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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What Medicines Help Relieve Migraine Pain
For mild to moderate migraines, over-the-counter medicines that may help relieve migraine pain include:
- an acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine combination
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.
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 The Symptoms Of Migraine
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.
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.
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Can Using Birth Control Pills Make My Migraines Worse
In some women, pills improve migraine. The pills may help reduce the number of attacks and their attacks may become less severe. But in other women, the pills may worsen their migraines. In still other women, taking birth control pills has no effect on their migraines.
The reason for these different responses is not well understood. For women whose migraines get worse when they take birth control pills, their attacks seem to occur during the last week of the cycle. This is because the last seven pills in most monthly pill packs don’t have hormones they are there to keep you in the habit of taking your birth control daily. Without the hormones, your body’s estrogen levels drop sharply. This may trigger migraine in some women.
Talk with your doctor if you think birth control pills are making your migraines worse. Switching to a pill pack in which all the pills for the entire month contain hormones and using that for three months in a row can improve headaches. Lifestyle changes, such as getting on a regular sleep pattern and eating healthy foods, can help too.
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.
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When To See A Doctor For Severe Headaches
Make an appointment with your medical provider if:
- Your headaches are becoming more severe or more frequent
- Your headaches are accompanied by certain signs that are typical of headache syndromes: Such as visual changes like spots or lines, nausea, inability to tolerate light and sound, and a runny nose or eye tearing on the same side as the headache
- You have tenderness over your temple
- Your headaches are severe enough to interfere with your daily life
- You recently had a lumbar puncture or epidural anesthesia
Primary Versus Secondary Headaches
When you see a doctor about a headache, they gather information about your symptoms to determine if your headaches are primary or secondary.
A primary headache is its own condition, such as migraine, tension headache, or cluster headache. When the headache is caused by another underlying disorder , its called a secondary headache.
Although primary headaches like migraine can be debilitating, they arent life-threatening, says Roderick Spears, MD, a neurologist and headache specialist at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia.
On the other hand, a secondary headache can be the sign of a serious health issue, maybe even one that requires urgent medical attention.
Primary headaches are much more common than secondary headaches more than 90 percent of the people who seek treatment for their headaches are diagnosed with a primary headache disorder, according to a review published in January 2018 in The American Journal of Medicine.
A new headache that lasts all day and night, every day, is concerning and should be investigated as a secondary headache, according to the American Headache Society .
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Changes In The Weather
Storms, excessive heat and changes in barometric pressure are common weather-related migraine triggers that can lead to a migraine attack. High humidity and heat can easily lead to dehydration, another common trigger.
How to cope: We cant control the weather, so if the current conditions are not favorable for your migraine, stay inside or adjust your schedule accordingly. If theres an errand you need to run and its the middle of July in Arizona, take care of it in the morning before it gets too hot!
First How Do You Know If Its A Migraine And Not A Headache
Migraine, in general, is somewhat of a mystery. Just like no two people may experience the same triggers, migraine symptoms also run the gamut from mild to severe. Plus, they often progress through four stages, including prodrome, aura , attack, and post-drome, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Knowing the difference between an average headache and a mind-numbing migraine can help you act fast to appropriately treat whichever one youre experiencing. But if they both cause headaches, how can you even tell which is which?
For one, a migraine can announce its presence several hours to days before the pain strikes. Early warning signs that a migraine may be on the horizon can appear one or two days before an attack.
Some prodromal symptoms to be aware of include mood changes, neck stiffness, fatigue, brain fog, yawning, food cravings, and increased urination. And once an episode is over, you may feel fatigued, both emotionally and physically.
Other features that point to a migraine and not a headache include intense, throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head instead of dull or mild pressure felt in the forehead or scalp. Additional symptoms like nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to sound or light, dizziness, and blurry vision are also clues to an impending migraine episode.
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What Medications Are Used To Relieve Migraine Pain
Over-the-counter medications are effective for some people with mild to moderate migraines. The main ingredients in pain relieving medications are ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, naproxen and caffeine.
Three over-the-counter products approved by the Food and Drug Administration for migraine headaches are:
- Excedrin® Migraine.
- Advil® Migraine.
- Motrin® Migraine Pain.
Be cautious when taking over-the-counter pain relieving medications. Sometimes overusing them can cause analgesic-rebound headaches or a dependency problem. If you’re taking any over-the-counter pain medications more than two to three times a week, report that to your healthcare provider. They may suggest prescription medications that may be more effective.
Prescription drugs for migraine headaches include:
Triptan class of drugs :
- Co-enzyme Q10.
Drugs to relieve migraine pain come in a variety of formulations including pills, tablets, injections, suppositories and nasal sprays. You and your healthcare provider will discuss the specific medication, combination of medications and formulations to best meet your unique headache pain.
Drugs to relieve nausea are also prescribed, if needed.
All medications should be used under the direction of a headache specialist or healthcare provider familiar with migraine therapy. As with any medication, it’s important to carefully follow the label instructions and your healthcare providers advice.
Young People Are At Risk Too
It isn’t just older individuals who should be alert to a bad headache: According to an article published in February 2020 in the journal Stroke, 10 to 15 percent of all strokes occur in people ages 18 to 50.
Risk factors for stroke at a younger age include:
- Inherited or acquired conditions that cause abnormal blood clotting such as sickle cell anemia
- Migraine with aura
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What Happens In Your Brain During A Migraine
But during a migraine, these stimuli feel like an all-out assault. The result: The brain produces an outsize reaction to the trigger, its electrical system firing on all cylinders. This electrical activity causes a change in blood flow to the brain, which in turn affects the brains nerves, causing pain.
Medical Treatments For Severe Headaches
Your medical provider may prescribe one of the following severe headache treatments, depending on the cause of your severe headache:
- A daily medication to prevent future headaches: And/or a medication to take to stop a headache once it has begun.
- Referral to a neurosurgeon: If your headaches are being caused by a structural abnormality
- Treatment for any underlying medical conditions that may be contributing to the headache
- Using a headache calendar: This can help track your headaches, identify triggers, and monitor your response to treatment.
- Stopping a pain medication that may be contributing to the headache
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What Can I Do To Prevent Migraines
One of the best ways to prevent migraines is to try to avoid the things that might trigger your attacks. Most people benefit from trying to get stable sleep, eating regular meals, drinking plenty of fluids to keep hydrated, and trying to manage stress. Taking regular exercise may also help prevent migraines since it helps with breathing, improving blood sugar balance and maintaining general wellbeing. Although you should take care not to engage in very strenuous activity that your body is not used to as this can sometimes act as a migraine trigger.
Keeping a diary of your migraines can be a useful way to record when and where you experience attacks, check for any patterns, and try to identify your triggers. Take the diary when you see your GP so you can communicate your symptoms with them and they can find the best way to help you.
How Can Understanding My Triggers Prevent Migraine Attacks
If youve spent countless hours searching for ways to keep migraines at bay, youre not alone. While there is no cure for migraine episodes, there are things you can do that may prevent migraines from happening so frequently. The best thing you can do is see your doctor to discuss your treatment options. There are a variety of over-the-counter pain relievers and prescription migraine medications that can help ease your symptoms, and even prevent future attacks. Another thing you can do is to be aware of your personal triggers . Here are a few ideas to get you started:
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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.
What To Know When Youre Getting Headaches Every Day
Lets get this out of the way: Getting severe headaches every day isnt normal, so you should talk to your doctor, especially if they come on suddenly. Some headaches can indicate neurological disorders that require treatment, and sudden, severe headaches are always a cause for concern.So, whats a severe headache exactly? Most headaches fall into one of three general categories:
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How Is It Diagnosed
To diagnose an exertional headache, your doctor will likely start by asking about your symptoms and the kinds of things that tend to cause them. Make sure to tell them about any specific activities that seem to give you a headache.
Depending on your symptoms and medical history, they might also use some imaging tests to check for an underlying issue.
Imaging tests used to diagnose exertional headaches include:
- CT scan to check for recent bleeding in or around the brain
- MRI scan to view the structures within your brain
- magnetic resonance angiography and CT angiography to see the blood vessels leading into your brain
- spinal tap to measure the flow of cerebrospinal fluid
Signs Of A Cluster Headache
While a cluster headache is a type of primary headache and not a sign of another underlying condition, the severe pain these headaches cause can lead some people to contemplate suicide.
Cluster headaches occur suddenly and cause a piercing and very intense pain, almost always on one side of the head. A runny nose and tearing on the side with the pain is also common. Cluster headaches generally last between 15 minutes and three hours, without treatment.
Cluster headaches get their name because they come in clusters. A person might have daily cluster headaches for a month or more, for example, and then none for a year.
Treatment for cluster headaches can be high-flow oxygen through a mask nerve blocks, in which a numbing agent, or anesthetic, is injected into the scalp near particular nerves or daily doses of the drug verapamil.
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