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.
The Top Of My Skull Feels Like It’s Being Pressed Down On Fernando 32
I can feel the pounding in my temples, or in my eyes, depending on where the migraine is. If it’s a migraine on one side, that eye gets very watery and my temple throbs, and the top of my skull feels like it’s being pressed down on. I definitely have to avoid looking directly at light. Thankfully, I do not feel nauseous.
With one particularly bad migraine, I could not get up from bed because every time I was upright, seated or standing, the pain in the left side of my head. I had to stay in bed lying on the side that did not hurt, while manually massaging my left temple until it had subsided slightly.
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
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What Should I Do When A Migraine Begins
Work with your doctor to come up with a plan for managing your migraines. Keeping a list of home treatment methods that have worked for you in the past also can help. When symptoms begin:
- If you take migraine medicine, take it right away.
- Drink fluids, if you don’t have nausea during your migraine.
- Lie down and rest in a dark, quiet room, if that is practical.
Some people find the following useful:
- A cold cloth on your head
- Rubbing or applying pressure to the spot where you feel pain
- Massage or other relaxation exercises
How Do I Know If My Headache Is Migraine Or Sinus Headache
So, how do you know if your headache is migraine and not sinus? Go beyond the nasal and sinus congestion and the facial pain and pressure look for a headache associated with the inability to function normally at work, school, home or social functions, nausea, sensitivity to light and triggers such as weather change, menstrual cycle, and stress . Significantly, it is commonly thought that weather change often causes sinus headache when weather change is a common trigger for migraine.
You can also ask yourself the following questions from the ID Migraine Questionnaire developed by Dr. Richard Lipton of Albert Einstein College of Medicine:
- In the past three months, how disabling are your headaches? Do they interfere with your ability to function?
- Do you ever feel nausea when you have a headache?
- Do you become sensitive to light while you have a headache?
If you answer yes to two of the above three criteria, migraine is likely 93% of the time. If you answer yes to all three, a migraine diagnosis is 98% likely.
The American Migraine Foundation is committed to improving the lives of those living with this debilitating disease. For more of the latest news and information on migraine, visit the AMF Resource Library. For help finding a healthcare provider, check out our Find a Doctor tool. Together, we are as relentless as migraine.
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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
Are Migraines Hereditary
Migraines tend to run in families. As many as four out of five people with migraines have a family history. If one parent has a history of migraines, their child has a 50% chance of having them. If both parents have a history of migraines, the risk jumps to 75%. Again, up to 80% of people with migraines have a first-degree relative with the disease.
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Can Migraines Be Cured
- Regular follow-up care with a doctor or other health care professional is necessary.
- Keeping a pain journal to monitor the frequency of attacks and the medications you use can be very helpful.
- It may take several doctor visits before you find an effective migraine treatment plan.
- After the headaches are under control, the prognosis is very good. Patience is key. It may take several attempts before you find an effective migraine treatment plan.
- No one treatment or drug is effective for every person. A drug that works well for one person may not provide any relief for another.
- A combination of different migraine medicine sometimes is needed to treat resistant headaches.
What Is A Migraine
A migraine is a type of primary headache disorder that can cause severe pain and other symptoms. People with migraine may experience recurring symptoms that doctors call episodes or attacks.
Headaches are only one symptom of migraines, and they can range in severity. Migraine can cause intense, throbbing headaches that last anywhere from a few hours to several days.
A migraine headache usually affects one side of the head, but some people experience pain on both sides.
A migraine episode can occur in four distinct phases, though not everyone experiences every phase.
Doctors also call the premonitory phase the preheadache or prodrome phase. It includes nonpainful symptoms that occur hours or days before the headache arrives.
Premonitory phase symptoms can include:
- unexplainable mood changes
- sensitivity to light, sound, or smells
Auras refer to sensory disturbances that occur before or during a migraine attack. Auras can affect a persons vision, touch, or speech.
Visual auras can cause the following symptoms in one or both eyes:
- flashing lights
- blurred vision
- blind spots that expand over time
Sensory auras cause numbness or tingling that starts in the arm and radiates to the face.
Motor auras affect a persons ability to communicate and think clearly. Motor auras include:
- slurred or jumbled speech
- difficulty understanding what others say
- difficulty writing words or sentences
- having trouble thinking clearly
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What Are The Four Stages Or Phases Of A Migraine Whats The Timeline
The four stages in chronological order are the prodrome , aura, headache and postdrome. About 30% of people experience symptoms before their headache starts.
The phases are:
It can take about eight to 72 hours to go through the four stages.
The Sensation Is Like A Helmet On Your Head That Just Keeps Getting Tighter Lauren 29
The best way I can describe it for myself is that its such debilitating pain that it takes over everything else. I have to vomit, my neck tightens up, I become sensitive to light and smells . Even voices can make it worse. The sensation is like a helmet on your head that just keeps getting tighter, and you feel like your head will explode.
In December, I was driving back from the University of Michigan after being at a conference. I didnt have my prescription on me and I had a headache from the anxiety I felt all day and lack of the right food, etc. Around 3 P.M., the migraine hit. But I had no choice other than to drive the two hours back home. I had to pull over and vomit off the side of the highway. The rest of the drive home I honestly almost blacked out because the pain was so intense. My head felt like someone was taking a hammer to it. I remember calling my husband crying like a baby.
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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.
How To Tell You’re Having 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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Describing A Headache Versus A Migraine
Science has proven there is a difference when it comes to migraines vs headaches. As a sufferer you clearly feel that difference.
- With an ordinary headache what typically occurs is a narrowing of blood vessels within the head, which can easily be eased by taking over-the-counter aspirin or other pain relievers.
- With migraines what occurs is swelling and expansion of blood vessels, and though certain treatments may provide migraine relief, there is no cure and many remedies simply do not work on this level of pain.
As a sufferer I absolutely feel the pressure from those cranial blood vessels as they begin to dilate, which triggers nerve endings to release chemical neurotransmitters. The result is incredible, unbearable nerve pain and increased sensation to the other senses, so then light, noise and movement make my pain worse.
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.
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Theories About Migraine Pain
Older theories about migraines suggested that symptoms were possibly due to fluctuations in blood flow to the brain. Now many headache researchers realize that changes in blood flow and blood vessels don’t initiate the pain, but may contribute to it.
Current thinking regarding migraine pain has moved more toward the source of the problem, as improved technology and research have paved the way for a better understanding. Today, it is widely understood that chemical compounds and hormones, such as serotonin and estrogen, often play a role in pain sensitivity for migraine sufferers.
One aspect of migraine pain theory explains that migraine pain happens due to waves of activity by groups of excitable brain cells. These trigger chemicals, such as serotonin, to narrow blood vessels. Serotonin is a chemical necessary for communication between nerve cells. It can cause narrowing of blood vessels throughout the body.
When serotonin or estrogen levels change, the result for some is a migraine. Serotonin levels may affect both sexes, while fluctuating estrogen levels affect women only.
For women, estrogen levels naturally vary over the life cycle, with increases during fertile years and decreases afterwards. Women of childbearing age also experience monthly changes in estrogen levels. Migraines in women are often associated with these fluctuating hormone levels and may explain why women are more likely to have migraines than men.
Aura Phase: Strange Feelings Start
About 1 in 3 to 1 in 4 people with migraines get an “aura” that begins before the headache or starts along with it. It may not happen with every headache, though.
An aura can include:
Changes in vision, such as:
- A flickering, jagged arc of light. It may have a complicated shape. It usually appears on the left or right side of your vision. Over a few minutes, it may get bigger.
- A blind spot in your field of vision. This problem — combined with the flickering lights — can make it hard to drive or focus your eyes on small objects.
- You might “see” images from the past or have hallucinations.
These symptoms may continue to get worse over the next several minutes.
Skin sensations. You might feel tingling or “pins and needles” in your body during an aura. It may also cause numbness. These feelings often affect the face and hands, but they can spread out across the body. They may continue to expand over the next several minutes.
Language problems. You may have a hard time communicating with others. Symptoms may include:
- Trouble expressing thoughts when you speak or write
- Trouble understanding spoken or written words
- Trouble concentrating
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Sometimes It Feels As If My Brain Is Swelling Sarah 30
My migraines started around age 19. I would see flashes or my computer screen would be blurry all of a sudden. Later I learned what I was experiencing was called an aura. After an aura, Id vomit or dry-heave.
I feel a sharp pain that comes with pressure all around my head. Sometimes it feels as if my brain is swelling. Light and sounds are the worst. A good migraine lasts two days my worst has lasted five days.
One time I was out to dinner with a friend. We had Thai. On the way home, as I waited at a red light, the lights on the street began to glow and shine outside of the traffic light itself. I unlocked my front door and ran to the bathroom. Long story short: My Thai dinner was a waste, I ended up not going clubbing with my friend, and I was in bed at 7 P.M. Buzz kill.
Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
Social Eventseven Important Onescan Be Interrupted
One reason people with migraine might be more prone to anxiety and depression? Migraines can make it impossible to attend life events, even important ones.
Feighan has missed dozens of events due to her migraines, from weddings to family get-togethers. “Ive had to leave places early or abruptly, she says. In all of those instances and in many more, Ive found myself curled up into a ball in the front seat of a car, or laying across the back seat, with my hands over my eyes, trying to sleep off the pain.
Here Is How I Describe My Migraines So People Understand
When I Know One Is Coming
- I can begin the day feeling like one side of my head has a pressure in it, like something is swelling or even intense enough that it already feels ready to burst.
- My neck may hurt into my jaw and my eyes feel the pressure as well.
- The sunshine on the way to work feels like the burning light of 1,000 suns and increases my pain more.
- Moving my head sends shockwaves of pain through me and I become nauseous by the time I arrive at my desk.
- Perfume or other intense scents make the pain worse.
The Pain Is Different Than All Others
- The pain takes on different levels and can begin to feel like a nerve is also involved.
- Imagine a crushing, pressurized pain combined with that weird funny bone pain that you get from nerve involvement but this encompasses your head , your eyes, and parts of your face, jaw and neck.
- The pain can be so severe that I cannot hold down food and I find myself feeling like it will never stop like maybe eventually this will kill me.
- I feel completely hopeless and desperate.
- My vision can become blurry and I see flashes of light.
- Thinking clearly is difficult, talking is a huge effort and carrying on with life is beyond challenging.
This can all last for at least three days often five.
What Medications Are Used To Relieve Migraine Pain
Over-the-counter medications are effective for some people with mild to moderate migraines. The main ingredients in pain relieving medications are ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, naproxen and caffeine.
Three over-the-counter products approved by the Food and Drug Administration for migraine headaches are:
- Excedrin® Migraine.
- Advil® Migraine.
- Motrin® Migraine Pain.
Be cautious when taking over-the-counter pain relieving medications. Sometimes overusing them can cause analgesic-rebound headaches or a dependency problem. If you’re taking any over-the-counter pain medications more than two to three times a week, report that to your healthcare provider. They may suggest prescription medications that may be more effective.
Prescription drugs for migraine headaches include:
Triptan class of drugs :
- Co-enzyme Q10.
Drugs to relieve migraine pain come in a variety of formulations including pills, tablets, injections, suppositories and nasal sprays. You and your healthcare provider will discuss the specific medication, combination of medications and formulations to best meet your unique headache pain.
Drugs to relieve nausea are also prescribed, if needed.
All medications should be used under the direction of a headache specialist or healthcare provider familiar with migraine therapy. As with any medication, it’s important to carefully follow the label instructions and your healthcare providers advice.
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