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How Can You Tell A Migraine Is Coming On

The Headache Or Main Attack Stage

How to Identify Your Migraine Triggers

This stage involves moderate to severe head pain. The headache is typically throbbing and is made worse by movement. It is usually on one side of the head, especially at the start of an attack. However, you can get pain on both sides, or all over the head.

Nausea and vomiting can happen at this stage, and you may feel sensitive to light, sound, smell and movement. Painkillers work best when taken early in this stage.

How Prevalent Are Migraines

Migraines are about three times more common in women than men, and may affect more than 12 percent of the U.S. adult population. Migraines often run in families, and can start as early as elementary school but most often in early adulthood. They often fade away later in life, but can strike at any time. The most common cause of recurring, disabling headache pain, migraines are also the most common underlying cause of disabling chronic, daily headache pain. While migraines are the No. 1 reason that patients see a neurologist, most cases are handled by primary care physicians.

Things that can make the headaches more likely to occur include:

  • Alcohol

Identify And Treat Early

Headaches can range from being a mild inconvenience to being severe and debilitating. Identifying and treating headaches as early as possible can help a person engage in preventive treatments to minimize the chance of another headache. Distinguishing migraine from other types of headaches can be tricky. Pay particular attention to the time before the headache starts for signs of an aura and tell your doctor.

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How Can I Tell The Difference Between A Migraine Headache And A Brain Tumor

Dr. Bernard Seifneurologist Migrainemigraines

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How To Tell You’re Having A Migraine

13 Things Not To Say To Someone With 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.

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The Phases Of Migraine


Also known as preheadache or the premonitory phase, prodrome can mark the beginning of a migraine attack. This phase can last several hours or may even occur over several days.

Most people with migraine will experience prodrome, but not necessarily before every migraine attack. If a person with migraine is experiencing prodrome, his or her care team can study their symptoms and patterns to guide a treatment plan that may lessen the severity of the oncoming headache. During this phase, taking medication, minimizing/avoiding other trigger factors and practicing mindfulness meditation, relaxation therapy or other biobehavioral techniques, can even prevent headache in some cases. Prodrome symptoms vary from person to person, but can include changes in mood, from feelings of depression or irritability to difficulty focusing. Other symptoms may include fatigue, sensitivity to light and sound, insomnia, nausea, constipation or diarrhea, and muscle stiffness, especially in the neck and shoulders. Symptoms that are especially unique to the prodrome phase of migraine include yawning, cravings for certain foods, and frequent urination.




How To Really Tell Whether You Have A Migraine

When your head starts to throb and you feel pressure building in your forehead and nose, is it just sinus pain? Well, it could be but dont discount the idea that you might have a migraine coming on. Over 30% of women experience migraine headaches, but fewer than 5% of people who suffer from these head-pounders ever receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment from a healthcare provider, according to the American Migraine Foundation.

There is a general lack of education regarding headaches and migraines in the medical community, says neurologist Lauren Natbony, MD, assistant clinical professor of neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and a specialist in headache medicine. Doctors may not know the questions to ask to make an accurate diagnosis, or they may mistake migraine for another condition. In studies, patients are commonly diagnosed with sinusitis when migraine is the true offender. And migraine is only one of many headache disorders there are actually more than 200 different types of headaches! Identifying and seeking care for migraines can help you find relief from this disabling pain.

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Can A Migraine Attack Happen To An Older Person

However, occasionally older people will develop migraine aura-like symptoms that are nothing to do with migraine at all. The types of aura-like symptoms may include: Its possible that older people who experience these migraine-like symptoms are in fact experiencing small strokes, known as transient ischemic attacks.

What Is Sinus Headache

What Is a Migraine Headache?

A true sinus headache, called rhinosinusitis, is rare. The cause is a viral or bacterial sinus infection characterized by thick, discolored nasal discharge. Youll get symptoms like possibly weaker smell or no smell, facial pain or pressure and commonly, fever. Facial pain and headache should resolve within seven days after viral symptoms improve or after successful treatment with antibiotics . If pain continues, then your diagnosis should be reconsidered.

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Can You Get A Migraine Without Aura

Many people think a migraine headache always comes with aura, which may present as bright spots, flashes, or partial loss of vision. But that happens to only about 25% of migraine sufferers. How people experience aura also varies: Some get it before a migraine hits, while others develop it during or after the headache, according to Rachel Colman, M.D., a neurologist at the Mount Sinai Center for Headache and Facial Pain.

Migraine Vs Headache: How Can You Tell The Difference

Knowing the key differences between a migraine vs. headache can bring better pain relief. Both of these ailments can feel very similar to one another. However, they are not the same, and they have different treatment options.

If you dont know if you suffer from headaches or migraines, keep reading to learn more!

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Learning How To Make Your Story Relatable

Lastly, if you’re feeling the need to share, you’re always welcome here. Comment on an article, post in the forums, or share your story. If you’d rather write your story than speak it, you could send your friends and family the link to your story or post on social media.

We all have migraine, but we’re all unique. We’d love to hear from you.

How Can I Tell If I Have A Migraine Or A Sinus Headache

Why Your Sinus Headache Is Almost Definitely A Migraine ...

Many people confuse a sinus headache with a migraine because pain and pressure in the sinuses, nasal congestion, and watery eyes often occur with migraine. To find out if your headache is sinus or migraine, ask yourself these questions:

In addition to my sinus symptoms, do I have:

  • Moderate-to-severe headache
  • Nausea
  • Sensitivity to light
  • If you answer yes to two or three of these questions, then most likely you have migraine with sinus symptoms. A true sinus headache is rare and usually occurs due to sinus infection. In a sinus infection, you would also likely have a fever and thick nasal secretions that are yellow, green, or blood-tinged. A sinus headache should go away with treatment of the sinus infection.

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    Getting Natural Help For Migraines

    If you recognize any of these symptoms, it is a good time to make an appointment with an upper cervical chiropractor. A misalignment in the top bones of the neck is often to blame for migraines. The good news is that by using a gentle method, we can help these bones to move back into place naturally. This often leads to an improvement in or elimination of migraines.

    to schedule a consultation today.

    Watch For Migraine Signs So You Can Try To Stop An Attack Before It Starts

    Migraine attacks often begin with a premonitory phase. According to a 2012 report published in the medical journal Cephalalgia,

    Up to 87% of patients with migraine may experience premonitory symptoms, although some studies have provided estimates as low as 33%. In selected patients, premonitory symptoms may be relatively reliable predictors of a migraine attack to follow. Both naratriptan and domperidone have been reported to be effective when given during the premonitory phase.

    Prescriptions aren’t your only option to stop a migraine attack in the premonitory phase when you first notice the migraine signs. For some, our emergency can’t-believe-I-forgot-my-meds CHILL method can work. No formal research study has been done on it, because we’re not funding an expensive double-blind placebo test out of our massive profits. And it’s free.

    Here are the subtle migraine signs to warn you an attack is coming, or to help your child know that one is coming. Ask family members to help you notice them.

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    Are There Different Kinds Of Migraine

    Yes, there are many forms of migraine. The two forms seen most often are migraine with aura and migraine without aura.

    Migraine with aura . With a migraine with aura, a person might have these sensory symptoms 10 to 30 minutes before an attack:

    • Seeing flashing lights, zigzag lines, or blind spots
    • Numbness or tingling in the face or hands
    • Disturbed sense of smell, taste, or touch
    • Feeling mentally fuzzy

    Only one in five people who get migraine experience an aura. Women have this form of migraine less often than men.

    Migraine without aura . With this form of migraine, a person does not have an aura but has all the other features of an attack.

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    Learn More About Each Stage Of A Migraine:

    Headache Treatments : How to Tell if You Have a Sinus Headache

    1. Prodrome

    One or two days before a migraine, you might notice subtle changes that warn of an upcoming migraine, including constipation, mood changes from depression to euphoria, food cravings, neck stiffness, increased thirst and urination or frequent yawning.

    2. Aura

    For some people, aura might occur before or during migraines. Auras are reversible symptoms of the nervous system. They’re usually visual, but they also can include other disturbances. Each symptom usually begins gradually, builds up over several minutes and lasts 20 minutes to one hour.

    Examples of auras include:
    • Visual phenomena, such as seeing various shapes, bright spots or flashes of light
    • Vision loss
    • “Pins-and-needles” sensations in an arm or leg
    • Weakness or numbness in the face, or one side of the body
    • Difficulty speaking
    • Uncontrollable jerking or other movements

    3. Attack

    A migraine usually lasts from four to 72 hours if untreated, and the frequency varies by the person. Migraines might occur rarely or strike several times a month.

    During a migraine, you might have:
    • Pain, usually on one side of your head, but often on both sides
    • Pain that throbs or pulses
    • Sensitivity to light, sound, and sometimes smell and touch
    • Nausea and vomiting

    4. Post-drome

    After a migraine attack, you might feel drained, confused and washed out for up to a day. Some people report feeling elated. Sudden head movement might bring on pain again briefly.

    Learn more about headaches:

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    Should You See A Headache Expert

    Medications and/or devices can help to lessen migraine frequency and severity when lifestyle changes arent enough, says Dr. Natbony. It happens to be an exciting time in migraine treatment, because we now have many options, including daily oral medications, monthly home injectable medications , Botox, and medical devices. Theres no one-size-fits-all treatment for migraines. Patients need an individualized treatment plan based on their unique migraine symptoms and triggers.

    *With additional reporting by Caroline Picard

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    How Are They Treated

    Both migraine and chronic migraine can be treated with the same drugs. These include medications that treat the pain and symptoms as well as drugs that treat the underlying cause of migraine. In some cases, there are medical devices you can use to interrupt the headache. Still, no treatment is perfect.

    Because of that, chronic migraines can take a toll on your personal life. If you get painful headaches for half of each month, you lose days of work or school and precious time with friends and family. Itâs common for people with chronic migraines to also have depression.

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    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.

    Whats A Migraine Journal

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    • Keeping a migraine journal is not only beneficial to you, but it helps your healthcare provider with the diagnosis process. Your journal should be detailed and updated as much as possible before, during and after a migraine attack. Consider keeping track of the following:
    • The date and time of when the migraine began specifically when the prodrome started, if youre able to tell its happening. Track time passing. When did the aura phase begin? The headache? The postdrome? Do your best to tell what stage youre in and how long it lasts. If theres a pattern, that may help you anticipate what will happen in the future.
    • What are your symptoms? Be specific.
    • Note how many hours of sleep you got the night before it happened and your stress level. Whats causing your stress?
    • Note the weather.
    • Log your food and water intake. Did you eat something that triggered the migraine? Did you miss a meal?
    • Describe the type of pain and rate it on a one to 10 scale with 10 being the worst pain youve ever experienced.
    • Where is the pain located? One side of your head? Your jaw? Your eye?
    • List all of the medications you took. This includes any daily prescriptions, any supplements and any pain medication you took.
    • How did you try to treat your migraine, and did it work? What medicine did you take, at what dosage, at what time?
    • Consider other triggers. Maybe you played basketball in the sunlight? Maybe you watched a movie that had flashing lights? If youre a woman, are you on your period?

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    When To See A Doctor/go To The Hospital

    Migraines do not normally require emergency medical attention. The treatment is really based on a plan for both prevention and treatment of acute attacks. Nevertheless, when you are not sure if your symptoms are caused by a migraine, or when your migraine pattern changes, you need to seek medical attention.

    Stages Of A Migraine Attack

    It is often difficult to know when a migraine attack is going to happen. However, you can often tell the pattern of each attack as there are well defined stages.

    It is these stages and their symptoms that distinguish a migraine from a headache.

    However, not everyone will experience all of the symptoms of each stage and the stages can overlap. In adults, we can divide a migraine attack into four or five stages that lead on from each other.

    Learning to recognise the different stages of a migraine attack can be useful. You might get one, all, or a combination of these stages, and the combination of stages may vary from attack to attack. Each stage can vary in how long and how bad it is. Recognising different symptoms at different times during your attack can give your doctor information which may help them make a diagnosis. Taking medication as soon as you notice the pain may stop or shorten an attack.

    Migraine attacks in children are often much shorter than in an adult. It may be easier to tell the different headache stages in a child.

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    How Do You Treat Migraines

    While its true that a migraine headache doesnt typically respond well to OTC drugs , your doctor can prescribe more effective medication in the form of pills, nasal sprays, and injections to make you feel better.

    Establishing a regular daily routine could also help prevent migraines from occurring in the first place. “The gene for migraines gives us basically a hyperactive or overly sensitive brain,” Dr. Newman says. “Because of that, any change can induce migraines.”

    To ward off migraine attacks, Dr. Newman recommends following the mnemonic SEEDS:

    • Sleep: Get enough sleep and follow roughly the same schedule every day.
    • Eating: Have three regular meals per day.
    • Exercise: Work out at least three days per week.
    • Drinking: Stay hydrated and avoid too much caffeine and alcohol.
    • Stress Reduction: Try yoga, biofeedback, or other mindfulness exercises.

    Discovering Other People’s Migraine Stories

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    So how does this relate to migraine? In 2012, I started to get a migraine attack every single day. I thought I was alone. I knew some people who had migraine, sure, but every single day? I discovered and other migraine sites and forums, and was able to read and learn about migraine. I found the stories of others helpful in knowing I wasn’t weird or unusual. My doctor could provide me with medicine and treatment, but only the community could share my deepest fears, struggles, and triumphs. Then in 2014 I started writing bits and pieces of my own story to share with others. It was incredibly cathartic, but beyond that it seemed to register with many.

    That being said, sharing stories within the community is like preaching to the choir. We all “get it” at some level. Though there is power in that, what of the people in our lives who don’t have migraine? What and how should we share with them?

    I try, when appropriate, to share as much as possible. If an interested listener hears my story, just like when watching a movie, something happensthey can “walk the streets of Rome” in my shoes. I do like to have migraine statistics and facts at my fingertips, but I feel that stories hold more lasting power because they give other people a window into an experience they haven’t had.

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