There are a number of commonly held beliefs about migraines that make it hard for sufferers to get proper diagnosis and treatment.
1) Migraines are not real (all in the head, an overreaction to a normal headache, etc.).
Not true. Migraines are a biologic primary headache disorder. Even migraine pain is not confined to the head, though that is generally where it is worst.
2) Migraines have a known cause.
Sadly, no. There have been several interesting theories put forward in the last decade, but no single, definitive biological cause of migraines has been identified thus far.
3) All migraineurs have the same symptoms.
No, they don’t. This is one of the things that makes migraines so hard to diagnose, particularly if a patient’s doctor is only familiar with the most common symptoms.
4) A doctor can tell if it’s a migraine or not.
Not always. The wide spectrum of symptoms that can accompany migraine can make it difficult to diagnose, more so if the patient is not forthcoming with their doctor about all their symptoms.
5) Migraines are curable.
Again, no. Once properly diagosed many migraineurs still have to devote a lot of time and energy to managing their condition through medications,
natural and homeopathic remedies, and diet and lifestyle changes. The various available coping methods work differently for each individual, so there is not even a single protocol of care.
6) Migraines are a woman’s headache.
Women migraineurs do outnumber the men 3 to 1, but there is no evidence the condition is sex-linked in any way.
7) Only adults get migraines.
Migraines have been diagnosed in adolescents, children, and even infants.
8) Every headache a migraineur is a migraine
Not true. Migraine sufferers can have regular sinus, tension, or stress headaches just like anyone else.
Common Questions about Migraine
How do I know whether this is migraine?
This is the most common question most people are unsure about diagnosis of migraine. Though all migraines are headaches, all headaches are not migraines. There can be many causes like high blood pressure, cervical spondylosis and poor eyesight being a few.
So every one with headaches should not think he is suffering from migraine. The broad criterion of diagnosis is if you have two or more of the following symptoms during a attack it is probable you are suffering from migraine:
a. Throbbing headache, often on one side of the head only.
b. Visual disturbances (blink spots, distorted vision, flashing lights or zigzag patterns) these symptoms are often called aura.
c. Nausea and vomiting or diarrhea.
d. Increased sensitivity to light.
e. Increase sensitivity to sounds.
The second general rule is that if a headache and other associated symptoms prevent you from continuing with daily activities it could be a migraine.
What are the common triggers?
Migraine is believed to be caused by release of a chemical called serotonin or 5HT into the bloodstream from its storage sites in the body, resulting in changes in neurotransmitters and blood vessels in the brain.
Exactly what causes this to happen is still not clear: However certain factors have been identified which can trigger attacks in susceptible people:
a. Emotional stress, e.g., anger, worry, shock, depression.
b. Physical exertion like over exertion / tiredness change in sleep patterns and traveling.
c. Hormonal changes like menstruation and pre-menstrual period, puberty, menopause.
d. Environmental like light, loud noise, intense smells, change or climate or smoking
e. Diet like lack of food or infrequent meals, specific foods like chocolate, citrus fruits, cheese, alcohol, especially red wine.
f. Other triggers like use of sleeping tablets high blood pressure, toothache or other dental problems, eyestrain, congested nose and sinus problems.
Migraine triggers are numerous and varied and occur in combinations peculiar to a individual. For most there is not just one trigger but a combination.
These can be tolerated individually but when several occur together, a threshold is passed and an attack is triggered. Identifying and avoiding personal trigger factors can help.
If one of my parents suffers from migraines, is it necessary that I will also have it?
Though it has been seen that migraine does run in families, it is not necessary that children of migraine patients will also have it. Nor this is true the other way round.
People often say that since nobody in family had migraine, they cannot have. This is also not true. It is possible for people to have migraine even when nobody in the family has it.
Migraine is difficult to cure?
Migraine is very much a curable disease as any other disease.
What You Need to Know About Migraine Headache
Migraine is one of the most painful and debilitating conditions a person may suffer from and what is worse, there is not much you can do about it.
Migraine headaches are often caused by the changes in the shape and size of the blood vessels that are found in the head. The blood vessels may expand or an inflammation may occur in the tissues that are found in that area.
As to what exactly causes this to happen in such an unsystematic way, no one knows yet. Ongoing researches about the underlying causes of migraines have not yielded much and debates are still going on.
Some specialists believe that migraine headaches may be caused by the constriction in the blood vessel, particularly in the electronic changes in the vessels that are similar with what happens during seizures.
Others feel that migraines are actually hereditary and people with history of migraines in the family will most likely suffer from the problem.
A migraine headache should not be confused with the common headache, which a person may suffer from every now and then.
They are poles different from one another. The migraine headache, for instance can last from four to 72 hours while the common headache, or what is commonly referred to by medical practitioners as tension headaches, can last only for a few hours.
Pain is also more localized with the migraine headache, often occurring on the sides of the head while tension headaches can encompass the entire head area. Another difference is the intensity of the pain.
Tension headaches are milder and duller in comparison while migraine headaches can be really severe, accompanied by pounding throbbing pain that only increases.
Migraine headaches can also be accompanied by other physical problems such as sensitivity to light, sound and odors as well as nausea and vomiting.
Migraine does not announce itself in a set of early symptoms. The recurring headaches just happen, often catching the person by surprise.
There is however one kind where in the person may see a visual hallucination, called an aura, before the actual migraine headache occurs. This kind is called the classic migraine headache.
The classic migraine headache is a lot different from what specialists call the common headaches, which occurs without any warning whatsoever.
There is also the complicated migraines, which may be a manifestation of more serious medical problems in the nervous system. Often, this type migraine headache is accompanied by speech, movement and motor irregularities.
Frantic Friday for Migraine Sufferers
Fridays are usually, if not the most anticipated day of the week for students and working people. It’s the last day of the week which means a halt from your books, from your computer, from the never ending meetings and away from your professors or your bosses.
Friday nights can simply mean fun, fun, fun! For some, fun means going out with friends, eating out in a fancy restaurant, partying all night, and drowning ourselves with beer or hard liquors! And the next morning, what do we get from it? A big lump on our heads.
..headaches, and for others, it is a much more aggravated condition called migraine headaches. Migraine headache is a very painful type of headache. It is described as an intense pounding pain in one area of the head.
According to a recent research, seventeen percent of women and six percent of men in the United States have experienced having migraine. The causes of migraines are unknown.
They may result from a series of reactions in the central nervous system caused by changes in the body or in the environment. More often, the condition can also be genetic or a condition that runs in the family.
Migraine pains can be very tormenting for some that it can actually affect their activity for hours or even days. People who have migraines can be extremely sensitive to light and sound.
It is also often accompanied by other signs and symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. However, do not be alarmed as studies have shown that there are various drugs that are effective for treating migraine.
Beta blockers, anti-depressants, calcium channel blockers and anti-convulsants are known to help prevent migraine attacks. But it is always best to visit your physician once you see a drastic change in the severity or frequency of your headaches.
But there is still another form of migraine that is unknown to most people. Did you know that even the so-called “windows of our souls” experience what is termed as Ocular Migraine or Visual Migraine.
Visual migraine is somehow related to the usual migraine. Like the head migraine, visual migraine is caused by vascular spasm. Vascular spasm is a sudden, brief, tightening of a blood vessel.
During visual migraine episode, the spasm affects the flow of blood supply to the visual center of the brain, or that part that controls our sense of sight.
These painful episodes usually start with a visual disturbance that appears from the peripheral vision. People with this condition often see an irregular polygon or zig-zag type of shimmering light.
The light becomes bigger and will eventually be seen as pale pastel in color. The disturbance can last from fifteen to twenty minutes, and then, it can just quickly disappear.
Experts believe that stress can also cause visual migraine. Typically, it occurs after long hours in the computer, watching television, reading, and other activities that require immense concentration.
It can also affect people who wear eyeglasses. The eyestrain usually disappears after the eyes are rested for some time.
However, this condition is not as painful or as debilitating as a migraine headache. A person with visual migraine may even just feel a slight headache. Many visual migraine sufferers also complain of fatigue after getting a visual migraine.
This condition can actually be treated if a migraine suffer will take the time to consult a doctor, preferably a neurologist. Most likely, the doctor will prescribe medications that would suit your particular condition.
Friday nights can be a time for partying and a time to have that well-deserved night-out. But for some, it is nothing but a stay-in battle against “Friday nights headache” or “Friday nights’ shimmering lights.”
After a busy and crazy five days at school or at the office, it may still be good to consider putting off “painting the town red.”
Maybe it’s time to think about the two very important anatomical parts — our eyes and our head, vital organs that need time to rest and recuperate just like the rest of our body.
A migraine prodrome is a premonition or advance warning that a migraine is coming on. Prodromes can occur anywhere from a few minutes before the onset of a headache to days prior.
While no one knows the specific cause of migraine prodromes, the prevailing theory is that they are part of neurochemical change in the brain that occurs before an attack.
Approximately 60% of all migraineurs (people who have chronic migraines) experience some type of prodrome.
Migraine auras are a specific type of visual prodrome in which people see things that are not there, like flashes of light or haloes around object. This type of prodrome is rare and experienced by less than 25% of all migraineurs.
Many migraine sufferers describe mood alterations preceding an attack. Some people are euphoric, others fall into a profound despondence, and still others experience uncharacteristic irritability or impatience.
Some migraineurs describe their prodrome experience as an enormous spike in energy levels during the day preceding the headache itself.
Others say that they know a migraine is coming because they get fatigued or listless or find themselves constantly yawning prior to onset.
Some migraine sufferers lose their appetite before a headache. Some sufferers find themselves ravenous the day or night before an attack. Still others have noticed that specific cravings tend to precede their migraine.
Insomnia is a frequent prodrome symptom for many migraineurs, as is difficulty falling asleep. Others experience lassitude and difficulty waking prior to a migraine.
Migraines are often difficult to diagnose and treat because no two migraine patients experience the same prodromes, if they experience one at all.
Many migraineurs experience all of the prodrome symptoms at different times before a single headache, or different ones prior to different attacks.
Essential points you need to know about migraine
Migraine is one of the most common excuse people use when they can’t attend a meeting or miss a class for students. In fact, it is an overused excuse next to insomniac.
But this kind of headache is not a joke. It is necessary to find out the essential information about migraine so that when the time comes that the excuse becomes true you will not freak out of what you are feeling.
What it is and what it has…
Migraine is the kind of headache that occurs repeatedly. There is an estimated 11 individuals who get migraines in 100 people. A person with migraine experiences excruciating pain on one portion or side of the person’s head.
Migraine is classified according to the occurrence of aura and otherwise. Aura is a range of neurological disturbances such as visual irregularity.
This serves as a sign that migraine is yet to occur. A person may experience vertigo, numbness which last approximately 20 minutes or less.
This type is also called classic migraine that includes symptoms such as weakness of leg or arm, itching hands or face, confusion,
A common type of migraine does not occur with an aura. Some individuals only experience preceding symptoms such as mental confusion, mood swings, fatigue, and others. This type lasts to a maximum of 4 days.
Speaking of visual irregularity, one type of migraine is the ocular migraine which may result to vision loss or difficulty. But do not worry because its symptoms only lasts a while and doesn’t pose harm to the eye only that it affects your daily lifestyle.
Migraine signs include the following: severe headache, one-sided and frontal headache, nausea, vomiting, weakness, light and sound sensitivity, throbbing headache, eye pain, etc.
Migraine can be triggered by many factors but all of these do not yet have scientific explanations.
It includes allergic reactions, perfume odors, stress, irregular sleep patterns, meal skipping, alcohol, caffeine, pills intake, headaches due to tension, foods with tyramine, chocolate, peanut butter, banana, dairy products, and many more.
There are also drugs that can trigger migraine. These include nitrates, theophylline, reserpine, nifedipine, indomethicin, and cimetidine. So watch out for these if you know that you have the tendency to have migraine.
migraine treatment,migraine disability,migraine research,medical myths,functional migraine,how to live with migraines,migraine triggers,migraine from dehydration,