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Migraine Headaches – Disclosing Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options

Apr 23, 2024

Common Illnesses Treatment

Migraine Headaches – Disclosing Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options

Migraines are intense headaches characterized by throbbing, pulsating pain on one side of the head. This condition affects 47 million Americans, 75% of whom are women. A migraine headache typically lasts a minimum of four hours but can extend for days. It is aggravated by bright lights, loud noises, physical activity, and strong odors. Migraines can interfere with daily activities, impacting one's ability to fulfill personal and social responsibilities.

This blog reveals the causes and symptoms of migraines and how to treat them effectively to improve your life quality and overall wellness.

Understanding the Triggers of Migraine Headaches

Here are the factors that can trigger them:

Common Triggers

  • Stress
  • Inconsistent sleep
  • Missing a meal
  • Too much physical activity (overexertion)
  • Weather condition changes
  • Hormonal changes
  • Certain medications
  • Exposure to loud noises, bright lights, or strong odors

Food Triggers

  • Chocolate
  • Stale cheese
  • Pickled or fermented foods
  • Food additives like MSG and nitrates
  • Beverages containing alcohol and caffeine
  • Processed or cured foods (hot dogs, pepperoni)

Besides, migraine headaches are hereditary. Around 80% of migraine patients have a close biological family member with the condition.

Migraine Headache Symptoms

Migraine symptoms vary depending on the phases, including:

Prodrome Symptoms

The prodrome phase occurs a day before a headache attack and presents symptoms such as:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nausea
  • Mood changes
  • Increased thirst and hunger
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent urination

Aura Symptoms

Aura (a group of speech, motor, or sensory symptoms) that occurs 5 to 60 minutes during or before a headache with symptoms, including:

  • Ringing in your ears (tinnitus)
  • Difficulty concentrating or speaking
  • Muscle weakness
  • Vision changes
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Sensitivity to touch (feeling like someone is touching you)

Headache Attack Symptoms

Headache lasts 4 to 72 hours and slowly aggravates, affecting one or both sides of your head. Headache can be associated with other symptoms:

  • Sound, light, or odor sensitivity
  • Nausea and vomiting

Postdrome Symptoms

Postdrome phase is also known as migraine hangover, as its symptoms are similar to alcohol-induced hangover. It lasts for 2 days, presenting symptoms, including:

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Stiff neck
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dizziness
  • Sensitivity to sound and light

Migraine Headache Diagnosis

Your healthcare provider will review your medical history and symptoms and perform a physical exam to look for swelling and tenderness in the head.

The following tests may be ordered for comprehensive diagnosis:

  • Blood Tests

    These are used to diagnose other conditions that cause facial pain and headaches, including iron deficiency, vitamin D and B12 deficiency, and thyroid problems.

  • Imaging Tests

    A CT or MRI scan may be ordered to look for infections, stroke, tumors, and bleeding in the brain.

  • Neurological Exam

    Your provider will check your muscle strength, senses, and reflexes to detect abnormalities in your neurological system.

  • EEG (Electroencephalogram)

    Involves placing electrodes on your scalp, which are then connected to a machine that records electrical signals that your brain uses to communicate with the rest of the body. It detects an abnormality in your brain activity.

Migraine Headache Treatments and Management

Treatment Approaches

  • Medications to Stop Migraines

    These medications (Triptans, antiemetic medications, ditans, gepants, etc.) are prescribed to reduce or stop migraine symptoms like nausea, pain, sensitivity, etc.

  • Medications to Prevent Migraines

    These medications (anti-seizure medications, calcium channel blockers, beta-blockers, tricyclic antidepressants, etc.) are prescribed if you have frequent migraines or your symptoms interfere with your daily activities.

  • Over-the-Counter Medications

    These medicines (ibuprofen, acetaminophen, naproxen, aspirin, and caffeine) help treat mild to moderate migraine symptoms.

Avoiding Triggers

Your healthcare professional might ask you to maintain a migraine diary that records the frequency of migraines, symptoms, and duration. You can also include information about your diet or daily activities to better understand your potential triggers. Once you identify a trigger, you can take measures to eliminate it. For instance, if stress is a trigger, seeking guidance from a mental health expert or practicing meditation, yoga, and deep breathing can help you effectively cope with stress.

Alternative Remedies

You can manage your migraine headaches with the following alternative therapies:

Taking minerals, vitamins, or herbs like magnesium, feverfew, riboflavin (vitamin B2), butterbur, or co-enzyme Q10

  • Biofeedback
  • Practicing relaxation techniques like yoga
  • Botulinum toxin type A injections (Botox)
  • Acupuncture

Getting consent from your healthcare provider before starting any therapy is good.

Measures for Migraine Headache Prevention

Though you cannot get complete relief from migraines or prevent all migraines, you can follow these steps to reduce the severity and frequency of your migraine headaches:

  • Take preventive medicines on time and as prescribed.
  • Detect and avoid triggers.

When to Seek Medical Assistance for Migraine Headaches?

Visit your urgent care provider if you experience:

  • New or worsening symptoms
  • Side effects from treatment

Schedule an ER visit if you

  • Have a headache following a head injury.
  • Experience worsening pain from headaches.
  • Develop neurological symptoms alongside a headache, including difficulty speaking, confusion, balance problems, seizures, numbing or tingling sensations, and vision issues.

Final Thoughts

While the exact cause of migraines is still not understood, the triggers and symptoms mentioned above can help you identify the onset of a migraine attack. By staying informed about the condition, you can take proactive steps to manage your symptoms, improving your overall life quality and minimizing the impact of migraines on your daily activities.

Experience Quick Relief from Migraines at Metro Urgent Care

Is migraine headache disrupting your everyday life? Worry not! Visit Metro Urgent Care for effective and personalized migraine treatment. From advanced diagnostic testing to the latest treatments, we are dedicated to providing you with the relief you deserve. Contact us today to live a headache-free life!

Content Sources: PBSO NEWS HOUR

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