Migraines are severe, chronic headaches that can last for an extended amount of time, be it several hours or several days. They can be enormously painful, drain the sufferer of mental and physical energy, and quickly put a stop to daily activities. Experiencing migraine pain can negatively affect one’s job, personal life, and mental health.
Many times, migraines are preceded by warning signs that let the victim know a severe headache is soon to follow. These are most often sensory-related symptoms, such as flashing lights, tingling in the extremities, or blind spots in vision. One may also experience other signs, such as extreme thirst, irritability, drowsiness, or a craving for sweet foods, hours or days before the actual onset of the migraine itself.
Symptoms and Treatment of Migraines
In addition to throbbing head pain, migraines may also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and severe sensitivity to light. Migraine pain may worsen with increased physical activity, and can last up to 72 hours if left untreated.
There are multiple things–both physical and environmental–that are thought to trigger a migraine. Some triggers can be regulated or avoided in order to keep migraines at bay.
Certain foods seem to trigger migraines. Alcohol, caffeine, and aspartame found in some diet sodas have been found to cause migraine pain. Overly salty, as well as many processed foods, are also thought to bring on these severe headaches. Migraine sufferers should try to steer clear of these types of food and drink. Staying on a regular diet and not skipping meals may also help deter a migraine.
An increased amount of stress, be it at home or in the work place, has also been shown to trigger a migraine. Although it is sometimes difficult to control, try to find a healthy outlet to reduce stress levels, such as exercise, yoga or massage.
Irregular Sleep Patterns
Changes in one’s sleep cycle, be it too little or too much sleep, may also bring on migraine pain. Try to keep a scheduled sleep time to ensure that the body is getting the same amount every night.
Other triggers of migraines are much more difficult–some even impossible–to control.
Female Hormonal Changes
Changes in estrogen levels have been seen to trigger a migraine in many woman. Many report migraine activity around the time of their monthly menstruation, during pregnancy or menopause, or while on oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy.
Something as simple as a change in the weather can cause migraine pain in some people. Changes in barometric pressure, such as when a storm or front is rolling in, can also trigger a migraine.
Many migraines can be relieved, or even prevented, with certain medication. Acute treatment includes drugs that are taken during the actual migraine attack. These are used to stop symptoms of the migraine that are already present. Preventive drugs, on the other hand, are taken on a regular basis in order to reduce the frequency or severity of migraines.
Aside from medication, migraine surgery may be an option. Targeting muscles that commonly cause migraines, this surgery has positive results of eliminating or significantly reducing migraine headaches.
If you have migraines, don’t suffer through another day. Contact your doctor to see what options are available to you. Getting on the road to recovery is the first step toward feeling good and enjoying life!