Coping With An Aura At Work
Unfortunately, many people with Migraine do not get the support they need from employers when having a Migraine attack.That’s especially true for those who hide the fact that they get frequent Migraine attacks.
However, there are coping strategies that can help you in your work environment:
- Be open with your employer about your Migraine attacks, starting with how you
- Know your rights, as well as your employer’s sick and paid time off policies
- Learn how to manage work-related stress
- Keep a log of medical appointments, absences, and communication in case it’s needed
- Request appropriate and reasonable workplace accommodations
What Else Can I Do To Prevent Migraines
While there are no sure ways to keep from having migraine headaches, here are some things that may help:
Eat regularly and do not skip meals.
- Keep a regular sleep schedule.
- Exercise regularly. Aerobic exercise can help reduce tension as well as keep your weight in check. Obesity can contribute to migraines.
- Keep a migraine journal to help you learn what triggers your migraines and what treatments are most helpful.
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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Missing Work Due To Migraine
I once had a principal tell me he had a headache today too and was still at work when I crawled into school after throwing up 3 times on the side of a busy road in the rain. I explained my condition and he answered with Oh, I thought it was something serious. in a sarcastic tone as he rolled his eyes reading his newspaper. It was a sickening moment both physically and mentally. I used up all my sick days that year and had very little motivation to work for a person who not only took credit for my hard work while I was there but criticized me for a neurological disease that I lived with.
Light Noise Or Smells Trigger Or Worsen Pain
In the throes of a migraine attack, the migraine sufferer tends to seek refuge in a dark, quiet place. Bright lights and loud noises can trigger a migraine or intensify the pain. The same is true of certain odors.
“Once you’ve already got a migraine, smells can seem more intense and make it worse,” Dr. Calhoun says. “But a smell can also trigger a migraine in someone who didn’t have one before walked past the perfume counter.”
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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.
Alice In Wonderland Syndrome
Another, more rare symptom of Migraine with aura is a phenomenon called Alice in Wonderland Syndrome , named after Lewis Carroll’s popular character.
People with AIWS may feel as though they are larger or smaller in relation to their environment. Feelings of being out of proportion relative to other people or things is a telltale sign of this symptom.
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Tips For Managing Migraine With Aura
- Confirm you have the right diagnosis. Bring a headache diary into your doctor and review ALL your symptoms, even the strange and seemingly unrelated ones. If you’re not confident with your diagnosis, it may be time to see a doctor who is more familiar with migraine or a headache specialist.
- Act quickly. Think of the aura as your friendly tornado siren. If you know what to look and listen for, you can get to a safe place and sometimes abort an attack before the debilitating headache phase begins. That’ll save you money, time, and a lot of pain. It can allow you to treat early, which experts say is far more effective than waiting.
- Alert others. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially with driving and navigating in public. Friends don’t let friends experience an aura alone. Have an alert plan if you feel an aura coming on, like sending a quick pre-formatted text with instructions to your three closest caregivers.
- Re-evaluate your treatment plan. If you indeed have migraine with aura, it may not be wise for you to take medications that further elevate your risk of stroke. You and your doctor can create a treatment plan with lifestyle changes that limits your risks.
Once you recognize the symptoms of Migraine with aura, you can better manage Migraine and all the emotions it brings.
Earlier versions of this article incorrectly stated the device is called “Nerivio Migra.” It should have simply read “Nerivio.” Migraine Again regrets the error.
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 aren’t entirely sure why it happens.
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What Medicines Help Relieve Migraine Pain
For mild to moderate migraines, over-the-counter medicines that may help relieve migraine pain include:
- an acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine combination
People who have more severe migraines may need to try abortive prescription medicines. A medicine called ergotamine can be effective alone or combined with other medicines. Dihydroergotamine is related to ergotamine and can be helpful. Other prescription medicines for migraines include sumatriptan, zolmitriptan, naratriptan, rizatriptan, almotriptan, eletriptan, and frovatriptan.
If the pain wont go away, stronger pain medicine may be needed, such as a narcotic, or medicines that contain a barbiturate . These medicines can be habit-forming and should be used cautiously. Your doctor may prescribe these only if they are needed and only for a short period of time.
Coping With An Aura While Driving
Driving during an aura can be really scary, especially with visual symptoms. Aura symptoms can be minor, but if your aura comes with complete or partial vision loss, driving becomes dangerous.
If you find that Migraine with aura causes debilitating symptoms, speak with your physician to see if it is recommended that you drive. It’s also important to be sure there are no side effects from Migraine medications that would limit your ability to drive safely.
If you experience a Migraine aura while driving, getting to a safe place and getting help is essential. One way to quickly contact a loved one for help is to have voice prompts activated on your phone or car radio system. Some people may benefit from having an alert bracelet, necklace or car setting to call for immediate help.
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How To Tell Your Boss You Have A Migraine
I now work, part time, for a boss that understand that I live with migraine. She knew my condition when she hired me and the entire staff has helped with accommodations. They treat me as a person first, co worker second and that love motivates me. It gives me power to be honest, to stress less and to be more present because of the environment that we have created together. Job love is a real thing!!! I love the people I work with and for and that understanding has allowed me to be a better employee and happier person.
We all need to work and make money while finding the right job and environment is really difficult. Creating a better fit may be possible.
Last month, migraine partners across the country officially launched the Migraine at Work campaign, a new project of the Headache and Migraine Policy Forum. CHAMP Coalition For Headache And Migraine Patients, alongside Migraine Again, National Headache Foundation, American Migraine Foundation, and Association of Migraine Disorders. They are educating executives about how to tell your boss you have a migraine in the workplace. It discusses the needs of individuals living with migraine disease and giving employers and employees the tools they need to build healthier, happier, and more productive workplaces. This group also worked on the Veterans Access to Migraine and Headache Disorders Treatment:
How To Know You’re Experiencing A Migraine
Migraines are recurrent episodes that usually manifest with headaches, and they can be accompanied by other symptoms as well. The experience is often so distressing and similar to other neurological illnesses that it is not safe to assume that you are having a migraine before other serious conditions are ruled out.
Migraine diagnosis can take timewhile your medical history is the key to diagnosis, medical tests may confirm whether your recurrent episodes are actually migraines.
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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.
Recovery Or Postdrome Stage
This is the final stage of an attack, and it can take hours or days for a drained, fatigued or hangover type feeling to disappear. Symptoms can be similar to those of the first stage . Often, they mirror these symptoms. For example, if you lost your appetite at the beginning of the attack, you might be very hungry now. If you were tired, you might feel full of energy.
Being aware of the different stages of the migraine attack can be helpful. It can help you prepare for an attack, get a diagnosis and decide when to take acute treatment, such as painkillers or adapt your activities.
It is useful to have a rescue treatment plan for when attacks occur. This may include painkillers such as a triptan, a NSAID or paracetamol. It often also includes anti-sickness medication.
For other people, being aware of the stages and symptoms of a migraine attack can help their understanding. It may also help with the frustration and lack of understanding people often face around migraine, especially at work and in education.
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The 4 Phases Of A Migraine Headache
The migraine sign everyone knows is a severe headache, but there’s actually more to it than that. In fact, there are four distinct stages to a migraine that can begin up to a full day before you descend into the pits of an attack. You might not go through every migraine phase every time you have one, and you may never experience some at all. Still, keep an eye out for these signs.
Can Migraines Be Prevented Or Avoided
Medicine to prevent migraines may be helpful if your headaches happen more than 2 times a month. You may want to consider this medicine if your headaches make it hard for you to work and function. These medicines are taken every day, whether you have a headache or not.
Preventive medications for migraines can include prescription drugs often used to treat other ailments. Anti-seizure medicines, antidepressants, medicines to lower blood pressure, and even Botox injections are some of the preventive medications your doctor may prescribe. Calcitonin gene-related peptide inhibitors can also help prevent migraines. They do so by blocking a gene-related peptide in your sensory nerves. This peptide is known to increase during a migraine attack, so blocking it can help prevent migraines.
There are also a number of non-medical treatments designed to help minimize migraine pain and frequency. One is an electrical stimulation device, which has been approved by the FDA. It is a headband that you wear once a day for 20 minutes to stimulate the nerve linked to migraines. Another non-medical treatment is counseling aimed at helping you feel in more control of your migraines. This counseling works best when paired with medical prevention of migraines, as well.
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What Do I Do If My Migraine Lasts For More Than 72 Hours Or Wont Go Away
You should talk to your provider about a plan should your migraine extend past the 72-hour mark. You may need treatment for a condition called status migrainosus. We define this as a migraine that lasts more than 72 hours without a pain-free interval. Status migrainosus is often treated differently than shorter migraine attacks and may require you to receive different treatments.
If your pain is different, much more severe than usual and includes any red flag symptoms, get emergency treatment. If youre unsure, call your doctor or a health information line.
See Your Doctor Right Away If:
- You have abrupt, severe headaches.
- Your headaches begin for the first time after age 50.
- Headaches start when youâre active, straining, coughing, or having sex.
- You have these problems, and they donât get better after the headache goes away:
- Changes in your vision
- A body part that is weak, or you canât move it
- Trouble with balance and walking
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When To Get Medical Advice
You should see a GP if you have frequent or severe migraine symptoms.
Simple painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, can be effective for migraine.
Try not to use the maximum dosage of painkillers on a regular or frequent basis as this could make it harder to treat headaches over time.
You should also make an appointment to see a GP if you have frequent migraines , even if they can be controlled with medicines, as you may benefit from preventative treatment.
You should call 999 for an ambulance immediately if you or someone you’re with experiences:
- paralysis or weakness in 1 or both arms or 1 side of the face
- slurred or garbled speech
- a sudden agonising headache resulting in a severe pain unlike anything experienced before
- headache along with a high temperature , stiff neck, mental confusion, seizures, double vision and a rash
How To Know If A Migraine Is Something More Serious And When To Seek Care
How to Know if a Migraine is Something More Serious and When to Seek Care
No one likes dealing with a headache. While most of them are nothing more than a nuisance, others can be much more debilitating. Migraines certainly fall into that category.
According to The Migraine Institute, an estimated 35 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches each year. Although they happen more frequently in women, anyone can develop a migraine.
Due to the intense pain, light sensitivity, and nausea that usually accompany a migraine, many people are unable to go about their daily routine.
While a regular migraine is bad enough, severe headaches can also be a sign of something more serious. Understanding when to seek care for a migraine and the signs that it could be a more serious condition could be lifesaving.
Since June is National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, there is no better time to brush up on your migraine knowledge.
What Symptoms Do Migraines Cause?
Unlike some conditions, the symptoms of a migraine headache arent easy to generalize. Thats because everyone that experiences them has slightly different symptoms.
Moreover, symptoms of a migraine often change over time. Classical migraine headaches consist of four main stages, which can last for a few hours up to several days. These four stages are prodrome, aura, headache or attack, and postdrome.
- Difficulty concentrating
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty focusing
What Causes Migraines?
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