Migraine is one of the worst cases of a normal headache. People suffering from this condition are highly likely to experience issues such as nausea, tiredness, pain, visual irritation, and so on. They would not be able to move around and engage in daily activities just like other human beings.
Migraine Headaches: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Tests, Prevention, Management And Treatment
Light, sound, and movements are some of the most triggering factors for patients with migraine headaches. Exposure to these conditions can make their condition much worse. Traveling in a bus or car, being out in the sun for a prolonged period, and having extra weight or disturbance in any body parts that are in proximity to the head can all cause a bad migraine to affect the individual.
However, in this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about this quite troublesome condition, its major symptoms and causes, the underlying reasons or causes of migraine, the major tests or methods that are used to diagnose this condition, some insights to dealing with this condition and effectively treating them, and also some of the most important techniques for prevention, that would help you live calm and stress-free.
Symptoms Of Migraine Headaches
This is one of the most prominent symptoms that can be found along with migraine headaches. Usually, the headaches start with a milder intensity. Eventually, the mild aches turn out to be moderate with a pulsing sensation.
At the final stage, the pain can assume its maximum intensity, with a pounding or throbbing feeling. This may irritate the individual the most and restrict them from getting engaged in any kind of daily activities. The regions where the individual would experience the pain may differ from person to person.
Some people may experience it on their left side while some may have it on their right side. The back of your head, jaws, neck, sinuses, eyes, temples, etc. are all areas where this headache can be experienced. In some worst cases, the headaches would also spread to your head as a whole.
2. Light, Sound, And Odor Sensitivity
This is another important symptom experienced by people suffering from the issue of migraine headaches. When they are exposed to these factors, the pain and difficulties may become much worse.
3. Reduced Hunger
While suffering from throbbing migraine headaches, people would find it difficult to have food since their appetite levels would be significantly reduced.
Causes Of Migraine Headaches
Stress is one of the major reasons behind the most troublesome migraine headaches. When you are stressed out, your brain may release certain chemicals that are migraine-causing. Apart from that, the blood vessels may also dilate when you are anxious, stressed, or worried, which can also worsen the condition by increasing the intensity of these headaches from low to moderate or moderate to severe.
2. Skipping On Meals
When you skip meals, there are high chances for you to have a migraine sooner. Delaying your meals beyond a specific duration can also bring in the same effect. Hence, if you have the issue of migraine headaches, it would be a bad idea not to have food on time.
3. Hormonal Variations
This cause is one of the major ones when it comes to migraine headaches in women. The hormonal changes occurring in women, especially during the time of puberty and menopause can cause severe migraine headaches that are quite bothersome.
Migraine Headaches: Diagnosis And Tests
1. Migraine Journal
This is one of the most recommended ways to help you diagnose the issue of migraine headaches all by yourselves. However, it is not safe to be conclusive regarding the same and take self-medication. This should be taken as one of the effective tools while explaining your symptoms at your doctor’s office.
While preparing this journal, make sure that you have included the frequency at which you are experiencing the migraine attacks. Remember to include the food items that you have consumed before and after the attack. It is also important to note down the factors that have triggered the intensity of your headaches.
Noting down the weather conditions can also be helpful. Also mentioning your mental health state can be helpful. You may also record the region where you are experiencing the pain, and symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, appetite levels, and so on. If you are experiencing migraine headaches only during your period cycle or time slots close to it, it is also important to note them down and share them with your doctor.
2. CT Scan
CT scans are medical imaging techniques using X-ray technology to create detailed images of the body, aiding in diagnosing various medical conditions like tumors, infections, and organ abnormalities. They can acquire multiple slices in a single rotation, but exposure to ionizing radiation is risky.
3. MRI Scan
An MRI scan is a medical imaging technique that uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to generate detailed images of the body. It relies on the magnetic properties of certain atomic nuclei, particularly hydrogen nuclei found in water and fat. MRI is useful for imaging soft tissues, particularly the brain, spinal cord, joints, muscles, and organs.
Contrast agents are used to enhance the visibility of structures or abnormalities. MRI scans can be categorized into Functional MRI (fMRI) and Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA), with no special preparation needed. MRI is generally considered safe, but there are limitations, such as its suitability for imaging bones and calcified structures.
Electroencephalography (EEG) is a non-invasive medical test that measures brain electrical activity, used to diagnose and monitor neurological conditions like epilepsy, sleep disorders, brain injuries, and encephalopathies. It records brainwave patterns and is often combined with other imaging techniques like MRI and CT scans for comprehensive neurological assessment.
Migraine Headaches: Management And Treatment
1. Abortive Medications
These are medications that are supposed to be consumed when you are at the beginning stage of a migraine headache attack. Having them in this early stage would help in bringing back the dilated blood vessels to normal and thereby reducing the pain. Apart from that, it may also help in reducing the pain and the feeling of vomiting and nausea caused due to migraine headaches.
2. Preventive Medications
Preventive medications are supposed to be consumed daily to reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks.
Can Migraine Headaches Be Prevented?
You may prevent migraine by sticking to the preventive medications prescribed by your doctor. Apart from that, make sure you eat food on time and never skip or delay. Also, have any sort of physical activity daily. If you are having migraine attacks due to the fluctuations in your hormone levels, taking hormonal therapy would be a better way out. It is also important to reduce stress and maintain peace of mind.
These are some of the basic and most important things you need to know about a migraine headache. In short, one of the best ways to help your healthcare professional perform an accurate diagnosis is by keeping a migraine journal.
It is also important to know other migraine-causing factors and try to stay away from them through dietary and lifestyle changes. It is also important to note that, medical science is there to help you out through a lot of advanced treatment mechanisms so that you can easily get your symptoms and difficulties improved.
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Migraine Information Page. (https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Migraine-Information-Page) Accessed 2/27/2021.
- MedlinePlus. Migraine (https://medlineplus.gov/migraine.html). Accessed 5/5/2021.
- World Health Organization. Headache Disorders (https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/headache-disorders). Accessed 2/27/2021.