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 Seek Immediate Help Or Contact My Healthcare Provider
- You are experiencing the worst headache of my life.
- You are having neurologic symptoms that youve never had before, including speaking difficulty, balance problems, vision problems, mental confusion, seizures or numbing/tingling sensations.
- Your headache comes on suddenly.
- You have a headache after experiencing a head injury.
Schedule a visit with your healthcare provider if:
- The number or severity of your headaches increase or your headache pattern changes.
- Your medications no longer seem to be working or youre experiencing new or different side effects.
All About The Migraine Hangover
It can last anywhere from 5-60 minutes. Symptoms of Migraine aura include changes in vision like flashes of light or zig zags, and sensory changes like facial numbness, tingling, vertigo, and speech difficulties. Pain or attack phase: During the attack phase, severe throbbing headache pain is typically present.
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What Is Status Migrainosus
This problem can happen to anyone with migraine. When our typical medicines stop working and migraine keeps going beyond the usual 4-72 hours, we may be experiencing a complication of migraine called status migrainosus.
In A Neurologists Guide to Status Migrainosus Therapy in the Emergency Room, Drs. Gelfand and Goadsby state, It must be stated at the outset that an ED visit for migraine represents a failure of appropriate outpatient management, and modifications in the patients rescue plan need to be made to avoid such visits in the future.1
How I Recovered From Vestibular Migraines
Ive suffered from vestibular migraines for nearly 3 years now, and although I did have migraines when I was a teen I never had them as severely! … Stemitil was my go to take the edge of the dizziness on bad days but it wore off after a few hours and didnt get rid of the migraines. … REMEMBER YOU WILL TAKE STEPS BACK!!! But as long …
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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.
Keep A Diary To Identify Triggers
Not only can a journal help you track symptoms that signal the onset of a headache or migraine, but it may also reveal the foods and drinks that trigger them. The specific culprits can vary from patient to patient, but aged cheeses, MSG-containing foods, and artificial sweeteners are a few common ones. Dark alcohols like red wine, whiskey, bourbon are also more likely to cause migraines than white wine, gin, or vodka, Dr. Newman says.
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How Can I Learn From A Failed Treatment
The keys to turning treatment failure into success: paying close attention to your symptoms, maintaining proper headache hygiene, and communicating regularly with your headache specialist. Getting as specific as possible with headache start and end times, symptoms, medication taken , and response to treatment will not only help uncover helpful patterns that could provide insight into appropriate treatment, but it also will help uncover associations between triggers and headaches, Lipton said. The problem with trigger factors is that there are a lot of them and they vary widely from person to person.
Keeping a headache diary is one way to track symptoms and also identify potential triggers that could be creating challenges with treatment. The diary makes it easier to practice good headache hygienechanging lifestyle behavior such as regularly exercising and proper nutrition, and avoiding triggers that could exacerbate migraine symptoms. Ultimately, these best practices for overall health can help reduce migraine symptoms and increase the effectiveness of treatment.
What Are Migraine Headaches
Migraine headaches are severe headaches that cause intense pain. They can start suddenly and get worse quickly. A migraine headache typically lasts from 4 hours to 3 days if not treated. Migraines are thought to run in families.
Symptoms of a migraine headache can include:
- A severe headache, often with throbbing on one side of the head
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty doing physical activities like walking or climbing stairs
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What Causes Chronic Tension Headache
This condition tends to develop in people who start off with having tension headaches with increasing frequency, until they occur on most days. However, the cause of the tension headaches is not always clear, and may be more than one thing. They may be due to tension in the muscles at the back of the head and neck, but it is now clear that this is not always the cause. Other causes reported by patients include stress, tiredness, hunger and eye strain. Many chronic tension headaches develop for no apparent reason. Working long hours bent over a computer may trigger them.
Some people get tension headaches if they drink too much caffeine or alcohol, if they don’t drink enough water or if they go for a long time between meals and become tired and hungry. Occasionally, tension headaches can be caused by poor vision, particularly if reading in low light for long periods. Some may be triggered by environmental discomforts such as heat, cold, brightness or wind.
Some research suggests that your genetic make-up may be a factor. This means that some people may inherit a tendency to be more prone to develop tension headaches than others when stressed or anxious.
Note: medication-overuse headache can be similar to chronic tension headache.
Medication-overuse headache is caused by taking painkillers too often for tension headaches or migraine attacks. See the separate leaflet called Medication-overuse Headache .
What To Take For A Migraine That Won’t Go Away
Common types of medication to treat or prevent lingering headaches include:
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How Are Migraines Diagnosed
Your doctor can diagnose migraines by the symptoms you describe. If the diagnosis is not clear, your doctor will perform a physical exam. Your doctor might want to do blood tests or imaging tests, such as an MRI or CAT scan of the brain. These tests can help ensure there are no other causes for the headache. You may also be asked to keep a headache journal. This can help your doctor identify the things that might cause your migraines.
If headache pain is getting in the way of your daily activities, its time to see your family doctor. Read More
Unexplained Or General Headaches
For unexplained, ongoing headaches, you may be able to manage or ease your symptoms at home through comfort measures, rest, and responsible use of medication.
Massage therapy can ease muscle tension that contributes to headaches, or you can perform self-massage techniques at home.
Managing your stress can help reduce your pain. Also consider reducing the intensity of your exercise schedule or focusing on your form while exercising.
If your headache continues to persist, see your doctor. You may have an underlying condition that they can diagnose. With proper treatment, youll be able to address your persistent headache pain and return to your normal quality of life.
You may be able to prevent persistent headaches before they begin by taking a few steps every day. These include:
- drinking plenty of water to avoid dehydration
- exercising regularly
- getting needed support for your mental health
- seeking hormonal support, particularly if youre premenopausal or experiencing menopause
- reducing stress
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Migraine And Riboflavin : Here’s What To Know
Not exactly. In studies of riboflavins effect on migraine headaches, participants are typically asked to take a lot more riboflavin than youre likely to get from your diet400 mg. At that dose, riboflavin has been shown to reduce the number of migraines people experienced each month, although not enough research has been done to know …
What Is A Chronic Daily Headache
According to Dr. Soni, a chronic daily headache is any headache that occurs 15 or more days out of the month and is present for three months or longer. She adds, A chronic daily headache is a primary headache disorder which means its not caused by another condition.
People of any age are susceptible to chronic daily headaches, she says.
Some risk factors include:
If you develop regular headaches and you suspect this could be the onset of a chronic daily headache, Dr. Soni says to reach out to your primary healthcare provider.
She also recommends keeping track of your headaches. It can be helpful to track your headaches or keep a journal so you have a good idea of how often they occur.
This information can also be useful when you see your healthcare provider because it can be difficult to remember every headache you have over several days or weeks. And the notes you take about your headaches where it occurs, other associated symptoms can also help determine what type of chronic daily headache youre dealing with.
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How To Deal With The Postdrome Phase Of A Migraine
Rest: The human body burns a lot of energy trying to fight headaches. Whenever possible, migraine patients should shake off their postdrome feeling of weakness with plenty of rest. Over-the-counter relief: Some physicians recommend taking aspirin or ibuprofen in measured quantities during the postdrome stage.
Where Does The Information Come From
Researchers reviewed studies on medicines to treat migraines in the ER. These studies were published through January 2012. The researchers were funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality , a Federal Government research agency.
The researchers wrote a report on what they found, and this summary is based on that report. The report was reviewed by doctors, researchers, other experts, and the public. You can read the report at www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/migraine-emergency.cfm.
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Stopping The Vicious Cycle Of Rebound Headaches
Pain relieving or antimigraine medications may stop headache attack when taken as needed to relieve headache. But if a person with a primary headache disorder, such as migraine or tension-type headache, takes these headache-relieving medications more than two to three days a week, they may trigger medication overuse headache.
When Are They Not Helpful
Migraine attacks can last for hoursor even days. They can cause intense pain, nausea and vomiting. They can make you sensitive to light or noise and they can affect your life and work.
To treat migraines, you may be given a prescription for an opioid or a barbiturate called butalbital. These are pain medicines. But you should think twice about using these drugs for migraine. Heres why:
These drugs can make headaches worse.
Using too much pain medicine can lead to a condition called medication overuse headache . Two kinds of pain medicine are more likely to cause MOH:
- Drugs containing opioidssuch as codeine , morphine , Hycodan or oxycodone .
- Drugs containing butalbital .
They are not as effective as other migraine drugs.
There are other drugs that can reduce the number of migraines you have and how severe they arebetter than opioids and butalbital. Even in the emergency roomwhere people with severe migraines often ask for opioidsbetter drugs are available, including triptans.
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Start With A Proper Diagnosis
Various headache typesmigraine with or without aura, chronic or episodic migrainehave different characteristics, which may mean a different treatment plan. The subtype matters, Lipton said, because the treatment needs to match the subtype of migraine. If your diagnosis is chronic migraine, OnabotulinumtoxinA is effective, but it is not approved for use if your diagnosis is episodic migraine. People can read about the characteristics of various headaches, he said, and then confirm that the diagnosis they were given corresponds to their experience.
Avoiding The Emergency Room
If you do not have a rescue treatment available for home use when abortives fail, then please talk to your doctor. This is an essential part of migraine management that is often overlooked. For decades, I would ask my doctor what to do if my triptan failed. His only response was to visit the ER. It wasnt until I pushed back, insisting that a visit to the ER for a cocktail shot of Toradol, Benadryl, and Phenergan was unnecessarily expensive and wasteful did he agree to prescribe these medicines to me for home use.
Starting in 2013, I began using IM injections of Toradol with a Phenergan suppository as my rescue treatment. Thanks to this, I have been able to avoid the ER ever since. Instead, a few times each year, I am able to treat unresponsive attacks at home, saving me thousands of dollars and avoiding the unnecessary use of the ER.
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Rethink Your Sleep Schedule
To prevent migraines, Dr. Newman tells his patients to follow the mnemonic SEEDS: sleep, eating, exercise, drinking, and stress reduction. “The gene for migraines gives us basically a hyperactive or overly sensitive brain,” he says. “Because of that, any change can induce migraines.”
For example, sleeping too much or too little can induce migraines, but keeping a more regular routine can help with occasional headaches, too.
“Tension-type headaches are different than migraines in that theyre not as severe they dont have the nausea, vomiting, and light, sound, and smell sensitivities,” Dr. Newman says. “But those healthy lifestyle tips work for any type.”
In any case, that means avoiding sleeping in on the weekends or vacations and sticking to a consistent bedtime and wake time.
What Are The Risks
Opioids and butalbital can cause serious withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking them suddenly. People who use high doses for a long time may need to be in the hospital in order to stop using them.
Opioids, even at low doses, can make you feel sleepy or dizzy. Other side effects include constipation and nausea. Using them for a long time can lower your sex drive and cause depression and sleep problems.
Which drugs are good for migraines?
If you have migraine attacks, try one of the drugs listed below. They all work best if you use them when the migraine is just beginning.
- Start with a non-prescription pain drug like acetylsalicylic acid , ibuprofen or acetaminophen. If these are not helpful, you can try other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , some of which need a prescription, like diclofenac potassium and naproxen sodium.
- If these drugs do not help, or your headaches are more severe, try one of the prescription migraine drugs called triptans, such as sumatriptan .
- If a triptan is helpful but not as effective as you would like, you may combine a triptan with an NSAID .If the above options are not helpful, you can try dihydroergotamine nasal spray . This drug works even better as an injection . You can do the injections yourself once you are trained.
- If you have a lot of nausea with your attacks, all of the above medications can be combined with an anti-nausea medication, like metoclopramide.
When are opioids or butalbital useful for migraines?
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It Improves Your Quality Of Life
If your head pain causes you to miss work, cancel plans with friends, or leads to a short temper with your loved ones, you know how badly your life can suffer due to headaches. It doesnt have to be this way. Theres no reason to suffer in silence, says Dr. Seng. There are a number of interventions we can try, from lifestyle changes to medications and supplements, that ease head pain and can greatly improve your quality of life.
Another major roadblock to seeking treatment is the patients concern over drug safety or side effects, says Dr. Seng. Many times, those worries are ill founded. Dont let inaccurate information on the internet dissuade you from finding relief, says Dr. Seng. Our toolbox for treating headaches and migraines is large, and it also includes lifestyle changes like stress management, sleep, regular meals, and staying well-hydrated. Talk to your doctor to find the best treatment options for you.
*Disclosure: These survey findings were made possible by WebMD. Respondents of the survey were US residents 18 or older whom experienced a headache within the past 12 months, and medical professionals including US Personal Care Physicians, Pharmacists and Neurologists.