What Is An Aura
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.
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.
Beware Of Hormonal Changes
Hormones play a significant role in terms of migraines. Many women tend to experience more migraine headaches during, or just before, their menstrual period. Women should be especially vigilant with their diet and exercise habits during this time. This will ease symptoms before they begin. According to the Mayo Clinic, oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy may increase the frequency and severity of migraines. Some women may find relief by switching to another form of birth control, while others may find they have fewer migraines while taking birth control.
Recommended Reading: Can You Get A Fever With A Migraine
Wear An Electronic Headband
A small headband that applies electrical impulses at the centre of the forehead onto the trigeminal nerve could stop you popping painkillers.
In a Belgian study, 38% of patients who used the Cefaly headband reported at least a 50% reduction in migraine frequency and a 37% reduction in the amount of medication they took.
1. Keep a diary to identify triggers, says Dr John Janssen, consultant neurologist at Re:Cognition Health www.recognitionhealth.com . Record factors including the duration, medications that have and have not worked, severity of headache, menstrual cycle , the location and type of pain, symptoms and the ability to perform tasks e.g. not being able to walk, work, restricted vision etc.
2. Review key lifestyle factors that may also be playing a part in the onset of a migraine including diet, alcohol, caffeine, dehydration and exercise. Whilst there are no foods that have been scientifically proven to help cure or prevent migraines, it is advised to avoid the C foods: coffee, carbonated drinks, Chianti , citrus, cheese and chocolate, explains Dr Janssen. The key thing is to stay hydrated.
For help, advice and support Migraine Action www.migraine.org.uk. The Migraine Trust
What Are Rescue Treatments
Most commonly, rescue treatments are strong NSAIDS like toradol or difenolac, but can also be diphenhydramine, anti-emetics , or even opioids. A rescue treatment should be a medicine that you can administer at home when your abortives fail. The goal of a rescue treatment is to prevent you from having to seek treatment at the ER.
Don’t Miss: Are Migraines A Symptom Of Pregnancy
Managing Migraines At Home
A migraine is a common type of headache. It may occur with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light. Most people feel a throbbing pain on only one side of their head during a migraine.
Some people who get migraines have warning signs, called an aura, before the actual headache begins. An aura is a group of symptoms that includes vision changes. An aura is a warning sign that a bad headache is coming.
Migraine headaches can be triggered by certain foods. The most common are:
- Any processed, fermented, pickled, or marinated foods, as well as foods that contain monosodium glutamate
- Baked goods, chocolate, nuts, and dairy products
- Meats containing sodium nitrates, such as bacon, hot dogs, salami, and cured meats
- Red wine, aged cheese, smoked fish, chicken liver, figs, and certain beans
Alcohol, stress, hormonal changes, skipping meals, lack of sleep, certain odors or perfumes, loud noises or bright lights, exercise, and cigarette smoking may also trigger a migraine.
Read Also: Migraines And Alzheimers
How To Identify Triggers
If you have migraine, almost anything can be a trigger. This means it can be very difficult to identify your potential triggers. It may also be a combination of a few things that seems to lead to a migraine attack. And a trigger may not lead to a migraine attack every time, which can confuse things even more.
Here is an example of how combinations of triggers can work: A young woman has identified that her migraine attacks appear to be triggered when she skips meals, is feeling stressed and when she is about to have her period. If she comes home late from a very stressful day at work, her period is just about to start, and she goes straight to bed without eating a proper meal, she will almost certainly have a migraine attack. However, if she skips dinner another time, when the other triggers did not happen, she will probably not have migraine attack.
Many people find that they sometimes go a long time without having a migraine attack. During this time, your body may seem to be less sensitive to triggers and you may find that even the combination of your usual triggers doesnt result in a migraine attack.
Also Check: Migraine Side Effect
Fruits Vegetables And Legumes
We all know it. To be healthy, we must adopt a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. This also goes for migraines. In addition to providing a lot of vitamins and nutrients that are essential for the well-functioning of the body, fruits and vegetables also contain plant estrogen that can make up for a deficiency in women during menstruations.
Indeed, a lot of women experience menstrual migraines due to a sudden drop in estrogen production just before their period.
Acute Treatment For Cluster Headaches
Given the severity and also the relative brevity of cluster headaches, acute treatments need to work quickly to relieve the pain and suffering caused by them. According to neurologist and headache expert and researcher Peter J. Goadsby, MBBS, writing for the American Headache Society, effective acute treatments for cluster headaches include:
- Inhaled oxygen
- Injected dihydroergotamine
- Topical lidocaine nasal drops
Another option, the drug Emgality , was approved in 2019 to treat cluster headaches, becoming the only drug specifically approved for this type of headache. Its also approved for the prevention of migraine attacks.
When used to treat cluster headaches, Emgality is self-administered using three, 100-milligram prefilled syringes, which are taken one after the other at the start of a cluster period and then every month until the end of the cluster period.
Emgality belongs to a class of drugs known as calcitonin gene-related peptide antibodies. Drugs in this class are either targeted against CGRP receptors or against CGRP itself.
Read Also: How Common Are Visual Migraines
How To Stop Migraines Instantly With Salt
Have you ever had a pounding headache? The feeling of a hammer gently tapping the inside of your head that slowly turns into a jackhammer pounding inside your head? It seems like everything starts to trigger the pain in your head. The slightest movement amplifies the pain, you become sensitive to light, background noise isnt simply background anymore, and it feels like everything makes your head feel worse. You have a migraine the king of all headaches.
A migraine is caused by constricted blood vessels and is no laughing matter. A migraine can throw a major curve ball into your day and affect your everyday activities. It can cause you to lose focus, inhibit your ability to rest and relax, decrease your productivity, and not to mention ruin your whole day. People often reach for over the counter medicine or ibuprofen to reduce their migraine. However, there are serious health concerns about what these products can do to your body. Also, since headaches can be reoccurring, a natural remedy is a healthier long-term option.
Use Meds In Moderation
Pharmacy shelves are stocked with pain relievers for all kinds of headaches. To get the most benefit with the least risk, follow the directions on the label and these guidelines:
- Choose liquid over pills. Your body absorbs it faster.
- Avoid ibuprofen and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs if you have heart failure or kidney failure.
- Do not give aspirin to a child under age 18.
- Take painkillers as soon as you start to hurt. Youâll probably beat it with a smaller dose than if you wait.
- If you get sick to your stomach when you get a headache, ask your doctor what might help.
- Ask your doctor what to take to avoid a rebound headache, which is pain that sets in after a few days of pain relievers.
And be sure to talk to your doctor about what headache symptoms you should not treat at home.
You May Like: Do I Have Migraines Quiz
Have A Treatment Plan
A solid plan can give you the power to relieve a migraine before the pain becomes severe. This may be the most important weapon you have against future migraine attacks.
Your plan will likely include taking medications when you feel a migraine coming on. Knowing which medication to take can lower your stress level because it removes some of the guesswork of what you should do. Your plan may include over-the-counter pain relievers, prescription medications, or some combination of the two. You should work with your doctor to develop a migraine treatment plan thats right for you.
Prescription Drugs For Quick Migraine Relief
Headaches caused by migraine frequently occur along with other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light and sound, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Many people experience a migraine attack as a throbbing pain on one side of the head. Treating migraine symptoms right away can shorten the attack.
The types of medications that can alleviate symptoms once a migraine attack has started are known as acute, abortive, or rescue medications. These include OTC pain relievers such as aspirin and ibuprofen, prescription medications called triptans, and a new class of drugs called CGRP receptor antagonists.
Triptans Triptans are selective-serotonin receptor agonists, which means that they are believed to stimulate serotonin, a neurotransmitter found in the brain, to reduce inflammation and constrict blood vessels, which in turn stops the headache or migraine attack, according to the National Headache Foundation.
There are currently seven triptan drugs available in the United States: Axert , Relpax , Frova , Amerge , Maxalt , Imitrex , and Zomig . All are available in pill form two, Imitrex and Zomig, come as a nasal spray and one, Imitrex are sold in an injectable form.
Other Acute Migraine Treatments Other medications that may be used for acute treatment of migraine include:
Don’t Miss: How Common Are Visual Migraines
This One Natural Ingredient Can Stop A Migraine Instantly
The one miracle cure for your migraine? A drop of high quality essential frankincense oil placed on the pad of your thumb, then pressed into the roof of your mouth is a natural remedy that can stop migraines instantly.
Ancient Egyptians used frankincense oil as a natural migraine remedy when it was applied externally to the head. Some people report disliking the taste of the oil so they use it in specific massage points on their head. Put the oil on your fingertips and rub your temples, forehead, back of your neck and scalp.
One study found that the monoterpenes in frankincense and other essential oils act as a powerful anti-inflammatory. This reduces the swelling of the blood vessels and reduces the pain. A second study showed that frankincense oil reduced the intensity and frequency of headaches in patients who experienced debilitating cluster migraines.
If you are one person for whom the frankincense oil does not work, try something to constrict your blood vessels, such as applying cold. A wrapped ice pack applied to the back of the neck or even running cold water over your head should help reduce the size of your blood vessels. Holding some cold water in your mouth while breathing through your nose will also help.
Tongue In Cheek Method
Often times people keep their tongue pressed to the roof of their mouth. This can unknowingly cause more tension in the muscles thus giving you a headache. Try concentrating on keeping your tongue off of the roof of your mouth, suspended in the middle for as long as you can. Keep yours lips closed and notice how this forces your jaw and facial muscles to relax. You dont necessarily want to put your tongue against your cheek just keep it from the top of your mouth. This will help force your facial muscles to relax and can quickly stop a headache!
My personal opinion: This can be very effective but difficult to maintain. If your headache starts to fade after a minute or two and you don’t concentrate on holding your tongue suspended, your headache can return easily. Sometimes though it can get rid of a headache completely in just a few minutes without medicine!
Read Also: Where Can I Buy Excedrin Migraine
Who Is At Risk For Abdominal Migraine
Abdominal migraines mostly affect children, with the first episode occurring between 3 and 10 years old. Most children seem to outgrow the condition, though abdominal migraines in adulthood are just starting to be studied. A child with a family or personal history of migraine headache has an increased chance of developing abdominal migraine.
Prescription Painkillers For Frequent Tension Headaches
Indocin , an NSAID that is available only by prescription, is “usually used for arthritis, but can also be very useful as a headache treatment,” Dr. Rozental says. “Indomethacin‘s downside is that it is among the drugs most likely to cause gastric irritation as a side effect,” including stomach ulcers and bleeding. It can also harm kidney function if taken at high doses or chronically.
You May Like: Cream Of Tartar For Migraine Headaches
Consider What Caused It
If you can determine the cause of your migraine, you may be able to take additional steps to find relief. For instance, are you getting a migraine because you havent had enough to eat today? Some migraines can be triggered by a lack of food, which can cause . If you think your headache is triggered by hunger, eat something thats easy on the stomach such as saltine crackers. This, in combination with your medications, may give you additional relief. The National Headache Foundation says some people may crave carbohydrates just before a migraine hits. If this is the case, listen to your body and have a snack.
Dehydration can cause headaches too, and may make your migraine worse. If you havent had enough fluids today, get a drink of water. Sip slowly to avoid triggering nausea or vomiting.
What Is A Migraine Aura
A migraine aura is a series of symptoms that happen before the migraine head pain begins.
The aura phase is after the prodrome phase of the 4 phases of a migraine.
The 4 phases of a migraine go:
Prodrome => Aura => Head Pain Attack => Postdrome
A migraine aura can come with a number of symptoms including:
Seeing zigzags or squiggly lines
The migraine aura is a sign that a migraine has begun and the body is now going into protective mode.
The body will actually use a migraine to protect it from damage that is being done to the brain.
Starting a migraine is the bodys way of revving up the system and increasing the flow of blood and delivery of nutrients to the brain.
See the video below for a quick representation of a migraine aura.
It also causes us to stop what we are doing, in case what we are doing is causing the damage to the brain.
We want to support this process by increasing the available nutrients in our body, stopping what we are doing that may be causing damage to brain cells and giving our body and brain-specific tools to heal the damage.
Also see our incredible herbal drink for migraines and headaches here.
Read Also: How To Fake A Migraine To A Doctor
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.
Find A Quiet Dark Place To Relax
Sensitivity to light and sound is one of the most common migraine symptoms. Get away from these things if you can. This can help you find relief from your pain and can alleviate stress. Lie down and pay attention to your breathing. Try taking slow, deep breaths from your diaphragm. Feel your stomach rise with the inhale and fall with the exhale. This can help you relax.
and can help shorten and relieve migraine attacks. They may also help you prevent some migraines from happening.