Avoid Migraine Triggers In General In The Days Leading Up To Your Period
Dont skip meals or fast, and avoid processed foods, artificial sweeteners, alcohol and highly caffeinated drinks, notes the Mayo Clinic. Keep your sleep patterns as normal as possible, and try to either avoid stress or learn how to cope with it.
You can also be proactive about preventing migraines in general by asking about certain vitamin supplements, like magnesium.
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.
Changing Body Temperature And Migraine
I knew that my bodys thermostat was getting messed with during an attack and I found evidence that supported just that. I may be crazy regarding other things in my life, but this time I know I was secure in my sanity if only for a moment! For those who are interested, the cases I read were found by googling migraine and temperature regulation.
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Theories About Migraine Pain
Older theories about migraines suggested that symptoms were possibly due to fluctuations in blood flow to the brain. Now many headache researchers realize that changes in blood flow and blood vessels don’t initiate the pain, but may contribute to it.
Current thinking regarding migraine pain has moved more toward the source of the problem, as improved technology and research have paved the way for a better understanding. Today, it is widely understood that chemical compounds and hormones, such as serotonin and estrogen, often play a role in pain sensitivity for migraine sufferers.
One aspect of migraine pain theory explains that migraine pain happens due to waves of activity by groups of excitable brain cells. These trigger chemicals, such as serotonin, to narrow blood vessels. Serotonin is a chemical necessary for communication between nerve cells. It can cause narrowing of blood vessels throughout the body.
When serotonin or estrogen levels change, the result for some is a migraine. Serotonin levels may affect both sexes, while fluctuating estrogen levels affect women only.
For women, estrogen levels naturally vary over the life cycle, with increases during fertile years and decreases afterwards. Women of childbearing age also experience monthly changes in estrogen levels. Migraines in women are often associated with these fluctuating hormone levels and may explain why women are more likely to have migraines than men.
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.
Why Does My Vision And Hearing Change Before Migraine
These changes are called migraine aura. Theyre a collection of sensory symptoms that some people experience just before a migraine. You may see zigzag patterns in your vision, hear strange noises, or feel unusual sensations like tingling in your body.
Aura may stem from changes to brain cells and chemicals. About 20 to 30 percent of people with migraine get aura right before their headache. These symptoms usually subside in about an hour.
Throbbing Pain On One Or Both Sides Of The Head
Pulsating pain is a classic sign of migraines. The throbbing is often felt on one side of the head.
In an online survey of patients with migraines, the National Headache Foundation found that 50% “always” have throbbing on one side, while 34% say they “frequently” have this symptom.
Migraine pain often burrows behind the eye.
People will blame it on eye strain and many will get their eyes checked, but that won’t make their headaches any better, Dr. Messina says.
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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.
Preventative Medication And Therapies
If you experience frequent migraines, your GP might discuss preventative medication options with you.
It is important to note that preventatives for migraines are not pain medication, but help to reduce the number of migraines. They take time to work, so the minimum time period required may be three to six months. Contact your GP or specialist for further information. All of these treatments have their advantages and disadvantages and some of the medications might not be suitable for everybody.
You might find that this medication reduces the frequency and severity of your attacks but does not stop them completely. You will need to continue your other migraine treatments when you experience an attack.
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends that GPs and specialists should consider the following drugs and therapies if they think you might benefit from preventative treatment:
Beta blocking drugs
These drugs are traditionally used to treat angina and high blood pressure. It has been found that certain beta-blockers prevent migraine attacks. Beta-blockers are unsuitable for people with certain conditions.
This drug is typically prescribed for the treatment of epilepsy but has also been found to help reduce the frequency of migraines. Again, it is not suitable for everyone. In particular, women who are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant should be advised of the associated side effects.
Botulinum toxin type A
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Can I Prevent Chronic Migraines
Taking care of yourself every day may prevent your migraines from turning into a long-term problem. For instance:
Catch some ZZZs. Not getting enough sleep can trigger a migraine. Aim for 7 to 8 hours of rest each night.
Watch your diet. While caffeine can soothe your pain, stopping it suddenly is a common cause of migraine. Other common food triggers include MSG , nitrates in cured meats like hot dogs, artificial sweeteners, and alcohol.
Manage your stress. Tension and worry are common triggers. Try to carve out a few minutes each day to do something you love, or learn to breathe deeply when youâre in the midst of a crisis. You might join a support group or talk to a counselor.
Have a meal plan. Fasting and skipping meals can trigger headaches. Try to eat around the same times each day.
Get moving. Exercise is a good way to ease your anxiety and stress. It can also help you get to, and stay at, a healthy weight. Since obesity raises your risk of chronic migraines, getting in shape is crucial.
Know your triggers. Not all migraines result from triggers. But if yours do, that set of triggers is unique to you. To learn what yours are, keep a headache diary. Each time you have an attack, write down details about what you were doing, how long the headache lasted, and how you felt before it started. This will help you begin to notice patterns — and avoid your triggers.
You Also Have A Stiff Neck Or High Fever
If you have a headache and a fever, you may think its the flu. But add in the telltale symptom of a stiff neck, and you may have meningitis.
The infection, which can be bacterial or viral, affects the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. The swelling of these membranes is what can trigger a headache and stiff neck. You may also have nausea, vomiting or even seizures if you have meningitis. Although meningitis is hard to diagnose because it can mimic other infections, if you have a headache along with these other symptoms, its best to get checked by your doctor.
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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.
Causes Of Headache While Sleeping
Experiencing headaches while sleeping can be the start of a very frustrating journey since a good sleep quality is tantamount to being healthy and being able to perform well during the day. The reasons can range from drinking too much alcohol just before bedtime or being overly stressed out. The first step is to recognize the triggers that cause the headaches and subsequently avoiding them. If you continue to experience them even after avoiding the stressors, consult your doctor for a full evaluation.
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Can Migraines Be Prevented Or Avoided
Medicine to prevent migraines may be helpful if your headaches happen more than 2 times a month. You may want to consider this medicine if your headaches make it hard for you to work and function. These medicines are taken every day, whether you have a headache or not.
Preventive medications for migraines can include prescription drugs often used to treat other ailments. Anti-seizure medicines, antidepressants, medicines to lower blood pressure, and even Botox injections are some of the preventive medications your doctor may prescribe. Calcitonin gene-related peptide inhibitors can also help prevent migraines. They do so by blocking a gene-related peptide in your sensory nerves. This peptide is known to increase during a migraine attack, so blocking it can help prevent migraines.
There are also a number of non-medical treatments designed to help minimize migraine pain and frequency. One is an electrical stimulation device, which has been approved by the FDA. It is a headband that you wear once a day for 20 minutes to stimulate the nerve linked to migraines. Another non-medical treatment is counseling aimed at helping you feel in more control of your migraines. This counseling works best when paired with medical prevention of migraines, as well.
Overuse Of Pain Medications
When you pop over the counter pills to fight headache pain, your body may become reliant on them. If you stop using them you may experience what’s called a rebound headache. This occurs as your body adjusts to lower levels of pain medication in your system. They will likely go away if you continue avoiding said medication.
So if you started having headaches way more often then once every 3-4 months without any visible reason then itâs not time to take stronger pain killers, but it’s time to think about the source of the headache. These are by no means the only causes of a headache, so if you can’t discern what is causing yours, it’s important to see a doctor so you can figure what is causing your headaches so you can decide on the best course of treatment for them.
In the next article I will tell you how to deal with different kinds of headaches and treat them naturally and harmlessly…
Former MD from Russia with over 30 years of hands on experience, and a large private practice based out of New York City, and north eastern PA.
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This article written in collaboration with editor, Eliza Martinez
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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.
Work With Your Doctor To Come Up With A Mini
Lets say a woman has regular periods every 28 days, and she knows that the day before her period begins, her headache starts. Her doctor might advise her to take an over-the-counter medication like Aleve or a class of prescription medications for migraines, called triptans, two days before her period starts, Halker says.
If she takes it right then, it can help her avoid that headache completely, Halker said.
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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
What Is Migraine Aura Without Pain
Migraine aura without pain includes changes in vision or changes in the other senses and speech but no head pain. Symptoms gradually build over 5 to 20 minutes and then go away after about 1 hour. The lack of head pain sets it apart from other types of migraine with aura. Also, no other disorder can be found to be blamed for the symptoms.1
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Why Am I Waking Up With A Migraine
Theres a close relationship between sleep and migraines. Disruptions in your natural sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm, can trigger attacks, and, in turn, migraines can interrupt your sleep patterns. Its little wonder that those with sleep disorders are more likely to experience this condition.
Disruptions in sleep due to several disorders can be at the root of your morning migraine, including:
- Insomnia: This disorder is characterized by an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. This is because both insomnia and migraine may be due to the activity of some of the same brain regions and neurotransmitters.
- Obstructive sleep apnea:Interrupted breathing while youre asleep characterizes this condition. It can cause snoring, cold sweats, sudden waking, and excessive nighttime urination.
- Teeth grinding:If you grind your teeth at night, a condition called bruxism, muscular pain around the temporomandibular jointthe hinge that connects your jaw to the skullcan cause headaches to flare up.
Though they can happen at any time of day, migraines most commonly arise in the morning hours, between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. Whats behind your morning migraine attack? Several factors may be at play.
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
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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.