Migraines are a deeply painful and often a debilitating form of headache. The exact cause of migraines is unknown, but they’re thought to be the result of abnormal brain activity temporarily affecting nerve signals, chemicals and blood vessels in the brain. About 1 in 10 people suffer from migraines- which is classified as a chronic neurological disease.
Common symptoms of a migraine:
- Your head pain is moderate or severe and often intense. The pain may be hard to endure and may be unbearable
- The pain may be on one side or the head or both. It could be in the front or in the back. Some patients experience migraine in or around their eyes and behind their cheeks
- Your head pain causes a throbbing, pounding, or pulsating sensation
- Your head pain gets worse with physical activity or any movement
- You may experience nausea and/or vomiting
- You may be sensitive to light, noise and/or smells
- Your head pain is severe enough to make you miss school, work or other activities (or it keeps you from being at your best when you do those activities)
- A migraine attack lasts anywhere from four hours to several days
What are the treatments of a Migraine:
In many cases severe migraines deserve an emergency room visit to help get your symptoms under control. There is a wide range of medications that can assist in the controlling of the symptoms, and not all are available over the counter. In addition to pain, you should go to the Emergency Room if you are experiencing severe migraine symptoms, or symptoms such as confusion, fever and vision changes, neck stiffness, trouble speaking or numbness or weakness, even if other symptoms of migraine are present (e.g. light sensitivity, nausea).
Your Ally Medical Emergency Room doctor is happy to physically evaluate and to provide medications, if necessary, to help temporarily alleviate your migraine until you can see your regular doctor. We have medications on-site to treat, and a CT scanner to help diagnosis your headache.
Once you have established care with a neurologist you may require daily medications to prevent migraine symptoms from even starting.
How to diagnose a Migraine:
If you are experiencing frequent headaches or headaches that require emergency room interventions, it is best to follow up with a physician who is skilled in treating migraines, such as a neurologist. This provider will make diagnosis based on your symptoms, and possible testing, such as; a CT or MRI.
What causes Migraines:
Migraine causes are somewhat unknown, however many people can find causation with different triggers. Some of the common triggers of migraine include:
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Changes in eating patterns
- Alcohol consumption or elimination
- Flickering lights/strobes
- Poor air quality (including string smells)
- Weather changes (humidity, barometric pressure)
- Hormonal changes based off of pregnancy, menstruation, menopause, or medications
- Food (MSG, nitrate rich foods, aged foods, or caffeine)
Once you and your doctor have gotten a better idea of the triggers that are causing the migraine, it can help guide on-going treatments.