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What Do You Do If You Have A Migraine

Prevent Attacks With Exercise

What to do if you have chronic migraines

Exercising during a migraine attack can make the pain worse, but exercising between attacks may help to reduce the number of attacks you have.

Contrary to popular belief, exercise wont trigger a migraine in most people, says Dale Bond, PhD, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at The Miriam Hospital and Brown Alpert Medical School in Providence, Rhode Island.

In terms of aerobic exercise, we would generally tell our patients to start with walking its easy, its safe, its cheap, and its practical and to do that regularly, says Bond.

That may reduce migraine and prevent migraine attacks through physiological mechanisms for example, by reducing inflammation and improving cardiovascular health, he says.

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Can Migraine Be Worse During Menopause

If your migraine headaches are closely linked to your menstrual cycle, menopause may make them less severe. As you get older, the nausea and vomiting may decrease as well. About two-thirds of women with migraines report that their symptoms improve with menopause.

But for some women, menopause worsens migraine or triggers them to start. It is not clear why this happens. Menopausal hormone therapy, which is prescribed for some women during menopause, may be linked to migraines during this time. In general, though, the worsening of migraine symptoms goes away once menopause is complete.

How Is Abdominal Migraine Similar To A Migraine

Abdominal migraine and migraine share similar triggers, such as stress, skipping meals, exposure to bright light, poor sleep, and foods containing chocolate, caffeine, and monosodium glutamate . Because there are so few studies on medications used to treat abdominal migraine, patients with the condition are often treated with medications shown to be effective on a migraine.

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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:

  • How often you have headaches
  • Where the pain is
  • How long the headaches last
  • When the headaches happen, such as during your period
  • Other symptoms, such as nausea or blind spots
  • Any family history of migraine
  • All the medicines that you are taking for all your medical problems, even the over-the-counter medicines
  • All the medicines you have taken in the past that you can recall and, if possible, the doses you took and any side effects you had
  • 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.

    What Are The Types Of Headaches What Type Of Headache Is A Migraine

    Headache or Migraine? How You Know the Difference

    There are over 150 types of headaches, divided into two categories: primary headaches and secondary headaches. A migraine is a primary headache, meaning that it isnt caused by a different medical condition. Primary headache disorders are clinical diagnoses, meaning theres no blood test or imaging study to diagnose it. A secondary headache is a symptom of another health issue.

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    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 .

    What Are Some Ways I Can Prevent Migraine

    The best way to prevent migraine is to find out what triggers your attacks and avoid or limit these triggers. Since migraine headaches are more common during times of stress, finding healthy ways to cut down on and cope with stress might help. Talk with your doctor about starting a fitness program or taking a class to learn relaxation skills.

    Talk with your doctor if you need to take your pain-relief medicine more than twice a week. Doing so can lead to rebound headaches. If your doctor has prescribed medicine for you to help prevent migraine, take them exactly as prescribed. Ask what you should do if you miss a dose and how long you should take the medicine. Talk with your doctor if the amount of medicine you are prescribed is not helping your headaches.

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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.

    References

    What Are The Stages Of A Migraine

    What to Do When You Have a Migraine – How to Stop a Migraine Fast

    The Migraine Research Foundation says that migraine is a neurological disease that affects 39 million people in the U.S. Migraines, which often begin in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood, can progress through four stages: prodrome, aura, attack and post-drome. Not everyone who has migraines goes through all stages.

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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.

    Treating Migraine Headaches: Some Drugs Should Rarely Be Used

    Migraine attacks can last for hoursor even days. They can cause intense pain, nausea and vomiting. They can make you sensitive to light or noise and they can affect your life and work.

    To treat migraines, you may be given a prescription for an opioid or a barbiturate called butalbital. These are pain medicines. But you should think twice about using these drugs for migraine. Heres why:

    These drugs can make headaches worse.

    Using too much pain medicine can lead to a condition called medication overuse headache . Two kinds of pain medicine are more likely to cause MOH:

    • Drugs containing opioidssuch as codeine , morphine , Hycodan or oxycodone .
    • Drugs containing butalbital .

    They are not as effective as other migraine drugs.

    There are other drugs that can reduce the number of migraines you have and how severe they arebetter than opioids and butalbital. Even in the emergency roomwhere people with severe migraines often ask for opioidsbetter drugs are available, including triptans.

    They have risks.

    Opioids and butalbital can cause serious withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking them suddenly. People who use high doses for a long time may need to be in the hospital in order to stop using them.

    Opioids, even at low doses, can make you feel sleepy or dizzy. Other side effects include constipation and nausea. Using them for a long time can lower your sex drive and cause depression and sleep problems.

    Which drugs are good for migraines?

    Limit the use of all pain medicines.

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    Common Migraine Symptoms You Should Definitely Know About

    1. Debilitating throbbing

    Patients will tell me, ‘I can feel my heartbeat in my head,’ or talk about touching their temple and feeling the vein throbbing, or feeling like their head will explode, Ailani says. A run-of-the-mill headache, however, causes a dull, aching pain that’s more of an annoyance versus something that throws a wrench in your daily life.

    2. Pain on only one side of your head

    While migraines can be experienced on both sides of the head, the pain is typically only on one side. A tension headache, however, typically presents as pain all over, and a sinus headache presents as pressure around the cheeks, eyes, and forehead.

    It’s still unclear why migraines may present as one-sided. One theory has to do with the trigeminal nerves. However, only one may be activated when a migraine begins, and as this continues to happen with repeated migraines over time, that one nerve becomes the quickest, easiest path for the brain, Ailani explains.

    3. Seeing sparking lights or flashes

    When a migraine happens, there’s a slow wave of electrical activity from the back to the front of the brain, explains Adelene Jann, M.D., a neurologist at NYU Langone Health. When that happens, there’s also decreased blood flow to the brain, and everything slows down. In turn, about 25 percent of suffers experience an aura either before or during their migraines, according to the Migraine Research Foundation.

    4. Weakness and tingling

    5. Next level nausea

    6. A heightened sense of smell

    When Are Opioids Or Butalbital Useful For Migraines

    Migraine Headaches In Children

    Your doctor may suggest an opioid if none of the treatments listed above help, or if you have bad side effects.

    It is not clear if butalbital should be used at all for treating migraines. If your doctor prescribes butalbital for your migraines, ask why. And ask if there are any other drugs that would work.

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    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.

    Who Gets Migraines

    If you have migraines, you’re not alone. Up to 10% of U.S. teens and young adults get migraines. And after age 12, during and after puberty, migraines affect girls twice as often as guys.

    Experts believe that the likelihood of getting migraines runs in the family. If one of your parents gets migraines, you have a greater chance of having them than someone who doesn’t have that family history.

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    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.

    What Medications Are Used To Relieve Migraine Pain

    What to do if you have a headache?

    Over-the-counter medications are effective for some people with mild to moderate migraines. The main ingredients in pain relieving medications are ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, naproxen and caffeine.

    Three over-the-counter products approved by the Food and Drug Administration for migraine headaches are:

    • Excedrin® Migraine.
    • Advil® Migraine.
    • Motrin® Migraine Pain.

    Be cautious when taking over-the-counter pain relieving medications. Sometimes overusing them can cause analgesic-rebound headaches or a dependency problem. If you’re taking any over-the-counter pain medications more than two to three times a week, report that to your healthcare provider. They may suggest prescription medications that may be more effective.

    Prescription drugs for migraine headaches include:

    Triptan class of drugs :

    • Sumatriptan.
    • Butterbur.
    • Co-enzyme Q10.

    Drugs to relieve migraine pain come in a variety of formulations including pills, tablets, injections, suppositories and nasal sprays. You and your healthcare provider will discuss the specific medication, combination of medications and formulations to best meet your unique headache pain.

    Drugs to relieve nausea are also prescribed, if needed.

    All medications should be used under the direction of a headache specialist or healthcare provider familiar with migraine therapy. As with any medication, it’s important to carefully follow the label instructions and your healthcare providers advice.

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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.

    What Medicines Help Relieve Migraine Pain

    For mild to moderate migraines, over-the-counter medicines that may help relieve migraine pain include:

    • aspirin
    • acetaminophen
    • an acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine combination
    • ibuprofen
    • naproxen
    • ketoprofen

    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.

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    Diagnosing And Treating Ocular Migraines

    When you visit your doctor, they will ask about your symptoms, examine your eyes, and order additional tests to rule out other serious conditions such as:

    • Amaurosis fugax
    • Giant cell arteritis
    • Spasms in the blood vessels that carry blood to the eye
    • Autoimmune diseases
    • Stroke or transient ischemic attack
    • Drug abuse

    Professional Treatments

    If you have been diagnosed with retinal migraines, consult your doctor about the best treatment options. There is no one recommended treatment regimen since it varies from person to person.

    If you dont experience ocular migraines very frequently, your doctor may advise you to use over-the-counter NSAIDs like aspirin and ibuprofen when the episodes occur.4

    Your doctor may also recommend the following:

    • Anti-nausea medication to reduce nausea and related symptoms
    • Calcium channel blockers to lower blood pressure
    • Anti-epileptic medications to prevent seizures
    • Tricyclic antidepressants to alter the brains chemistry

    Doctors dont usually use traditional migraine treatments such as triptans and ergotamines for people with ocular migraines.5

    Triptans, for example, arent safe if youre at risk for a stroke, which may be the case for people experiencing temporary blindness in one eye.

    A recent technique for treating or preventing ocular migraine is to use a self-administered device that delivers electrical stimulation to the forehead or back of the head.

    These devices include:

    Home Remedies

    Light Noise Or Smells Trigger Or Worsen Pain

    14 headache disorders. Which one do you have?

    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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