Migraine is a type of headache that usually starts on one side of your head but can affect both sides. It usually lasts from 2 to 72 hours. Associated symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light, sound or smell. It also can impair you from performing daily activities.
Migraine is caused by several factors such as environmental and genetic factors. Changing hormone levels may also play a role, as well as stress. Scientists also suggest that abnormal brain functions affecting nerve signals, chemicals and blood vessels in the brain play a role.
It is an unpredictable headache; however, you can know if a migraine is about to start. There are often warning signs that happen prior the migraine. Migraine may progress through four stages (you need to remember that you may not experience all stages):
One or two days before a migraine, you may notice subtle changes that warn of an upcoming migraine, including constipation, mood swings, food cravings, neck stiffness, increased thirst and urination, and frequent yawning.
Although most people experience migraine without aura, this may occur before or during migraines. Examples of migraine aura include visual phenomena (seeing shapes, bright spots or flashes of light), vision loss, pins and needles sensations in an arm or leg, weakness or numbness in the face or one side of the body, difficulty speaking, hearing noises, and uncontrollable jerking.
The frequency with which headaches occur varies from person to person. Migraines may be rare, or strike several times a month.
This stage occurs after a migraine attack. You may feel drained and washed out, while some people feel elated. For about 24 hours, you may also experience confusion, moodiness, dizziness, weakness, and sensitivity to light and sound.
Many people think that migraine is just a simple disease that doesn’t need a serious treatment. But if you regularly experience signs and symptoms of migraine attacks, keep a record of your attacks and how you treated them.
If you experience these symptoms, it may indicate that you need a more serious medical problem:
- 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
- A chronic headache that is worse after coughing, exertion, straining or a sudden movement
- New headache pain if you’re older than 50
Migraines can’t be cured, but doctors will help you to reduce the pain. You can always prevent it from happening. Here are things that you can do to avoid migraine:
Staying healthy will not only put migraine away from you, but also prevent other diseases to come. Living a healthy lifestyle and avoiding obesity help lessen symptoms and complications. This means eating clean food (healthy diet) and incorporating physical activity into your schedule. Foods rich in magnesium such as nuts, whole grains and dark leafy greens can help prevent migraines.
Stress is also a well-known culprit behind medical illness, and migraines are no exception. Stress can cause tension in the neck and shoulders, leading to tension headaches that escalate into migraines. Stress also causes hormonal fluctuations that will also lead to migraines. Yoga, meditation, prayer and breathing exercise are all common relaxation techniques that you can do to manage your stress.
Sleep and eat on a regular schedule
Clinical trials have shown that migraines can be triggered by irregular sleeping or eating patterns, so sufferers are advised to stay on a schedule. Lack of sleep can be a trigger, but so can getting too much sleep, so experts recommend aiming for 6 to 8 hours at night.
When natural remedies fail to prevent migraines, or don’t do enough to help, there are some medications that can help. Ask your doctor to prescribe the right medicines for you.
If you or a family member suffers from migrane, please share any treatments that have been of use, with us.