A Migraine is a neurological condition that is characterized by intense, debilitating headaches. Some symptoms include nausea, difficulty speaking, vomiting, numbness, and sensitivity to intense light and sound. Migraines are often hereditary & affect all ages. The diagnosis of a migraine is determined based on clinical history, symptoms, and by ruling out other possible causes. The most common categories of migraines are those without aura, known as common migraines, and those with aura, known as classic migraines.
Migraine symptoms may start to show a day or two before the headache itself. This is the prodrome stage, with symptoms like:
- frequent yawning
- stiffness in the neck
In migraines with aura, it occurs after the prodrome stage. During an aura, you might have issues with your vision, sensation, movement, and speech.
- speech issues
- feeling a prickling or tingling in your face of extremities
- seeing shapes, light flashes, or bright spots
- losing your vision temporarily
The next phase is the attack phase. This is the most severe of all the phases when the actual pain occurs. In some people, the attack phase symptoms can last anywhere from a few hours to days.
Some symptoms include:
- sensitivity to light & sound
- pain on one side of the head
- pulsing & throbbing head pain
Migraines can’t be cured, but you can learn to manage them with help from your doctor, so you get them less often and treat symptoms as they occur.
Your treatment plan will depend on:
- frequency of migraines
- the type of migraine
- how severe they are
- whether they cause nausea or vomiting
- other health conditions and other medications
Your treatment plan will include a combination of:
- self-care remedies
- lifestyle adjustments
- OTC pain or migraine-specific medications
- prescription medication to reduce nausea or vomiting
- hormone therapy
- alternative care
While researchers haven’t yet identified a definitive cause for migraines, they have found some contributing factors that can trigger one.
Some triggering factors include:
- bright lights
- extreme weather
- changes in barometric pressure
- hormone changes
- excess stress
- loud sounds
- intense physical activity
- skipping meals
- changes in sleep patterns
- unusual smells
- certain foods
- alcohol use
If you experience migraines, your doctor may ask you to have a headache journal. Writing down exactly what you were doing, what you ate, and what medications you were taking can help better identify your triggers.