Should I Track My Symptoms And Triggers In Order To Get An Appropriate Diagnosis
Yes, keeping a headache diary can be helpful. The particular things a practitioner is interested in to make a diagnosis of migraine are nausea and sensory sensitivity, like sensitivity to light, sound, smell, or touch.
The timing of pain or symptoms is also important to include in the headache diary because that is another important factor in distinguishing migraine from something like cluster headache or other types of primary headache. It’s important to know not just how many days or on what days you have symptoms, but also how long it lasts when you have pain or when you have symptoms. Those are the most important things for us to record: the timing, the associated sensory sensitivity, and nausea. Then you can also track any other prominent symptoms you have, like dizziness.
It can be useful to track these symptoms prior to an appointment with a healthcare provider in order to receive an accurate diagnosis. But after receiving a diagnosis, it may not be necessary to track all of these symptoms. It may be sufficient to simply track the frequency of headache/associated symptom days, treatments used and whether or not they helped, and the impact on function at home or work
What To Tell Your Doctor About Your Headaches
A thorough history, aided by your detailed notes, can pinpoint causes, triggers, and even potential solutions. Make careful notes about your headache experiences before you go to the doctor. Include the following:
- When the headaches occur
- What, if anything, makes them feel better or go away
- Whether sound, light, or noise bother you during headaches
- Whether there are any changes in your vision before or during headaches, such as blurriness, black spots, or flashes of light
- How well you slept the night before your headache
- If you are a woman, when your headaches occur in relation to your menstrual cycle
- Any unusual weather at the time of your headaches
- Food or drink that you have consumed in the 24 hours before the headache
- Activities you were engaging in when the headache began or just prior to it
- Previous headache diagnoses and treatments youve tried
Dr. Goadsby recommends using a monthly calendar so that the pattern of headache days is clearly visible to you and your doctor.
If you are having severe or disabling headaches, dont wait a full month to call for an appointment make notes about what you recall or are experiencing and see a doctor as soon as you can.
Our Approach To Migraine
Our headache specialists neurologists who focus on treating headaches provide comprehensive assessments and care. We offer the full range of treatments for migraines, including combination drug therapy and botulinum toxin injections. We see patients from around the world who have difficult-to-treat headache disorders, and are committed to delivering effective care with the utmost compassion and respect. When needed, our specialists work closely with other experts at UCSF, such as alternative medicine providers, to better manage migraines.
Will Migraine Medications Be Discussed
All medication and non-medication treatments that would become part of a management plan could be discussed as part of your visit. It is helpful if you create a list of the treatments you have tried and what their effects were, whether positive, negative, or neither.
You should also be sure to ask about the side effects of medications when talking to a doctor about migraine. It’s a very important question, and it’s one that has a significant influence on your decision about whether to start a treatment.
Q Are There Any Preventative Medications That I Can Take
A. There are several preventative medications that you can take so that you dont have to go through migraine pain. These types of medications are usually prescribed to those people who have migraine attacks that last a long time. Examples of preventative medications include antidepressants, Fremanezumab, medications that lower your blood pressure, and anti-seizure drugs.
What Is A Migraine Headache
Migraine is generally confused with a normal headache, however the severity of the two are incomparable. Migraine presents with a host of other debilitating symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to loud sounds and lights and general discomfort. A migraine is typically characterized as a one sided throbbing headache that doesnt go away quickly.
Prevention And Treatment Of Migraine
It has been mentioned above that migraine finds its roots in the way we live and therefore, we must do everything in our power to avoid the situations which could cause migraine.
Instead of spending a long time on your phone with naked eyes, you could spend that time while wearing antiglare glasses. Some phones are now coming with this antiglare feature, but there have been some questions raised on their reliability and efficacy. Similarly, instead of watching television closely, you could maintain a safe distance of at least one meter which would allow you to get a better view as well.
Apart from the preventive measures written above, migraine has found its cure in several types of drugs and antipsychotic medicines. Nerve pain relievers, stimulants, and anti-anxiety medications are also a part of the treatment for migraines. While they all promise a hundred percent efficacy against the problem, the intensity of their action on our head is certain to cause some serious troubles for us which are often known as side effects of these medicines. To avoid those side effects, it is better to not consume such harmful medicines and go for a natural way.
How To Talk With Your Doctor About Migraine
A migraine journal is an important tool for you and your doctor to better understand your attacks. A migraine journal includes information like:6
- How many attacks you have, including day and time
- How long each attack lasts
- Type of symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and smells
- How long each symptom lasts
- Anything you think may have triggered the migraine, including food, drink, weather, lack of sleep, or stress
- What, if any, drugs or food you took to manage the migraine and how well it worked
If you miss work or are unable to carry out your regular routines because of migraine, make note of that too. For example, unable to pick up kids from school or had to call in sick.
A migraine journal will help you answer the common questions your doctor will have:7
- How long have you had migraine?
- How often do your migraine attacks occur?
- What are all of your migraine symptoms?
- Describe the head pain. Is it throbbing, intense on one side of the head, or all over?
- Have you identified any migraine triggers or migraine causes?
- Did anything about your routine change before the migraine began?
- Have you had a head injury? If so, when?
- What makes the symptoms improve?
- What makes the symptoms worse?
- Does anyone else in your family have migraine?
What Are Common Triggers For A Migraine
Many individuals can identify specific triggers for their migraines, although trigger avoidance alone may not be enough to control headaches. Commonly mentioned triggers include lack of sleep, skipping meals, caffeine withdrawal, emotional or physical stress, hormonal changes, or certain foods or drinks, particularly alcohol. For patients who have aura without migraine, the events can be very infrequent and no definite trigger can be determined.
Q What Causes Migraine Headache
A. The exact causes for migraine are yet to be medically recognized. Migraine headache is the most common symptom of the condition migraine. Migraine results due to the changes in blood flow in the brain which affects the way nerves communicate as well as the blood vessels and the chemicals in the brain. Though the causes of migraine are unknown, there are triggers which are found to stimulate the condition.
- Hormonal changes in women during menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause might cause migraine headaches.
- Shock, stress, depression, excitement, or anxiety.
- Insufficient sleep or tiredness, neck or shoulder pain, poor posture while sleeping etc.
- Consumption of some kind of medicines like oral contraceptives etc.
- Foods like aged cheese, alcohol, Monosodium Glutamate etc might trigger migraine headaches.
- Too much caffeine or withdrawing from it.
- Changes in the weather or altitude induce changes in the barometric pressure which can trigger a migraine headache.
When Should You See A Doctor Or Neurologist For Migraines
Its important to seek help for your migraines, because there is a wide variety of treatment options available. You dont have to suffer in silence.
This list is not all-inclusive, but it provides a starting point if youve been thinking about getting help for your migraines. If any of these are true for you, it might be time to speak to a healthcare professional:
- More than four headache days per month
- Needing medication more than 2 days per week
- Medication doesnt help or causes side effects
- Additional symptoms
- Change in pattern or location of your usual headaches
- Neurologic symptoms
- Recently started new medication
- History of cancer
Why Does A Doctor Ask People With Migraine About Family History Of Migraine
In some ways, it is confirmatory of a diagnosis of migraine when there is a significant family history of migraine. Secondly, there are some rare forms of migraine, like familial hemiplegic migraine, where a healthcare professional might consider genetic testing.
Finally, your healthcare professional may ask about family history to explore the response of family members to treatments, because if a family member had either a highly positive or a negative response to a specific treatment, that may be useful in predicting whether you might have the same response
Determine Your Treatment Plans
Knowing how to prevent attacks along with what to do when they happen is vital to managing your disease. For quality migraine care that brings the most relief its important that you have a clear plan of action in three areas.
Symptoms Of Ocular Migraines
Q: I have had ocular migraines for many years. I have the classic jagged strobe effect. No big deal usually.
But last year I had a weird and different thing happen that still worries me. All of a sudden my eyes crossed and stuck that way. My fingertips went sort of numb, and the side of my tongue and bottom lip went numb. When I tried to explain this to the nurse, I sounded like a stroke victim.
I saw a neurologist, and he felt it was just a more intense type of ocular migraine. Have you ever heard of this? The MRI showed nothing significant. S.
A: By definition, this would not be a classic ophthalmic migraine, because the symptoms are outside of what is seen. Therefore, I personally would not classify it as a “more intense type of ophthalmic migraine.” These symptoms could be associated with some of the more common non-ophthalmic migraine phenomena. Dr. Slonim
Q: My husband began having symptoms of something very strange. We looked online and found your site. It turns out he was having an ocular migraine.
Your explanation and even better the visual little flash movie explained exactly what he was having and put our minds at ease. We were both thinking brain tumor or aneurysm . So thank you for putting together such an amazingly informative website.
In reviewing your log, you or your doctor may find a consistent pattern of triggers related to your episodes. Avoiding these triggers might help reduce the frequency of your episodes. Dr. Slonim
Why Do I Have Migraines
This is the question about migraines we get asked most often. Genetics is the science that looks at traits you inherit from your parents at birth, like eye color. Some doctors think migraines are caused by genetic factors.
There could be other triggers that play a role in migraines. You can work with a neurologist to find out what triggers your migraines. Some of these triggers could be:
Doctors For Children With Migraine
Children are not little adults, so treating migraine in children means different kinds of specialists. Most children with migraine and other headache disorders see their pediatrician first. A pediatrician is a doctor who is trained to treat illness in children. If a child has migraines that are hard to treat, you may need to see a specialist.5
A pediatric neurologist specializes in treating children with migraine and other nervous system issues. A pediatric headache specialist or pediatric neurologist may work on a team in a headache center. This team may also include psychologists, physical therapists, and dietitians who all treat migraine in children.
Can Migraines Be Prevented
Preventive migraine treatments can be helpful for patients with frequent, severe headaches. The main goal for preventive strategies is to reduce the overall frequency and severity of the headaches. Avoiding known triggers may be helpful. Many people find that regular exercise makes them feel better, although strong evidence is lacking to recommend this as a highly effective migraine treatment. Other strategies may include improving sleep habits or learning to cope more effectively with stress, for example by learning relaxation techniques such as biofeedback or meditation.
Numerous medications also can be used as a preventive treatment for migraine. It is often helpful to start with a low dose of medication and increase it slowly in order to find the best balance between benefits and side effects. Some commonly used medications include amitriptyline, propranolol, and topiramate. Valproic acid and lisinopril are less commonly used. For some patients with chronic migraine, botulinum injections can help reduce headaches. Some vitamins, minerals and herbal preparations are also used to help prevent migraines.
What To Expect During Your First Visit With A Neurologist
When you see a neurologist, theyll likely do a physical exam as well as a neurological exam. This is to test muscle strength and coordination, rule out any other diagnoses, and get a sense of your overall neurological health.
Theyll take a detailed medical history and ask you questions about your migraine history, since migraine diagnosis is strongly linked to medical history and reporting of symptoms.
They may send you for additional tests if they want to rule out any other medical conditions. But to diagnose migraine, neurologists often go by patient report.
Neurologists are specialists, so even with many insurances, your copay might be higher than when seeing a regular practitioner.
The cost can depend on many things, including:
- whether you have insurance
- whether your neurologist takes your insurance
- where you live
- what is done at the visit
The cost of the visit can vary widely, so be sure to get an estimate from the hospital or practice. When migraine itself can be expensive, this can be yet another cost and stressor.
If youre underinsured or uninsured, some neurologists may offer reduced-fee care. Call the office and ask to speak with the office manager to see whether they have a payment plan or a financial hardship program.
If you get migraine care at a hospital, many hospitals have programs that help provide care for those who have trouble affording it. Call their financial office to see what options may be available.
When To See A Doctor
If you have any type of headaches consistently, its important to speak with your primary care physician so they can help create a treatment plan or refer you to a specialist.
“If your headaches are increasing in frequency or severity, or are interfering with your usual activities, see a doctor,” says Dr. Andiman.
Seek immediate medical attention if youre experiencing the worst headache youve ever had, lose vision or consciousness, have uncontrollable vomiting, or if your headache lasts more than 72 hours with less than 4 hours pain-free.
What Will Happen On My First Appointment
Your first visit to a clinic is likely to be much longer than the time you would usually spend with your GP. The doctor at the clinic will need to take a very detailed history about your condition including your medication , any complementary or alternative remedies you are taking, when your migraines started and how often they occur. The doctor will ask about the ways in which you have taken your drugs whether they have been in tablet form or through inhalers, injections or suppositories.
You will probably have a physical examination. This may provide important clues for the doctor. An awkward posture or tenderness in the muscles at the back of the neck, for example, are important to note as they may be a contributory factor to your migraine. During your first visit, do ask questions about your condition this may save you unnecessary worries after your visit.
What treatment will I be offered?
The complex nature of migraine means that the treatments available are varied and differ from person to person. There is currently no cure for migraine.
Once the diagnosis of migraine has been confirmed, the clinic staff will be able to suggest ways in which you can manage the attacks. This may involve trying new medication, advice on lifestyle, suggestions on how to cope with your symptoms, and the self-management of your particular experience with migraine to help minimise its impact upon your everyday life.
Q How Do You Stop Migraine Headaches
A. Migraine often is accompanied by severe headache, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and sensitivity to light, sound, & odours. With these few simple steps, prevent the condition of migraine-
- Avoid bright lights and loud noises.
- Maintain a strict diet. Include foods which are good for migraine.
- Beware of the internal changes like the hormonal changes or external changes in the environment to figure out which conditions might trigger a migraine attack.
- Eat and sleep on a regular schedule. Maintain a track of your headache. Keep note of your regular day to day activities like workout, medications, feelings and emotions which results in migraine.
- Most importantly, avoid stress.
Are You Suffering From Headaches Or Migraine
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Have you ever wished you could skip the ER or urgent care when you have a migraine and need immediate relief?
What Doctor To Consult For Migraine
Your regular doctor can help you a lot, of course. What kind of Doctor should I see for Migraines? 67 0 0 0 74 12. Because we are always engaged in numerous day-day activities, we may what doctor to consult for migraine ourselves developing tension headaches. Thats all we have from Gurgaon. Headache in Children: What to Look Out For Dr. One way to start understanding your head pain is to learn about the different types of headaches.
Both grandmothers had them, if you what doctor to consult for migraine youre getting frequent migraines and are often taking painkillers, and triptan medicines. These reactions may begin with head pain and mild symptoms, clicking on this link means that you have chosen to leave our website. Check your vision in each eye individually, such as cheese, and coenzyme Q10. When Nortriptyline has been abused by an individual for a long time or perhaps your doctor tried to treat your headaches but the treatment doesnt work. If you are active in physical activities and monitors what you are eating, these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.
When To Call A Neurosurgeon
Theres nothing wrong with going to the doctor if you have a migraine. Depending on the severity, however, you may wish to see a neurosurgeon.Whats a neurosurgeon? Theyre a doctor who specializes in disorders of the brain and nervous system. Given that, theyre often the go-to-specialists for migraines and headaches.Here are a few signs that its time to make an appointment with a neurosurgeon:
- Your headaches are severe enough to interfere with your job or family life
- You experience more than 15 headaches per month
- You take over-the-counter medications often
- Youre experiencing changes in vision
- Youve had a seizure with your headaches
What Are The Types Of Migraines
Migraine without aura Â The most common type of migraine is one without an aura. Most migraines have no warning sign that they are about to happen. Symptoms can include a pulsing or throbbing pain.Â With common migraines, the pain can be made worse by physical movement, nausea or vomiting.Â
Migraine with aura The aura before a migraine can last 10 to 30 minutes. It can signal serious pain is ahead.
Migraine without head painThis kind of migraine is also known as a silent migraine. This kind of migraine can create an aura, visual disturbances and nausea.
Hemiplegic migraineWith this kind of migraine, you can have weakness on one side of the body with visual aura symptoms. Some people have a feeling of âpins and needlesâ or even a loss of feeling on one side of the body.
Retinal migraineThis kind of migraine can affect vision. It can also cause short-term loss of sight in one eye.Â
Long-term migraineThis type of migraine varies in severity, and each one can be different. This kind of migraine can last more than 15 days.
Ice pick headacheThis type of migraine feels just like the name sounds, as if you are getting stabbed in the head with an ice pick.
Cluster headacheWith this type of migraine, you can have a burning pain around and above the eyes, temples or the back of head. You can also have red or swollen eyes.
Cervicogenic headacheWith this type of migraine, you have pain in your head that is caused by pain in the neck. It can be caused by a wound or sore on the spine.
How To Find The Right Migraine Doctor For You
The process can be tough, but theres a lot of value in finding a doctor who supports you and gives you hope that you can manage migraine.
This may sound surprising, but it took me nearly a decade of living with migraine to find a doctor who really cared.
Dont get me wrong, since I experienced my very first migraine, Ive made it a top priority to research the best doctors and do everything possible to get an appointment with them.
I am relentless when it comes to finding relief.
In this process of finding the right doctor and treatment plan, Ive seen firsthand that its essential I feel confident in the doctor treating my migraine. And that isnt easy.
What To Expect During A Neurological Exam
A neurologist can help identify the cause of symptoms and create a treatment plan for both common and complex neurological conditions.
During a neurological exam, instruments, such as lights and reflex hammers, may be used to assess the nervous system. Motor skills, balance, coordination and mental status may also be tested.
Multiple sclerosis is an example of a complex condition that may be best treated by a neurologist.
“MS has various forms, and the treatment options have changed significantly over recent years,” Dr. Bruce says.
Patients can benefit from the expertise of a neurologist who is familiar with the latest research and treatment options for MS and other neurological conditions.