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How To Know If You Have A Migraine

Who Is At Risk For Migraines

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About 12% of Americans get migraines. They can affect anyone, but you are more likely to have them if you

  • Are a woman. Women are three times more likely than men to get migraines.
  • Have a family history of migraines. Most people with migraines have family members who have migraines.
  • Have other medical conditions, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, sleep disorders, and epilepsy.

Facial Pains In Your Sinuses

Migraines can also cause pain in the face, which may be mistaken for a sinus infection, says Paul.

As this is sometimes accompanied by a runny nose and red eyes, its not surprising that people may be misdiagnosed as having nasal or sinus infections. Indeed, Ive treated patients who had previously had surgery for sinus problems, only to find it had no effect and they were eventually diagnosed with migraine.

Although sinusitis does cause facial pain , it will usually have started with a cold. The people I see with recurrent sinus pain overwhelmingly have migraine. Most patients in this situation are quite relieved to get a diagnosis because they have tried everything else to address their symptoms.

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
  • nausea
  • lethargy

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When To Call A Doctor About Your Migraines

If youre not getting satisfactory relief from over-the-counter medications and lifestyle changes, or if youre taking over-the-counter medications more than 10 to 15 times per month, talk to your primary care physician about your headaches.

The evaluation of headaches usually starts with the primary care doctor, who assesses whether a patient has a common headache or something more serious, says Santiago Mazuera Mejia, MD, a neurologist at the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Brain & Spine Institute at LifeBridge Health in Baltimore, Maryland. Primary care doctors often continue to see people with infrequent migraines. However, if at some point, there is a need for more complex treatments, patients usually go to neurologists and headache specialists who have additional training in preventive and acute treatments as well as nonmedical treatments.

Its important to get evaluated by a doctor because taking over-the-counter medications too frequently can sometimes lead to serious side effects or actually make you get headaches more often.

Its helpful to keep a diary if you experience migraines because you may discover your triggers, which can inform which type of treatment is best for you. Write down what time your migraines occur, how long they last, how you slept the night before, what you ate/drank that day and when, how you felt emotionally that day, etc. Then bring that information to your doctor.

What Do You Have

How To Know If You Have A Headache Or Migraine?

With so many different migraine types, getting an accurate diagnosis by your doctor of what type of migraine you have is key to managing the condition. Monitoring your migraine with a migraine diary can help. It is important that your doctor understands exactly what youre experiencing and how migraine truly impacts you.

Migraine Buddy can help you record your migraine symptoms and triggers. Bring what youve recorded to your doctor appointment so you can review it together and agree on the best migraine management plan for you.

If you are already aware you have migraine and youre unhappy with your current migraine treatment, go speak to your doctor about options available to you. You may want to schedule a follow-up appointment to discuss your current management.

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How To Treat Headaches And Migraines

Migraines are common problems for millions of people worldwide. Yet without a proper diagnosis, migraines may go untreated. In this scenario, you may experience migraine attacks that make it tough to work, go to school or perform various everyday tasks.

For those who experience headaches three or more days per week, consulting with a doctor is key. A doctor can then perform a patient evaluation, as well as offer a personalized headache treatment plan.

Sometimes, doctors recommend over-the-counter medications to alleviate headache pain. These medications may provide instant headache pain relief, but they offer no guarantees. In fact, OTC medications may fail to deliver the desired results or cause nausea, vomiting and other unwanted side effects.

If headache pain lingers after an initial treatment, a doctor may provide a migraine diagnosis. The doctor may then prescribe different migraine medications or offer alternative treatments.

Of course, chronic migraines may be problematic, too. If you experience 15 or more headache days per month, you may be dealing with chronic migraines.

A neurologist can provide a chronic migraine diagnosis, as well as prescribe chronic migraine medications. However, if chronic migraine medications are ineffective or cause intolerable side effects, Dr. Jonathan Cabin of The Migraine Institute can help.

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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The Difference Between A Migraine Attack And A Stroke

Strokes are typically one-time events and symptoms. Migraine attacks can occur more often, even daily, and symptoms are not permanent. In addition to the rapid onset of stroke symptoms, face droop is a tell-tale sign that you may be having a stroke and not a Migraine attack.

Most importantly, know your risk of stroke and talk to your doctor so no confusion is present if a stroke does occur.

What Are The Four Stages Or Phases Of A Migraine Whats The Timeline

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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:

  • Prodrome: The first stage lasts a few hours, or it can last days. You may or may not experience it as it may not happen every time. Some know it as the preheadache or premonitory phase.
  • Aura: The aura phase can last as long as 60 minutes or as little as five. Most people dont experience an aura, and some have both the aura and the headache at the same time.
  • Headache: About four hours to 72 hours is how long the headache lasts. The word ache doesnt do the pain justice because sometimes its mild, but usually, its described as drilling, throbbing or you may feel the sensation of an icepick in your head. Typically it starts on one side of your head and then spreads to the other side.
  • Postdrome: The postdrome stage goes on for a day or two. Its often called a migraine hangover and 80% of those who have migraines experience it.
  • It can take about eight to 72 hours to go through the four stages.

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    What Happens During A Migraine

    Every migraine begins differently. Sometimes people get a warning that a migraine is on its way. A few hours or even days before the actual headache, people might feel funny or “not right. They might crave different foods, or feel thirsty, irritable, tired, or even full of energy. This is called a “premonition.”

    Some people get auras. These are neurological symptoms that start just before the headache and last up to an hour. An aura is different in every person, but it often affects vision. For example, a person might:

    • have blurred vision
    • see spots, colored balls, jagged lines, or bright flashing lights
    • smell a certain odor
    • feel tingling in a part of their face

    Once the headache starts, light, smell, or sound may bother people with migraines or make them feel worse. Sometimes, if they try to continue with their usual routine, they may become nauseated and vomit. Often the pain begins only on one side of the head, but it might eventually affect both sides. Trying to do physical activities can make the pain worse.

    Most migraines last from 30 minutes to several hours some can last a couple of days.

    Other Ways To Alleviate Migraine Symptoms:

    Acupressure, which is thepractise of applying pressure to specific points on the body, similar to acupuncture without the needles, is known to relieve the headache as well as the nausea.

    Stay hydrated. Not drinking enough water is a well known migraine trigger. Be sure to get in the habit of drinking water throughout the day. Whether you like it cold , room temperature, or hot, it is a habit that migraine sufferers must get into.

    Sleep, both lack of and too much can be triggers. Try to get 7-9 hours per night. With our busy lives and our constant stress, not to mention plain old insomnia, this can be tricky. Ashwagandha, bay leaf tea, melatonin, and several other natural supplements can aid in this endeavor.

    Either cold or hot compressesapplied to the aching head is soothing and many say it helps to reduce migraine pain.

    Apparently there are now eyeglasses you can purchase that are designed to filter pain triggering light due to their specially coated lenses. Radiyah Chowdhury found that putting them on immediately at the first twinges of migraine helped reduce the intensity of the pain.

    Nerve stimulation devices such as Cefaly work by sending electrical pulses to the part of the brain where the migraine starts. Wear it on your forehead daily for twenty minutes to prevent migraine, or during an attack to lessen the symptoms.

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    Experts Advise Against Taking Migraine Drugs Or Painkillers Before Getting The Vaccine

    Theres a lot of debate, even within the scientific community, about whether a person should take a medication as a preventive measure to ease side effects before getting the vaccine and particularly about what effect medications could have on the immune response, says Estemalik.

    A found that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen may reduce the production of antibodies and affect the immune response to the virus itself.

    The CDC recommends against the use of pain relievers before the vaccine shot.

    Estemalik agrees. In my opinion, people should not premedicate with any medication before taking the vaccine. That would include any migraine treatment or over-the-counter painkillers, he says.

    Strauss suggests making sure youre fully hydrated before getting the vaccine. This may help not only with any potential headache, but also with dizziness, another possible side effect, she says.

    What Is An Aura

    SEE: Do you have a headache or a migraine?

    An aura is a group of sensory, motor and speech symptoms that usually act like warning signals that a migraine headache is about to begin. Commonly misinterpreted as a seizure or stroke, it typically happens before the headache pain, but can sometimes appear during or even after. An aura can last from 10 to 60 minutes. About 15% to 20% of people who experience migraines have auras.

    Aura symptoms are reversible, meaning that they can be stopped/healed. An aura produces symptoms that may include:

    • Seeing bright flashing dots, sparkles, or lights.
    • Blind spots in your vision.
    • Numb or tingling skin.

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    How To Use Cbd Oil For Migraines

    Many people believe that hemp seed oil can be used as a cannabinoid supplement in the diet. However, this is not the case as hempseed does not have any cannabinoids. Instead, users should look for CBD oil or Hemp oil, usually derived from flowers and shake.

    There are various ways of consuming CBD oil for migraines, and if you are not sure which to use, consult your doctor for better advice. Typical methods of CBD consumption include:-

    – Eating it in a beverage or a food- Consuming it as a capsule- Smoking it – CBD ointments

    Usually, your doctor should recommend the ideal starting dosage and adjust it depending on its effectiveness for your migraines. Ideally, you should start with the tiniest dosages and increase as required.

    CBD Products for Migraines

    Following are some of the popular CBD oils that can be used for migraines. These do not contain any THC, and as such, they are readily available for many people.

    – Anti-inflammatory effects.

    Relief from nausea is beneficial and helps victims suffering from severe migraines. These are the patients that vomit several times when they are experiencing a migraine attack.

    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

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    Best Thc Products For Migraines

    When choosing the best THC product for migraines, many people usually consider the strain of cannabis. The most effective and standard relief method for migraines is smoking flowers. OG Kush is the most common flower used for people who want to stay in their rooms until the migraine subsides.

    It has been shown to have a sedating effect, making it possible to get some sleep until the migraine attack is over. Cannabis has a different impact on different kinds of users, and some users are more interested in supplementing their THC with CBD.

    Such users will opt for AC/DC, Charlottes Web, and Harlequin for their cannabis. These strains are usually combined with other more potent THC strains like Pineapple Express, which brings about the effect of both the THC and the CBD.

    Evidence has clearly shown and proven that THC and CBD are effective treatment methods for migraines.

    There is a need for further research and studies to establish whether both are effective treatments for migraines. So far, the studies on medical marijuana on pain treatment have been proven to be very helpful and practical, and CBD and THC can also be viable alternative treatments for migraines.

    Medical marijuana products and CBD oil are increasingly being used by people suffering from migraines to lessen the symptoms without the severe side effects of prescribed medicines.

    HappyMD is here to provide you with the consultation and advice you need before trying CBD oil to treat migraines.

    Treatment Options For Ocular Migraines

    How to Tell if You Have a Sinus Headache

    Ocular migraine is not well understood, and some treatments are supportive in nature, meant only to help deal with symptoms.

    Certain medications can also be helpful in preventing an episode. Triptans, which are sometimes used to treat other types of migraines, are not typically used to treat ocular migraines. Some of the medications that may be used to treat ocular migraine include:

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    How Are Migraines Treated

    Migraine headaches are chronic. They cant be cured, but they can be managed and possibly improved. There are two main treatment approaches that use medications: abortive and preventive.

    • Abortive medications are most effective when you use them at the first sign of a migraine. Take them while the pain is mild. By possibly stopping the headache process, abortive medications help stop or decrease your migraine symptoms, including pain, nausea, light sensitivity, etc. Some abortive medications work by constricting your blood vessels, bringing them back to normal and relieving the throbbing pain.
    • Preventive medications may be prescribed when your headaches are severe, occur more than four times a month and are significantly interfering with your normal activities. Preventive medications reduce the frequency and severity of the headaches. Medications are generally taken on a regular, daily basis to help prevent migraines.

    Stroke Or Migraine How To Know The Difference

    Youre hit suddenly with a blinding headache. Maybe youve had migraines before and this feels like another one. Or maybe youve never had a migraine but imagine this is what one must feel like. You might be right, but what if youre not? Just like stomach pain and chest pain, a bad headache can indicate a number of conditions that have similar or overlapping symptoms. Since both stroke and migraine are common neurovascular disorders with many neurological and physical similarities, your throbbing head could be a migraine mimicking a stroke or a stroke disguised as a migraine. So which it is: stroke or migraine? Knowing the difference could save your life.

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    What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider

    • Will my child grow out of their migraines?
    • What medications do you recommend for me?
    • What should I change about my lifestyle to prevent my migraine headaches?
    • Should I get tested?
    • What type of migraine do I have?
    • What can my friends and family do to help?
    • Are my migraines considered chronic?

    A note from Cleveland Clinic

    Migraine headaches can be devastating and make it impossible to go to work, school or experience other daily activities. Fortunately, there are some ways to possibly prevent a migraine and other ways to help you manage and endure the symptoms. Work with your healthcare provider to keep migraines from ruling your life.

    Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/03/2021.

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