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What To Do If You Get Migraines Often

What Are The Symptoms Of Migraines

Do you get headaches often?

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.

Symptoms Of A Migraine

The main symptom of a migraine is usually an intense headache on one side of the head.

The pain is usually a moderate or severe throbbing sensation that gets worse when you move and prevents you from carrying out normal activities.

In some cases, the pain can occur on both sides of your head and may affect your face or neck.

From Publishing Manager To Author And Literary Agent

Rebecca was thriving in her job as a book publisher but struggled with a dual diagnosis of Migraine and depression – a common link for people with migraine. Although she wasn’t at risk of losing her job, she felt guilty not being fully there and felt lousy being at the office when she needed to be at home.

She met privately with three authors that her former employer published and offered to represent them. When they agreed, she changed sides of the table and found the flexibility her former job couldn’t offer. Plus, she’s able to work on her own novel in her spare time.

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Who Is At Risk For Migraines

About 12% of Americans get migraines. They can affect anyone, but you are more likely to have them if you:

  • Are a woman. Women are three times more likely than men to get migraines.
  • Have a family history of migraines. Most people with migraines have family members who have migraines.
  • Have other medical conditions, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, sleep disorders, and epilepsy.

How To Get Through A Migraine

13 Things Not To Say To Someone With A Migraine

This article was medically reviewed by Luba Lee, FNP-BC, MS. Luba Lee, FNP-BC is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner and educator in Tennessee with over a decade of clinical experience. Luba has certifications in Pediatric Advanced Life Support , Emergency Medicine, Advanced Cardiac Life Support , Team Building, and Critical Care Nursing. She received her Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Tennessee in 2006.There are 29 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 747,407 times.

Migraines can be extraordinarily debilitating both because of the pain and because they leave you unable to tolerate light, sound, smell, and touch. Migraines require much more intervention than common tension headaches. If you suffer from migraines, it is best to try to prevent your migraines. Since it is difficult to prevent migraines entirely, there are some steps that can help you get through your next one.

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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.

Caffeine May Be Triggering Your Headaches

Caffeine is often an ingredient in medications for headaches, but it’s not to directly treat the headache, according to the American Migraine Foundation. Instead, the caffeine is there to help your body absorb the other ingredients. Indeed, caffeine is a tricky thing it can help treat a headache if you’re experiencing caffeine withdrawals , but can also trigger migraine headaches.

While caffeine itself is an oft-cited trigger of afternoon headaches, it can cause another common trigger in the form of dehydration. Add an eight-ounce glass of water for every caffeinated drink you have, whether it’s coffee, tea, soda, or an energy drink. Bustle agrees, adding that cutting back on caffeine can help you stay hydrated. Your morning cup of caffeine will start to wear off in the afternoon, so that could be the culprit behind your afternoon headaches.

The American Migraine Foundation recommends tracking your caffeine intake and headaches. Do you always have a soda or energy drink at lunch? Are you getting headaches when you skip your coffee in the morning? Keep a journal to see if caffeine is your afternoon headache trigger. You may need to cut out caffeine.

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How Can I Feel Better

Most headaches will go away if a person rests or sleeps. When you get a headache, lie down in a cool, dark, quiet room and close your eyes. It may help to put a cool, moist cloth across your forehead or eyes. Relax. Breathe easily and deeply.

If a headache doesn’t go away or it’s really bad, you may want to take an over-the-counter pain reliever like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. You can buy these in drugstores under various brand names, and your drugstore may carry its own generic brand. It’s a good idea to avoid taking aspirin for a headache because it may cause a rare but dangerous disease called Reye syndrome.

If you are taking over-the-counter pain medicines more than twice a week for headaches, or if you find these medicines are not working for you, talk to your doctor.

Most headaches are not a sign that something more is wrong. But if your headaches are intense and happen often, there are lots of things a doctor can do, from recommending changes in your diet to prescribing medicine. You don’t have to put up with the pain!

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If youre having trouble figuring out why you get headaches every day, try tracking information about your diet, water intake, and stress levels.You might also add sleep time, exercise, and other factors that could potentially play a role in headache development. Be consistent while keeping a diary might feel pointless at first, the information could prove vital when youre looking for ways to treat the issue.

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What Are The Four Stages Or Phases Of A Migraine Whats The Timeline

The four stages in chronological order are the prodrome , aura, headache and postdrome. About 30% of people experience symptoms before their headache starts.

The phases are:

  • Prodrome: The first stage lasts a few hours, or it can last days. You may or may not experience it as it may not happen every time. Some know it as the preheadache or premonitory phase.
  • Aura: The aura phase can last as long as 60 minutes or as little as five. Most people dont experience an aura, and some have both the aura and the headache at the same time.
  • Headache: About four hours to 72 hours is how long the headache lasts. The word ache doesnt do the pain justice because sometimes its mild, but usually, its described as drilling, throbbing or you may feel the sensation of an icepick in your head. Typically it starts on one side of your head and then spreads to the other side.
  • Postdrome: The postdrome stage goes on for a day or two. Its often called a migraine hangover and 80% of those who have migraines experience it.
  • It can take about eight to 72 hours to go through the four stages.

    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.

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    When To Get Medical Advice

    You should see a GP if you have frequent or severe migraine symptoms.

    Simple painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, can be effective for migraine.

    Try not to use the maximum dosage of painkillers on a regular or frequent basis as this could make it harder to treat headaches over time.

    You should also make an appointment to see a GP if you have frequent migraines , even if they can be controlled with medicines, as you may benefit from preventative treatment.

    You should call 999 for an ambulance immediately if you or someone you’re with experiences:

    • paralysis or weakness in 1 or both arms or 1 side of the face
    • slurred or garbled speech
    • a sudden agonising headache resulting in a severe pain unlike anything experienced before
    • headache along with a high temperature , stiff neck, mental confusion, seizures, double vision and a rash

    These symptoms may be a sign of a more serious condition, such as a stroke or meningitis, and should be assessed by a doctor as soon as possible.

    How Are Migraines Diagnosed

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    To diagnose a migraine, your healthcare provider will get a thorough medical history, not just your history of headaches but your familys, too. Also, they’ll want to establish a history of your migraine-related symptoms, likely asking you to:

    • Describe your headache symptoms. How severe are they?
    • Remember when you get them. During your period, for example?
    • Describe the type and location of your pain. Is the pain pounding? Pulsing? Throbbing?
    • Remember if anything makes your headache better or worse.
    • Tell how often you get migraine headaches.
    • Talk about the activities, foods, stressors or the situations that may have brought on the migraine.
    • Discuss what medications you take to relieve the pain and how often you take them.
    • Tell how you felt before, during and after the headache.
    • Remember if anyone in your family gets migraine headaches.

    Your healthcare provider may also order blood tests and imaging tests to make sure there are no other causes for your headache. An electroencephalogram may be ordered to rule out seizures.

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    The Link Between Caffeine And Everyday Headaches

    Does caffeine cause those constant headaches or does it cure them? The answer: both. Caffeine is a double-edged sword, Mauskop says. Over-the-counter medicines often include caffeine. However, headaches can worsen as a result of withdrawal mechanisms, as every regular coffee drinker probably knows. But it can help in small amounts.Caffeine causes the blood vessels to constrict, reducing blood flow, which is exactly the opposite of what happens when youre having a headache or migraine. The pain-relieving effect is significantly improved when combined with acetaminophen and aspirin, which, thankfully, are over-the-counter painkillers.However, too much caffeine can cause a rebound effect, which can trigger a headache. If youre drinking multiple cups of coffee a day, that could be to blame if youre getting a headache every day. The National Headache Foundation recommends a daily caffeine intake of 200 milligrams or less. If youre a regular coffee or tea drinker, you might want to monitor your intake to make sure that youre under that number. A single cup of coffee can contain anywhere from 125 to 200 milligrams, so consider switching to a half-caff or decaf option if youve got a serious habit.

    Stop Isolating When Its Safe To Do So

    The 10-day rule is firm for those who arent vaccinated, but there may be some situations where it doesnt make sense to isolate away from family members in your household regardless of your vaccination status.

    One thing to think about is the point of time at which you test positive, it is very likely you have already exposed your family, so the best practice is to isolate, but your family should also consider getting tested within a couple of days, Piltch-Loeb said. If they are all exposed, you should all isolate as a pod together.

    Roommates, on the other hand, may have separate enough lives that they have not shared the virus with one another, she said.

    For those who have been vaccinated, it is possible to test out of isolation early. If you dont have any symptoms, you can start testing yourself around Day 4 or 5, Schaffner said. If you have two negative tests a couple of days apart, it is likely safe for you to be around other people again.

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    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.

    If You Have Cluster Headaches

    Why you get headaches when you fast
    • Sumatriptan is usually given by injection for cluster headache, as it provides pain relief in about 5-15 minutes in most people.
    • You will be shown how to use the injection. You should use it as soon as a headache occurs. The adult dose is one 6 mg injection for each headache. If you get more than one headache a day, the maximum dose you can have in 24 hours is two 6 mg injections. You must leave at least one hour between the two injections.
    • You may also be prescribed another medicine to try to prevent the headaches from occurring. Preventative treatment is often taken over the period of the cluster headaches and is then stopped, although some treatments are taken longer-term.

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    Weakness On One Side Of The Body

    When an arm goes limp, it can be a sign of a migraine.

    Some people experience muscle weakness on one side of the body before a migraine attack. This can also be a sign of a stroke, however, so consult a doctor to rule out any other causes.

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    How Are They Treated

    Both migraine and chronic migraine can be treated with the same drugs. These include medications that treat the pain and symptoms as well as drugs that treat the underlying cause of migraine. In some cases, there are medical devices you can use to interrupt the headache. Still, no treatment is perfect.

    Because of that, chronic migraines can take a toll on your personal life. If you get painful headaches for half of each month, you lose days of work or school and precious time with friends and family. It√Ęs common for people with chronic migraines to also have depression.

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    Throbbing Pain On One Or Both Sides Of The Head

    Pulsating pain is a classic sign of migraines. The throbbing is often felt on one side of the head.

    In an online survey of patients with migraines, the National Headache Foundation found that 50% “always” have throbbing on one side, while 34% say they “frequently” have this symptom.

    Migraine pain often burrows behind the eye.

    People will blame it on eye strain and many will get their eyes checked, but that won’t make their headaches any better, Dr. Messina says.

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    Jade Seaberry, a 28-year-old from New York, has been suffering from migraines for the past six years and has a team of doctors, including a pain management specialist and several neurologists. Shes also tried multiple medications. However, most people in her day-to-day life dont know this.

    Its sad, because when you suffer with a chronic illness that doesnt show physically, its hard for other people to understand, she explained. When you are laid up in bed, not able to open the curtains or on the TV because you cant stand light or sound, no one is there with you. When you have to cancel dinner plans youve had for weeks, because you cant walk and your head is pounding so badly, some people dont understand.

    Seaberry said some people in her life have learned to work around her condition and her doctors appointments, and they completely understand when she cancels plans at the last minute. That understanding is a huge relief for people who suffer from this condition, Cooper said.

    If you can validate their symptoms, thats important, he explained. Also, if you can reduce their responsibilities for the day when they have migraines, its also very helpful.

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