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About Migraines

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

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to sound
  • Moderate to severe pain, felt on one or both sides of the head
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Throbbing or pulsating head pain
  • Seeing flashes of light
  • Weakness
  • Language or speech problems
  • Tingling sensation in arms or legs
  • Visual blind spots

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:

  • Cravings for sweets
  • Drowsiness
  • Excessive thirst
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of elation
  • Feelings of intense energy

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:

  • Hormonal changes
  • Certain foods
  • Stress
  • Medications
  • Changes in the environment
  • Physical factors
  • Sensory stimulus

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:

  • NSAIDs
  • Triptans
  • Ergots
  • Anti-nausea medication

Options for prevention include:

  • Cardiovascular drugs
  • Antidepressants
  • NSAIDs
  • Anti-seizure drugs
  • Cyproheptadine
  • Botox

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:

  • Biofeedback-This relaxation technique uses specialized equipment that enables the user to monitor and control certain things such as muscle tension.  Biofeedback is used to relieve the pain from migraines.
  • Acupuncture-Very small, fine needles are used in this treatment.  They are placed just under the skin in areas of nerves and nerve endings that correspond to the nerves sending pain messages to the brain.  Acupuncture is also used to treat the pain associated with migraines.
  • Massage-This treatment may prevent migraines, as it allows for complete relaxation and tension relief of the muscles.
  • Vitamins, Herbs and Minerals-Feverfew and butterbut are herbs that may prevent migraines or reduce their frequency.  Vitamin B-12 may also prevent migraines from occurring.

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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VISITOR COMMENTS on "Migraine Help":

kat said,
22nd November 06
this is a fabulous site - very informative and accurate for everything i have read about migraines. extremely comprehensive. thanks so much for the work that was put into it.

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