Nothing can disrupt your activities faster than the onset of a migraine headache. The large number of people who suffer from migraines know the severe and debilitating pain that accompanies them. For many, once a migraine takes hold, the only thing they can do is lie in a dark room where there is no light or noise to cause greater pain and nausea symptoms to occur.
More than 10% of the people in this country suffer with migraines, often seeking help from pain doctors when their condition becomes unbearable or home treatment methods are ineffective. People who suffer from migraines for the first time during their adult years may not realize that they have a migraine instead of a different type of headache. Some of the signs and symptoms that set migraines apart from other types of headaches are:
• Throbbing pain which often occurs on one side of the head around the temples, eyes and forehead
• Sensitivity to light and/or sound
• Nausea or vomiting
• Blurred vision
Some people experience warning signs before they ever feel the first pain from a migraine. Their mood may change or they may see auras as flashing lights or lights in waves or dots. Some people may detect an odd taste or smell. Sudden intense fatigue may signal a migraine as can increased muscle tension. Any of these signs may occur hours or even days before a headache occurs. As a result, some pain doctors have put a stronger emphasis on preventing migraines before they occur. Preventive measures may include:
• Prescription Medication
• Hormone Therapy
• Injections – Including the injection of medications which block nerve action where migraines are believed to occur
Although the exact cause of migraines is still not known, sufferers are fortunate that pain doctors have an increasing number of effective treatment options available to alleviate their pain and prevent the headaches from occurring. Some people with migraines have headaches as a result of triggers that they can learn to recognize. Some types of lights, watching TV, experiencing high levels of anxiety or stress and a lack of food or sleep are some common triggers. Some migraine sufferers recognize food triggers as causing their headaches, with a few foods being the most common triggers. They include cheese, soy sauce, chocolate, monosodium glutamate (MSG, an additive found in many foods), red wine and processed meat. Knowing what triggers your migraines will make it easier to prevent them from occurring.
Migraines and Women
More women suffer from migraines than do men and, as might be expected, their headaches are connected to their menstrual cycles. During the time of their cycle when estrogen levels decline, typically immediately prior to or during their menstrual periods, migraines will occur. In some women, hormonal therapy may alleviate migraine symptoms while others will experience more severe symptoms when taking hormones. Pain doctors must treat migraine patients on an individual basis to learn what the most effective treatments are for each person. Keeping a journal of what you experience before and during a migraine and including any potential triggers could help your doctor find the right treatment for your migraines faster.