What To Know Before You See The Doctor
Some people think an occasional headache is nothing to worry about. But headaches can become a problem if:
- You experience them frequently
- They become severe
- They are disrupting your everyday life
To help your doctor diagnose the source of your headaches, I find it useful when my patients keep track of how often theyre happening. This way, I can determine whether theres a pattern in triggers.
Seek immediate care for your headache if you experience:
- A sudden, intense headache
- Loss of consciousness or vision
- Frequent vomiting
- Pain for more than 72 hours with little to no relief
If youd like to speak with a Temple doctor about your headaches, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED today.
What Is The Difference Between Headache And Migraine
Migraine is a type of primary headache disorder, as is tension-type headache. The cause of neither is fully understood, but both appear to involve heightened sensitivity to stimuli, whether pain, in the case of tension headache, or environmental changes, in the case of migraine.
While head pain is a symptom of both migraine and tension headache, migraine attacks are often accompanied by nausea and are made worse with routine physical activity, while tension-type headache is not.
In addition, headaches caused by migraine typically occur on one side of the head, while tension headaches typically affect both sides.
And migraine tends to have a pulsating or throbbing quality, while the pain of a tension-type headache is described as pressing or tightening.
Having one type of primary headache disorder doesnt rule out having another. In fact, many people have both migraine and tension-type headache.
Symptoms Of Migraine Headache
The symptoms of migraine progress through 4 stages, however, all 4 stages may not be present in everyone with migraine.
- Prodrome. Several hours before a migraine, warning signs such as neck pain or stiffness, mood changes, depression, food cravings, increased thirst/urination, and/or frequent yawning may develop.
- Aura. Flashes of light, bright shapes, bright spots, vision loss, tingling in the upper and/or lower limbs, difficulty speaking, jerking movements, and/or hearing noises may be experienced in the aura phase. Minutes to hours after this phase, the migraine attack starts.
- Migraine attack. Severe throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head, sensitivity to light and sound, nausea/vomiting, lightheadedness, and neck pain occur in this phase. Some evidence suggests that neck pain may be a symptom of migraine rather than a trigger, but more research is needed.3
- Post-drome. A feeling of confusion, weakness, and exhaustion may continue for up to a day after the migraine attack.
A migraine headache typically lasts for 4 hours and can continue up to 72 hours if not treated. 4
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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.
How Do I Know Which Type Of Headache I Have
While some headaches have unique features that make them easy to diagnose, most headaches arent that straightforward.
If you regularly get headaches at night and youre not sure why, it may be worth making an appointment with your doctor. They can help you narrow down the type of headache you have or rule out any underlying conditions that might be causing them.
To do this, theyll likely ask you a series of questions. These might be about:
Keeping these questions in mind, prepare a headache diary for your doctor. For about two weeks prior to your appointment, document every headache you have. Make sure to include all the details about pain characteristics, timing, triggers, and so on.
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Cluster Headache Vs Migraine
Just like migraines, cluster headaches affect one side of the head and are incredibly painful.
But unlike migraines, cluster headaches come on suddenly with a piercing pain that feels like someone stabbed you in the eye or temple with a knitting needle. Cluster headaches can also result in a stuffy nose and teary eyes.
Migraine pain usually starts with some type of signal, such as a flashing light in your visual field or a light aura. While cluster headaches can resolve quickly , migraines can last for days.
Five Ways Artificial Light Contributes To Workplace Fatigue
The invention of artificial lighting has eliminated the need to plan our days around the rising and setting of the sun. Technological evolution has significant advantages. However, the light emitted from artificial sources can affect our bodies quite differently than natural light.
Natural sunlight contains all the colors within the visible light spectrum. Each color radiates with equal intensity. Your exposure to;natural light;helps your body synthesize essential vitamins, influences your moods and emotions, and helps regulate your sleep cycles.
Artificial light, particularly fluorescent light, disburses a narrow range of visible light from the electromagnetic spectrum.;Research;shows that spending a significant portion of your day in artificial light can have a negative impact on your overall health and wellbeing. Many of the effects of artificial light contribute to fatigue. Consider the value of the following observations.
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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
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.
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Fluorescent Light Can Cause Fatigue
The harsh, unforgiving glare of fluorescent lighting is light scattering across your field of vision. This causes poor image quality. As a result, your retinas have to work harder to bring the image into focus. Since your retinas work harder to clarify the image, you will likely notice considerable strain on your eyes, particularly if the glare is compounded from working in front of a computer screen. In addition to contributing to fatigue-invoking glare, fluorescent lights are also shown to:
- Contribute to;stress;and anxiety
- Disrupt menstrual cycles
Not everyone is sensitive to the effects of fluorescent lighting, but many people are. Even if you are not particularly vulnerable, its important to know that fluorescent lights can have a considerable impact on the health of your eyes and skin.
Although fluorescent lights have a protective phosphorus coating to absorb UV radiation, this coating can breakdown with age. Research suggests UV exposure from fluorescent lights can increase your risk of eye disease as much as;12 percent. Indoor UV exposure can also;damage;skin cell DNA, contributing to premature skin aging and an increased risk of skin cancer.
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I Think I Have A Brain Tumour What Should I Do
Brain tumours are rare, however, if you’re worried, if a symptom persists or if you have more than one of these symptoms then you may want to speak to a healthcare profession.
Talk to your GP
GP appointments are usually quite short, find out how to best prepare for your appointment with our guide to talking to your doctor.
Get an eye test
If your symptoms are limited to changes in vision and/or headaches, get your eyes tested by an optician before seeing your GP.
Should I go to A&E?
- The headache is accompanied by a fever or stiff neck.
- The headache is the highest degree of pain on the pain scale.
This does not mean it is a brain tumour, but it could be another serious complaint that needs immediate treatment.
For signs and symptoms to be aware of in children of different ages, including persistent or recurring headaches, visit our HeadSmart website.
Should I speak to a doctor during the coronavirus pandemic?
We understand you may feel worried about seeking help from your GP during the coronavirus pandemic but please don’t delay speaking to a healthcare professional.
The NHS and your GP are still here for you and have made changes that make it easier to safely;speak to a healthcare professional and get medical help if you;need it.
It’s more important than ever for you to prepare;for your;appointments by understanding what might happen during the appointment and what;questions you want to ask.
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Why Do I Get Ocular Migraines
Migraines are caused by cortical spreading depression, a medical term used to describe abnormal electrical activity in the brain that typically starts in the occipital lobe and spreads through the rest of the brain at a slow but steady pace. Ocular migraines may be caused by this same phenomenon that takes place in the retina of the eye.
Recovery Or Postdrome Stage
This is the final stage of an attack, and it can take hours or days for a drained, fatigued or hangover type feeling to disappear. Symptoms can be similar to those of the first stage . Often, they mirror these symptoms. For example, if you lost your appetite at the beginning of the attack, you might be very hungry now. If you were tired, you might feel full of energy.
Being aware of the different stages of the migraine attack can be helpful. It can help you prepare for an attack, get a diagnosis and decide when to take acute treatment, such as painkillers or adapt your activities.
It is useful to have a rescue treatment plan for when attacks occur. This may include painkillers such as a triptan, a NSAID or paracetamol. It often also includes anti-sickness medication.
For other people, being aware of the stages and symptoms of a migraine attack can help their understanding. It may also help with the frustration and lack of understanding people often face around migraine, especially at work and in education.
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What Symptoms Must You Have To Be Diagnosed With A Migraine
Migraine with aura . This is a headache, plus:
- Visual symptoms or vision loss.
- Sensory symptoms .
Migraine without aura . A common migraine is a headache and:
- The attacks included pain on one side of your head.
- Youve had at least five attacks, each lasting between four and 72 hours.
Plus, youve experienced at least one of the following:
- Nausea and/or vomiting.
- Lights bother you and/or you avoid light.
- Sounds bother you and/or you avoid sounds.
When Should I Seek Help For My Headaches
Sometimes, headache can signal a more serious problem. You should talk to your doctor about your headaches if:
- You have several headaches per month and each lasts for several hours or days
- Your headaches disrupt your home, work, or school life
- You have nausea, vomiting, vision, or other sensory problems
- You have pain around the eye or ear
- You have a severe headache with a stiff neck
- You have a headache with confusion or loss of alertness
- You have a headache with convulsions
- You have a headache after a blow to the head
- You used to be headache-free, but now have headaches a lot
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What To Do When Shingles Makes You Tired
If youre experiencing fatigue during or after shingles, try out some of the suggestions below to help you cope.
- Set up a sleep routine. Pain from shingles or PHN can make it hard to sleep. However, setting up a regular sleep routine may help you get to sleep a little easier. Try setting a firm bedtime, or doing something relaxing before going to sleep.
- Reduce stress. Stress can really sap your energy. Additionally, if you have shingles, stress may make your symptoms worse. Because of this, try to find ways to effectively reduce your stress levels.
- Eat often. Eating often may help you keep your energy levels up while youre feeling tired. Try to space out meals and healthy snacks out so that youre eating something every few hours.
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration can make you feel fatigued or sluggish, so make sure youre getting enough fluids.
- Reach out. Try to reach out to family and friends for their support and understanding. If fatigue is significantly affecting your mood and daily life, it may also be beneficial to engage with a support group or a mental health professional.
Should I See A Migraine Specialist
You may only be seeing your primary care doctor for migraine management. But if youre experiencing migraine more often and its impacting your daily life, you may want to start visiting a specialist.
A neurologist can complete a detailed exam to rule out other possible causes of your headaches. Then, you can get started on treatment to help reduce the frequency of your migraine attacks.
Preventive treatments can help stop your migraines before they start. You can take these medications every day.
Some of the medications for chronic migraine treatment include:
- beta blockers
- onabotulinum toxin A
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When Its Actually A Migraine
If you have a migraine, you may experience:
- An aura, or light haze, in the minutes before migraine pain appears
- Blurry vision
- Pain on one side of your head
- Light, touch, smell or sound sensitivity
Occasional migraines can be brought on by:
- Hormone fluctuations
- Lack of food or hydration
- Changes in the weather
In the case of a one-time migraine, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter medicines such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain relief.
What Causes A Migraine
The cause of migraine headaches is complicated and not fully understood. When you have a headache its because specific nerves in your blood vessels send pain signals to your brain. This releases inflammatory substances into the nerves and blood vessels of your head. Its unclear why your nerves do that.
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What Do Brain Tumour Headaches Feel Like
Headaches associated with brain tumours:
- can be throbbing or a dull ache, depending on where they are in the brain
- occur intermittently starting gradually, but fading over a few hours
- tend to get worse over time
- can resemble common migraine or tension-type headaches.
Other types of headaches
Other types of headaches include:
- tension headaches
For more information about these and other headache types, see the National Headache Foundation’s Complete Headache Chart.
Using Meditation To Control Everyday Headaches
People who suffer from migraines and tension headaches every day are far more likely to use alternative medicine than those who dont. Meditation seems most successful, but theres also not much else that has substantial scientific support.
Meditation can be very effective, Mauskop says. Weve noticed significant improvements in patients who take on meditation as a part of their treatment. If youre getting headaches every day, consider starting meditation.
A 2014 study showed that getting migraines or tension-type headaches every day can lead to feeling stressedwonder why! Whats more, the headache itself can cause stress, which in turn adds to the pain of the headache . Exercise can effectively treat stress, but you probably wont feel like going on a five-mile run while youre nursing a bad headache every day, so try to get your exercise in before the headache strikes.
In addition to treating stress, exercise can reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches and migraines,according to the American Migraine Foundation. The key word here is regular, so commit to a certain amount of exercise per day and dont let anything interfere with that time.
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Pay Attention To The Weather
Changes in the weather can impact your migraine patterns. High humidity and hot temperatures can stimulate headaches, as well as rainy days. If the weather becomes uncomfortable for you, you may need to step inside and take a break from the outdoors. Of course, you cant always avoid going outside, but you can minimize your time spent in certain headache-inducing weather.