Imagine that you are living your daily life normally, suddenly you feel increasing pain in one side of your head. As the pain begins light, but it soon reaches an intolerable level, and your senses are affected by light and sound.
This is not a nightmare! Rather, it is the bitter reality experienced by millions of people around the world due to migraine. Therefore, we will take you in this article; To explore what a migraine is, its profound impact on the lives of individuals, its causes, and how to prevent it. Stay with us.
In this Article
What is Migraine
Migraine is a common type of headache that occurs due to a disorder of the nerves, blood vessels, and chemicals in the brain. It is a chronic disease common in about 12% of people. And more common in women.
This type of headache causes pain or throbbing, and usually occurs on one side of the head. Also it may correspond to nausea, vomiting, and excessive sensitivity to light and sound.
Before getting to know the types dear, we can clarify the meaning of the aura first, which is a group of sensory, motor, and verbal warning signs that a migraine is about to begin.
Often misinterpreted as a seizure or stroke, Some people may have an aura before, during, or even after a migraine. The aura can last from 10 to 60 minutes.
Some migraine attacks can be classified into:
- Migraine without aura
it is the most common type, the patient has at least five seizures. Migraine headaches last from 4 to 72 hours if left untreated.
Pain characteristics include at least two of the following:
- The pain is concentrated on one side of the head.
- The pain appears throbbing.
- The pain is moderate or severe.
- Sensitivity to light and sound.
- The pain gets worse when exercising physically.
- Nausea, with or without vomiting or diarrhea.
- Migraine with aura
About 25% of migraine sufferers have an aura. The person suffers from at least two seizures and they have the following disorders:
- Sensory disorders such as numbness or tingling in the face and hands.
- Movement disorders such as temporary paralysis or weakness in the body.
- Speech disorders such as difficulty speaking or weakness in language.
- Visual disorders and vision problems like flashing, lightning, lines, stains, or complete lack of vision.
The headache occurs within one hour of the onset of the aura. It can last for two days. So you should contact your doctor to diagnose the condition.
- Chronic migraine
It can continue for more than 15 days a month for 3 months or more. Chronic migraine sufferers may use painkillers for several days. Unfortunately, it can lead to frequent headaches.
Some factors can make a person more susceptible to chronic migraines, including:
- Anxiety and depression.
- Another type of chronic pain such as arthritis.
- Other health problems, such as high blood pressure.
- Previous head or neck injuries.
According to the National Headache Foundation, migraines associated with menstruation affects up to 60% of women who suffer from any type of migraine, it may occur with or without an aura.
The seizures can also occur before, during, or after menstruation and during ovulation. Research has shown that period headaches tend to be more severe, last longer, and may be accompanied by nausea.
Headache may go through four stages, not everyone who has it goes through all the stages.
Migraine stages include:
Symptoms may start a day or two before a migraine. Symptoms during this stage include:
- Cravings to eat.
- Mood changes such as depression, agitation, or anxiety.
- Frequent yawning.
- Stiff neck.
- Fluid retention.
Some people experience an aura before or during a migraine attack. This feeling is a symptom of the nervous system. It can be treated and reduced by appropriate therapeutic methods.
The aura is usually visual, but it may also include other disorders such as sensory, motor or speech changes. Symptoms begin to appear gradually and increase over time and can last up to 60 minutes.
Symptoms at this stage include:
- Visual symptoms such as seeing bright lights, or squiggly lines or seeing stains.
- Difficulty speaking clearly.
- Feeling tingling or numbness in the face, arm, or leg.
- Vision loss
- Auditory hallucinations or smelling odors that do not exist.
The headache at this stage is characterized by being at its most severe. It can last from 4 hours to 72 hours if not treated. The number of times it occurs varies from person to person.
The most prominent symptoms at this stage are:
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Dizziness or feeling faint.
- Blurred vision.
- Sensitivity to light and sound and sometimes smell.
- Throbbing pain.
A person may develop these symptoms before or after the migraine has ended. Symptoms include:
- Mood swings, as it can range from feeling elated and overjoyed to feeling exhausted and apathetic.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Pain when pressing on the scalp.
- General fatigue.
- Muscle pain.
- Stiff neck.
When to See a Doctor
If you experience any of the symptoms that we will mention in the following lines, you must go to see a doctor immediately; To make the correct diagnosis and thus determine the necessary treatment such as:
- Severe and sudden headache.
- Chronic headaches that worsen after physical exertion or sudden movement.
- Headache accompanied by fever, numbness, or weakness anywhere in the body.
- Headache after a head injury.
- Difficulty speaking, and problems with vision or balance.
The cause of migraines is still unknown. which increases the difficulty of selecting the most appropriate and best treatment, but what is known today is that there are things that affect him and have to do with his appearance.
To make the pictures more clear dear, there is a device in the brain called the trigeminovascular system. which is designed to protect the brain from harmful factors, and when signals occur that activate the trigeminal nerve, which in turn secretes serotonin and calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP). This results in the release of pain stimuli within the blood vessels in the cerebral cortex.
Among the stimulating causes of headache are the following:
- Hormonal changes in women during menstruation, menopause, or pregnancy.
- Use of hormonal drugs, including oral contraceptives.
- Drinking a lot of caffeine or suddenly withdrawing from it, as your blood vessels seem to be sensitive to caffeine, so when you don’t get it, headache may occur.
- Intense physical exertion.
- Not organizing meals, as delaying a meal may trigger a migraine.
- Sensitivity to certain foods such as salty foods, processed foods, and aged cheeses.
- Inhalation of strong odors such as perfume and smoke.
- Weather changes, atmospheric pressure changes, and changes in altitude.
- Food flavourings that include a variety of sweeteners, including aspartame and glutamate, which usually contains sodium, and is found in many processed foods.
- Take some medications, such as nitroglycerin.
- Drinking alcoholic beverages.
- Exposure to sensory stimuli such as flashing or flashing lights, and loud voices.
- Sleep ups and downs, either lack or excessive of sleep .
- Stress and nervous tension.
There are several factors that make you more susceptible to migraines. These include:
- Family history: 80% of people who suffer from migraine have first-degree relatives with it.
- Gender: Women are three times more likely than men to suffer from migraines, especially women between the ages of 15 to 55. The most common cause is the effect of hormones.
- Age: Most patients suffer from migraine during adolescence. While most people experience their first seizure after the age of forty.
- Some diseases: Such as depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety.
- Digestive problems: This is due to the excessive intake of non-steroidal pain relievers used in the treatment of migraine, which causes stomach pain and ulceration.
- Epileptic seizures.
Questions to Ask the Doctor
You can ask your doctor some questions to get an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment, including:
- What type of headache do I have?
- Should I be tested?
- Is my headache chronic?
- What can my friends and family do to help me?
- What medications do you recommend for me?
The doctor diagnoses headache treatment based on the following:
- Medical history.
- Physical and neurological examination.
Your doctor may order some tests to rule out other causes of your pain. They include:
- Blood test.
The doctor asks for this examination; to detect any diseases of the blood vessels, spinal cord infection, or in the brain.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
MRI relies on sending radio waves; For detailed images of the brain, brain disorders, and infections.
It helps doctors diagnose tumors, strokes, brain hemorrhages, infections and other conditions related to the nervous system.
- Computed tomography (CT)
CT scan creates 3D cross-sectional images of the brain using x-rays; To create detailed cross-sectional images of the brain.
This test helps doctors diagnose tumors, brain hemorrhages, strokes, infections, brain disorders, and other potential medical problems that may be causing headaches.
- Electroencephalogram (EEG)
This test is used to measure electrical activity in the brain using small metal discs, which are attached to the scalp, it also helps detect abnormalities in brain waves.
Your doctor can help you manage migraines and reduce the incidence of your symptoms.
Treatment depends on your age, how often you get headaches, how severe it is, how long it takes, as well as the symptoms mentioned earlier, and the medications you are taking. Therefore, you should consult a doctor before starting to take any medications to get the right diagnosis and treatment for your condition.
Migraine Treatment at Home
There are several ways to treat migraines at home such as:
- Use of compresses: An ice pack or warm compress can be placed on the forehead or the back of the neck to relieve headache symptoms.
But people with circulatory problems, diabetes, or skin problems should avoid extreme temperature compresses.
- Rest: You can take a rest and sleep in a quiet room when you feel a headache. Lack of sleep or excessive sleep is one of the causes of headaches. So you can get 7-9 hours of restful sleep at night; To reduce stress and prevent migraines.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture is an effective treatment for migraines. But care must be taken to apply it by a licensed practitioner of treatment, possesses the necessary experience and skill, as the needles are precisely inserted at specific points.
- Yoga: Yoga improves blood flow and reduces muscle tension which helps relieve symptoms.
- Diet: Some people may find that changing their diet helps prevent migraines. This is because some foods are considered to be migraine triggers for some people. So, avoid some foods that contain caffeine, monosodium glutamate, and nitrates.
- Drinking water: Dehydration can be a cause of headaches. Drinking enough water throughout the day helps prevent this from happening. Taking small sips of water helps a person deal with some symptoms such as nausea.
- Massage: Massage helps the muscles of the neck and shoulders to reduce stress, and relieve headache pain.
- Record seizures: Writing down the times and frequency of headaches helps identify the main triggers for an attack.
Migraine Treatment with Medication
Over-the-counter medications are effective for some people with mild to moderate migraines. Among the pain relievers are the following:
But be careful when taking over-the-counter pain relievers. Sometimes overuse can lead to a dependency problem. So if you use pain relievers more than two to three times a week, tell your doctor, as he may suggest more effective medications.
Triptans: They are alternative medicines for pain relievers. It is taken at the onset of pain, not before it, such as:
It is used to treat migraines as it blocks pain pathways in the brain. These medications can relieve many headache symptoms, whether taken as a pill, injection or nasal spray. But it may not be safe when used in patients who are at risk of stroke or heart attack.
Opioid: To be taken only under the supervision of a doctor for people who cannot take other migraine medicines, and in the event that other treatments are not effective, given that they may cause addiction to a large extent, such as codeine.
Dihydroergotamine drugs: It is available as a nasal spray or injection. It is effective when taken shortly after the onset of headache symptoms. This is if the headache persists for more than 24 hours. It may have side effects, such as increased vomiting and nausea.
People with coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, or kidney or liver disease should avoid them.
Antiemetics: These medications help if migraines are accompanied by aura, leading to nausea and vomiting. It is usually taken with pain relievers, such as:
Antidepressants: It is used in the prevention of migraine; to stabilize serotonin levels in the brain, such as:
Antipeptide associated with the calcitonin gene: taken orally, and recently approved for the treatment of migraine with or without aura in adults, such as:
- Nurtec ODT
Botox: Onabotulinumtoxin A injections may help approximately every 12 weeks in the prevention of migraine in adults.
Anticonvulsant drugs: It helps to treat you if you suffer from frequent migraine attacks, such as:
However, they may cause side effects such as dizziness, weight changes, and nausea. These medications are not recommended for pregnant women or people planning to become pregnant.
Migraine Treatment with Supplements
Certain nutritional supplements that contain vitamins and minerals can be used to treat migraines. Before taking any dietary supplement, you should consult your doctor, especially for those with other health conditions, such as:
- Magnesium supplements: Since magnesium is an essential mineral for the body, because its deficiency can lead to migraine attacks. Therefore, magnesium supplements can be taken to help reduce the frequency of headaches.
- Vitamin B supplements: B vitamins may have an effect in reducing the frequency and severity of headache attacks. It also helps regulate neurotransmitters in the brain.
You should consult a doctor to find out if the medications are right for you or not, especially if you are pregnant, you have to avoid using any of these remedies without consulting your doctor.
7 Tips for Preventing Migraines
You can reduce the number of migraine attacks and prevent their occurrence by following some of the following tips:
- Make notes about trigger foods that you think trigger migraines, and make changes in your diet and avoid these foods as much as possible.
- Sleep at night from 7 to 9 hours a day.
- Eat at regular intervals and drink enough water.
- Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight.
- Learn stress management techniques, such as meditation, yoga, relax and breathing.
- Take medications as directed by your doctor, and talk to him about hormonal therapy if migraines are believed to be related to the menstrual cycle.
- Eating herbs such as anise and butterbur can help in preventing migraine or reducing its severity.
To conclude our article about migraines dear, We have seen how this pain can invade a person’s life and cause long-term effects on physical and mental health. Therefore, it is important to know what triggers migraine attacks and to avoid them.
And don’t despair, even though migraines can sometimes feel frustrating, but you shouldn’t let it control your life, and prevent you from doing the things you love. By visiting a doctor and getting the appropriate treatment, you can break free from the shackles of pain and enjoy life and increase productivity.
Frequently Asked Questions about Migraine
What is the cause of the right migraine with the eye?
Migraine with eye pain can be a symptom of several causes such as sinusitis, cluster headaches, allergies, influenza, viral pneumonia, or a scratch on the cornea.
Do poor eyesight cause migraines?
Yes. Untreated poor vision leads to migraine, so if you struggle to read traffic lights or stare a lot to see, over time it gets worse and eye strain occurs, so it is very important for migraine sufferers to maintain eye health, and go to the ophthalmologist for the necessary examinations.
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