A migraine may cause intense throbbing pain or a sense of pulsation, usually at one side of the brain. It’s also accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme light and sound sensitivity. Migraine symptoms can last hours to days and the pain can be so intense that it interferes with the daily activities.
For certain cases, before or with the headache happens an alert sign known as an aura. An aura can include visual disruptions, such as light flashes or blind spots, or other disruptions, such as tingling on one side of the face or speaking in an arm or leg and difficulty.
Medications can help prevent and make certain migraine less painful. Combined with self-help remedies and lifestyle changes, the right medicine could help.
Migraines, mostly beginning in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood, will progress through four stages: prodrome, aura, assault and post-drome. Not everybody who has migraines goes all the way through
You can note subtle changes one or two days before a migraine, which warn of an upcoming migraine including:
- Mood changes, from depression to euphoria
- Food cravings
- Neck stiffness
- Increased thirst and urination
- Frequent yawning
Aura can occur before or during migraines, for some people. Auras are Nervous System reversible signs. They are typically visual but may contain other disruptions as well. Normally, each symptom starts slowly, builds up over a few minutes and lasts 20 to 60 minutes.
Examples of migraine aura include:
- Vision loss
- Sensation of pins and needles in the arm or leg
- Fatigue or numbness in the face or on one side of the body
- Hearing noises or music
- Uncontrollable jerking or other movements
Untreated a migraine normally lasts four to 72 hours. How much migraines happen varies from person to person. Migraines can rarely occur, or strike several times a month.
During a migraine, you might have:
- Pain generally on one hand but also on both sides of the head
- Pain that throbs or pulses
- Feeling prone to light, sound and even smelling and touching
- Nausea and vomiting
You can feel exhausted, confused and washed out for up to one day following a migraine attack. Some people are recording feeling overwhelmed. The sudden head movement could momentarily bring back on the pain again.
When to see a doctor
Sometimes the migraines are undiagnosed and untreated. When you have migraine symptoms and signs regularly, keep a record of your attacks and how you’ve treated them. Then, make an appointment to discuss your symptoms with your doctor.
Also, if you have a history of headaches if the pattern changes or the symptoms unexpectedly feel different see the doctor.
If you have any of the following signs and symptoms that may suggest a more severe medical condition, see your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room:
- An abrupt, severe headache like a thunderclap
- Headache with fever, stiff neck, mental confusion, seizures, double vision, weakness, numbness or trouble speaking
- Headache after a head injury, especially if the headache worsens
- A chronic headache that is worse after coughing, exertion, straining or a sudden movement
- New headache pain after age 50
Causes of Migraine
Although the causes of migraine aren’t completely known, genetics and environmental factors seem to play a role.
These can include brainstem changes and their connections to the trigeminal nerve, which is a major pathway to pain. Or maybe there are imbalances in brain chemicals — like dopamine, which in the nervous system helps to relieve pain.
Researchers are studying the role Serotonin plays in migraines. Multiple neurotransmitters play a role in migraine pain, including the peptide associated with the calcitonin gene.
There are a number of migraine triggers, including:
Hormonal changes in women: For certain women, variations for estrogen, such as before or after menstrual cycles, pregnancy and menopause, tend to cause headaches. Hormonal medications such as oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy can also cause migraines worse. Nevertheless, some women note that their migraines occur less often after taking these drugs.
Drinks: Those include alcohol, especially wine, and too much caffeine, for example, coffee.
Stress: Working or domestic stress can cause migraines.
Sleep changes: Missing sleep, getting too much sleep or a jet lag may cause migraines in some people.
Physical factors: Intense physical exertion, including sexual activity, might provoke migraines.
Weather changes: A weather change or barometric pressure may prompt a migraine.
Medications: Oral contraceptives and vasodilator like nitroglycerin can make migraines worse.
Foods: Aged cheeses and salty, processed foods can cause migraines. So, maybe to miss meals or fast.
Food additives: It includes the sweetener aspartame found in many foods and the monosodium glutamate preservative.
There are several factors which make you more prone to migraines, including:
Family History: If you have a migraine family member, then you have a good chance of developing them too.
Age: Migraines can start at any age, but the first occurs frequently during adolescence. Migraines tend to intensify during your 30s, and in the following decades, they slowly become less intense and less frequent.
Sex: Migraines are 3 times more likely to occur among women.
Hormonal changes: For women who have migraines, headaches may start just before or shortly after menstruation onset. During pregnancy or menopause, they can shift too. Generally, the migraines change after menopause
Taking prescription painkillers, such as Excedrin Migraine for 3 months or in excess doses for more than 10 days a month, can cause severe overuse of medication by headache. When you take aspirin or ibuprofen for more than 15 days a month or triptans, sumatriptan or rizatriptan for more than nine days a month, the same happens.
Headaches of drug overuse arise when the medication prevents pain relief and begins to cause headaches. Then you’ll take more pain medicine, which will start the process.