Take Your Medicines As Directed
One Woman’s Story:
“I always used to wait too long to take my medicine. Now I take it as soon as I start to feel the twinges of pain.”â Carole
Read more about .
The best way to stop a migraine is to take your medicine at the first sign of a headache. You might think you can stop the migraine by lying down and being quiet or doing relaxation exercises. But if a migraine has started, it’s probably too late for those other methods to work by themselves.
- Keep your medicine with you at all times so that you’re ready when a headache starts.
- Don’t take the medicine too often. Talk to your doctor if you’re taking your medicine more than 2 days a week, or if you get more than 3 headaches a month. Too much medicineâover-the-counter or prescriptionâcan lead to more headaches. These are called rebound headaches.
You may be able to have fewer headaches by taking prescription medicine to prevent migraines. But taking this medicine doesn’t mean that you’ll never get a migraine.
I Get Migraines Right Before My Period Could They Be Related To My Menstrual Cycle
More than half of migraines in women occur right before, during, or after a woman has her period. This often is called “menstrual migraine.” But, just a small fraction of women who have migraine around their period only have migraine at this time. Most have migraine headaches at other times of the month as well.
How the menstrual cycle and migraine are linked is still unclear. We know that just before the cycle begins, levels of the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, go down sharply. This drop in hormones may trigger a migraine, because estrogen controls chemicals in the brain that affect a woman’s pain sensation.
Talk with your doctor if you think you have menstrual migraine. You may find that medicines, making lifestyle changes, and home treatment methods can prevent or reduce the pain.
New Daily Persistent Headache
Symptoms: Best described as the rapid development of unrelenting headache. Typically presents in a person with no past history of headache.
Precipitating Factors: Does not evolve from migraine or episodic tension-type headache. It begins as a new headache and may be the result of a viral infection.
Treatment: Can resolve on its own within several months. Other cases persist and are more refractory.
Prevention: Does not respond to traditional options, but anti-seizure medications, Topamax, or Neurontine can be used.
Treatment If Your Headaches Get Worse
If treatment doesn’t stop your migraines, you and your doctor may make changes. You may try different medicines, a new mix of medicines, or different doses.
If you have already tried several types of medicine, your doctor may want you to have tests to look for any other cause for your headaches.
It is possible to be diagnosed with migraines when you really have another type of headache.
It can be hard to tell the such as sinus, tension, or cluster headaches. The symptoms can be the same. And you may have more than one kind of headache. Different types of headaches need different treatment.
What Are The Symptoms Of Migraines
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.
When Should I Go To The Doctor For A Migraine
The following headache symptoms mean you should get medical help right away: A sudden, new, severe headache that comes with: Weakness, dizziness, sudden loss of balance or falling, numbness or tingling, or cant move your body. Trouble with speech, confusion, seizures, personality changes, or inappropriate behavior.
How To Manage The Pain
Let your health care provider know if you experience sudden, severe pain in certain headache locations. Seek out medical assistance if you experience a headache after a blow to the head. Symptoms of a concussion are possible such as dizziness, stiff neck, fever, confusion, loss of consciousness or pain in the eyes or ears.
When your symptoms occur write down the accompanying symptoms, headache locations and any potential triggers. A physician may suggest you to keep a diary to help diagnose the type of pain you are experiencing.
Lets take a look into where the pain originates:
Whats A Migraine What Does A Migraine Feel Like
A migraine is a common neurological disease that causes a variety of symptoms, most notably a throbbing, pulsing headache on one side of your head. Your migraine will likely get worse with physical activity, lights, sounds or smells. It may last at least four hours or even days. About 12% of Americans have this genetic disorder. Research shows that its the sixth most disabling disease in the world.
How Are Migraine Headaches Treated
Migraine is a complex medical condition with a range of symptoms. For most people, the main issue is a severe, painful headache. There are several ways to treat migraine headaches including self-care measures, using prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs. Most individuals can take care of mild-to-moderate attacks with the following strategies:
- Applying a cold compress on the areas of pain
- Resting with pillows supporting the neck and head
- Sleeping in a dark and silent room
- Sipping caffeine
Migraine treatments are helpful to relieve headaches and prevent future attacks. There are several medicines to combat the condition. Medications used to treat migraine can be classified into two broad categories:
- Medications for high blood pressure – Beta-blockers, Calcium channel blockers
- Antidepressants – Nortriptyline , Amitriptyline
- Antiseizure drugs – Valproic acid , Gabapentin , topiramate
- Some anti-allergy and antihistamines drugs, including cyproheptadine and diphenhydramine
Migraine Is Disabling In Kids And Teens Too
While symptoms of migraine in kids and teens may be different from those typically found in adults, children can be just as disabled. In addition to the attack-related disability itself, kids and teens may develop anticipatory anxiety, worrying that at any time an attack could disrupt their life. Its quite common for kids who suffer to be absent from school and unable to participate in after-school and weekend activities. In fact, kids who have migraine are absent from school twice as often as kids who dont.
Kids and especially adolescents and teens can also suffer from one of the most disabling types of migraine, chronic migraine . CM occurs when a child has 15 or more headache days per month lasting more than 4 hours, for more than 3 months. Many teenagers with CM report daily headaches. Head pain isnt the only symptom of CM other common symptoms include dizziness, sleep disturbances, anxiety, depression, difficulty concentrating, and fatigue. CM is challenging to treat and significantly impairs quality of life.
The Headache Or Main Attack Stage
This stage involves moderate to severe head pain. The headache is typically throbbing and is made worse by movement. It is usually on one side of the head, especially at the start of an attack. However, you can get pain on both sides, or all over the head.
Nausea and vomiting can happen at this stage, and you may feel sensitive to light, sound, smell and movement. Painkillers work best when taken early in this stage.
What Are The Causes Of A Migraine
Many people have specific triggers that initiate their migraines. Some of the most common triggers include:
- Salty foods, processed foods, and aged cheeses
- Skipping meals
- Certain food additives, especially monosodium glutamate
- Alcoholic drinks
- Bright lights, loud noises, strong smells, and other sensory stimuli
- Hormonal changes in women caused by menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause
- Mental and physical stress
- Some medications, especially oral contraceptives and vasodilators prescribed for high blood pressure and heart failure
When To Call A Professional
If you have a history of migraine, you should contact your doctor if you develop headaches that differ from your usual headache or other migraine symptoms. Examples include:
- Headaches that get worse over time
- New onset of migraine in a person over age 40
- Severe headaches that start suddenly
- Headaches that worsen with exercise, sexual intercourse, coughing or sneezing
- Headaches with unusual symptoms such as passing out, loss of vision, or difficulty walking or speaking
- Headaches that start after a head injury
In addition, you may want to see your health care professional if you have headaches that do not get better with over-the-counter medications; severe headaches that interrupt work or the enjoyment of daily activities; or daily headaches.
Attack Phase: The Headache Begins
The attack portion of a migraine can last from a few hours to several days. During this phase, youâll probably want to rest quietly and find it hard to do your normal activities.
The pain of a migraine:
- Usually begins above the eyes
- Typically affects one side of the head, but it may happen to the entire head or move from one side to the other. It may also affect the lower face and the neck.
- Tends to feel throbbing
- May throb worse during physical activity or when you lean forward
- May get worse if you move around
Other symptoms that might happen during this phase:
What Can Trigger A Migraine Headache
- Stress, eye strain, oversleeping, or not getting enough sleep
- Hormone changes in women from birth control pills, pregnancy, menopause, or during a monthly period
- Skipping meals, going too long without eating, or not drinking enough liquids
- Certain foods or drinks such as chocolate, hard cheese, alcohol, or drinks that contain caffeine
- Foods that contain gluten, nitrates, MSG, or artificial sweeteners
- Sunlight, bright or flashing lights, loud noises, smoke, or strong smells
- Heat, humidity, or changes in the weather
Other Things To Think About
- Even with treatment, you may still get migraines.
- It may take some time to find the right medicines to help you.
- Using medicines too often can cause rebound headaches. These are different from migraine headaches. They occur after pain medicine has worn off, which leads you to take another dose. After a while, you get a headache whenever you stop taking the medicine. Be sure to take your medicine only as your doctor prescribes.
- If you think your headaches could be caused by depression or anxiety, be sure to let your doctor know. Treatment for these health problems may get rid of your headaches or reduce how often you have them.
- If you think your headaches are related to stress, talk to your doctor about getting help to cope better with stress.
What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
- Will my child grow out of their migraines?
- What medications do you recommend for me?
- What should I change about my lifestyle to prevent my migraine headaches?
- Should I get tested?
- What type of migraine do I have?
- What can my friends and family do to help?
- Are my migraines considered chronic?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Migraine headaches can be devastating and make it impossible to go to work, school or experience other daily activities. Fortunately, there are some ways to possibly prevent a migraine and other ways to help you manage and endure the symptoms. Work with your healthcare provider to keep migraines from ruling your life.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/03/2021.
Q Can Migraines Kill You
A. No, migraine can’t kill you. It is not a fatal condition but a prolonged or untreated condition of a migraine headache can be associated with severe side effects. In rare conditions, it leads to stroke or might make you suicidal. Migraine headaches also disrupt daily life and might hamper your relationships, academic or job life.
Q When Should I See A Doctor
A. You should see a top migraine specialist the moment you start experiencing migraine symptoms. Oftentimes, people do not realize they have a migraine which is why they go untreated since they are not diagnosed, to begin with. If you know you have a migraine already but you are experiencing a different type of pain that is becoming unbearable then you should contact your doctor immediately. The reason is that you might be suffering from another medical condition which needs quick medical attention.
Are There Other Types Of Migraine That Occur In Children And Adolescents
Yes, other types are grouped as either complicated migraine or migraine variants.
Complicated migraines are migraines with neurological symptoms, including:
- Paralysis or weakness of the eye muscles that keep the eye in its normal position and control its movement. This was previously called an ophthalmoplegic migraine.
- Weakness on one side of the body. This is called a hemiplegic migraine.
- Pain at the base of the skull as well as numbness, tingling, visual changes and balance difficulties . This is called basilar migraine.
- Confusion and speech and language problems. This is called confusional migraine and may also occur after a minor head injury.
- Migraine variants are disorders in which the symptoms appear and disappear from time to time. Headache pain may be absent. Migraine variants are more common in children who have a family history of migraine or who will develop migraine later in life. Migraine variants include:
- Paroxysmal vertigo dizziness and vertigo that is brief, sudden, intense, and recurs.
- Paroxysmal torticollis sudden contraction of the neck muscles on one side of the head that causes the head to tilt to one side.
- Cyclic vomiting uncontrolled vomiting that lasts about 24 hours and occurs every 60 to 90 days.
- Abdominal migraine pain in the belly, usually near the belly button . Pain usually lasts 1 to 2 hours.
Treating Nausea And Vomiting Together
Rather than treating the nausea and vomiting separately, doctors prefer to ease those symptoms by treating the migraine itself. If your migraines come with significant nausea and vomiting, you and your doctor may talk about starting preventive medications. See how to cope with the nausea and vertigo that may accompany your migraine.
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.
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:
It can take about eight to 72 hours to go through the four stages.
Q How Often Can Migraines Occur Per Month
A. There is no set answer for this because it depends on many things. If you tend to do things that trigger migraines then you will get many migraine attacks every month. However, if you take preventative measures then you might be less prone to migraine attacks. Some people get a migraine attack a month while others experience migraine attacks weekly.
Which Medicine Is Best For Migraine
If ordinary painkillers are not relieving migraine headaches, a medication termed Triptan may need to be taken in addition to other painkillers and anti-sickness medicines. These are specific drugs for migraine headaches by bringing about some changes in the brain. In migraine, blood vessels widen to cause a specific type of headache and Triptans are known to narrow these vessels. This drug is available as tablets, injections and nasal sprays.
Similarly, anti-emetics can successfully treat migraine even if one did not experience vomiting. They act best when taken immediately after experiencing migraine symptoms. Usually, they come in the form of a tablet but may also be available as a suppository. Side-effects can be drowsiness and diarrhoea.
Combination medicines are also available for managing migraine. However, a disadvantage of this medicine is that the dosages of either the painkiller or the antiemetic may not be high enough in the combination medicine to relieve the symptoms. In such cases, its better to take painkiller and anti-emetics separately rather than as a combination so as to be able to relieve the symptoms effectively.
Migraine Without Head Pain
Also called a Silent or Acephalgic Migraine, this type of migraine can be very alarming as you experience dizzying aura and other visual disturbances, nausea, and other phases of migraine, but no head pain. It can be triggered by any of a persons regular triggers, and those who get them are likely to experience other types of migraine, too. The International Headache Society classifies this type as typical aura without headache.
What Are Migraines
A migraine is a type of headache that recurs , and also causes other symptoms. The pain is often throbbing and can happen on one or both sides of the head. People with migraines can feel dizzy or sick to their stomachs. They may be sensitive to light, noise, or smells.
Migraines can be disabling, and teens with migraines often need to skip school, sports, work, or other activities until they feel better.
Who Gets Migraines
If you have migraines, you’re not alone. Up to 10% of U.S. teens and young adults get migraines. And after age 12, during and after puberty, migraines affect girls twice as often as guys.
Experts believe that the likelihood of getting migraines runs in the family. If one of your parents gets migraines, you have a greater chance of having them than someone who doesn’t have that family history.
What Is A Headache
Headaches are unpleasant pains in your head that can cause pressure and aching. The pain can range from mild to severe, and they usually occur on both sides of your head. Some specific areas where headaches can occur include the forehead, temples, and back of the neck. A headache can last anywhere from 30 minutes to a week. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common headache type is a tension headache. Triggers for this headache type include stress, muscle strain, and anxiety.
Tension headaches arent the only type of headache; other headache types include:
What Happens During A Migraine
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.
What Are The Symptoms
The main symptom of a migraine is a throbbing headache on . You also may feel sick to your stomach and vomit. Activity, light, noise, or odors may make the migraine worse. The pain may move from one side of your head to the other, or you may feel it on both sides at the same time. Different people have different symptoms.
Some people have an before the migraine begins. When you have an aura, you may first see spots, wavy lines, or flashing lights. Your hands, arms, or face may tingle or feel numb. The aura usually starts about 30 minutes before the headache. But most people don’t have auras.
What Is A Migraine Headache
A migraine is a severe headache. The pain can be so severe that it interferes with your daily activities. A migraine can last a few hours up to several days. The exact cause of migraines is not known. A family history of migraines increases your risk. Your risk is also higher if you are a woman or take medicines such as estrogen or a vasodilator.
What Is The Difference Between A Headache And A Migraine
The main cause of the headache is the contraction of the muscles between the head and neck. It is a dull pain felt across the head, is mild to moderate, and in extreme cases, may last for a few days. More commonly, it lasts for half an hour to a couple of hours.
On the contrary, migraine tends to range from moderate to very severe in intensity. It is a throbbing and severe pain which is felt at the side or in the front of the head. It lasts for a couple of days and is accompanied by a few other symptoms called the aura.
Headaches do not have any warning signs accompanying it. On the other hand, migraine has auras beforehand. These can be visual, auditory, psychological or physiological. These are due to the neurological changes in the brain. For example, Basilar migraines are characterised with symptoms of fainting, double vision and loss of balance and Familial hemiplegic migraines are characterised by reversible paralysis.
Sudden stress, anxiety, depression, poor posture, tiredness, dehydration, hunger, smells, squinting, noise and sunlight could be the triggering agents for headaches. Menstruation, menopause, low blood sugar, hypoglycaemia, a diet high in sugar, anxiety, exercise, contraceptives, medicines, dehydration, alcohol, too much screen time and diet are some of the triggering agents of migraine.
Q What Causes Migraine Headache
A. The exact causes for migraine are yet to be medically recognized. Migraine headache is the most common symptom of the condition migraine. Migraine results due to the changes in blood flow in the brain which affects the way nerves communicate as well as the blood vessels and the chemicals in the brain. Though the causes of migraine are unknown, there are triggers which are found to stimulate the condition.
- Hormonal changes in women during menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause might cause migraine headaches.
- Shock, stress, depression, excitement, or anxiety.
- Insufficient sleep or tiredness, neck or shoulder pain, poor posture while sleeping etc.
- Consumption of some kind of medicines like oral contraceptives etc.
- Foods like aged cheese, alcohol, Monosodium Glutamate etc might trigger migraine headaches.
- Too much caffeine or withdrawing from it.
- Changes in the weather or altitude induce changes in the barometric pressure which can trigger a migraine headache.