What is migraine?
Migraine is a neurological disorder that can cause multiple signs and symptoms It is often identified by severe and disabling headaches. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, speech disturbance, numbness or tingling, and sensitiveness to light and sound. Migraines headaches generally take place in households and equally affect all ages.(1)
The diagnosis of migraines is based on scientific background, reported symptoms, and also excluding a variety of other reasons. The most common classifications of migraine headaches are those with no mood (previously known as normal migraines) and those with mood (previously known as classic migraines).
Migraines may begin in childhood or may not occur until the beginning of adulthood. Women are more likely to suffer from migraines compared to men. Family history is only one of the most prevalent risk factors for migraines.
Symptoms of migraine may start one to two days before headache itself. We call this the prodrome stage. Symptoms at this point may consist of:
- low energy
- frequent yawning
- food cravings
- neck stiffness
In case of migraine with aura, the aura takes place after the prodrome stage. During an aura, you may experience problems with your vision, sensation, motion, and speech. Examples of these are as follows:
- difficulty in communicating clearly.
- tingling sensation in your face, arms, or legs
- seeing shapes, light flashes, or bright spots
- temporarily lose your vision.
The next phase is called the offensive phase. This is the most acute or serious stage in which migraine pain develops. In some people, it may recur or occur during the aura. The symptoms of the attack stage may last between hours and days. Migraine symptoms may differ from person to person. Symptoms can include the following:
- increased sensibility of light and sound.
- dizziness or feeling faint
- pain on one side of your head, either on the left side, right side, front, or back, or in your temples
- pulsing and throbbing head pain
After the attack phase, one person is often going to experience the post-destruction phase. During this stage, there are generally changes of mood and feelings. They can range from a euphoric and extremely happy sensation, to a very tired and apathetic sensation. Mild head pain may persist.
The duration and intensity of these phases can take place to varying degrees in different people. Sometimes a phase is ignored and there is a possibility that a migraine attack will occur without causing a headache.
People talk about migraine pain as:
It may also feel as a severe, dull and steady pain. Pain can start out as mild, but if left untreated, it will become moderate to severe.
Headache usually affects the forehead. It’s typically on one side of the head, but it can happen on both sides, or a change.
Most migraines are approximately 4 hours long. If they are untreated or do not respond to treatment, they can last up to 72 hours to a week. In headaches with aura, the pain can overlap an aura or never occur at all.
Over half of people with headaches experience nausea as a symptom. Most of them vomit as well. These symptoms can start at the same time as head pain. In general, however, they begin approximately an hour after the headache pain.
Nausea and vomiting may be as troublesome as the headache itself. If you just have nausea, you may want to take your usual migraine medicine. Vomiting, however, may prevent you from taking pills or keeping them in your body long enough for absorption. If you need to delay the use of migraine drugs, your migraine may become more severe.
Treating nausea and preventing vomiting
If you experience nausea without vomiting, your doctor may suggest medicines to relieve nausea called anti-nausea or anti-emetics. If this happens, antiemetics can help prevent vomiting and improve nausea.
Acupressure may also be useful as a treatment for migraine nausea. A 2012 study showed that acupressure reduced the severity of nausea associated with migraine as early as 30 minutes, which improved within 4 hours.
Treating nausea and vomiting together
Instead of treating nausea and vomiting separately, physicians prefer to alleviate these symptoms by treating migraines themselves. If your migraines are accompanied by severe nausea and vomiting, you and your doctor may discuss starting preventative (prophylactic) medications.
Physicians diagnose migraines by listening to your symptoms, taking a complete medical and family history, and performing a physical examination to rule out other possible causes. Imaging exams, such as computed tomography or MRI, may rule out other causes, such as:
- abnormal brain structures
Migraines cannot be cured, but your doctor can help you manage them so that you receive them less frequently and treat symptoms when they appear. Treatment may also help make migraine headaches you have less serious.
Your treatment plan is determined by:
- your age
- how often you have migraines
- the type of migraine you have
- how serious they are, based on how long they last, how painful you feel, and how often they prevent you from going to school or work.
- These include nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms.
- other health problems you may have and other medications you may be on.
There are some things you can try at home that can also help with migraine pain:
- Lie down in a quiet, dark room.
- Massage your scalp or temples.
- Place a cold cloth on top of or behind your forehead.
What causes migraines?
Researchers did not identify any definitive cause of migraine headaches. However, they found some contributory factors which may trigger the condition. This includes changes in brain chemicals, such as decreased levels of chemical serotonin in your brain.
Other factors that can trigger a migraine are:
- unusual smells
- certain foods
- bright lights
- intense heat or other extreme weather events.
- changes in barometric pressure
- hormonal changes in women, such as estrogen and progesterone fluctuations during periods, pregnancy or menopause.
- excess stress
- loud sounds
- high-intensity physical activity.
- skipping meals
- changes in sleep patterns
- Some medications use, such as oral contraceptives or nitroglycerin, are used.
- alcohol use
If you experience a migraine, your physician may ask you to keep a migraine diary. Keeping track of what you were doing, the food you were eating, and the medications you were taking before your headache started can help determine your triggers.
There are a number of types of migraines.
- Chronic migraines
- Acute migraine
- Vestibular migraine
- Optical migraine
- Complex migraine
- Menstrual migraine
- Acephalgic migraine
- Hormonal migraines
- Stress migraine
You may want to take these actions to help prevent a migraine:
- Find out what triggers your migraines and avoid this stuff.
- Stay hydrated. Every day, men should drink approximately 13 cups of liquids and women should drink 9 cups.
- Make sure you don’t miss meals.
- Get an excellent sleep. A great night’s sleep is important for general health.
- Quit smoking.
- Make this a priority to reduce stress in your life and learn to manage it effectively.
- Learn relaxation skills.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise can help you not only decrease stress, but also lose weight. Experts think obesity is linked with migraines. Make sure you start working out slowly to warm yourself up gradually. Getting started too quickly and too intense can trigger a migraine.