HomeExclusiveWhen To See A Doctor For Migraines

When To See A Doctor For Migraines

Migraines: Many Types Symptoms When To See The Doctor

When to see a doctor for headaches

by benefitsConnect | Apr 23, 2021 | Newsletters |

Would you believe that millions of people get Migraines? A migraine usually feels like throbbing on one side of the head. They can also cause nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. And they can be much more severe than other headaches.

But migraines arent all alike. Since there are many types, yours might be very different from someone elses.

I’m Pregnant Can My Migraines Still Be Treated

Some migraine medicines should not be used when you are pregnant because they can cause birth defects and other problems. This includes over-the-counter medicines, such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Talk with your doctor if migraine is a problem while you are pregnant or if you are planning to become pregnant. Your doctor might suggest a medicine that will help you and that is safe during pregnancy. Home treatment methods, such as doing relaxation exercises and using cold packs, also might help ease your pain. The good news is that for most women migraines improve or stop from about the third month of the pregnancy.

Coping With High Blood Pressure

If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure or are at increased risk, your doctor may recommend regular check-ups, which include checking your blood pressure and other vital signs, and giving advice or prescribing medication to keep your blood pressure and other related conditions under control .

Care services are available to help people with high blood pressure choose a healthy lifestyle, monitor their condition, and follow their treatment plans.

Blood pressure is a condition that has a complex set of factors and risk factors.

Some of the risk factors for high blood pressure can be changed our lifestyle has a major impact on our risk of high blood pressure and vascular disease.

Eating a sensible, healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise, and not smoking or consuming excessive alcohol are the best things we can do to improve our blood pressure levels and reduce our risk of some serious health problems.

Achieving or maintaining a healthy weight is important for many reasons, and trying to lower high blood pressure may include learning to deal with stress in our everyday lives.

If you are prescribed medication for high blood pressure or any other condition, make sure you are taking them as directed and speak to your doctor if you are thinking of stopping them or if you experience problematic side effects.

This article was first published as a tribute.

Also Check: Does Cream Of Tartar Help With Migraines

Prescription Treatment For Menstrual Migraines

If OTC medicines and natural remedies are not enough to control your menstrual migraines, a prescription treatment may be the best option for you. Furthermore, menstrual migraines can be more difficult to treat due to the effect of estrogen in your body. You may need a prescription on hand for when you get headaches around your period. Here are some commonly used prescription treatments.

  • Estrogen cream or patches: Remember how we said that a major cause of menstrual migraines is thought to be the drop in estrogen levels that happens during your period? Preventing such a quick and major drop in these hormones can help keep menstrual migraines away. For this, estrogen cream or patches can be used, starting a few days before your period.

While birth control pills can help prevent menstrual migraines, it can take some time for them to work. For more information on starting regular birth control, read our birth control pill guide.

Please note that this discount is solely from Cove and not related to The Pill Club or from engaging with The Pill Club website.

Headache Red Flags: When To See Your Doctor

Migraine Doctor

Although painful and often disabling, the vast majority of headaches are not due to worrisome underlying problems. However, the presence of certain symptoms suggests the need to be evaluated by your doctor. These headache red flags include:

  • Thunderclap Headache: very severe headache that reaches its maximum severity immediately . Thunderclap headaches require emergent medical evaluation.
  • Positional Headache: headache that substantially changes in intensity in association with changes in position e.g. standing from lying or vice-versa.
  • Headaches Initiated by Exertion: headache starting while coughing, sneezing, and/or straining.
  • New Headaches: especially if older than 50 years of age, or if there are medical conditions that make worrisome headaches more likely .
  • Substantial Change in Headache Pattern: significant increase in headache frequency or significant change in headache characteristics
  • Constant Headache Always in the Same Location of the Head
  • Headache that never goes away
  • Systemic symptoms: including fever, chills, weight loss, night sweats
  • If any of these headache red flags are present, your doctor will want to evaluate you by asking questions about your headaches and general health, and by performing physical and neurologic examinations. Based upon these assessments, your doctor will be able to determine if further tests are needed.

    Todd J. Schwedt, MD, FAHS, Professor of Neurology, Mayo Clinic, Phoenix, AZ.

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    Also Check: Does Cream Of Tartar Help With Migraines

    What Should I Do When A Migraine Begins

    Work with your doctor to come up with a plan for managing your migraines. Keeping a list of home treatment methods that have worked for you in the past also can help. When symptoms begin:

    • If you take migraine medicine, take it right away.
    • Drink fluids, if you don’t have nausea during your migraine.
    • Lie down and rest in a dark, quiet room, if that is practical.

    Some people find the following useful:

    • A cold cloth on your head
    • Rubbing or applying pressure to the spot where you feel pain
    • Massage or other relaxation exercises

    Conditions That Cause Nerve Pain

    Many conditions — such as diabetes, shingles, and cancer — may cause injury and nerve pain. Some people develop nerve pain for no known reason.

    It is important to try to find the underlying cause of your nerve pain, such as uncontrolled diabetes, and seek appropriate treatment for it. It may help ease your pain and stop the progression of damage. But be sure you seek treatment for your pain too.

    Recommended Reading: Migraines Side Effects

    What Are The Symptoms Of A Menstrual Migraine

    The most common menstrual migraine symptom is a throbbing pain that’s most often felt on your temples or behind your eyes. The pain can vary in how intense it feels. It’s most on either the left or right side of your head, but can be on both sides.

    Unlike a tension headache, migraines can have other symptoms such as

    • Nausea

    • Pain with a lot of noise, known as sonophobia

    • Sensitivity to light, known as photophobia

    One study involving 181 women between the ages of 12 and 55 compared menstrual migraines with migraines not related to menstruation. The menstrual migraine group had longer-lasting headaches, and more nausea and light and sound sensitivity compared to the migraine group.

    What Does A Headache Feel Like With High Blood Pressure

    When To Consult A Doctor About Headaches

    Headaches associated with high blood pressure are often specifically described as a throbbing, firm, or throbbing pain, sometimes with a migraine-like aura. If headaches or migraines are associated with extremely high blood pressure, you may experience other symptoms such as confusion, nausea, chest pain, and feelings of fear and panic.

    Migraines can be a very severe headache and are often described as an aura sensations or changes in vision that occur before the more typical symptoms.

    People describe flashing lights, sensitivity to light and noise, nausea, and nausea with migraines. Migraines differ from headaches in that they are more likely to have these other symptoms that affect vision, hearing, and other parts of the body, beyond a localized headache.

    Headaches can be extremely severe, but in general, people describe the pain associated with migraines as worse than most headaches.

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    What Is A Period Headache

    There are different types of headaches, depending on the cause and symptoms. Let’s break down how different types of headaches are categorized.

    Tension headache:

    This is the most common type of headache affecting 80% of Americans. It’s often caused by stress, dehydration, or exhaustion. Tension headaches usually cause a pressing or tightening pain on both sides of the head.


    This is an intense, throbbing headache that affects 29.5 million Americans. Women in particular are affected, as about 75% of people who get migraines are female. Migraines can cause pain on both sides of the head, but one side, usually in the temple or behind the eye.

    Menstrual migraine:

    A menstrual migraine or period headache is a type of migraine. It occurs anywhere from two days before to three days after your period begins and may last until your period is over.

    Please note that this discount is solely from Cove and not related to The Pill Club or from engaging with The Pill Club website.

    How Can I Tell If I Have A Migraine Or Just A Bad Tension

    Compared with migraine, tension-type headache is generally less severe and rarely disabling. Compare your symptoms with those in this chart to see what type of headache you might be having.

    Migraine vs. bad tension-type headache

    Aura before onset of headachex

    Note: Rebound headache may have features of tension and/or migraine headache. Adapted from a table produced by the American Council for Headache Education.

    Although fatigue and stress can bring on both tension and migraine headaches, migraines can be triggered by certain foods, changes in the body’s hormone levels, and even changes in the weather.

    There also are differences in how types of headaches respond to treatment with medicines. Although some over-the-counter drugs used to treat tension-type headaches sometimes help migraine headaches, the drugs used to treat migraine attacks do not work for tension-type headaches for most people.

    You can’t tell the difference between a migraine and a tension-type headache by how often they occur. Both can occur at irregular intervals. Also, in rare cases, both can occur daily or almost daily.

    Also Check: How To Get A Migraine

    Diagnostic Tests For Headache

    The tests your doctor orders will depend in part on what they suspect could be causing your headaches and whether its a primary headache such as a migraine or tension headache or a secondary headache, which means that its a symptom of another health concern.

    Although primary headaches can be painful and debilitating, they arent life-threatening.

    Secondary headaches are much rarer and can be the sign of a serious health issue sometimes even one that requires urgent medical attention.

    The process of diagnosis may include the following:

    Medical history Your doctor will want to know about any other health conditions you have as well as any medications, supplements, or herbal treatments you take.

    Family history Be prepared to provide details about any family members who have headaches or migraine at what age their headaches started, and any other health diagnoses they may have. As Goadsby notes, Very often, family members wont know theyve got migraine, but they will know they are prone to headaches. Since migraine has a strong genetic component, a family history of migraine-like symptoms is an indicator that your headaches are also being caused by migraine.

    Physical exam Your doctor will examine you, paying close attention to your head, neck, and shoulders, which can all contribute to headache pain in various ways.

    Neurological exam A neurological exam may include tests of your vision, hearing, short-term memory, reflexes, sensation, balance, and coordination.

    What To Tell Your Doctor About Your Headaches

    When to see a doctor for migraine?

    According to the headache expert Peter Goadsby, MD, PhD, a professor of neurology at the UCLA Goldberg Migraine Program in Los Angeles, a valuable tool in diagnosis is your headache history.

    A thorough history, aided by your detailed notes, can pinpoint causes, triggers, and even potential solutions. Make careful notes about your headache experiences before you go to the doctor. Include the following:

    • When the headaches occur
    • What, if anything, makes them feel better or go away
    • Whether sound, light, or noise bother you during headaches
    • Whether there are any changes in your vision before or during headaches, such as blurriness, black spots, or flashes of light
    • How well you slept the night before your headache
    • If you are a woman, when your headaches occur in relation to your menstrual cycle
    • Any unusual weather at the time of your headaches
    • Food or drink that you have consumed in the 24 hours before the headache
    • Activities you were engaging in when the headache began or just prior to it
    • Previous headache diagnoses and treatments youve tried

    Dr. Goadsby recommends using a monthly calendar so that the pattern of headache days is clearly visible to you and your doctor.

    If you are having severe or disabling headaches, dont wait a full month to call for an appointment make notes about what you recall or are experiencing and see a doctor as soon as you can.

    Recommended Reading: Are Migraines A Symptom Of Pregnancy

    How Are Migraines Treated

    Migraine has no cure. But your migraines can be managed with your doctor’s help. Together, you will find ways to treat migraine symptoms when they happen, as well as ways to help make your migraines less frequent and severe. Your treatment plan may include some or all of these methods.

    Medicine. There are two ways to approach the treatment of migraines with drugs: stopping a migraine in progress and prevention. Many people with migraine use both forms of treatment.

    Acute treatment. Over-the-counter pain-relief drugs such as aspirin, acetaminophen, or NSAIDs like ibuprofen relieve mild migraine pain for some people. If these drugs don’t work for you, your doctor might want you to try a prescription drug. Two classes of drugs that doctors often try first are:

    • Triptans, which work by balancing the chemicals in the brain. Examples include sumatriptan , rizatriptan , zolmitriptan , almotriptan , eletriptan , naratriptan , and frovatriptan . Triptans can come as tablets that you swallow, tablets that dissolve on your tongue, nasal sprays, and as a shot. They should not be used if you have heart disease or high blood pressure.
    • Ergot derivatives , which work in the same way as triptans. They should not be used if you have heart disease or high blood pressure.

    Prevention. Some medicines used daily can help prevent attacks. Many of these drugs were designed to treat other health conditions, such as and . Some examples are:

    Can High Blood Pressure Cause Migraine Or Can Migraine Cause High Blood Pressure

    Raised blood pressure doesn’t usually cause any symptoms, but a hypertensive crisis acute dangerously high blood pressure can have significant symptoms.

    Some people do get migraines with high blood pressure, but the link between the two is quite complex. Migraines and high blood pressure can each have the same cause.

    A person is more likely to have a migraine or high blood pressure when they are ill, stressed, depressed, reacting to food intolerances, doing sudden strenuous exercise, or for lots of other reasons.

    This means that migraine and high blood pressure may sometimes happen at the same time because they have the same underlying cause.

    Blood pressure can be raised when someone is unwell, under stress, or for lots of other reasons, so someone suffering from a migraine an acute episode of pain and other unpleasant symptoms might have elevated blood pressure as a result.

    People who report having the kind of migraine that comes with an ‘aura’ people often describe flashing lights and similar symptoms before a migraine are at a slightly increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

    The mechanisms of this link aren’t fully understood, but it does mean that people who suffer from migraines should be aware of their risk of cardiovascular disease and manage their other risk factors as well as they can.

    Recommended Reading: Headache Mayo

    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.

    When A Migraine Is An Emergency

    Do I Need To See My Doctor For My Headache? / Headache

    There are several types of migraine emergency, all of which can be overwhelming. A migraine emergency usually feels different from a regular migraine, and your symptoms may feel unfamiliar and confusing. Migraine emergencies include:

    Overall, it is not a good idea to ignore unusual migraine symptoms. While there is a strong chance that you may not be experiencing a serious medical event, it is best to have a professional medical evaluation.

    Recommended Reading: Cream Of Tartar Headache

    What Is High Blood Pressure

    Blood pressure is the pressure of our blood against our blood vessels as it is pumped around the body by the heart.

    It is given in two numbers, for example 120/80 the first is systolic the high pressure when the heart is contracting the most, the second is diastolic the pressure at the point of heartbeat when the heart is relaxed.

    We speak of high blood pressure or high blood pressure because it can increase our risk of certain serious illnesses and also because it can be a sign that something is wrong in the body.

    Typically, high blood pressure is above 140/90, although the recommended threshold for treatment may be lower in those at risk and health authority guidelines may change based on new knowledge.


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