You may think it’s just a bad headache. But do you feel sick like you want to throw up? Is the light making your headache worse? Then your headache may be a migraine.
If you suffer from migraines, it’s hard to prevent their occurrence altogether, but you can observe certain signs to prevent them from getting worse.
What is a migraine?
A migraine is a type of headache that usually starts on one side of your head but can affect both sides. The pain associated with a migraine is often described as a severe throbbing pain that will impair you from performing your daily activities.
The cause of migraines is still unclear, but there are factors that can trigger your migraine. Scientists suggest that abnormal brain functions affecting nerve signals, chemicals and blood vessels in the brain play a role.
Migraines can be unpredictable. Fortunately, there are often warning signs that can tell you that a migraine is about to start.
What are the stages of migraine?
There are four stages of a migraine: prodrome, aura, headache and postdrome. Do note that you may not experience all the stages.
This stage is also known as the pre-headache stage. Signs and symptoms may appear one or two days before a migraine. Small changes that may signal an oncoming migraine include constipation, depression, food cravings, hyperactivity, irritability, neck stiffness and uncontrollable yawning.
Aura may occur before or during migraines. People who experience aura may see flashes of light, have a distorted sense of smell, touch or hearing or experience disturbances in their motor skills or speech. Most people experience migraines without aura.
Without treatment, migraine can last up to 72 hours, but the frequency at which headaches occur varies from person to person. Symptoms associated with a migraine include nausea, pain behind one eye or ear, pain in the temples, seeing spots or flashing lights, sensitivity to light and/or sound, temporary loss of vision, vomiting.
The final phase, also known as the post-headache, occurs after a migraine attack. During this time you may feel drained and washed out, though some people report feeling mildly euphoric. The symptoms of prodrome may include: lowered mood levels, especially depression; feelings of wellbeing and euphoria; fatigue; poor concentration and comprehension; lower intellect levels.
How can I prevent a migraine?
Migraines can’t be cured, but doctors will work with you to help you manage your condition. Preventing is often the best treatment for migraines.
Examples of preventive methods your doctor may prescribe include:
– Get enough sleep, but don’t oversleep. If you see signs of a migraine, you should take time to rest and relax. If possible, rest in a dark, quiet room when you feel a headache coming on. You can wrap an ice pack or put ice cubes in a cloth on the back of your neck and apply gentle pressure to painful areas on your scalp.
– Making changes to your diet, such as eliminating food known to cause headaches. These could include alcohol and caffeine.
– Taking steps to reduce stress. Try muscle relaxation exercises.
– People who have migraines less frequently may benefit from medicationknown to reduce migraines quickly, such as pain-relieving medications (NSAIDs or Triptans) or preventive prescription medicine, such as antidepressants, blood pressure-lowering drugs or antiepileptic medicine.
– Keep a headache diary. Take notes on your headache experiences even after you see your doctor. This will help you learn more about what triggers your migraines and what treatment is most effective. (kes)