What Causes A Migraine
The cause of migraine headaches is complicated and not fully understood. When you have a headache its because specific nerves in your blood vessels send pain signals to your brain. This releases inflammatory substances into the nerves and blood vessels of your head. Its unclear why your nerves do that.
What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Medicines Given In The Er To Treat Migraines
Researchers found that the side effects from these medicines are usually minor and temporary. Some of the medicines can cause drowsiness, so you may not be able to drive right away. More information is listed below for each type of medicine when it is taken a single time in the ER for a severe migraine.
- Neuroleptics/Antiemetics: Restlessness in the legs or body is a common side effect. A possible serious side effect is uncontrollable muscle movements, such as tics and tremors.
- Sumatriptan: The most common side effect is pain or swelling at the place where the shot was given. Other side effects can include redness in the face and neck, a burning feeling, feelings of tightness , and drowsiness.
- NSAIDs: Side effects are not common with these medicines.
- Opioids: Tiredness and drowsiness are common side effects.
- Dihydroergotamine: The most common side effects include pain or swelling at the place where the shot was given or where the IV needle was put in, drowsiness, stomach problems, nausea and vomiting, and an irregular heartbeat.
- Dexamethasone: Side effects were not common with this medicine in the research studies. But, possible side effects can include nausea, headache, dizziness, and trouble sleeping.
Note: There are other possible side effects of these medicines. The side effects listed here are the most common side effects when the medicines are taken a single time in the ER for a severe migraine.
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.
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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.
When Should You Head Home
Migraines dont always resolve quickly, and sometimes it can be important to know when to call it quits on a work day if an episode isnt getting any better. Some people can tell when a migraine is here to stay based on the level of pain, or other factors, like nausea or light sensitivity. In those cases its important to go home get a quick nap and rest to get ready for the next day, instead of sticking around and making things worse. That is, of course, assuming youll be able to get home safely in a car or on public transportation. Otherwise, you might have to see about calling in a favor to get a ride from a friend or family member. If you suffer from regular episodes, try to have a talk with your employer ahead of time so they know you might have to leave work early unexpectedly sometimes.
And when you do get back to work, Diamond stresses that its equally important not to overload yourself right away. When a patient misses a day because of a migraine or theyre behind because of a migraine, they get more anxious and concerned about finishing what they need to finish, and that doesnt help the whole process, she says. Instead, try to ease back into your work and keep from getting too anxious, as excessive stress could trigger another episode.
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How Do You Tell The Difference Between A Migraine And A Headache
According to the International Classification of Headache Disorders 3 criteria for migraine without aura, you must have had at least five headache attacks fulfilling the following criteria:
Headache attacks lasting four to 72 hours
The headache has at least two of the following characteristics:
- Unilateral location
- Pulsating quality
- Moderate or severe pain intensity
- Aggravation by or causing you to avoid routine physical activity
- In addition, during the headache, at least one of the following characteristics:
- and/or phonophobia
Whats A Migraine Journal
- Keeping a migraine journal is not only beneficial to you, but it helps your healthcare provider with the diagnosis process. Your journal should be detailed and updated as much as possible before, during and after a migraine attack. Consider keeping track of the following:
- The date and time of when the migraine began specifically when the prodrome started, if youre able to tell its happening. Track time passing. When did the aura phase begin? The headache? The postdrome? Do your best to tell what stage youre in and how long it lasts. If theres a pattern, that may help you anticipate what will happen in the future.
- What are your symptoms? Be specific.
- Note how many hours of sleep you got the night before it happened and your stress level. Whats causing your stress?
- Note the weather.
- Log your food and water intake. Did you eat something that triggered the migraine? Did you miss a meal?
- Describe the type of pain and rate it on a one to 10 scale with 10 being the worst pain youve ever experienced.
- Where is the pain located? One side of your head? Your jaw? Your eye?
- List all of the medications you took. This includes any daily prescriptions, any supplements and any pain medication you took.
- How did you try to treat your migraine, and did it work? What medicine did you take, at what dosage, at what time?
- Consider other triggers. Maybe you played basketball in the sunlight? Maybe you watched a movie that had flashing lights? If youre a woman, are you on your period?
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How To Treat Rebound Headaches
Frequent use of any acute headache medication, including OTC drugs, can cause what are known as rebound, or medication-overuse, headaches, says Rozental. By definition, a medication-overuse headache occurs on 15 or more days of the month as a consequence of regular overuse of acute or symptomatic headache medication.
The only way to stop medication-overuse headaches is to stop using the drug thats causing them. However, this process can be uncomfortable and can causing worsening of the headache, among other symptoms, according to The Migraine Trust. If you think you may have medication-overuse headache, speak to your doctor or a neurologist trained in chronic headache management.
Eat And Sleep On A Regular Schedule
Fasting or skipping meals can trigger migraine headaches. Make sure you eat within an hour of waking up and then every three to four hours. Hunger and dehydration both cause migraines. Make sure youre drinking enough water, and never skip a meal.
Lack of sleep can also aggravate symptoms, so make sure you clock in at least seven to eight hours. Even getting too much sleep can cause headaches, so dont try to make up for lost sleep by snoozing too long.
It’s A Chronic Illness But Not A Terminal One
“Any final thoughts?” I asked them both. X said, “It’s a horrible illness, but you always tell us that it can’t kill you. I know it can indirectly. But Isobel and I just always tell ourselves that you always come home from the hospital you’re always okay eventually. It’s a chronic illness, but not a terminal one.” Zo answered, “Having the experience is both good and bad. It’s who you are. It means that you’re home more since you can’t go to an office or building to work, you stay here. But a lot of that time, you’re in bed and we miss you. But that’s who we are as a family. We look out for each other and love each other no matter what. In sickness and in health.”
Try Hot Or Cold Therapy
If youve ever put an ice pack on an injury or a heating pad on a sore back, you know the power of temperature therapy. This can also help when you have a migraine. You may need to experiment to decide what feels best for you. Some people find that an ice pack applied to the head offers soothing, numbing relief. This is particularly helpful if sun or heat brought on your migraine.
Other people find a heating pad or hot shower to be therapeutic during an attack. Its worth trying hot or cold therapy when your next migraine hits. It can safely and effectively complement your medication.
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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.
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.
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Changes In Or An Irregular Sleep Schedule
The connection between migraine and sleep is undeniable. Sleep renews and repairs all parts of the bodyincluding the brainso it makes sense that when your sleep schedule becomes irregular, you are more prone to migraine attacks. Something else to note when it comes to sleep: Nearly half of all migraine attacks occur between 4:00am and 9:00am, putting people at a greater risk for developing a sleep disorder.
How to cope: Try to go to bed at the same time every night, and aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep. Eliminate TV, texting, reading, and listening to music while in bed, and try your best not to nap during the day. This article from the AMF Resource Library has great information and tips on how to make a sleep plan that works with your lifestyle.
What Are The Symptoms Of Migraines
The primary symptom of migraine is a headache. Pain is sometimes described as pounding or throbbing. It can begin as a dull ache that develops into pulsing pain that is mild, moderate or severe. If left untreated, your headache pain will become moderate to severe. Pain can shift from one side of your head to the other, or it can affect the front of your head, the back of your head or feel like its affecting your whole head. Some people feel pain around their eye or temple, and sometimes in their face, sinuses, jaw or neck.
Other symptoms of migraine headaches include:
- Sensitivity to light, noise and odors.
- Nausea and vomiting, upset stomach and abdominal pain.
- Loss of appetite.
- Feeling very warm or cold .
- Pale skin color .
- Euphoric mood.
What Is The Best Thing To Do For A Migraine
If you get migraines, you can ease the pain immediately by simple measures that include:
- Resting with your eyes closed in a dark, quiet room
- Putting an ice pack on your forehead
- Hydrating yourself by drinking plenty of liquids
You can talk with your doctor and try complementary or alternative treatments along with other medications. These include:
- Biofeedback: This method helps to identify stressful situations that could trigger migraines. By modifying your bodyâs reaction to stress, you can prevent migraine attacks.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy : A specialist can teach you changes peopleâs attitudes and their behavior.
- Progressive muscle relaxation : A therapist will teach how to tighten and relax your body muscles to relieve the stress that triggers your migraine.
What Are Some Risks With Otc Migraine Medications And Who Should Avoid Them
With all OTC migraine medications, theres a risk of developing whats called a medication overuse headache . MOH is a headache that happens if you use OTC migraine medications for too long, or more than 10 to 14 days a month. If you find yourself needing migraine relief this often or more, talk to your healthcare provider about whether you might need a stronger prescription migraine treatment.
In addition to preventing MOH, youll want to take a few more precautions depending on the specific ingredient your OTC migraine treatment includes.
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Treatment For Pregnant And Breastfeeding Women
In general, migraine treatment with medicines should be limited as much as possible when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Instead, trying to identify and avoid potential migraine triggers is often recommended.
If medicine is essential, your GP may prescribe you a low-dose painkiller, such as paracetamol.
In some cases, anti-inflammatory medicine or triptans may be prescribed.
Speak to a GP or your midwife before taking medicine when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Page last reviewed: 10 May 2019 Next review due: 10 May 2022
Can Your Diet Affect Migraine Pain
Some people report that certain foods, such as alcohol and chocolate, can trigger their migraines. If you think that your migraines happen when you eat a certain food, try limiting the food for four weeks and keep a diary of your symptoms during that time. Eating a balanced diet with whole foods is also an important part of staying healthy and reducing the risk of migraines.
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What Ingredients Should I Look For In Otc Migraine Medications
Pain is the main symptom of a migraine. You might also feel nauseous during migraines or notice changes in your vision, like seeing blind spots or flickering lights. For a mild, moderate, or even a severe migraine, there are several ingredients in OTC migraine products that can offer you sweet relief.
Preventative Medication And Therapies
If you experience frequent migraines, your GP might discuss preventative medication options with you.
It is important to note that preventatives for migraines are not pain medication, but help to reduce the number of migraines. They take time to work, so the minimum time period required may be three to six months. Contact your GP or specialist for further information. All of these treatments have their advantages and disadvantages and some of the medications might not be suitable for everybody.
You might find that this medication reduces the frequency and severity of your attacks but does not stop them completely. You will need to continue your other migraine treatments when you experience an attack.
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends that GPs and specialists should consider the following drugs and therapies if they think you might benefit from preventative treatment:
Beta blocking drugs
These drugs are traditionally used to treat angina and high blood pressure. It has been found that certain beta-blockers prevent migraine attacks. Beta-blockers are unsuitable for people with certain conditions.
This drug is typically prescribed for the treatment of epilepsy but has also been found to help reduce the frequency of migraines. Again, it is not suitable for everyone. In particular, women who are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant should be advised of the associated side effects.
Botulinum toxin type A
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Whats A Migraine What Does A Migraine Feel Like
A migraine is a common neurological disease that causes a variety of symptoms, most notably a throbbing, pulsing headache on one side of your head. Your migraine will likely get worse with physical activity, lights, sounds or smells. It may last at least four hours or even days. About 12% of Americans have this genetic disorder. Research shows that its the sixth most disabling disease in the world.