Migraines are recurrent headaches that can affect men and women of any age. A migraine can last 4 to 72 hours. If your migraine occurs for at least 15 days every month for at least six months, then it is called as a chronic migraine.
According to research done by the American Migraine Foundation, it has been estimated that about 36 million people in the United States suffer from migraine headaches. Females are three times more likely than males to develop migraines, and around 3% of the Americans have developed chronic migraine disorder.
Triggers of migraines
The exact cause of a migraine is still not known. However, it is believed that certain triggers can give rise to a migraine attack. It is very difficult to find out the triggers that cause migraines to develop because they are not same in everyone. Some of the triggers include, but are not limited to:
- Skipping meals (breakfast, lunch, or dinner)
- Consuming alcohol, especially red wine
- Eating certain food that contains additives like monosodium gluconate, nitrates, etc.
- Being exposed to loud noises, strong odours, and bright light
Along with a headache, you may also experience other symptoms that can happen in a migraine attack. Other warning signs include vomiting, nausea, and sensitivity to sound, light, and noise. All these symptoms can also be experienced during a migraine. Some individuals also suffer from aura during an attack. Aura is responsible for causing sensory signs that occur anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes before the onset of a migraine. Symptoms of a migraine with aura include:
- Feeling mentally hazy
- Tingling and numbness in the face or hands
- Vision disturbances such as smell, taste, touch, or flashing lights
Management of a migraine
There is no migraine cure, but a variety of treatment options are available. Treatment of a migraine includes both lifestyle changes and medications.
Once you are diagnosed with a migraine, it is necessary that you change your lifestyle to reduce migraine symptoms. You need to avoid triggers that bring on an attack, develop healthy eating habits, and exercise daily to lessen the severity and frequency of a migraine episode. Limiting alcohol consumption and caffeine intake may also help in managing your condition.
Medications are a good option for people with the chronic migraine disease. Abortive medications are useful in treating a migraine once the attack has started. You can take the most out of this medication only when if you take them at the right time when the symptoms start to occur. Preventive drugs are also available to treat this complex neurological disorder. These drugs have been formulated to stop migraines before they develop. You must take such medications on a daily basis to prevent a migraine attack.
Maintain a diary to track symptoms
Try to maintain a headache diary and share the results with your health care specialist. Record the following things in a headache diary:
- Severity, frequency, and duration of migraine episode
- Sleep schedule
- Diet and eating schedule
- Stress level exposure to light, sound, and odors, especially petrol and perfume
- Menstrual cycle for women
- Exercise schedule
- Maintain a track of treatments, outcomes as well as adverse effects
This headache diary will help you and your health care specialist to determine what actually triggers your migraine so that you can stay away with those triggers.
Discuss symptoms with your health care specialist
It is important that your health care specials know all the symptoms that you have experienced. Diagnosing migraine depends on straight communication with your health care provider. There is no clinical test available to show that you have a migraine. Your health care provider will be able to determine that you have this complex neurological disorder only by discussing the history of your symptoms. However, some tests are performed to rule out other potential health conditions.
A migraine is a common condition that not only severely affects the quality of life of the sufferer, but also affects the life of a sufferer’s family and close friends.
A migraine- An introduction
A migraine is a complex neurological disease that may cause different symptoms. Apart from a common sign headache, an individual suffering from a migraine may experience sensitivity to touch, light, sound, and smell. He/she may also develop nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.
A migraine attack may be very different for each patient; many patients are able to identify headaches as a migraine only when the pain is severe or stays for a long time. The most common migraine attack includes moderate or severe one sided throbbing pain, which worsens with movement. A patient suffering from a migraine prefers sitting or lying in a dark and quiet room where there is no light.
Identify your migraine
There are features that can help you identify a migraine headache. You are suffering from this health condition if:
- Your headaches interfere with the ability to function at home or work place
- You have nausea and feeling like vomit with your headache
- You develop sensitivity to light, sound, touch, and certain odors
- Your headache relieved by sleep
- You are a female, and your headache occurs at the time of the menstrual period
Causes and symptoms of migraines
Constriction of blood vessels in and around the brain is considered to be the primary causes of developing a migraine headache. Other studies show that changes in the brain chemicals and abnormal electrical activity in specific brain areas contribute to a migraine attack.
Some of the most common symptoms of a migraine include nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, sound, and smell, and throbbing pain on one side of the head. Some patients may also experience visual symptoms, like a spot of blurring, zigzag lines, or vision loss in one eye. The health condition may rarely cause double vision, change in pupil size, or change in the lid position. The visual problems accompanied with a migraine headache may not entirely resolve. Close medical attention is necessary in this case.
Cost of migraine drugs
It doesn’t matter where you live in the world if you have a migraine; you are paying a lot more than other health care consumers especially if you suffer from the chronic condition. According to research, prescription migraine drugs are considered to be one of the biggest expenses. Especially in countries like the US, the cost of prescription migraine drugs is very high that it’s become a political topic for discussion. The good news is that you can save a lot of money on prescription drugs for migraine treatment and know how to read the information given below.
Rising cost of migraine prescription medications
Patients are taking the financial burden in order to buy migraine prescription drugs and paying even more down the line. According to a study took place in 2004, adult patients who were not able to take their medications as prescribed had poorer health and increased emergency hospital visits. Those people with chronic health conditions depend on affordable medications and are greatly impacted when they are not available.
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A migraine is a severe type of disorder that is characterized by one sided throbbing pain. These types of headaches are often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, and sound. A migraine can be debilitating and cause troubles for a few hours or even a day or more, but fortunately, there are treatments options to help prevent and treat a migraine.
Avoid migraine triggers
Knowing what triggers your migraine and avoiding those triggers can help you prevent and treat migraine headaches. Develop a habit of making a symptom diary; this can help you find out what triggers your migraine. Common migraine triggers include:
- Lack of sleep
- Certain odors such as perfumes
- Bright lights
- Certain foods such as coffee, tea, nuts, yogurt, brown vinegar, aged cheese, chicken livers, onions, and many others
- Changes in the weather
- Alcoholic beverages
- Loud noises
- Certain medications
- Hormone fluctuations
- Missing a meal
- Overuse of pain relieve medications
Medicines for migraine treatment
There are several medicines available in the market that can be taken to help relieve migraine symptoms. Depending on your condition, your health care specialist will prescribe the most suitable migraine treatment medications to you. The medicine is effective and works best when it is taken as soon as migraine symptoms are noticed.
Pain relieving medications- Most over the counter medicines available for relieving headaches are only helpful in treating mild to moderate conditions. They are useful for severe migraine pain.
For mild migraine headaches, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen are a good option. If taken on the right time that is at the onset of symptoms, aspirin can work effectively even for severe migraines. Aspirin is not suitable for children younger than 16 years of age. Another NSAID paracetamol is also useful in relieving migraine pain in some people.
Triptans- It is not possible that a migraine medicine works for all people and those who do not respond to over the counter pain reliever drugs may require a medicine that is particularly formulated for migraine headaches. Such medicines are called triptans. Your health care specialist may prescribe this medication to treat your migraine. The class of medicines includes:
These migraine medications are available in the form of tablets, nasal sprays, and self-injections devices that are effective in a migraine which is accompanied by nausea and vomiting.
These medications cause side effects which may include side effects such as dizziness, warm sensations, pins, and needles. Triptan is not suitable for people with coronary artery diseases (CAD), blood vessel disease, and uncontrolled blood pressure. It is also necessary to avoid certain other medications including complementary medications during the treatment with triptans.
Anti-nausea medications- Nausea and vomiting are often associated with migraines and may prevent absorption or migraine medications. A health care specialist may recommend an anti-nausea medication in combination with other medications as they are an excellent option to relieve migraine pain accompanied with nausea and vomiting. Examples of these medicines include metoclopramide, prochlorperazine, and domperidone.
Preventive medicines for migraine headaches
People who experience severe or frequent migraine attacks like more than two to three times a month may benefit from preventive migraine medications. These may include:
- Sodium valproate
These preventive medications are commonly prescribed to treat other health issues like hypertension, seizures, and depression, but the call is given to prevent migraines. These medications are meant to be taken every day.
Botulinum toxin type A (Botox) is also available for people with chronic migraine headaches. Botox is injected into specific head and muscle areas to prevent migraine pain. Injections must be repeated after a period of twelve weeks.
The preventive migraine medicines are not suitable for everyone and cause harmful effects. Medicines are best given at the first symptom of a migraine.
Anti-migraine medications or drugs are intended to use for the treatment of migraine headaches. There are many anti-migraine drugs available in the market, and nowadays anti-migraine drugs are available online also. These anti-migraine drugs are classified under N02 C, of the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical classification system. There are various examples of Antimigraine drugs such as triptans and ergots etc.
What is a migraine?
A migraine is a disorder of the nervous system. It is characterized by attacks of recurrent headache, sickness, and photophobia (sensitivity to light), etc. A headache or pain usually occurs on one side of the head only. The pain caused by migraine attack can remain for many days. A migraine attack is so terrible that the affected person is not able to even wait for finding a quiet place to get rid of the disturbances in the head. Some people also suffer from episodic headaches that come and go.
Symptoms of migraine attack:
The Migraine attack symptoms varies and undergoes through various number of phases such as:
- Prodrome phase
It is the phase that occurs a day or two before an actual migraine attack. The person who suffers from migraine prodrome can notice a few restrained changes that denote the progress of a forthcoming strong migraine attack, here are a few things that you can put into notice while expecting a migraine attack:
- Depression Constipation
- Food cravings
- Uncontrollable yawning
- Neck stiffness etc.
It is the next stage known as Aura stage. This phase occurs just before or during migraine headaches. The person undergoing aura attack may feel face visual disturbances like flashes of light disturbing their vision, but while some others might meet some touch emotional disturbances. During an aura attack, the person may in whole suffer from sensory, movement or speech disorders. In most of the cases, people do not undergo any aura phase.
- The migraine attack:
This is the phase where people experience is the actual migraine attack. Most people feel the following symptoms during a migraine attack:
- Scorching/thumbing pain on either side of the head
- Pulsating Pain of throbbing quality
- Nausea and restlessness
- Sensitivity to various sensations like light, sound and smells
- Blurred vision/ other visual disturbances
- Dizziness or feeling of fainting
Migraine attacks ends with this final stage of a migraine. It occurs when a migraine ends and the sufferer is completely drained or washed out. There are many reports that suggest that many people who are frequent sufferers of migraine attack feel euphoric attacks also.
Types of Migraine attacks:
Apart from the different stages of a migraine, there are different kinds of migraine attacks:
- A migraine with aura: in such types of a migraine attacks the symptoms begin with character or the warning signs such as flashing lights
- A migraine without aura: in some people there is no aura phase, and hence no warning flashlights are observed in such people.
- Migraine aura but no headache: in some people migraine attacks do not involve the severe headache phase, but they can feel the other symptoms such as aura and other symptoms like nausea.
Anti migration drugs
What are the causes of a migraine?
Migraine headaches and attacks have no known definite reasons; only a few hypothetical causes are there. As the exact cause is not known, it is thought that migraine attacks are caused by:
- Disturbances in Hormonal Balance: In some women migraine attacks may be experienced during the menstrual cycle or before the onset of menstruation as a PMS
- (premenstrual symptom).
- Changes in the body due to some emotional triggers like stress, nervousness, and melancholy, etc.
- In a few cases, some food items may also trigger, too much intake of caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea, alcohol and chocolate consumption may also kick off migraine attacks
- Various cases of Migraine attacks occur when the person faces stress, sleepiness, thunderous noises, side-effects of a few medicines, etc.
the treatment approach of a migraine sufferer may include the following:
- preventative treatment meant to stop the attacks from occurring
- Acute treatment that is supposed to be done as soon as the attack occurs
- Rescue treatment is done to help the person when the acute treatment does not help a bit.
The migraine headache medication includes a group of medicines that are used to treat migraine attacks and hence these drugs is called cold migraine drugs. The standard prescription migraine medication list with their types are:
- Painkillers: such as ibuprofen and paracetamol to reduce a headache
- Anti-inflammatory drugs: they work better than the ordinary painkillers and reduce a severe headache or pain. Example: NSAIDs
- Anti-sickness/ anti-nausea medications
- Triptans: such as Sumatriptan
- Ergotamines and dihydroergotamine