Migraine: A Debilitating Problem
It is important to know what the different types of headaches are so that they can be treated properly. This article will be about a sometimes disabling form of headache known as the migraine.
A migraine definition is a little bit complex. Migraines can cause intense throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation. This usually happens on only one side of the head. Other migraine symptoms are nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. The migraine symptoms can last for hours to days and can be severely disabling.
Many times, an aura occurs either before the onset of the pain or with the pain. This consists of flashes of light, blind spots, or tingling in your body.
Migraine causes are not well understood. However, genetics and some environmental factors seem to be involved. It is theorized that they might be caused by changes in the brainstem. It is also thought that imbalances in certain brain chemicals may be involved. These include serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps control pain in the nervous system. Research is ongoing with respect to this issue.
One or two days before the onset of a migraine, you may have signs that serve as a warning. These include:
- Changes in mood
- Cravings for certain foods
- More thirst and urination
- Stiffness in the neck
Migraine treatments can control your symptoms and prevent future attacks. There is medication available for this purpose. The medications fall under two main categories:
- Pain-relieving medications
You may take these medications during an attack to help relieve your symptoms
- Preventative medications
These drugs can be taken to control the severity or regularity of migraines.
You can take these medications when you have symptoms. It may be of benefit to rest or sleep in a dark room after you take them.
The following may be taken for pain relief:
Be careful with these medications, as they can lead to ulcers.
These medications constrict your blood vessels and block pain pathways in the brain:
You can try this therapy if:
- You have four or more intense attacks a month.
- The attacks last longer than 12 hours.
- Pain-relieving medicine is not effective.
- You have symptoms that include aura, numbness, or weakness.
The most common medications for migraine prevention are:
- Cardiovascular drugs
- Anti-seizure drugs
Alternative Treatments for Migraines
Biofeedback helps you use information about certain body signals to diminish your stress. Electrodes are placed on your skin to measure these signals.
If you have some stress in your life, as everyone does, this may be a cause of the migraines that you have. Studies indicate that a combination of stress management and antidepressant drugs can reduce your pain. These can be used together with pain medications. A specialist in psychology can also show you how to use relaxation techniques.
This is an ancient technique that places fine needles into certain places on the body. The people who practice it say that it can help diminish your pain by correcting energy imbalances in the body.
While most head pain is not life-threatening in nature, if the pain is accompanied by other sorts of symptoms such as paralysis, then you should be checked out by a doctor immediately because of risk of stroke. A stroke is a high-level medical emergency that must be attended to as soon as possible.