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Migraine can be described as an intense or severe headache and often have other symptoms in addition to head pain. The pain that occurs because of a migraine is described as excruciating throbbing, almost as a hammer hitting on the head. People can link a migraine to a high stimulus by some senses. For example, eyes and ears become sensitive to light and sound.
Common migraine symptom is headache and pain on one side of the head but in a severe case, the headache is experienced on both sides. However, it is important to note that it is not only when some individual feels headaches that it can be said that such individual has a migraine. Symptoms associated with a migraine headache include:
- Pain behind one eye or ear
- Pain in the temples
- Seeing spots or flashing lights
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Temporary vision loss
Did you know?
According to Statistic Canada, an estimated 8.3% of Canadians (2.7 million) experience migraine headaches.
Migraine headaches will typically affect only one side of the head. However, it is possible to have a migraine headache that affects both sides of the head. A migraine headache will cause intense pain that may be throbbing and will render performing daily tasks challenging.
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A migraine is categorized into two majorly known types, but it is not limited to only the two major types which are:
- A migraine with Aura
- A migraine without Aura
An “aura” refers to sensations a person experiences before they get a migraine.
A migraine with Aura: In most cases, physicians can attest to the facts that aura occur more frequently in patients that are living with a migraine.
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People who experience migraines report various factors that are associated with them. These are called migraine triggers. Adjustments in atmospheric density have been associated with causing migraine headaches.
It is not all patients living with a migraine that feel a headache when being put in the dangers of these triggers. The migraine factors that can cause migraine trigger may include:
- Emotional anxiety
- Hormonal changes
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Studies have shown that about 25% of people have migraine headaches at one or two points in their lifetime. Nearly all the patients living with a migraine are female. It is has been anticipated that after teenage years, the proportion of female to male patients living with migraines is about 3 percent to 1 percent. There appears to be a hereditary tendency with migraines as there is frequently a convincing family history of patients living this.
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Prevention is often the best treatment for migraine headaches. Examples of preventive methods your doctor may prescribe include:
- Changes to your diet such as eliminating foods and substances known to cause headaches such as alcohol and caffeine
- Taking prescription medications such as antidepressants, blood pressure-lowering medicines, or anti epileptic medications
- Taking steps to reduce stress
- Nerve Blocks
- Onabotulinum toxin A (Botox, registered trademark name by Allergan)
People who have migraines less frequently may benefit from taking medications known to reduce migraines quickly. Examples of these medicines include:
- Anti-nausea medicines, such as promethazine (Phenergan), chlorpromazine (Thorazine), or prochlorperazine (Compazine)
- Mild to moderate pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, naproxen sodium, or ibuprofen
- Triptans, such as almotriptan (Axert), rizatriptan (Maxalt), or sumatriptan (Alsuma, Imitrex, and Zecuity)
If a person takes migraine headache medications more than ten days a month, this could cause an effect known as rebound headaches. This practice will worsen headaches instead of helping them feel better.
Identify and treat early
Headaches can range from being a mild inconvenience to being severe and debilitating. Identifying and treating headaches as early as possible can help a patient living with a migraine to engage in preventive treatments. This preventive treatment minimizes the chances of another headache. Knowing the difference between headache and migraine can be tricky. Hence, it is important that, as a patient living with a migraine, you should know when to visit your doctor. Also, pay particular attention to the time before a headache starts for signs of an aura and tell your doctor.