The crushing pain, nausea, and light sensitivity of a migraine headache can wreak havoc on the lives of migraine sufferers. For many, the only treatment options are heavy-duty pharmaceuticals with many unpleasant side effects. And those don’t even work for everyone. But research is pointing to surprising melatonin benefits that … Read More
Migraines are more than just a headache. They cause intense pain, which may be accompanied by symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and visual disturbances.
Researchers aren?t sure exactly what causes migraines, but factors such as brain chemical imbalances may be involved. Certain foods, drinks, smells, sounds, and environmental changes (such as the weather) can set off a migraine attack.
Migraine symptoms sometimes start a day or two before the actual headache hits. This is called prodrome. These pre-migraine symptoms can include depression, food cravings, irritability, and a stiff neck.
An actual migraine produces a throbbing or pulsing sensation, rather than the typical pain of a headache. Often the pain is in just one part of the head. Nausea, vomiting, and dizziness are other possible migraine symptoms. Some people become so sensitive to light and sound from a migraine that they have to lie down in a dark, quiet room until the headache passes.
Aura is another hallmark migraine symptom. People who experience auras with their migraines describe seeing flashes or spots of light. They may also feel strange sensations, or have trouble speaking.
Migraines typically last for a few hours, but some can continue for a day or two. Triptans are a class of drugs that constrict blood vessels to relieve migraine pain, but they must be taken immediately after the migraine starts to be effective. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help with less severe migraine pain. Medicines such as metoclopramide (Reglan) and prochlorperazine (Compro) help with nausea and vomiting. Beta-blockers, antidepressants, Botox, and anti-seizure drugs can help prevent migraines before they start.
Lifestyle measures like avoiding food triggers, getting enough sleep, and using relaxation techniques may also help prevent migraines. Some people find that keeping a headache diary helps them pinpoint their triggers.
If you tend to develop a headache while exercising or start feeling a headache after you exercise, it’s likely that you’re suffering from the exertion headache phenomenon. You’re more likely to experience an exertion headache if you also suffer from migraine symptoms, which can also stem from vigorous exercise. Exertion … Read More
Stress, bright lights, sleep pattern changes, the weather—unfortunately, there are countless migraine triggers that can take you out of commission, and some of them aren’t always under our control. What you can control, however, is what you put into your body. Oftentimes, what you eat and drink on a daily basis … Read More
If you suffer from migraine headaches, you will likely have tried a range of treatments to ease the pain and any other migraine symptoms you suffer. Now there is a new medication available: erenumab (Aimovig). Erenumab, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on May 17, is treatment that … Read More
If you’re blessed with the gift of perfect or near-perfect eyesight, it can be quite jarring when you first experience a significant period of blurred vision. You’re not sure whether it’s a temporary occurrence or a sign that you might be losing your eyesight. Blurred vision refers to a lack … Read More
People who suffer migraine symptoms know they can include an intense pulsing or throbbing ache on the front or side of the head. The pain can last anywhere from four to 72 hours, and it’s severe enough for many sufferers to describe it as feeling like a vise grip is … Read More
A tension headache can be short and episodic (lasting for about 30 minutes and occurring on 10 to 15 days every month) or chronic (a more severe version that lasts for a day or longer, and occurs more frequently). The onset of chronic tension headaches is usually preceded by the … Read More
There’s not much worse than suffering from a chronic migraine. The pounding head, nausea, and pain is debilitating. My last migraine persisted for a month. It was so bad I dreamed of ticking off King Henry the VIII so he could have my head chopped off and relieve me of … Read More
As many as 28 million Americans, including 25 percent of all adult women, have migraine headaches. Migraine headaches are often misdiagnosed as sinus headaches because the pain is felt across the forehead and the bridge of the nose, just like sinus headaches. The latest genetic and biological research shows that … Read More
The first thing that might surprise you is that what causes headaches isn't related to anything going on in your brain—in fact, your brain doesn't feel pain, because it doesn't have any pain receptors (the nerve endings that are found throughout the body, and that transmit pain signals). But your … Read More