What Are The Types Of Headaches What Type Of Headache Is A Migraine
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.
What Advice Do You Have For A Migraine Sufferer Who Just Learned Shes Expecting
Instead of waiting until the first time you have a migraine attack while pregnant, Dr. Crystal recommends talking to your doctor to work out a treatment plan in case you get an attack.
When you find out youâre pregnant, youâll probably need to work with both your obstetrician and the health care provider you see for headache treatment. Make sure to mention all of the medications you take for headaches, including supplements, and other migraine symptoms.
With so many changes in your body, itâs important to âbe extra vigilant about avoiding triggers,â adds Dr. Crystal, and to avoid skipping meals, getting dehydrated, or developing poor sleep habits.
Of course, with pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness and trouble sleeping, that could be easier said than done. But do your best to maintain healthy habits.
What Medications Are Used To Relieve Migraine Pain
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 :
- 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 Can I Learn From A Failed Treatment
The keys to turning treatment failure into success: paying close attention to your symptoms, maintaining proper headache hygiene, and communicating regularly with your headache specialist. Getting as specific as possible with headache start and end times, symptoms, medication taken , and response to treatment will not only help uncover helpful patterns that could provide insight into appropriate treatment, but it also will help uncover associations between triggers and headaches, Lipton said. The problem with trigger factors is that there are a lot of them and they vary widely from person to person.
Keeping a headache diary is one way to track symptoms and also identify potential triggers that could be creating challenges with treatment. The diary makes it easier to practice good headache hygienechanging lifestyle behavior such as regularly exercising and proper nutrition, and avoiding triggers that could exacerbate migraine symptoms. Ultimately, these best practices for overall health can help reduce migraine symptoms and increase the effectiveness of treatment.
Home Remedies That Help Alleviate Migraine Pain
Preventive treatments typically work better as long-term practices, but what home remedies can you try during an actual migraine attack to relieve your headache pain ?
7. Staying hydrated
Hydration never hurts. In fact, The New York Times reports on a study that showed drinking more water helps both with the duration and severity of migraine attacks. You can also replenish your electrolytes more effectively by drinking a hydration supplement like Cove’s Oasis.
8. Drinking caffeine
Caffeine can help stop a migraine after it starts. Thatâs because it affects blood flow in your brain . It addition, states the National Headache Foundation, it can also make certain pain relief medications more effective,
But, you should know that an article in The Journal of Headache and Pain warns that itâs easy to get too dependent on caffeine, and when that happens, drinking less of it can cause withdrawal headaches.
9. Trying essential oils
Sufferers on a Migraine.com forum report that when they rub peppermint oil into their temples, it can stop a migraine as itâs starting. Others swear by lavender essential oil. While thereâs no concrete science behind this, it might be worth a try based on all the anecdotal evidence .
10. Using a hot or cold compress
Some people report the exact opposite can be helpful, and swear by heating pads on their neck, warm cloths across their faces, and even standing in hot water in the shower.
11. Avoiding strong smells
12. Finding a quiet, dark room
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How Does Migraine Affect Teenagers
Migraine headaches can impact school performance and attendance, social and family interactions, and quality of life in general, says Eric Bastings, MD, deputy director of the Division of Neurology Products in the U. S. Food and Drug Administrations Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
According to the Migraine Research Foundation, up to 10 percent of school-aged children have migraine. By the time they turn 17, up to 8 percent of boys and 23 percent of girls have experienced a migraine headache.
Its important that people realize that children and adolescents have migraine, says Amy Gelfand, MD, a pediatric neurologist at the University of California San Francisco Headache Center. Its one of the more common problems for children.
She continues, Theres a lot of stigma around children and migraine. People think theyre faking, but for some children and adolescents it can be quite a disabling problem.
In adolescents, migraine affects young women more than young men. This may be because of a change in estrogen levels.
It is fairly common for migraine to begin in puberty, Gelfand says. A migraine can be activated any time theres a lot of change going on.
Eileen Donovan-Kranz says that her daughter had her first migraine attack when she was in eighth grade. She says her daughter spent much of her time after school lying down in her room.
Her daughter is now 20 years old. Although her migraine attacks have decreased in frequency, they still occur.
How Can I Communicate More Effectively With My Doctor
Remember to share with your doctor how migraine actually impacts their livesfrom having to miss work to not being able to take care of their child to missing out on important life events.
Tell the doctor how your headache affects your life, the impact that your headaches have thats most important to you, Lipton said. The goal of treatment is to relieve your pain and restore your ability to function. Using those endpoints that the patient defines as most important to them becomes the way a health care provider and a patient together can measure success.
Reviewed for accuracy by the American Migraine Foundations subject matter experts, headache specialists and medical advisers with deep knowledge and training in headache medicine. to read about our editorial board members.
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When Are They Not Helpful
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.
What If A Treatment Doesnt Work
Treatment failure is often a product of miscommunication and misunderstanding, perhaps about a persons symptoms or about what someone actually needs to treat their specific type of migraine. In other words, it may not actually be a failure at all.
A key part of understanding treatment failure, said Lipton, is redefining success. A preventive treatment plan will inevitably lead to disappointment if the expectation is to never have another headache. Instead, Lipton said, a reasonable goal for treatment is to decrease a persons headache days by 50% or 75% or reducing the intensity of the headaches by 50%-75% and allowing acute medications to work faster and more effectively. This will minimize the time that headache is interfering with ability to function.
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Richard Lipton Md Fahs Offers Advice To Clinicians Treating Persistent Migraine
The persistence of chronic migraine can be quite disheartening, causing patients who have tried multiple treatments with no results to feel that they are out of options. Richard B. Lipton, MD, FAHS, Director of the Montefiore Headache Center, Professor of Neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and past president of the American Headache Society has treated numerous patients with this concern. Over the years, he has developed a strong grasp on when to move forward with a possibly effective treatment plan and when to change course. In an interview with the American Headache Society, Dr. Lipton explains how he chooses his treatment methods and offers advice to others treating persistent migraine.
Whats the biggest challenge physicians face when treating persistent migraine?By the time many patients see a headache specialist, they believe that they have tried everything. Then the challenge is to figure out why none of the treatments theyve tried in the past have worked. There are a number of common reasons treatments may fail. I would say the most common and most important, is that the diagnosis is either incorrect or incomplete. Many patients I see who have tried multiple therapies with little to no results come in with a diagnosis of migraine when really they have another head pain disorder.
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.
Dehydration can cause headaches and even migraine, but new research shows hydration can reduce and possibly even prevent headache pain. In the study, people who drank their recommended daily water intake had headaches that were:
- less frequent
- less severe
- shorter in duration
If you dont regularly drink enough water, increasing your intake may both help reduce your migraine pain and prevent repeat attacks.
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The Burden Of Migraine
Migraine is not just about headaches. Attacks can include symptoms such as throbbing pain, nausea, vomiting, and acute sensitivity to light and sound. They may be preceded by aura nerve-related symptoms such as flashes of light, blind spots, difficulty speaking, and tingling in the face, arms, or legs. Migraine may last four hours or three days. Attacks may occur rarely or several times a week.
According to the American Migraine Foundation, 1 in 5 U.S. women have migraine. So do 1 in 16 men and 1 in 11 children. Because migraine is common and debilitating, the burden on personal wellness and economic productivity is staggering. In 2016 the combination of medical costs and lost productivity due to migraine in the United States totaled $36 billion, according to a study published in the American Journal of Managed Care.
There are so many people who are brilliant and successful who have had to walk away from work because this disease has completely destroyed them.
Jessica Ailani, MD, MedStar Georgetown
It takes careers away from people, says Ailani. You know, they could have been a teacher and now theyre an assistant. They could have been a professor and now theyre the janitor in the hallway. There are so many people who are brilliant and successful who have had to walk away from work because this disease has completely destroyed them.
What Is Migraine Exactly
You may think of a migraine as a really bad headachebut the pain that accompanies it is far more severe. Migraine is actually a neurological disease. During an attack, groups of your brain cells become overactive, your blood vessels narrow, and blow flow to your brain shifts, which may contribute to the onset of symptoms, per Johns Hopkins Medicine. To be diagnosed, you have to experience the attacks repeatedly, which means having at least five excruciating headaches lasting 4 to 72 hours each per month, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Migraine has specific hallmarks to distinguish it from everyday headaches: The pain usually throbs, pounds, and/or pulses . This is usually accompanied by an upset stomach, nausea, or vomiting, which gets worse with physical activity. Migraine can also cause sensitivity to light, noise, and smells.
Migraine headaches can be brought on by triggers and these can vary wildlyanything from specific foods to stress to dehydration can spur an attack. However, not all migraine episodes have triggers, and if they do, you might not know what your individual triggers are. The headaches often feel dull and achy when they begin and gradually become more severe, eventually causing intense, throbbing pain. At their worst, migraine can make your whole head, face, jaw, and neck pulsate with pain.
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Works For Nearly Everyone: Fewer Painkillers
Migraine remedies dont automatically mean more painkillers. Although it sounds counter-intuitive, dont overdo your use of painkillers, or you could end up worse off. Using over-the-counter pain pills more than twice a week or taking migraine-easing triptans more than 17 times a month can eventually cause rebound migraines, warn German researchers.
Home Remedies To Help Prevent Migraine
The best way to prevent migraine is by sticking to a routine that works for you. This is because keeping things predictableeven down to what time you eat or how long you sleep each nightcan help you identify potential migraine triggers. Put simply, if something is off in your routine, and then you get migraine, you have an obvious suspect for the cause. Even though its impossible to prevent migraine 100% of the time, the tips below can make them less frequent for some people:
Migraine is awful, no doubt, but it doesnt have to control everything you do. Having a consistent schedule and routine is helpful, but you dont have to go overboard with it. In fact, doing so can make you feel overwhelmed and stressed out, which, ultimately, is a migraine trigger itself. Sometimes people get very preoccupied with journaling, Dr. Csere says. It can kind of take over your life.
Just stick to the basics: Write down when you have a gnarly headache, note if it was mild or severe, and consider any obvious triggers that could have been linked to it. Even these general notes can help provide your doctor with valuable information without overloading yourself with homework.
Remember: You shouldnt have to live with the pain. With a personalized approachwhich will likely include a little bit of trial and erroryou can develop a treatment plan that can give you relief and make migraine feel much more manageable so you dont have to live in fear of the next attack.
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Acute Treatment For Migraines
There are many types of medications that can be used to stop a migraine attack in progress. These medications help ease the pain. They can also help with other symptoms like nausea and vomiting. In general, first-line medication choices usually involve a combination of NSAIDs, triptans, and anti-nausea medications. Lets run through these medications here.
How Is Migraine Aura Diagnosed
To rule out more serious conditions, such as a transient ischemic attack or mini stroke, your healthcare provider will perform a physical examination. They may also run certain tests to confirm your diagnosis. These tests may include:
- An eye exam. This test helps rule out any eye conditions that could be causing aura symptoms.
- A CT scan of your head. This scan takes detailed images of your brain.
- Magnetic resonance imaging . This test uses magnets and radio waves to capture images of your tissues, organs and structures inside of your body.
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What To Do If You Get A Migraine At Work
Even the best preventative measures dont work all the time. If you experience regular migraines, chances are youll find yourself riding one out at work. If that happens, Diamond recommends trying to take 20 minutes to a half hour in a quiet spot away from your desk to rest and take whatever acute migraine medicine you use, if any. Once the migraine clears, or at least subsides, you can return to work.
Some people who have migraines use caffeine to treat their symptoms, but Diamond stresses that this only works if you dont overuse it. If youre slamming four lattes a day, then you may have some headaches just because of your excessive use of caffeine, says Diamond. But if you generally dont use caffeine a lot, then it certainly can be used as a medication. Diamond recommends limiting your normal caffeine intake to less than 80-100mg per day, or about one cup of coffee.