What Tests Are Used To Find Out If I Have Migraine
If you think you get migraine headaches, talk with your doctor. Before your appointment, write down:
Your doctor may also do an exam and ask more questions about your health history. This could include past head injury and sinus or dental problems. Your doctor may be able to diagnose migraine just from the information you provide.
You may get a blood test or other tests, such as CT scan or MRI, if your doctor thinks that something else is causing your headaches. Work with your doctor to decide on the best tests for you.
Can Stress Cause Migraines
Yes. Stress can trigger both migraine and tension-type headache. Events like getting married, moving to a new home, or having a baby can cause stress. But studies show that everyday stresses ;not;major life changes cause most headaches. Juggling many roles, such as being a mother and wife, having a career, and financial pressures, can be daily stresses for women.
Making time for yourself and finding healthy ways to deal with stress are important. Some things you can do to help prevent or reduce stress include:
- Eating healthy foods
- Being active
- Doing relaxation exercises
- Getting enough sleep
Try to figure out what causes you to feel stressed. You may be able to cut out some of these stressors. For example, if driving to work is stressful, try taking the bus or subway. You can take this time to read or listen to music, rather than deal with traffic. For stressors you can’t avoid, keeping organized and doing as much as you can ahead of time will help you to feel in control.
Vasoactive Substances And Neurotransmitters
Perivascular nerve activity also results in release of substances such as substance P, neurokinin A, calcitonin gene-related peptide, and nitric oxide, which interact with the blood vessel wall to produce dilation, protein extravasation, and sterile inflammation. This stimulates the trigeminocervical complex, as shown by induction of c-fos antigen by PET scan. Information then is relayed to the thalamus and cortex for registering of pain. Involvement of other centers may explain the associated autonomic symptoms and affective aspects of this pain.
Neurogenically induced plasma extravasation may play a role in the expression of pain in migraine, but it may not be sufficient by itself to cause pain. The presence of other stimulators may be required.
Although some drugs that are effective for migraine inhibit neurogenic plasma extravasation, substance P antagonists and the endothelin antagonist bosentan inhibit neurogenic plasma extravasation but are ineffective as antimigraine drugs. Also, the pain process requires not only the activation of nociceptors of pain-producing intracranial structures but also reduction in the normal functioning of endogenous pain-control pathways that gate the pain.
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When Should I Seek Immediate Help Or Contact My Healthcare Provider
- You are experiencing the worst headache of my life.
- You are having neurologic symptoms that youve never had before, including speaking difficulty, balance problems, vision problems, mental confusion, seizures or numbing/tingling sensations.
- Your headache comes on suddenly.
- You have a headache after experiencing a head injury.
Schedule a visit with your healthcare provider if:
- The number or severity of your headaches increase or your headache pattern changes.
- Your medications no longer seem to be working or youre experiencing new or different side effects.
Find Out The Symptoms Causes And Treatments Of This Disabling Neurological Disease
Migraine is not just a bad headache. Its a disabling neurological disease with different symptoms and different treatment approaches compared to other headache disorders. The American Migraine Foundation estimates that at least 39 million Americans live with migraine, but because many people do not get a diagnosis or the treatment they need the actual number is probably higher.
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What Causes Abdominal Migraines
Unfortunately, the answer is: Nobody really knows. Although there are numerous hypotheses about what causes abdominal migraines, the actual causes are unknown, says Dr. Scott. It is believed that there is a connection between the intestinal nervous system and the central nervous system that leads to intestinal hypersensitivity or possibly genetic factors, but nothing has been proven. According to Dr. Scott, the median age for diagnosis is between 3 and 10 years, with a peak of 7 years. Overall, abdominal migraines can affect 1-9% of children, but it makes up 4-15% of children with chronic abdominal pain, she says. And according to a study, girls are more likely to suffer from abdominal migraines than boys.
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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Medications For Acute And Chronic Migraines
- Triptans , may be extremely effective in treating migraines and may be prescribed to help patients treat their migraines at home. A combination of naproxen and sumatriptan is now available. Additionally, sumatriptan is now available as a patch, which delivers the medication though the skin.
- Not every patient can take these medications, and there are specific limitations regarding how often these medications can be used.
Other migraine treatments
Can Using Birth Control Pills Make My Migraines Worse
In some women,;;pills improve migraine. The pills may help reduce the number of attacks and their attacks may become less severe. But in other women, the pills may worsen their migraines. In still other women, taking birth control pills has no effect on their migraines.
The reason for these different responses is not well understood. ;For women whose migraines get worse when they take birth control pills, their attacks seem to occur during the last week of the cycle. This is because the last seven pills in most monthly pill packs don’t have hormones; they are there to keep you in the habit of taking your birth control daily. Without the hormones, your body’s estrogen levels drop sharply. This may trigger migraine in some women.
Talk with your doctor if you think birth control pills are making your migraines worse. Switching to a pill pack in which all the pills for the entire month contain hormones and using that for three months in a row can improve headaches. Lifestyle changes, such as getting on a regular sleep pattern and eating healthy foods, can help too.
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Treating Nausea And Vomiting Together
Rather than treating the nausea and vomiting separately, doctors prefer to ease those symptoms by treating the migraine itself. If your migraines come with significant nausea and vomiting, you and your doctor may talk about starting preventive medications. See how to cope with the nausea and vertigo that may accompany your migraine.
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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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.
How Can I Tell If I Have A Migraine Or Just A Bad Tension
Compared with migraine, tension-type headache is generally less severe and rarely disabling. Compare your symptoms with those in this chart to see what type of headache you might be having.
|Aura before onset of headache||;||x|
Note: Rebound headache may have features of tension and/or migraine headache. Adapted from a table produced by the American Council for Headache Education.
Although fatigue and stress can bring on both tension and migraine headaches, migraines can be triggered by certain foods, changes in the body’s hormone levels, and even changes in the weather.
There also are differences in how types of headaches respond to treatment with medicines. Although some over-the-counter drugs used to treat tension-type headaches sometimes help migraine headaches, the drugs used to treat migraine attacks do not work for tension-type headaches for most people.
You can’t tell the difference between a migraine and a tension-type headache by how often they occur. Both can occur at irregular intervals. Also, in rare cases, both can occur daily or almost daily.
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Is There A Connection Between Abdominal Migraines And Head Migraines
If you thought migraines were only on your head, think again. While migraines are most commonly viewed as a head-related problem, they can occur in other parts of the body such as the abdomen. But is there a connection between the migraines in the stomach and in the brain? Absolutely, says Dr. Scott. Usually there is a family history of migraine headaches, she says. Dr. Perelman agrees, adding, More than half of the patients diagnosed have a family history of migraines, which also suggests a genetic component.
Symptoms Of A Migraine
The main symptom of a migraine is usually an intense headache on one side of the head.
The pain is usually a moderate or severe throbbing sensation that;gets worse when you move and prevents you from carrying out normal activities.
In some cases,;the pain can occur on both sides of your head and may affect your face or neck.
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What Are Some Migraine Risk Factors And Triggers
Some things make you more likely to get migraine headaches . Other things may bring on a migraine .
Common migraine risk factors include the following:
- Family history: You are much more likely to have migraines if one or both of your parents had migraines.
- Sex: Women are more likely than men to have migraines.
- Age: Most people have their first migraine during adolescence, but migraines can start at any age, usually before age 40.
Common migraine triggers include the following:
- Food and drink: Certain food and drink may cause migraines. Dehydration and dieting or skipping meals may also trigger migraines.
- Hormone changes: Women may experience migraines related to their menstrual cycles, to menopause, or to using hormonal birth control or hormone replacement therapy.
- Stress: Stress may trigger migraines. Stress includes feeling overwhelmed at home or work, but your body can also be stressed if you exercise too much or dont get enough sleep.
- Senses: Loud sounds, bright lights , or strong smells may trigger migraines.
- Medicines: Certain medicines may trigger migraines. If you think your migraines might be related to your medicine, talk to your doctor. Your doctor may be able to prescribe a different medicine.
- Illness: Infections, such as the cold or the flu, may trigger migraines, especially in children.
Foods that may trigger migraines:
- aged, canned, cured, or processed meat
- aged cheese
- soy sauce
Signs Your Headache Is Actually A Migraine
Once you know the symptoms you can properly treat your pain.
If you think your really bad headaches arent migraines, you may want to take a closer look at your symptomsespecially if youre a woman.
More than half of all migraine sufferers are never diagnosed, according to the Migraine Research Foundation. And according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, migraines are three times more common in women than in men. Crazy, right?
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What Are Abdominal Migraines
Some abdominal pain here and there is common in children. As the episodes get more frequent , something more serious could happen, like abdominal migraines. Abdominal migraines are a cause of chronic and recurring abdominal pain in children, says Dr. Denise Scott, MD, pediatrician at JustAnswer, told Romper. They are characterized by moderate to severe, diffuse abdominal pain, usually in the midline, that can last 2-72 hours.
In addition to the pain, your child may experience headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, and sensitivity to light when they have an abdominal migraine. They can also turn pale and interfere with their daily activities. Episodes can happen at least twice or more within 6 months, but if your child doesnt experience them, they will likely feel fine.
Lifestyle Modification And Trigger Reduction
When patients have chronic severe headaches, it can be difficult to recognize specific triggers. Paradoxically it is often the case that as chronic headaches start to improve with treatment, triggers become more obvious. Regularity of regimen with regard to meals, hydration, sleep and stress is always helpful in reducing the tendency to migraines; recognizing that this is helpful is straightforward, but actually making the requisite changes in a modern busy life may be more difficult.
Many patients with chronic migraine will have other problems that exacerbate their tendency to headaches: these include depression, anxiety, other pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia, localized pain in head and neck structures, and conditions that create metabolic strain such as sleep apnoea or postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. Proper management of these is necessary to maximize the effect of any other migraine treatments. It is particularly important to recognize and manage medication overuse as failure to do so will render most attempts at preventive treatment ineffective .
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How Is Abdominal Migraine Diagnosed
There is currently no test to confirm abdominal migraine. Your doctor will make a diagnosis based on specific criteria that details the type, frequency, and severity of symptoms associated with abdominal migraine. The diagnosis will typically be made only after all other causes of abdominal pain have been ruled out.;
What Is A Migraine
A migraine is not simply a bad headache. A migraine is an intense headache that may be accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea , vomiting , visual problems and an increased sensitivity to light or sound.
Migraines commonly last between four hours and three days. Some people experience migraines several times a week. Others might only experience attacks every few years. If you experience headaches on 15 days or more each month, and eight of these headaches are migraines, this is known as;chronic migraine.
Although migraines are not life-threatening and do not shorten peoples life expectancies, they can significantly damage the quality of peoples lives. A World Health Organisation study identified migraine as the sixth highest cause worldwide of years lost due to disability . Repeated migraines can have a negative impact on family life, social life and employment.
There are two main types of migraine: migraine without aura and migraine with aura .
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