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What To Do If Someone Has A Migraine

Why Migraines Are A Particular Pain

Symptoms and Stages Of A Migraine

Migraines deserve a special mention here as they can be so debilitating and poorly understood.

Many people self-diagnose migraines incorrectly. But a bad headache is not the same thing as a migraine attack, and some migraine attacks do not even include a headache!

If you think you have migraine attacks, get them diagnosed and treated properly.

Read more:1 in 5 Aussies over 45 live with chronic pain, but there are ways to ease the suffering

Seizures And Headaches: They Don’t Have To Go Together

Everyone has some kind of headache at one time or another. But if you have epilepsy, your chances of suffering with headaches are greater than average. Headaches may occur before seizures and are common after tonic-clonic seizures. In rare cases, the brain wave changes seen on the EEG show that a headache can actually be the only symptom of a seizure. If you have a seizure disorder, you are twice as likely to have migraine headaches. And adding worries about having a seizure to the everyday stress of life may even increase your chances of having an uncomfortable tension headache.

The most common headache associated with epilepsy is called a postictal headache, meaning that the headache occurs after seizure activity. It is estimated that 45% of people with epilepsy have postictal headache. It most frequently occurs after tonic-clonic seizures but can also follow simple and complex partial seizures. The pain of a postictal headache is widespread. It can be steady or throbbing and its intensity can range from mild to severe. These headaches usually last between about 6 and 24 hours, or sometimes even longer. They may be quite disabling, causing you to lose additional time out of your normal activities.

Is there anything you can do if you have a problem with headaches? Is there anything beyond an occasional aspirin to help you cut them short or avoid them altogether? For many people, even if you have epilepsy, the answer is yes!

How Strong Is Your Friendship

If youre a friend or family member and youve read this far well done! Youve demonstrated you really do care and want to help. Migraine patients often go through a world of a pain and now that you have a glimpse of our world, we are both better for it.

If youve read this list a feel guilty that youve said some or all of things dont despair. The fact that you made it here shows us that you are a true friend and that we are lucky to have you.

In fact, now its our turn to apologize.

On behalf of the person with migraine who sent you here Id like to say thank you for putting up with us. I know we are all far from perfect. Over the years Ive taken meds which have made me gain weight, lose weight, be happy, be cranky, and youve been there through the ups and downs. That means a lot to us and we really appreciate it.

Thank you. I dont say it nearly enough.

What other comments have you heard? No judgment here, weve all been guilty at one stage. Please share them in the comments below.

Now go share this with a friend or family member.

Article References

1. William B. Young, Jung E. Park, Iris X. Tian, Joanna Kempner. The Stigma of Migraine. PLoS ONE, 2013 8 : e54074 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.00540742. Velentgas, P., Cole, J. A., Mo, J., Sikes, C. R. and Walker, A. M. , Severe Vascular Events in Migraine Patients. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 44: 642651. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4610.2004.04122.x

Carl Cincinnato

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Tips For Helping A Person With Migraine From Our Support Group

Living with migraine isnt easy, so people with the disease depend on their migraine support system to give them the peace of mind that people have their back. Because small actions can go a long way for those with migraine, we asked our members of our online support community, Move Against Migraine, what advice they would give to someone to best support a person with migraine.

If your friend, family member or partner lives with migraine, these tips can help you show your support:

Preventative Medication And Therapies

Tension Headaches and Chiropractic

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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How Are Migraines Treated In The Er

Many medicines are used to treat severe migraine headache pain in the ER, including those listed on the next page. The ER doctor may also give you other medicines for nausea and may treat you for dehydration .

Medicines for Pain Relief

Researchers found that the medicines listed below work to lessen or stop migraine pain. Nearly all of these medicines are given as a shot or through an intravenous tube in your arm. Some NSAIDs can also be taken by mouth.

  • Metoclopramide
  • Prochlorperazine
Neuroleptics and antiemetics are medicines that change the way certain chemicals act in your brain. Some of these medicines may also treat nausea and vomiting.
SumatriptanSumatriptan is a headache medicine that narrows the blood vessels in your brain.Note: People with heart problems, such as narrowing or hardening of blood vessels in the heart, should not take this medicine.
NSAIDsNSAIDs are medicines that relieve pain.

  • Nalbuphine
  • Tramadol
Opioids are medicines that relieve pain. But, these medicines are rarely used for migraines because of possible side effects and the fact that other medicines work well to relieve migraine pain.Note: Taking opioids repeatedly to relieve pain can lead to overuse. Opioids can be addictive.
DihydroergotamineDihydroergotamine is a headache medicine that narrows the blood vessels in your brain.

Medicines To Stop the Migraine From Coming Back

The doctor may also give you a medicine to help stop the migraine from coming back within the next day or two.

The Sensation Is Like A Helmet On Your Head That Just Keeps Getting Tighter Lauren 29

The best way I can describe it for myself is that its such debilitating pain that it takes over everything else. I have to vomit, my neck tightens up, I become sensitive to light and smells . Even voices can make it worse. The sensation is like a helmet on your head that just keeps getting tighter, and you feel like your head will explode.

In December, I was driving back from the University of Michigan after being at a conference. I didnt have my prescription on me and I had a headache from the anxiety I felt all day and lack of the right food, etc. Around 3 P.M., the migraine hit. But I had no choice other than to drive the two hours back home. I had to pull over and vomit off the side of the highway. The rest of the drive home I honestly almost blacked out because the pain was so intense. My head felt like someone was taking a hammer to it. I remember calling my husband crying like a baby.

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What Symptoms Must You Have To Be Diagnosed With A Migraine

Migraine with aura . This is a headache, plus:

  • Visual symptoms or vision loss.
  • Sensory symptoms .

Migraine without aura . A common migraine is a headache and:

  • The attacks included pain on one side of your head.
  • Youve had at least five attacks, each lasting between four and 72 hours.

Plus, youve experienced at least one of the following:

  • Nausea and/or vomiting.
  • Lights bother you and/or you avoid light.
  • Sounds bother you and/or you avoid sounds.

What Are The Symptoms Of Migraine

A Treatment for Every Headache

The main symptoms of migraine are an intense, throbbing or pounding headache often affecting the front or one side of the head, nausea and sometimes vomiting , and an increased sensitivity to light smells and sound. The throbbing headache is often made worse by the person moving.

Other symptoms of migraine might include poor concentration, feeling hot or cold, perspiration , and an increased need to pass urine. This can occur before, during or after the migraine attack.

People might also experience stomach aches and diarrhoea.

It is common for people to feel tired for up to two or three days after a migraine.

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Are There Different Kinds Of Migraine

Yes, there are many forms of migraine. The two forms seen most often are migraine with aura and migraine without aura.

Migraine with aura . With a migraine with aura, a person might have these sensory symptoms 10 to 30 minutes before an attack:

  • Seeing flashing lights, zigzag lines, or blind spots
  • Numbness or tingling in the face or hands
  • Disturbed sense of smell, taste, or touch
  • Feeling mentally “fuzzy”

Only one in five people who get migraine experience an aura. Women have this form of migraine less often than men.

Migraine without aura . With this form of migraine, a person does not have an aura but has all the other features of an attack.

For Most Headaches Dont Go To Hospital

Thankfully, most headaches are less serious, and can be managed without a hospital trip. But they can still take a serious toll.

As you read this, 15% of Australians are taking painkillers for a headache.

But just because you dont need to race to hospital doesnt mean you shouldnt get help, especially if youre experiencing regular headaches.

Read more:Health Check: what causes headaches?

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The First Time It Happened I Thought I’d Been Roofied Ilana 29

Ocular migraines are like seeing the world in slow motion. The first time it happened I thought I’d been roofied. I moved my hand in front of my face and there were sixteen hands trailing in front of me. It was bizarre, especially since I wasn’t in pain like you would be with a normal migraine. Migraines are slow buildinglike a pressure in the back of your head that gets worse and worse each day until it feels like your eye will pop out of their sockets. And nothing makes that pressure go away. Migraines can feel like someone punched me in the eye, or maybe like I held my breath for too long, or like I’m being held upside down and all the blood is rushing to my head.

One incident with my ocular migraines was at a park on a sunny day. I was walking and suddenly this dark figure walked into my line of vision and out. It a black shape of a person, but I was totally alone. I’d only ever seen small shapes, like balls of light or dark, but this looked like a man. It totally creeped me out.

It Can Wreak Havoc On Your Work Family And Social Life

People Who Suffer Migraines, Seem to Have a Higher Risk of ...

A lot of people who get migraines experience rifts in relationships that may never heal, says Jacobson. Many people have lost their families, she says. I have spoken to so many who have had to ship their kids to the grandparents. So that adds to the depression and the anxiety of it, because you just never know if youre ever going to get better.

Just as bad, Jacobson says, is the risk of losing your job a story shes heard many times. When someone calls in sick repeatedly, supervisors will say, What is wrong with you? Just come in. No, youre not allowed to take off one more day. And its not just bosses but fellow employees who contribute to the problem, according to Jacobson. People feel angry that they have to cover for , she says. Nobody else believes a migraine.

And people who get migraines often lose friends over time. When you cancel plans with people, they think youre making it up, or that you just dont feel like going, Jacobson says, even though in reality, you would do anything to be out at the beach, or be with your kids, or be with your friends. And its very, very depressing to have to lie in a dark room instead.

But one pleasant surprise that many parents experience, according to Jacobson, is that their kids turn out all right. When youre going through it, you feel like a terrible mom or a terrible dad, she says, but most of the time, your kids end up being really empathetic and understanding.

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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.

The Symptoms Of A Migraine Can Last For Days Before During And After An Attack

Theres no rule for how long a migraine attack lasts, which is one reason many people have no idea that symptoms can persist for days. It’s a spectrum disorder, notes Dumas, meaning I can have a mild attack or a brutal, multiday attack that requires hospitalization.

The first stage of a migraine episode, prodrome, can last for one or two days and involve constipation, neck stiffness, food cravings, thirst, and mood changes. The attack that follows, which may or may not be preceded by visual and neurological symptoms known as an aura, can last from 4 to 72 hours. The final phase, postdrome, often involves confusion, weakness, and dizziness that can last 24 hours or longer.

During this last phase, which is sometimes known as a migraine hangover, Jacobson says, you are so spent. You need a couple of days just to get back to normal.

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Where Does The Information Come From

Researchers reviewed studies on medicines to treat migraines in the ER. These studies were published through January 2012. The researchers were funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality , a Federal Government research agency.

The researchers wrote a report on what they found, and this summary is based on that report. The report was reviewed by doctors, researchers, other experts, and the public. You can read the report at

What Causes Migraines Vs What Triggers Them

Why Do We Get Headaches?

What the medical community does know is that environmental stimuli and stress do not cause your migraines. They trigger your migraines, and that’s a major distinction. Migraines are caused by genes you inherit, and that’s not something you can change migraines get fired off in your brain when you encounter certain environmental stimuli that trigger them.

“It’s usually a trigger such as poor sleep, stress, dehydration, hunger, or sometimes food triggers like alcohol that can activate a wave of chemicals deep inside the brain stem and a small part of the brain called the hypothalamus,” Dr. Tariq says. “It then sends signals to the pain perception regions of the brain called the cortex. This is how we feel the head pain, nausea, and bright light and sound sensitivity.”

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What Else Can I Do To Prevent Migraines

While there are no sure ways to keep from having migraine headaches, here are some things that may help:

Eat regularly and do not skip meals.

  • Keep a regular sleep schedule.
  • Exercise regularly. Aerobic exercise can help reduce tension as well as keep your weight in check. Obesity can contribute to migraines.
  • Keep a migraine journal to help you learn what triggers your migraines and what treatments are most helpful.

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.

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