Migraine headaches affect nearly 30 million Americans, and women suffer from them three times more often than do men. A migraine headache is often severe, causes excruciating pain, and for some people is often disabling. Many times, those suffering from migraines are unable to receive effective treatment due to the fact that they have been misdiagnosed as having sinus or stress headaches. Although no cure has been found for migraine headaches, if properly diagnosed, they can be managed and even prevented.
Some people experience what is termed”aura” right before getting a migraine. Aura is a sensory warning that manifests as flashes of light, tingling sensation in the arms or legs, or seeing blind spots. Sensitivity to light and sound is also known to precede a migraine. An untreated migraine headache can last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours, and can occur monthly or just a few times a year. Each persons experience with migraines is unique, but sufferers have reported the following signs and symptoms:
Pain that becomes worse with physical activity
Some migraine sufferers also experience premonition sensations, also called prodrome a few hours or days before the migraine actually occurs. These signs of an impending migraine include:
While the medical community continues to research exactly why migraines occur, researchers have discovered that migraines may be caused by changes in the trigeminal nerve system. The trigeminal nerve system is a pain pathway that sends messages to the brain. Since serotonin levels are known to drop during a migraine, this triggers a change to occur in the trigeminal nerve system, resulting in a migraine headache. There are many things that can cause a migraine. Some of the known triggers are:
Those suffering from migraines do have a choice when deciding on a treatment option; preventative and pain relieving. Preventative measures can be taken to actually thwart off a migraine, and pain- relieving medications can be used after the migraine has manifested. Both treatments offer numerous options. Pain relieving medications that can be used to alleviate the pain associated with migraines include:
Options for prevention include:
It is important for you to consult with your physician to determine what type of treatment will work best for you. Some migraine sufferers are able to get relief from over-the-counter medications, while others must rely on prescription medications offered by their doctors.
Some sufferers, not wanting to depend on harsh chemicals to prevent and control their migraines, choose to explore alternative therapies. While none of these therapies has been proven by the medical community as a viable, affective treatment, many migraine sufferers have reported success when implementing an alternative treatment into their course of therapy. Some of these alternative methods are:
While migraines can cause serious problems for those suffering from them, there are many treatment options available. Migraines can be managed, and need not interfere with your daily life.
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