What Should I Do If I Have Persistent Migraine Aura
Most migraine aura last an hour or less. However, some people may experience continuous migraine auras that last a week or longer. If this happens to you, be sure to contact your healthcare provider right away. Theyll run tests to ensure that your symptoms arent due to other, more serious conditions.
What Commonly Triggers A Migraine
People who get migraines may be able to identify triggers that seem to kick off the symptoms. Some possible triggers include the following:
- Stress and other emotions
- Biological and environmental conditions, such as hormonal shifts or exposure to light or smells
- Fatigue and changes in one’s sleep pattern
- Glaring or flickering lights
Bright Lights And Busy Patterns
Bright lights and certain striped patterns can provoke migraine in some people. Lights are well known to lead to various types of headaches. Studies show that people with migraine report discomfort in dimmer light than others.
Sometimes patterns emerge within view that can trigger headaches. Scientists have studied patterns with tightly grouped lines, and found that these may provoke migraine in some people. Other studies have suggested that wearing lightly tinted glasses can ease this discomfort, which may be provoked by staring at lines of text, for instance.
Also Check: Migraine Medicine Side Effects
Why Does Stress Trigger Migraines
With my patients, I always work to bring it back to understanding the different stressors in their lives. We already know that stress goes beyond what we deal with on a daily basis, or that of sudden life changes. In fact, stress, as it relates to migraines, is often caused by environmental stressors, such as: toxins food sensitivities and mold.
Specifically, when our bodies are stressed and considered under attack, the brain increases production of a hormone which triggers the adrenal glands to increase cortisol levels, thereby altering the messages it sends to our main systems. When this happens, four main areas are affected:
- Digestion: Decreased digestive enzymes and motility, Leaky gut, imbalanced gut bacteria, and the gut-brain axis are all known to cause migraines when mixed signals are sent to the nervous system.
- Neurotransmitters: When neurotransmitters the messengers in our nervous system are imbalanced, it again affects our nervous system as serotonin , GABA, and dopamine levels are too high or too low, making migraines more likely .
- Hormones:Hypothyroidism, blood sugar and insulin imbalances, estrogen, and progesterone imbalances can all cause migraines.
- Immune System: Allergies or Histamine Intolerance, inflammation in the body, and autoimmunity are often the underlying reason for continuous migraines.
Consider Massage And Pt
Many headaches originate as other pains in places like your neck and shoulders. A physical therapist or massage therapist can both help in different ways. Physical therapists can show you movements and postures, as well as strengthening exercises, all to help you defeat your body pain over time. A masseuse can help relieve cramped and painful muscles for short-term relief. Keep in mind that some forms of massage are not suitable for all people.
Also Check: Migraine Fever Chills
The American Migraine Foundations Guide To Triggers & How To Manage Them
The sudden onset of migraine means a dark room, bed, and a cool towel for most of us. While these seem to come out of nowhere, many will find that there are usually some signs that a migraine attack is on its way. These signs can reveal a pattern in your symptoms, and even provide you with preventative tools for managing migraine. Everyone has different triggers, but there are a few common culprits that affect a large number of people living with migraine. When you can identify your triggers, you are one step closer to effectively managing your migraine and avoiding future attacks.
What Type Of Doctor Do You See For Ocular Migraines
If you have ocular migraines, you can see an ophthalmologist oran optometrist.
Optometrists are eye care specialists who offer primary vision care services, including:
- Vision testing
- Correction of visual problems
- Treatment and management of visual issues and eye diseases
On the other hand, ophthalmologists are medical practitioners who specialize in eye and vision care. They differ from optometrists in their degrees of schooling as well as what they can diagnose and cure.
An ophthalmologist is a healthcare professional who has finished college and has at least eight years of further medical studies. He or she is licensed to practice medicine and surgery. Ophthalmologists hold a Doctor of Medicine degree.
Optometrists are healthcare professionals who complete four additional years of school after finishing undergraduate studies. They hold a Doctor of Optometry degree.
Also Check: Migraine Predictor
What Causes Ocular And Visual Migraines
Currently, there is limited research on what causes ocular and visual migraines.
Although studies have shown a change in blood flow into the eye during ocular migraines,the exact cause of this change remains unclear.
However, scientists sometimes associate the condition with genetics, meaning it may run in the family.
According to research, up to 70% of migraine patients have a personal or family history of migraine.2
Migraine triggers play a vital role in the onset and frequency of migraines.
Common migraine triggers include:3
Are Migraine Headaches More Common In Women Than Men
Yes. About three out of four people who have migraines are women. Migraines are most common in women between the ages of 20 and 45. At this time of life women often have more job, family, and social duties. Women tend to report more painful and longer lasting headaches and more symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting. All these factors make it hard for a woman to fulfill her roles at work and at home when migraine strikes.
You May Like: How To Stop Nausea From Migraine
Can Migraine Aura Increase During Pregnancy
Pregnancy can result in increased migraine aura without headaches. If youre pregnant and are experiencing a migraine with or without aura, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
A note from Cleveland ClinicMigraine aura isnt usually dangerous, but the condition can disrupt your daily life. If you experience migraine aura with or without headaches, inform your healthcare provider. Not only can they help you manage your symptoms, but they can also make sure your migraine aura isnt related to other, more troubling health problems.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/25/2021.
How Does Stress Cause Migraines
01.23.2020 by Dr. Doni
Stress takes many forms, and is often the hidden culprit behind migraines. To get at the root cause of chronic migraines, you may be surprised to learn that we need to look at how stress might be disrupting our digestion, neurotransmitters, hormones, and immune system.
Headaches come in many different forms: tension, cluster, sinus, and yes, migraines. A headache is head pain that presents in different ways throughout your head for a variety of causes.
For example, head pain can be caused by emotional stress, physical stress, such as tight neck muscles, neck vertebrae misalignment, or inflammation in the TMJ joint, and/or allergies, sinus congestion and pressure, viral infections, toxin exposure , and more. In worst case but very uncommon scenarios, head pain can be caused by growths or tumors in the head.
Identifying where the pain is coming from goes a long way towards helping to identify the cause of the head pain. For this reason, your practitioner will likely ask you if the pain is on the left side, right side, temples, front, back, or everywhere. The location of the pain is one of the keys to understanding the cause.
What is most common, however, is that headaches and specifically migraines are related to stress.
Read Also: How To Fake A Migraine To A Doctor
What Are Rebound Migraines
Women who use acute pain-relief medicine more than two or three times a week or more than 10 days out of the month can set off a cycle called rebound. As each dose of medicine wears off, the pain comes back, leading the patient to take even more. This overuse causes your medicine to stop helping your pain and actually start causing headaches. Rebound headaches can occur with both over-the-counter and prescription pain-relief medicines. They can also occur whether you take them for headache or for another type of pain. Talk to your doctor if you’re caught in a rebound cycle.
Changes In The Weather
Storms, excessive heat and changes in barometric pressure are common weather-related migraine triggers that can lead to a migraine attack. High humidity and heat can easily lead to dehydration, another common trigger.
How to cope: We cant control the weather, so if the current conditions are not favorable for your migraine, stay inside or adjust your schedule accordingly. If theres an errand you need to run and its the middle of July in Arizona, take care of it in the morning before it gets too hot!
Also Check: Migraine Antidepressant
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
What Are The Symptoms Of An Ocular Migraine
The most common ocular migraine symptom is a small blind spot that impairs your central vision in one eye.
This blind spot expands, making it difficult to drive safely or read using the affected eye.
In addition to the flickering blind spot, other migraine symptoms include:
- A colorful light ring that is wavy or zigzag and surrounds a central blind spot
- A blind spot that slowly migrates across your field of vision
- A migraine lasting between 4 and 42 hours
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Vision loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- A headache that feels worse when you move your head
If you have blind spots or other visual symptoms and arent sure whether it’s an ocular migraine or a visual migraine, cover one eye at a time and observe your sense of sight. If the visual disturbance affects one eye only, it is most likely an ocular migraine.
Recommended Reading: Imitrex Dosage For Migraine
When To See Your Doctor
If your headaches suddenly change to become more frequent or severe, make an appointment with your doctor. This is when a headache chart can be especially helpful if you have one prepared. Your doctor will discuss your medical history and your recent headaches. It can be helpful to bring notes and questions to get the most out of your visit.
Some headaches qualify as emergencies. If you have a sudden, especially severe headache, call 9-1-1, whether it comes out of the blue or follows an accident. That’s also true if your headache comes with other symptoms, such as vision problems, difficulty speaking, neck stiffness, fever, or a seizure. Call 9-1-1 when any of these symptoms accompany a headache.
- Vanderbilt University: “Meal Ideas and Menus: Avoiding High Tyramine Foods Made Easy.”
- Frese A. Neurology, 2003 vol 61: pg 796.
- Frese, A. Cephalalgia, 2007 vol 27: pg 1265.
- Blau, J. Headache, May 2004 vol 44: pp 411-13.
- Stankewitz, A. Neurology, July 2011 epub.
- National Headache Foundation: “Hypoglycemia,” “Smoking,” “Alcohol and Headaches,” “Nitrites/Nitrates.”
- Schurks, M. Current Pain Headache Report, April 2008 vol 12: pp 115-21.
- Mukamal, K. Neurology. March 10, 2009 vol 72: pp 922â927.
- Mukamal, K.J., Neurology, March 10, 2008 online edition.
- Cleveland Clinic: “Rebound Headaches.”
How Are Migraines Treated
Migraine has no cure. But your migraines can be managed with your doctor’s help. Together, you will find ways to treat migraine symptoms when they happen, as well as ways to help make your migraines less frequent and severe. Your treatment plan may include some or all of these methods.
Medicine. There are two ways to approach the treatment of migraines with drugs: stopping a migraine in progress and prevention. Many people with migraine use both forms of treatment.
Acute treatment. Over-the-counter pain-relief drugs such as aspirin, acetaminophen, or NSAIDs like ibuprofen relieve mild migraine pain for some people. If these drugs don’t work for you, your doctor might want you to try a prescription drug. Two classes of drugs that doctors often try first are:
- Triptans, which work by balancing the chemicals in the brain. Examples include sumatriptan , rizatriptan , zolmitriptan , almotriptan , eletriptan , naratriptan , and frovatriptan . Triptans can come as tablets that you swallow, tablets that dissolve on your tongue, nasal sprays, and as a shot. They should not be used if you have heart disease or high blood pressure.
- Ergot derivatives , which work in the same way as triptans. They should not be used if you have heart disease or high blood pressure.
Recommended Reading: Ibuprofen Migraine Dose
How Important Is Alcohol As A Trigger Of Migraine
Migraine patients consider many foods capable of triggering migraines. The food-trigger relationship is frequently equivocal. In fact, lists of triggers induce the migraineur to equate their migraine attack with a food just consumed. This is similar to crediting a new symptom to a drug they are taking at that moment. With full review, the cause and effect may or may not be true.
A food may be likely considered a trigger of a migraine attack If a) a strict time relationship exists between the consumption and the start of headache, or b) that this link is not occasional. From retrospective patient reports, it is very difficult to make sure a link exists. In fact, especially in the drug-new symptoms example, a possible link to other frequent triggers must be considered. When chocolate was studied to assess a chocolate trigger-headache link no connection was found with migraine and tension-type headache. Many consider alcohol to be a sure migraine trigger, but its importance is still debated.
In a forward-looking study published in 2007, Austrian researchers examined a large number of factors related to migraine. After an advanced data analysis, they found limited importance of nutrition, including alcoholic beverages in the precipitation of migraine. This work considered alcohol and other nutritional factors taken the day before onset of headache.
Talk To Your Provider
Keep your healthcare provider in the loop about your migraines. Now that you understand more about what causes migraines, you can see why so many small details are important. By letting your provider know whats happening with your migraines, they can help guide you to the treatments and prevention strategies that are most effective for you.
Read Also: Ibuprofen For Migraine Dosage
What Causes Chronic Migraines
A chronic migraine lasts 15 or more days a month for a period of three months or longer. There are many reasons why chronic migraines may occur, and these include:
- Nervous System Disorder: An individual who is dealing with an underlying nervous system disorder may be more susceptible to chronic migraines than others.
- Chemical Imbalance: Proper brain function requires optimal chemical balance and clear nerve pathways. However, if an interruption occurs, an individual may experience chronic migraine symptoms.
- Genetics: If a parent, sibling or other blood relative has experienced chronic migraines, an individual may be more prone to chronic migraines than others.
- Vascular Issues: Any problems with the size, shape or blood flow in vessels to or inside the brain may result in chronic migraine symptoms.
Additionally, chronic migraines have been linked to various health conditions, including:
- Brain tumors
A doctor generally performs a series of tests to analyze a patients migraine symptoms and provide an accurate chronic migraine diagnosis. At this time, a doctor also may administer other tests to determine if a patient is dealing with health conditions that contribute to his or her chronic migraine symptoms.
How Are Migraines Diagnosed
Your doctor will ask a lot of questions to see what might be causing the symptoms, and will examine you, paying particular attention to the neurological exam. He or she may ask you to keep a headache diary to help figure out what triggers your headaches. The information you record will help the doctor figure out the best treatment.
Sometimes, doctors may order blood tests or imaging tests, such as a CAT scan or MRI of the brain, to rule out medical problems that might cause a person’s migraines.
Don’t Miss: Naproxen For Migraine Dosage
Design And Experimental Protocol
In this randomized, double-blinded placebo-controlled crossover study, patients suffering from migraine with aura were randomly assigned to receive 200 mg cilostazol or placebo in an opaque gelatine capsule on two experimental days separated by at least 5 days. The Capital Region Hospital Pharmacy performed the balanced randomization, in which half of the participants received cilostazol and the other half placebo on the first day and crossed over on the second day.
How Do I Determine Which Foods And Drinks Are My Headache Triggers
One common suggestion for figuring out your own personal headache triggers is to track the foods and drinks you consume in a daily food headache diary. You may consider yourself to be sensitive to a certain food or drink if you get a headache consistently 20 minutes to 2 hours after eating that certain food.
However, keep in mind that even though it sounds simple to track what you eat to try to figure out what foods and beverages might trigger your headache, its not this simple.
Problems with food headache trackers
Is it truly the food or drink that is causing your headache or is it one of the many ingredients or chemicals in these foods? Foods consist of many ingredients that contain many chemicals. Chemicals include nitrates/nitrites, phenylethylamine, sulfites, tannins, tyramine, salicylates, aspartate, added sugar, alcohol, caffeine, gluten, glutamate and capsaicin to name a few.
Even beyond consumed foods, drinks and ingredients/chemicals are other factors that must be considered that may complicate identifying the true trigger of your headache. These factors include:
Also Check: Combiflam For Headache