection
Lying down with the ear that hurts facing up, with a heated pad on top, may help relieve the pain of an ear infection. This is because gravity helps the fluid from the ear drain into the throat. Also, the heat from the pad helps keep the drainage site open.
Taking OTC pain relievers can also help ease the symptoms.
Antibiotics may help treat middle ear infections, especially in young children and people with weak immune systems. However, draining the ear by lying on the correct side will help stop the condition from recurring and prevent a ruptured eardrum, which could happen due to fluid buildup.
happens when muscle tension radiates to the head. A person may also experience shoulder or neck pain.
Tension headaches tend to come on slowly, getting worse over time and causing pain throughout the head and sometimes a feeling of pressure. Very bad tension headaches can also make a person feel dizzy.
Attack Phase: The Headache Begins
The attack portion of a migraine can last from a few hours to several days. During this phase, youÃ¢ll probably want to rest quietly and find it hard to do your normal activities.
The pain of a migraine:
- Usually begins above the eyes
- Typically affects one side of the head, but it may happen to the entire head or move from one side to the other. It may also affect the lower face and the neck.
- Tends to feel throbbing
- May throb worse during physical activity or when you lean forward
- May get worse if you move around
Other symptoms that might happen during this phase:
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Bad Migraine
A migraine can cause severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on one side of the head. Its often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine attacks can last for hours to days, and the pain can be so severe that it interferes with your daily activities.
How Does Dizziness Factor In
Dizziness by itself is a common ailment. About 15 percent of the general population experiences dizziness each year, and the rate is higher among older adults.
Its one of the top five presenting symptoms to a primary doctor, Dr. Cherian says.
It causes falls and faintness in some cases, but with vestibular migraines youll have vertigo or a sense of spinning.
Dizziness is generally not serious, and may relate to medications or heart problems as well as inner ear problems , he says.
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Throbbing Pain On One Or Both Sides Of The Head
Pulsating pain is a classic sign of migraines. The throbbing is often felt on one side of the head.
In an online survey of patients with migraines, the National Headache Foundation found that 50% “always” have throbbing on one side, while 34% say they “frequently” have this symptom.
Migraine pain often burrows behind the eye.
People will blame it on eye strain and many will get their eyes checked, but that won’t make their headaches any better, Dr. Messina says.
Articles On Migraine Types
There are many names for this type of problem. Your doctor might also call it:
- Migraine-associated vertigo
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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.
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, theyll 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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The Driver And Vehicle Licensing Agency And The Driver And Vehicle Agency Northern Ireland
You must notify the DVLA in England, Wales and Scotland if your migraine attacks are sudden and disabling or are likely to be a source of danger to the public or if your doctor tells you to. If you have notified the DVLA and your migraine attacks become worse than previously disclosed to the DVLA you should contact them again.
If you live in England, Scotland or Wales you can contact the DVLA Medical Enquiries team for information and guidance on driving with migraine.
If you live in Northern Ireland you must contact the DVA if youve had or currently have a medical condition that may affect your driving.