What Are The Symptoms Of Chronic Migraine
Symptoms of episodic migraine and chronic migraine are the same. The difference is simply the increase in frequency of the number of headaches. Typical migraine symptoms include:
- Head pain that is moderate to severe in intensity, worsened by physical activity/movement
- Pain on one or both sides of the head
- Throbbing pain or pressure-like pain
- Sensitivity to light, sound, smells
Signs an episodic migraine is transforming to a chronic migraine include:
- Having a growing number of migraine attacks
- Taking more medication because of the growing number of attacks
Chronic Headache And Migraine Symptoms
Everyones migraines or headaches are different, which is what makes them sometimes difficult to treat, but there are some common symptoms. Sensitivity to light, visual auras, nausea, or throbbing in the head are some of the most common symptoms.
Other patients may not experience head pain, but have symptoms in the neck such as soreness, stiffness, tension in the neck, ringing in the ears, blurry vision, watery eyes, or nasal symptoms not treated with antibiotics.
Home Remedies To Ease A Headache Or Migraine Attack
Many headache symptoms can be at least partially alleviated without medication. Here are some tips for homemade headache and migraine relief:
Apply an ice pack to your head and neck. Cold compresses on the head and neck are a common home remedy to ease the pain of a migraine attack. Some people also find it helpful for tension headaches. To avoid skin injury, wrap the ice or cold pack in a cloth and apply it for no more than 15 to 20 minutes at a time.
Apply heat to the head, neck, or hands and feet. Applying heat may help relieve a tension headache or dull the pain of a migraine attack, according to the Mayo Clinic. Use a heating pad set on low, a hot-water bottle, a warm compress, or a hot towel. A hot bath or shower may also be helpful, or simply run warm water over your hands and feet.
Have a big glass of water.Dehydration can trigger a migraine attack or lead to a nonmigraine headache, says the National Headache Foundation. Replacing the liquids your body needs may help to relieve the pain.
Practice a relaxation technique. Meditate, breathe deeply, and try to visualize a peaceful image. “Various relaxation techniques can significantly help patients who suffer from ‘muscle contraction’ headaches,” says Rozental.
Give yourself a massage. Massage eases muscle tension, and sometimes helps to reduce headache pain, according to the Mayo Clinic. Gently massage your temples, scalp, neck, and shoulders with your fingertips, or gently stretch your neck.
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Staying One Step Ahead Of The Pain: How To Relieve A Migraine
If youve ever experienced a migraine, then you know its much more than just a headache. Its a combination of symptoms that together can be debilitating. Many sufferers find themselves searching beyond their doctors office for tips on how to relieve a migraine.
We asked neurologist and migraine expert Robert McMahon, MD, to give us the lowdown on common and complementary or alternative migraine treatments available today. But first, we asked him some basic migraine questions.
Impact Of Chronic Migraine
If you have chronic migraine it will have a huge impact on your daily life. Chronic migraine is related to greater disability and has a huge impact on your physical, social and work life. It can also have a huge impact on your relationships. Many people with chronic migraine report lower quality of life and poorer health than people with episodic migraine.
It can be challenging to find an appropriate treatment and you may have spent years trying to find a way to make your migraine manageable.
If you are struggling with chronic migraine speak to your GP, specialist or contact our Information and Support Services team.
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Don’t Force Patients Off Opioids Abruptly New Guidelines Say Warning Of Severe Risks
“Having a patient sit in a room with green ambient light is not necessarily conducive to normal life,” says Padma Gulur, a professor of anesthesiology, who is leading the Duke study.
Gulur’s NIH-funded study is looking at how different shades of glasses clear, blue and green affect postoperative pain and fibromyalgia. She says the early results are encouraging her to pursue larger human studies for multiple conditions.
“It just goes to show the power of our nervous system in how it responds and adapts to different stimuli,” says Gulur.
She says “minimal harm, ease of access and compliance” are all strong cases for seriously considering the feasibility of green light.
“Even if we see 50% of patients benefit from this, then already it becomes something worth trying,” she says.
Some people aren’t waiting for more research.
Duane Lowe is a chiropractor with the Department of Veterans Affairs in Grand Junction, Colorado. He works with patients in chronic pain. After reading some of Ibrahim’s research, Lowe wanted to see if it could help his own patients.
He ordered some green glasses online.
“I just gave them to patients to try for a week,” he says. “After a very short period of time, patients were coming back giving very positive reviews.”
So he kept doing it.
He makes sure to tell the patients that this is experimental no one knows how well glasses work compared with the LED light or how long you need to wear them.
How To Treat Chronic Headaches And Migraines
Chronic headaches and migraines affect millions of people, and headaches are specific to each individual, which makes them even harder to treat. Because everyone is different, Clearway Pain Solutions takes a different, multidisciplinary treatment approach to each patients situation. Our physical therapy team is certified in headache management and will work to relieve pain and prevent the headaches from continuing, and teach you how to manage migraines.
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Creating A Culture Of Prevention
An improvement in the use of appropriate prophylactic medication is clearly needed to reduce the burden of CM in Italy. The availability of effective and well tolerated new treatment strategies that are specifically indicated for the prophylaxis of CM may help to focus attention on preventive rather than acute treatment of migraine attacks in patients with CM. To this end, neurologists, general practitioners, pharmacists and patients all need to be well informed about CM and the new treatment options.
As observed with OBT-A in the PREEMPT clinical trial program , introduction of effective prophylactic therapy early after the onset of chronicity may result in greater benefits . To make best use of prophylactic therapies such as OBT-A and anti-CGRP antibodies, it is therefore important to identify patients with CM and offer them prophylactic treatment as early as possible . In order to identify patients with CM early in the course of the chronicity, patients with high-frequency EM should be monitored closely for headache frequency and new onset CM.
Headache And Migraine Treatment In Maryland
Migraines and chronic headaches dont have to consume your life. Contact us to schedule an appointment at one of our conveniently located locations across Alabama, Delaware, Florida, and Maryland. Our dedicated network of providers at Clearway Pain Solutions will help you find the solution that is right for you.
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Is There A Cure For Chronic Headaches And Migraines
While headaches and migraines are an infrequent part of life for most people, they can become altogether too frequent for others. Up to 20% of people will be affected by migraines at some point in their lives, and up to 16 million people in the US alone have a migraine 15 days a month . Treating chronic headaches and migraines can be tricky, and because there is no set treatment, many people go to the ER and are prescribed painkillers such as NSAIDs or opioids to simply deal with the pain . While there is no one cure, there are a number of therapies and treatments that functional medicine can provide to those suffering from chronic headaches.
How Massage Can Help Relieve Headaches And Migraines
Headaches are one of the more common medical issues that people experience in their day-to-day lives. While theyre usually minor, some people find that they bring their entire day to a screeching halt. This is especially true for migraines, which result in a piercing headache and other symptoms like fatigue, nausea, and light sensitivity.
While there is no known cure for chronic migraines, studies suggest that regular massages may help chronic headache sufferers manage their symptoms. Here is how massage can help relieve headaches and migraines.
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What You Can Do In The Meantime
To ease your headache pain until you see your doctor, you might:
- Avoid activities that worsen your headaches.
- Try over-the-counter pain relief medications â such as naproxen sodium and ibuprofen . To avoid rebound headaches, don’t take these more than three times a week.
Treating The Cause: Diary
It may help to keep a diary if you have frequent headaches. Note when, where, and how bad each headache is, and how long each headache lasts. Also note anything that may have caused it. A pattern may emerge and you may find a trigger to avoid. For example, hunger, eye strain, bad posture, stress, anger, etc.
Some doctors suggest reviewing your diet. The list of foods which can be triggers in some people includes caffeinated drinks, chocolate, cheese and alcohol. Other doctors suggest focusing on a healthy balanced diet, with a good mixture of slow-release energy foods and a low intake of refined sugars.
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Treatment Of Acute Migraine Headache
BENJAMIN GILMORE, MD, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, California
MAGDALENA MICHAEL, MD, Mountain Area Health Education Center, Hendersonville, North Carolina
Am Fam Physician. 2011 Feb 1 83:271-280.
Patient information: See related handout on this topic at .
Migraine headache is one of the most common, yet potentially debilitating disorders encountered in primary care. Approximately 18 percent of women and 6 percent of men in the United States have migraine headaches, and 51 percent of these persons report reduced work or school productivity.1 Patients typically describe recurrent headaches with similar symptoms, and approximately one-third describe an aura preceding the headache.1 This article reviews treatment options for acute migraine headache.
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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Topiramate For Prevention Of Chronic Migraines
Topiramate is a drug originally approved for the treatment of seizures in people with epilepsy. Its now also approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to prevent chronic migraine. The drug can prevent headaches, but side effects may keep some people from taking it on a long-term basis.
Potential side effects include:
Take A Detailed History
Accurate history taking is vitally important in the diagnosis of migraine. It is important to give patients time to describe their attacks fully , and also to clarify the history with specific questions aimed at filling out the gaps in what the patient has told you spontaneously. The diagnosis of migraine lies in the history, and that the purpose of examination is primarily to look for other problems that may be exacerbating an underlying tendency to migraine. This may in most cases be restricted to fundoscopy, inspection and palpation of the head and neck structures, and a brief screening cardiovascular and neurological examination, unless, on the basis of the history, serious intracranial or systemic pathology is suspected.
It is then useful to ascertain what treatments, current and previous, have been tried, and at what point these treatments are taken. Patients should be asked to bring a list of medications tried in the past, including doses, and be asked why these treatments were abandoned . The use of alternative or complementary therapies should also be sought.
While superficially there seems to be a lot of information required, it is almost invariably the case that patients will volunteer much of this information without being specifically asked, and it usually does not take too much time to fill out the gaps if a structured approach to the history taking is followed. If there is uncertainty, then encouraging the patient to keep a headache diary can be very useful.
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Expert Explains How Botox Injections Help Relieve Chronic Migraine
by Stacey Mancarella, University of Connecticut
Chronic migraines can be debilitating and can significantly impact sufferers’ quality of life. But over the past few years, botulinum toxin injections have decreased the number of headache days for many people who found little relief from other treatment options.
UConn Health’s Dr. Bernardo Rodrigues and Elaine Cornean, APRN, explain how the injections can help chronic migraine sufferers and who could benefit from this treatment.
Q. How do Botox injections help with migraines, and how do you know if someone is a candidate to receive them?
Botox blocks the messages from the nerve to the muscle, causing temporary muscle relaxation. While no one understands precisely why Botox helps with migraines, it was FDA approved in 2010 and is considered safe and effective for the treatment of chronic migraines. A good candidate is someone who is 18 or older who suffers from chronic migraines, with headaches occurring at least 15 days per month who has not had success controlling them with other treatment options.
Q. What is the treatment like?
Q. If someone thinks Botox might help their migraines, how can they seek treatment?
New Daily Persistent Headache
These headaches come on suddenly, usually in people without a headache history. They become constant within three days of your first headache. They:
- Often affect both sides of your head
- Cause pain that feels like pressing or tightening, but not pulsating
- Cause mild to moderate pain
- Might have features of chronic migraine or chronic tension-type headache
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The Types Of Chronic Daily Headaches
There are five types of chronic daily headaches, according to Dr. Soni. They are:
- Chronic migraines.
- Hemicrania continua.
Chronic migraines are similar to episodic migraines, Dr. Soni says. We know migraines are a genetic disorder that involves the dysregulation of neurotransmitters, inflammation and excitable electrical activity in the brain.
While migraines are generally an episodic disorder meaning youll have a migraine headache followed by periods where you have no pain its possible for them to transition to chronic migraines. There are epidemiological studies that claim that episodic migraines become chronic for about 2.5% of migraine patients each year, Dr. Soni notes. Its just kind of the natural course of the disease.
Another potential cause for the transition, she says, are lifestyle factors. For instance, the overuse of either prescription or over-the-counter headache medications can lead to whats known as a medication overuse headache. As your body adapts to the constant use of these medications to manage the pain, the headaches become more frequent and more severe, developing into an almost daily occurrence.
Dr. Soni also says that some research indicates there might be a genetic predisposition for developing chronic migraines, but that cause isnt as well understood yet.
Chronic tension-type headache
Chronic post-traumatic headache
New daily persistent headache
Ways To Deal With Chronic Migraine Symptoms
Try to avoid all known triggers that cause your migraines. And learn when you need to take action.
You need to act quickly to abort the entire migraine episode… right when you notice your first symptoms. They could be obvious or subtle.
Sometimes you might have to become a detective. I cover this in detail in my migraine pain management course.
And it’s essential to know that rest and sleep can help to reduce migraine attacks.
Keeping good records will help you see patterns and see what’s working.
It’s important to build a support network. Find extra migraine support and be kind to yourself.
This is a medical condition that is just like having epilepsy, so make sure you treat it that way! Seriously!
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How Is Chronic Migraine Diagnosed
Your doctor will take a detailed medical history. The doctor will ask about:
- Your pattern of migraine pain, including when and how migraines begin if they are episodic or continuous how long the migraine lasts if there are any triggers or factors that make the migraine worse.
- Your description of the pain, including its location, sensation, and severity.
- Other symptoms that accompany the pain, such as auras, lack of energy, stiff neck, dizziness, changes in vision or in senses, and nausea/vomiting.
- Your current and previously tried treatments, including when the medications are taken, dosages, outcome and side effects and use of alternative or complementary therapies.
- Your medical history including other health problems , family history of headache, current non-headache medications, and lifestyle choices .