Rescue Treatments For Quick Relief
Migraine rescue medications that have been used for years include a class of drugs called triptans, as well as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs .
Two newer classes of medications approved to treat acute migraine are gepants and ditans. Gepants are unique in that they are not associated with medication-overuse headache, a kind of headache that can occur when people overuse acute migraine medications, according to the American Migraine Foundation.
For cluster headaches, standard treatments include injectable triptans and high-flow oxygen, says Lipton.
Fast treatment is advisable for cluster headaches, Diamond says, because the pain is so severe. Injectables or nasal sprays work quicker than pills, the fastest treatment for a cluster headache is high-flow oxygen through a mask for about 10 minutes, she says.
Nerve blocks can also be used to treat cluster headaches, says Rajneesh. These in-office procedures, in which a numbing agent, or anesthetic, is injected into the scalp near particular nerves, can improve cluster headaches for a few weeks to a few months, he adds.
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Headache And Migraine Signs You Need To Be Aware Of
Headaches and migraines plague more than 38 million people, with some studies suggesting that 13 percent of adults in the U.S. have periodic migraines and two to three million people suffer from chronic migraines. June is Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, a good a time as any to discuss the signs you should be aware of, particularly if you have a loved one in hospice. Thats because many chronic and terminal illnesses and diseases are punctuated by severe headaches and migraines. Even the medication San Francisco hospice patients are put on can contribute to them. This year for 2018s Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, the theme is You Are Not Alone. Indeed. The more we know about these debilitating conditions, the stronger we can be.
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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.
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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.
What’s The Difference Between A Headache And A Migraine
A tension-type headache, the most common type of headache, causes pain on both sides of the head. It’s a tight pressure rather than a throbbing, and you might also have soreness in your temples, neck and shoulder muscles. Headache pain isn’t usually considered ‘severe’.
Migraine, on the other hand, has many symptoms including headache. This can feel like a throbbing pain that might be worse on one side of your head. You can also feel pain around your eyes, temples, face, jaw or neck. The pain may increase with physical activity, which is why it helps to lie down.
But the key difference between a headache and migraine? Migraines can be distressing and debilitating and can affect your whole body. People can feel vaguely unwell for a day or two before a migraine headache comes on . Once it has started, a migraine headache can last for between 4 hours and several days.
“Migraine is a chronic disorder of the brain with recurrent severe attacks… other common features are nausea or even vomiting,” explains Assistant Professor of Neurology Yulia Orlova on The Conversation. “Many people have sensitivity to light, odours or sounds and are unable to carry on daily activity.”
Migraine is ranked the sixth most disabling disease in the world. Global Burden of Disease ;;;
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Stroke And Migraine With Aura Overlapping Symptoms
- Visual changes
- Stroke: Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Migraine with aura: Flashing lights; spots or zigzag lines; temporary, partial loss of vision
As you can see, it can be very difficult to tell whether someones having a stroke or migraine with aura because the symptoms can be nearly identical. As if to complicate matters even more, people who suffer from seizure disorders can also experience aura symptoms. This is why its so important to have any of these symptoms checked out by a medical professional, especially in the case of a stroke where time is brain.
Recognizing a stroke is key, according to Albert Yoo, MD, a neurologist at;Medical City Plano. Dr. Yoo says that because treatment is time dependent, every minute that passes without medical care means more brain cells are dying.
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Dont Fret Just Yet The Pounding Pain In Your Head May Be Annoying But It Doesnt Necessarily Indicate A Bigger Problem
There it is again the throbbing in your dome. If youre bothered by frequent headaches, you may be concerned that you have a more serious condition, such as a brain tumor or an aneurysm. And while those and other dangerous conditions can be , its likely that your pain is primary. In other words: Its probably not the result of another condition.
Unfortunately, doctors dont know what causes most headaches. According to some estimates, only 10 percent of headaches have a known cause. But there are contributing factors that can trigger chronic headaches, such as:
- Sensory triggers such as bright lights, loud noises and pungent smells
Chronic headaches can also be linked to other disorders, including depression, anxiety, sinus infections, allergies and temporomandibular joint dysfunction, also known as TMJ. In order to figure out your headache pattern and identify your triggers, you may want to keep a headache diary to share with your doctor. The National Headache Foundation provides a handy template.
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What Is A Migraine With Aura
There are 2 types of migraine: migraine with aura, and without aura.
It might sound a bit paranormal, but migraine with aura is very real. Some people see flashing lights or a change in their vision; some having trouble speaking, and some feel pins and needles in their arms and legs. This can happen before or during a migraine attack.
Even if you get auras, you may not experience one with every migraine. The aura itself usually lasts less than an hour. Scientists arent entirely sure why it happens.
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What Is A Migraine
Migraine is a disease that causes recurrent attacks of head pain together with other symptoms such as a bad headache that often comes with nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light, sound, smell, or touch. The pain may throb or pulse, and you usually feel it on one side of your head around your eye or temple.
A migraine with aura is the kind that can be confused with a stroke. An aura affects your senses and usually happens before the headache. You may see light flashes, zig-zagged lines, or blind spots, or you might feel tingling or numbness in your arms, legs, or face. You might have ringing in your ears or trouble speaking. Sometimes, you’ll have those symptoms but never get a headache. That tends to happen more often as you get older.
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Knowing Exactly Which Type Of Migraine You Have Is Essential To Finding The Most Effective Treatment
Its a fact: 60% of women and 70% of men with Migraine arent diagnosed properly. Getting an accurate diagnosis is critical for the right treatment. Some medications are actually dangerous to people who actually have Migraine with Aura, for example.
According to the International Classification of Headache Disorders , there are seven different types of migraines: the two major types , the four subtypes of Migraine with aura, and Chronic Migraine. The criteria for doctors to use in diagnosing these types of Migraine are based on scientific evidence
What Is Migraine Surgery
Migraine surgery is a procedure designed to reduce and prevent migraines. New studies have shown that many migraines are initiated by irritation of nerves in the head and neck outside of the brain, also called peripheral neuralgias. Migraine surgery involves reducing this inflammation by decreasing pressure from surrounding structures, such as muscles and blood vessels, and decompressing the nerves that have shown to trigger headache symptoms.
This treatment is a breakthrough therapy that has significantly improved migraine symptoms for approximately 90 percent of patients treated. Depending on the severity of your condition, migraine surgery may either result in a complete disappearance of symptoms or a significant reduction in pain and discomfort associated with headaches. For many patients, the benefits of this surgery have proven immeasurable, having included increased productivity, decreased sensitivity to light and sound, and easier and more comfortable social interaction. Even for patients with less than perfect results gain the ability to rejoin life and spend more time with loved ones.
Our migraine quiz is the first step to helping patients understand more about their symptoms and whether migraine surgery is a suitable option. Take the quiz today to determine if you are a candidate!
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Reducing The Severity Of A Migraine Attack
In addition to preventing your attacks through the above steps, there are acute medications you can take that can reduce the severity of the attack. These include over-the-counter or prescription analgesics, triptans, and ergot alkaloids.
I tell all my patients, Our goal with you is to get you down to one to two headaches per month that you can make go away within an hour, and until we get to that goal, were going to keep working with you, Dr. Hershey says. Once you get to the goal, then its your job to help maintain that.
The Importance Of Achieving A Specific And Accurate Headache Diagnosis
Getting a specific headache diagnosis that is accurate is very important because it will have a major influence on matching your treatment plan to the type of headache and severity of illness. Diagnosis influences the treatment plan by directing the type of medical tests that are run, type of medications recommended and long-term management goals you and your practitioner select. More importantly, matching your beliefs about your headache type to an accurate diagnosis is crucial, as otherwise test recommendations, medications and long-term behavioral management adherence is likely to decrease or not be started at all.
For example, the plan of care will be very different for headaches diagnosed as sinusitis than for headaches diagnosed as migraine. However, if you believe your headaches are due to sinus headache, while your practitioner believes you have migraineresolving the differences so you can comfortably put recommendations into action is critical. For those with chronic migraine, a very different treatment regimen is likely to be offered than for those with less frequent episodic migraine.
Headache diagnoses and treatment plans are made on the basis of:
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Genetic And Environmental Factors
The reason youre getting migraine could be because your parents or close family members have the genes, Dr. Hershey says. However, there are a few simple things you can do to reduce your chances of experiencing a migraine attack. We cant change our genes, but we can change the environmental influence on those genes, Dr. Hershey says. Oftentimes, by taking better care of themselves, people can lessen that impact of migraine.
Taking better care of yourself is one way to prevent migraine attacks. To do so, there are four main healthy habits patients with migraine should maintain, Dr. Hershey says:
You Drink Too Much Caffeine
Caffeine causes vasoconstriction in your blood vessels, meaning they get a little narrower. If you drink coffee or other caffeinated drinks every day, your body gets used to it, Dr. Hutchinson explains. So when you skip it one day, your blood vessels dont become constricted and can make your head hurt. It becomes a vicious cycle, slugging back a mug to find relief, and just further deepening your need for caffeine. Additionally, the Mayo Clinic says that adults can safely consume up to 400 milliliters of caffeine per day , butkeeping in mind that everyones tolerance is differentafter that, your body might begin to rebel.
Fix it:Its unrealistic to tell all headache patients to avoid caffeine, Dr. Hutchinson says. Instead, she recommends moderationa maximum of two caffeinated drinks in one dayto avoid that withdrawal headache when you go without.
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Where To Seek Help
- Always see your doctor if you’re worried about migraines or headaches. Seek medical attention immediately if you are experiencing any other sudden or unusual symptoms.
- If you’re not sure whether you’re having a migraine, try the healthdirect Symptom Checker tool for advice on what to do next.
- If you’re not sure whether you need to see a doctor or go to hospital, you can call healthdirect for advice on 1800 022 222 .
- To find a doctor or health service near you, use the healthdirect service finder.
- Visit the Headache Australia website for information and support. There, you can also join Headache Australia’s national register to stay informed of any new treatments, developments and research into migraine and headache.
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
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Bipoc Communities And Migraine
The prevalence of migraine among Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in the United States has not been well studied.
Of course, the prevalence of a disease doesnt tell the whole story. A paper in the Journal of the National Medical Association looked into the experience of headache among Black Americans and found that compared with white people with headache, African American headache patients are more likely to be diagnosed with comorbid depressive disorders; report headaches that are more frequent and severe in nature; have their headaches underdiagnosed and/or undertreated; and discontinue treatment prematurely, regardless of socioeconomic status.
- Only 47 percent of Black individuals with headaches have an official headache diagnosis, compared with 70 percent of white individuals.
- Latinos with headaches are 50 percent less likely to receive a migraine diagnosis than white individuals.
- Only 14 percent of Black patients with headache receive prescriptions for acute migraine medications, compared with 37 percent of white patients with headache.
Dr. Kiarashi also noted that BIPOC communities were underrepresented in migraine and headache research, based on the sample of studies on headache and migraine that her team reviewed.
What If It’s Not Migraine
Sometimes, its something else. Something small and simple like a cold or a bad nights sleep. Something more seriousa stroke, meningitis.
So how do we know? When just about every common symptom of every major illness could be caused by migraine, perhaps has been caused by migraine in the past, how are we to judge if this time a symptom could be indicative of something else?
Most of us tend to err on the side of migraine. At least, I know I do. Its easier to write any symptom off as one of the strange and ever-changing ways migraine disease presents itself than have to face a medical professional and try to convince them that a symptom they cant see suddenly feels different.
Different is important, though. In fact, when living with chronic migraine, a small change in symptom presentation may be the only clue were given that something else is wrong.
We have another article here at Migraine.com that expertly discusses how to know when a migraine attack is an emergency. Its essential reading, and I hope everyone on this site has read it at least once. But this is about something else. When you live with chronic migraine, knowing when something isnt a migraine attack can be just as essential.
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