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HomeExclusiveWhat To Do When You Get A Migraine

What To Do When You Get A Migraine

What Is A Migraine Attack And How Do You Manage It

Why Do We Get Headaches?

Migraine is the leading cause of disability in people aged 15 to 49, yet this brain disease is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed. Heres what you need to know.

I was a teenager when I had my first migraine attack. I was sitting in my sunny living room and I started to see spots. Bright and iridescent, they gradually morphed into a swirling pattern that spread across the left side of my vision. I couldnt see past it, and I had no idea what was happening to me.

The episode soon passed, but it was followed by a throbbing headache. My mom instantly recognized the signs of migrainesomething she was all too familiar with.

Over the years, I had the odd migraine attack, but nothing I couldnt manage with a nap and some ibuprofen. But after I had kids, my attacks increased, and I developed some concerningand confusingsymptoms.

I became painfully sensitive to noise and had bouts of tinnitus , but ear exams showed nothing. I had dizzy spells and thought my thyroid medication needed adjusting, but my bloodwork was normal. I was often exhausted, but I blamed it on parenting. Ditto for my anxiety and depression, which were at an all-time high.

Then I started getting pins and needles in the side of my face, along with tingling in my arm, tightness in my chest, and heart palpitations. After two visits to the ER and a full cardiology workup, I was assured that my heart was healthy. I was relieved, but mystified. What was going on with me?

Limits Of Medication Use

Overuse of medications can sometimes lead to chronic headaches. You shouldn’t take prescribed medication more than two times per week. You can get rid of the chronic headaches by tapering and discontinuing medication — under a doctor’s supervision. Pain medicines containing narcotics should be taken only at the direction of your physician because they can be habit-forming.

Keep A Headache Diary

Keeping a headache diary is a good way to figure out the association between migraine triggers, your lifestyle, and headache, says Robert Cowan, MD, professor of neurology and chief of the division of headache medicine at Stanford University in California. With a headache diary, youll start to see a pattern, such as you get migraines on weekends or in the afternoon. If you take migraine medication, you record this in your diary.

Dr. Cowan recommends using a free headache diary app to keep track of migraines and triggers. He and two colleagues created the free app BonTriage, which is available in the App Store.

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Talk To Your Boss Or Hr Department

Disclosing personal medical information to an employer is optional, but when it comes to migraine, it can be advantageous to talk to your boss and explain the disease, the symptoms and how they manifest, and that when you get a migraine, you could be out of commission for the next few days. Schedule a meeting with the HR department or directly with your boss, and bring some supporting materials like a migraine fact sheet or a note from your doctor in case your employer is not familiar with its symptoms and severity. The American Migraine Foundations website is a great resource for this.

How To Prevent Migraines

Headache are such a pain when you get them

If you want to prevent migraine headaches, here are a few things you can do:

Avoid bright lights and loud noises. These over-stimulate your nervous system, increasing the risk that a migraine headache will set in.

Watch what you eat. After each a migraine headache, try to figure out what set it off. Think about what you ate, and determine if there are any of the food mentioned above triggers to blame.

Be careful during times of hormonal change. During pregnancy, menstruation, menopause, and any other times of hormonal change, be extra careful with what you do. Small things can trigger the migraine attack because your hormones are in flux.

Be regular with your sleep and eating habits. A regular sleep schedule can help to reduce fatigue, and eating regularly may prevent migraine headaches.

Limit stressors.Easier said than done, right? Stress is one of the worst migraine triggers and one we cant always avoid. Try to limit stress as much as possible. If that means changing your job or altering the way you handle home life, so be it. Your health matters, and reducing stress is a key to preventing migraines!

Follow this advice, and you can drastically reduce your risk of migraine headaches.

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How Are Migraines Diagnosed

Your doctor can diagnose migraines by the symptoms you describe. If the diagnosis is not clear, your doctor will perform a physical exam. Your doctor might want to do blood tests or imaging tests, such as an MRI or CAT scan of the brain. These tests can help ensure there are no other causes for the headache. You may also be asked to keep a headache journal. This can help your doctor identify the things that might cause your migraines.

If headache pain is getting in the way of your daily activities, its time to see your family doctor.;Read;More

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.

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What Commonly Triggers A Migraine

People who get migraines may be able to identify triggers that seem to kick off the symptoms. Some possible triggers include the following:

  • Stress and other emotions
  • Biological and environmental conditions, such as hormonal shifts or exposure to light or smells
  • Fatigue and changes in one’s sleep pattern
  • Glaring or flickering lights

What Happens During A Migraine

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Every migraine begins differently. Sometimes people get a warning that a migraine is on its way. A few hours or even days before the actual headache, people might feel funny or “not right. They might crave different foods, or feel thirsty, irritable, tired, or even full of energy. This is called a “premonition.”

Some people get auras. These are neurological symptoms that start just before the headache and last up to an hour. An aura is different in every person, but it often affects vision. For example, a person might:

  • have blurred vision
  • see spots, colored balls, jagged lines, or bright flashing lights
  • smell a certain odor
  • feel tingling in a part of their face

Once the headache starts, light, smell, or sound may bother people with migraines or make them feel worse. Sometimes, if they try to continue with their usual routine, they may become nauseated and vomit. Often the pain begins only on one side of the head, but it might eventually affect both sides. Trying to do physical activities can make the pain worse.

Most migraines last from 30 minutes to several hours; some can last a couple of days.

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What Is The Prognosis For People With Migraines

Migraines are unique to each individual. Likewise, how migraines are managed is also unique. The best outcomes are usually achieved by learning and avoiding personal migraine triggers, managing symptoms, practicing preventive methods, following the advice of your healthcare provider and reporting any significant changes as soon as they occur.

Tips To Ease Migraine Pain

Even if you avoid your triggers and practice healthy habits, you may still experience migraines. Here are some home remedies that might bring relief.

Thinkstock ; Shutterstock

You take prevention medication and steer clear of your known triggers but still, youre hit with a migraine. Sometimes you cant avoid it. So, what can you to do relieve the pain?

Once an attack begins, you can take medication to help ease pain, says an associate professor of neurology at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. And beyond taking migraine medication, you may want to give a few home remedies a try.

There arent a lot of studies to show they are definitively effective, Dr. Good says, but many of her patients do say they help.

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What Is Migraine Exactly

A billion people worldwide suffer from migraine, a neurological disease that has no cure and defies treatment. People dont get migraines, they have migraine: a genetic condition that makes the brain hypersensitive to various stimuli, which can in turn trigger an attack. Common triggers are stress, a lack of sleep, hormones, and a drop in barometric pressure. People can also be triggered by red wine, chocolate, and too much caffeine.

Migraine is characterized by recurrent attacks, which can last for days. An attack can cause various symptoms, including nausea, visual disturbances, mood changes, and fatigue. It often involves a throbbing headache, typically on one side of the head. Some episodes are manageable with rest and over-the-counter medications, while others are so severe they send people to the emergency room.

Migraine is categorized by the frequency of attacks: episodic migraine , or chronic migraine . A person can fluctuate between these categories throughout their life.

Is It A Trigger Or A Warning

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We know that the brain of someone with migraine likes balance, like regular sleep and meal patterns. We also know that migraine can be triggered by alcohol and the menstrual cycle. The evidence for other triggers, such as exercise, eating chocolate and bright light, is less certain.

It can sometimes be difficult to tell if something is really a trigger, or if what youre experiencing is an early symptom of a migraine attack.

Studies have found that sometimes what you may think is a trigger is actually to do with the premonitory or warning stage of a migraine attack.

During this stage, you may get symptoms such as changes in your mood or emotions, cravings for certain foods, and being more sensitive to light, sound or smells.

These symptoms can lead to you think that something is triggering your migraine attack. For example, at the beginning of a migraine attack, you may start to crave sweet foods. You may then eat some chocolate to satisfy the craving. When you then get a headache, you may think that eating chocolate was the trigger. But actually you were starting to have a migraine attack when the cravings started and the cravings were the warning sign.

The same could be true for other triggers. If you are more sensitive to light in the warning stage, you might think bright lights are a trigger. If you are more sensitive to smells, you might think certain scents are a trigger.

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Use A Chilly Compress

Numerous sufferers typically discover migraine aid by making use of one thing chilly, like an ice pack or damp washcloth, to their heads. When you can place it just about all over the place that feels good to you, this methodology is particularly useful for back-of-the-head or neck ache, says Dr. Datta.

You should utilize a easy one out of your freezer or lean into fancy, schmancy ice packs on the market that wrap around your head and reside your greatest Moira Rose life. However, really, do no matter feels good to you.

What Are The Treatments For Migraine

There is no absolute cure for migraine. However, lots of treatments are available to help ease the symptoms of a migraine attack.

When a migraine attack occurs, most people find that lying down in a quiet, dark room is helpful. Sleeping can also help. Some people find that their symptoms die down after they have vomited .

Most people affected by migraine will already have tried paracetamol, aspirin and perhaps;anti-inflammatory drugs;such as ibuprofen before they seek advice from their doctor. If ordinary painkillers alone are not relieving your symptoms, your GP might prescribe you a;triptan; to be taken in addition to over-the-counter painkillers . Triptans are available in different forms to suit individuals , although it is important to note that some people develop short-term side effects when taking triptans. Your doctor may also prescribe you;anti-sickness medication. If your situation does not improve after treatment, you might be referred to a specialist migraine clinic.

It is important to avoid taking painkillers on more than two days per week or more than 10 days per month as this can in fact make things worse by triggering;medication overuse headaches.

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How To Get Through 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 746,487 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.

What Are The Types Of Headaches What Type Of Headache Is A Migraine

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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.

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Pack A Migraine Emergency Kit

Now I keep a Migraine Kit that includes two instant cold packs that I can carry on a plane or slip in a day pack, perfect for emergency migraine treatment on the go. They last twice as long as ordinary ice packs, too.

I also keep earplugs, an eye mask, lavender essential oils, my meds, and ginger candies in my kit. Ginger helps calm my stomach and lavender helps calm the rest of me.

One note about the use of caffeine in beverages, chocolate, or Excedrin Migraine. If your Migraine attack was triggered by dehydration then coffee, tea, and soda will make it worse, not better. Further, the caffeine and Excedrin Migraine puts you at risk for a rebound cycle that will produce the same symptoms 8-24 hours later.

It’s best to stick with plain water when treating an attack. Or choose a drink that will soothe your stomach, like peppermint tea.

How to get rid of a Migraine fast? Try to CHILL before you pop a pill.

Remember these 5 tips for instant Migraine relief, and you’ll be feeling better in no time: cold, heat, inhale, liquid, and lights off. Replace panic with CHILL,

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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What Are Rebound Migraines

Women who use acute pain-relief medicine more than two or three times a week or more than 10 days out of the month can set off a cycle called rebound. As each dose of medicine wears off, the pain comes back, leading the patient to take even more. This overuse causes your medicine to stop helping your pain and actually start causing headaches. Rebound headaches can occur with both over-the-counter and prescription pain-relief medicines. They can also occur whether you take them for headache or for another type of pain. Talk to your doctor if you’re caught in a rebound cycle.

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