MigrainesDiseases and symptoms

Best Do I Have Migraine Headaches?

Do I Have Migraine Headaches?

Do I Have Migraine Headaches?

If you have headaches and are wondering if they could be migraine headaches we can probably help you figure that out.

There are some very distinctive characteristics of migraine headaches that can differentiate migraines from other types of headaches such as tension headaches, stress headaches, cluster headaches or other types of headaches.

Migraine headaches are more often than not one-sided, meaning the pain is felt on only one side of the head.

Most of the time the pain of a migraine headache can be felt in the temple area or behind one of the eyes or ears. Migraine headaches can become severe and disabling.

Nausea is a common symptom of this type of headache as is vomiting or sensitivity to light or sound. About 20% of patients with migraine headaches experience an aura.

An aura is a disturbance in vision that can consist of bright blinking colored lights that move across the field of vision.

Migraine headaches can become chronic in nature. When they are chronic the patient most commonly experiences them once or twice a month.

However, in some instances migraine headaches can occur as often as once or twice a week. Migraine headaches affect people between the ages of 15 and 55 and are more common in women than in men.

Migraines affect women about 3 times as often as men.

Migraines affect about 30 or 40 million Americans, but they are less common than tension headaches. It is estimated that about 75% of all headaches are tension headaches.

Tension headaches are typically characterized by a dull pain over the entire head while migraines are usually throbbing in nature and located in one particular spot.

In other words, tension-type headaches are a constant dull pain while migraines throb like the beating of the heart.

Chronic tension headaches can occur every day while chronic migraine headaches occur less often, usually once a week to once a month.

Fatigue and stress can cause both types of headaches, but migraine headaches can be triggered by other factors such as different types of food.

Migraine headaches can sometimes be helped by eliminating these triggers. Foods that may lead to migraines include cheese, alcohol, MSG (monosodium glutamate),

nuts, beans, caffeine, chocolate, onions and others. Eliminating the trigger may eliminate the migraines.

Cluster headaches are far less common than either migraine headaches or tension-type-headaches. Men are about six times more likely than women to experience cluster headaches.

The pain of a cluster headache starts quickly, without any warning, and typically reaches its peak between two and fifteen minutes.

The pain of a cluster headache can be extremely intense, deep and explosive. Migraines are usually “pulsing” while clusters are not.

Between 10 and 20 percent of cluster patients have “ice-pick” or “stabbing” pain around the eyes. This stabbing pain typically lasts for a few seconds, but can occur several times in succession.

When this sudden attack of intense pain occurs it usually means that the headache is near its end.

For natural migraine headache relief it is often beneficial to relax and rest. Sometimes lying in a dark room with an ice pack on the base of the skull can reduce the pressure that is felt in the head.

The same treatment can also help tension or stress headaches. Reducing stress can go a long way to relieving many headache symptoms.

If you experience chronic headaches and over-the-counter medication or natural remedies do not help it may be wise to consult a physician.

Migraine 101

A confusing situation. A hard exam. A long, tedious talk. In situations like these, a person may normally feel like having a headache.

Do I Have Migraine Headaches
Do I Have Migraine Headaches

But unfortunately, some people experience more than just a simple headache. Throbbing on an area in your head may be a sign of migraine. But what is migraine and how is it different from a headache?

A headache is described as the pain in the head located above the eyes and the ears, behind the head, or at the back of the upper neck.

Migraine, on the other hand, refers to a much more painful headache. References with regards to migraine include the throbbing of one or both areas in the head (bilateral),

sensitivity to light (photophobia), sounds (phonophobia), and smell, nausea, vomiting, sleep disruption, and even depression.

Having these symptoms may lead into concluding that the person is experiencing migraine without aura, or common migraines.

Having a migraine attack like this can make the person feel more tired and weak once the migraine has passed. The person’s hand and feet may feel sweaty and cold, and sometimes there is the presence of a different intolerable odor.

This is associated also with pain that interferes or becomes worse as the person goes through his daily activities. Other people occasionally experience the sight of flashing lights, wavy images, hallucinations, zigzag lines, or getting double vision, if not temporarily blind.

This migraine episode is characterized as migraine with aura. Also called classic migraines, this would begin for about fifteen to thirty minutes before getting the headache itself.

Causes of migraines may include functional changes in the nervous system (trigeminal), which is a substantial pain road in your nervous system.

C0hemical imbalances in the person’s brain (including seratonin) that plays an important role for pain messages going through this specific pathway is also another cause of migraine.

If experiencing a headache, the person’s seratonin level will drop. In line with this, the trigeminal nerve releases a substance called neuropeptides,

that travels to the brain’s outer covering (meninges). This in turn will cause the blood vessels to be inflamed and dilated.

Because of this heightened intensity of the headache, migraines may not be relieved by simple pain killers such as paracetamol, diclofenac, ibuprofen, codeine or aspirin.

They can temporarily relieve the person of the pain, but not strong enough to stop the migraine effectively. Some might experience relief, but these may often lead to immunity to the effects of the drug, resulting to long term usage.

Side effects can also be experienced while taking such medications. Nausea, drowsiness, constipation, and indigestion are some examples of such side effects.

Medications that are taken during a migraine attack, such as Zolmitriptan (Zomig) and Sumatriptan (Imigran), regulates the arteries and the seratonin activity in the brain.

even if this ends the migraine itself, these medications are not recommended for long term use and can give out side effects which includes slow heartbeat, drowsiness, and dry mouth.

Although most people turn to medications for cure, a health diet should do the trick. Think low carbohydrate, high fat diet, and diets that are rich with Vitamin B and Magnesium.

Living With And Treating Migraine Headaches

Stress leads the list of all psychological triggers for migraine headaches and may be the most common migraine trigger of all. Understanding stress and how it effects your life could help you cope better with migraines.

Do I Have Migraine Headaches
Do I Have Migraine Headaches

Think of specific things you can add to or take away from your daily routine to reduce stress and help avoid migraine headache pain. Keep a note of the results and discuss them with your doctor.

Get enough rest. One of the best ways to do this is set regular bedtime and waking up times each day so that your body clock regulates itself.

It may take 2 to 3 weeks for your body to adapt to this new routine, so it is important to set times and stick with them.

Gradually, as your body begins to get used to these times your stress levels should reduce along with the frequency of migraine headaches.

Find an exercise you enjoy and stick with it. Exercise not only fortifies your body, but helps with “resting” your mind.

You tend to forget all your worries when exercising. Try mild aerobic exercise such as brisk walking, for 20 to 30 minutes, 3 to 4 times a week.

Eat sensibly and have regular meals. Eat foods that are migraine trigger-free for you. Cut down on processed and overly sugary items.

To avoid temptation, don’t have them in the house. Keep in mind that processed and sugary foods are not good for your body and can actually increase stress levels.

Headaches can be caused by ordinary foods that most of us eat every day. But cutting out common food triggers from your diet does not mean that you have to sacrifice tasty meals.

When it comes to migraines, decaffeinated coffee, fruit juice and sparkling water are better choices for beverages than caffeinated or alcoholic drinks.

If you choose to have an alcoholic drink, stick with single measures and alternate an alcoholic drink with water.

Dairy products can also be common triggers for migraines. Try reducing or cutting out dairy items from your diet for a month to see if this makes a difference to your migraines.

Meats such as corned beef, hot dogs and pickled herring are “cured meats,” and contain an ingredient called sodium nitrate, which can trigger a headache. Instead, consider poultry or freshly purchased and prepared meats.

Identify areas of stress in your life and begin working to improve them. Share your problems, concerns, and thoughts with others.

Don’t keep them to yourself. Sharing a problem can provide almost instant relief and you may find that others have constructive suggestions for solving issues.

Also, have the courage to say “no” to people who place unwanted demands on your time.

Learn how to relax. If you sit down to rest, do not immediately pick up the phone, read a magazine or turn on the TV.

Try out relaxation tapes to help you unwind and relax. You’ll find them at most music or bookstores. You can also search the Internet for tapes specifically designed to help prevent migraine headaches.

If you are suffering with Migraines, you should first consult your primary care physician before taking other steps.

Caffeine: the culprit behind our migraines

Agnes, a 39 year old married woman have come to see a doctor and complained about recurring headaches and migraines.

Do I Have Migraine Headaches
Do I Have Migraine Headaches

A thorough examination revealed that there wasn’t any obvious cause and her doctor thinks Agnes headaches are more of psychological in origin.

On further investigation, Agnes told her doctor that she was taking a lot of painkillers and that she prefers stronger tablets. She describes her headache as like a hammer pounding her head over and over again.

She blames her headaches from the stress and anxiety she was getting from home caring for her four very young children.

But still it wasn’t really enough reason to have migraine headaches and there is no sign of any childhood problems that can trigger this. The doctor advised her to take it easy on the painkillers that might have some “rebound effect.”

Mr. Cooper on the other hand, had a history of migraines since he was a teenager. At 42, he was still taking medications as he was sensitive to the light and sound.

Migraine headache can be defined as a type of primary headache that some people get it repeatedly over time. It is closely associated with disorders of the digestive system, the liver, and the vision.

It usually occurs when a person is under mental tension. Profiling people who usually get migraines shows that a person who is likely sensitive, methodical, intelligent and a perfectionist are more prone to headaches.

It is usually when they are in very stressful situations or so overworked.

Not so many people know about it but caffeine is also a culprit in triggering migraine attacks. Americans are known for being big time coffee drinkers.

Every inch of the city in the US is filled with coffee shops sprouting in the metropolis. If you think you are one of the heavy coffee addicts and are experiencing migraines afterwards, then you must lessen your caffeine intake.


l Stress is the number one source of tension headaches and can trigger a migraine. It can cause the muscles in the neck and head to tense up, therefore, constricting blood flow to the brain.

l Certain foods like cheese, chocolates, sardines and dried meats. And fruits like pineapples, raspberries and avocados.

l Smoke or exposure to smoke
l Skipping meals
l Allergic reaction
l Alcohol

Another sign that you will be having a migraine is when you experience what is seems like “aura”like visions or like seeing stars or zigzag lines.


Your doctor can diagnose you properly and will take detailed history to make sure your headaches doesn’t pertain to sinus inflammation or a more serious one like brain tumor. At times, a CT scan is helpful and EEG may also be required.

If taking drugs is not to your liking, another alternative is “Feverfew” which is a popular herb specifically for migraines.

Studies show that herbs are good for treating migraines. You can also consider drinking lots of orange juice or water therapy as water is a good cleansing system and adds vitality.

A hot bath will go a long way in relieving migraine headaches and so does walking in a very relaxing environment with fresh cool air. There is no specific cure for migraine headaches but you can prevent them from happening.

The Migraine Headache: Definition, Causes And Cures.

More than 30 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches which can be classified as severe and often disabling headaches.

Do I Have Migraine Headaches
Do I Have Migraine Headaches

A typical migraine headache will give a warning sign before its onset, such as tingling in your limbs, seeing blind spots or flashing lights.

You will know when you are experiencing a migraine headache because they are accompanied by most, if not all of the following symptoms.

Severe pain either on one side or both sides of the head, pulsing head pain, worsening head pain with any activity, nausea or vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, and not being able to function regularly.

While seeing flashing lights or blind spots are a common warning sign of a migraine, some sufferers experience these symptoms throughout the entire duration of their headache.

This is classified as a classic migraine and, along with the above conditions, the person will also experience weakness and speech problems along with zigzagging lines in their eyes.

If a migraine is left untreated, the pain can last from four to 72 hours, which can cause huge disturbances in a persons normal life.

Although doctors are not 100 percent sure what causes migraines to occur, there are something’s that are known to trigger these headaches.

These include, fluctuations in hormones; many women claim that their migraines worsen just before a period or during menopause and pregnancy.

Certain foods can also trigger migraines, such as alcohol, cheese, chocolate, aspartame and caffeine which is found in coffee, tea, chocolate and most soft drinks.

To avoid migraines as best you can, try keeping a diary of the foods you eat and record how they made you feel afterwards.

After a couple of weeks doing this you should be able to see what foods that are triggers for you, therefore telling you which foods to avoid. Other triggers can include stress, changes in the environment and certain medications.

To prevent migraines try avoiding trigger foods, as well as exercise regularly, cutting down on estrogen producing drugs if you are a woman, and quitting smoking and drinking alcohol.

All of these things can help you avoid migraines, but if you do happen to get one, try over the counter pain medications or talk to you doctor about prescription drugs that are right for you.

Good over the counter medications include Advil, Tylenol, Aspirin and similar drugs. If you have been drinking alcohol in the past 48 hours, you should not take Tylenol as it can cause serious liver damage.

Also remember that you should never give Aspirin to a child because it can cause Reyes Syndrome (a potentially fatal illness in children).

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