Posts Tagged ‘cause migraines’
Tuesday, April 10th, 2012
Migraine headaches strike millions of migraineurs, but many people don’t understand why they occur or how to stop the debilitating migraine attacks. Here are some of the top FAQ’s regarding migraine headaches.
1) What are migraine headaches?
Migraines are a debilitating neurological illness that involves the nerve muscles and blood vessels in your head, causing severe, excruciating headaches and a multitude of other disabling symptoms. Migraine attacks can occur at any time, and may last for several hours or days.
People who suffer from migraines (migraineurs) often experience their first migraine headache in childhood. For some, migraines disappear for many years, only to return later in life. For most, the pain is constant.
Since migraines are difficult to treat, chronic migraine patients usually cope with them their entire lives.
2) What are all the symptoms of migraines?
Besides throbbing, severe headache, migraineurs may also experience:
- Shooting pain behind the eye
- Extreme sensitivity to bright lights, sounds, and scents
- Severe stomach cramps
- Chronic vomiting
- Chronic diarrhea
- Vertigo (dizziness)
- Tinnitus (ear ringing)
3) What are migraines with aura?
Migraines are separated into two main categories: migraines with aura, and migraines without aura.
A migraine aura is a phase that precedes a migraine attack, and may occur as little as thirty minutes before the migraine strikes. “Alice in Wonderland syndrome,” as noted by the famous author, who also suffered from migraines with aura, causes unusual, hallucinatory sensations, in addition to nausea, vomiting, and stroke-like symptoms. Read When Migraine Aura with Aphasia leaves you Lost for Words
Migraine with aura symptoms may include:
- Distorted sense of time and spatial awareness
- Vertigo (dizziness)
- Bright, flickering lights in peripheral vision
- Crescent-shaped light hallucination
- Blind spot in peripheral vision
- Olfactory hallucinations (strange scents)
- Tinnitus (ear ringing)
- Partial paralysis in upper torso
- Numbness and tingling
- Speech difficulties
- Temporary loss of consciousness
- Recurrent vomiting
- Stomach cramps
4) What are migraine triggers?
Migraine triggers are any factor that contributes to the occurrence and frequency of migraine headaches. While one migraine trigger probably won’t “cause migraines,” an onslaught of migraine triggers can collectively create an environment in your nervous system often referred to as the “migraine brain.” Read Avoiding Migraine Triggers- Here, There and Everywhere
By keeping a migraine diary, and sharing it with your doctor, you can effectively determine which factors most often trigger your migraines. Some migraine triggers cannot be avoided, but an effort must be made to reduce migraine triggers to an absolute minimum, whenever possible.
Common migraine triggers are:
- Food, including red wine, beer, chocolate, red-skinned fruits, aged cheese and meats, fermented foods, yeasted breads, gluten, dairy, cold foods, and nightshade vegetables
- Strong scents, like perfumes and cut grass
- Bright lights, fluorescent light bulbs, stark white backgrounds, and black/white lined patterns
- Weather changes
- Hormonal changes
- Changes in sleep cycles
- Changes in eating patterns
5) Should I see a doctor?
Absolutely- if chronic headaches are occurring, then you must have tests done to ascertain that there is no life-threatening illness or damage, such as brain tumor or stroke.
If possible, seek a neurologist who specializes in migraines or another migraine headache specialist. Read What kind of Doctor should I see for Migraines? Neurologists
6) What migraine medications are available?
There are difference classifications of migraine medications- some treat the head pain itself, some “abort” the migraine attack if caught in time, and others prevent migraines from occurring.
Convention migraine treatments vary according to symptoms, but many such as Topamax may include uncomfortable side effects like nausea, short-term memory loss, brain fog, and…headaches. Read Are You on the Rebound with Your Headache?
7) Which natural ingredients are good for migraines?
A number of complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) for migraines have been tested in clinical trials and found to be extremely helpful . For more info, read Natural Supplements and Herbs for migraines
Natural migraine ingredients include:
- Butterbur extract
- Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
- Coenzyme Q10
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Read more about migraine headaches:
Integrative Medicine for Migraines- East meets West
Migraine fact sheet: womenshealth.gov
Migraine and Headache Questions
Migraine Research Foundation- FAQ
Thursday, November 3rd, 2011
Migraine headaches and brain aneurysms share common symptoms; for that reason, chronic migraine sufferers fear their migraines may cause a cerebral aneurysm. Here, we learn to tell the difference between migraines and aneurysms. Find out if your headache symptoms are cause for alarm, and if you need to call emergency.
How long will my Migraine Headache Last? A Migraine Symptom Chart
What is a migraine headache?
Migraine headaches affect millions of people throughout the world. Overwhelmingly, migraine sufferers are women. Headache specialists differ on the exact cause of migraines, but everybody agrees that migraine illness is a neurological disorder.
Migraine symptoms vary by patient, but the most common symptoms of a migraine attack are:
- Severe, throbbing head pain, usually on one side of the head
- Sharp pain behind one eye that spreads to the temples
- Stomach cramps
- Extreme sensitivity to light, noise, and scents
- Visual disturbances, “auras,” such as zigzagging light sequences, expanding, crescent-shaped hallucinations, and temporary partial-blindness in one eye
- Speech distortions
- Distorted perception of spatial awareness and time
To ER or not to ER? 8 Migraine Signals that call for Emergency Care
What is a brain aneurysm?
Medline Plus defines an aneurysm as a “weak area in the wall of a blood vessel that causes the blood vessel to bulge or balloon out.” Cerebral aneurysms are swollen blood vessels that occur in the brain, usually near the veins at the base of the brain, often producing severe migraine-like headaches. An unruptured aneurysm is like a ticking time bomb, putting pressure on the brain, but causing no serious injury, save for headache pain and other disturbing symptoms.
What are the symptoms of a cerebral aneurysm headache?
Often, people who have a brain aneurysm don’t realize it until they start to experience headache symptoms. For a chronic migraine patient, determining brain aneurysm can be difficult, as many of the symptoms of migraine headaches are similar to those of brain aneurysm headaches.
An unruptured aneurysm causes pain symptoms such as:
- Severe headaches
- Blurry vision
- Speech distortions
- Neck pain
What causes brain aneurysms?
There are several risk factors associated with brain aneurisms. They are:
- Concussion, or other head injury
- Neck injury
- Hypertension, high blood pressure
- Inherited disposition to brain aneurysms
- Kidney disease
- Infection of the arterial wall
When a cerebral aneurysm ruptures- symptoms
When a brain aneurysm leaks or ruptures, people often describe it as “the worse headache of their lives.” Sharp pain, referred to as a thunderclap headache or “crash” migraine, often occurs following physical exertion. If you have a cerebral aneurysm, then anything from a strong sneeze, an intensive workout, or sexual relations can trigger migraine-like head pain that may signal a rupture or leak. If you suspect you have a ruptured brain aneurysm, then it is imperative that you call 911 immediately.
Symptoms of a ruptured aneurysm include:
- Sudden, excruciating headache that is unlike any previous headaches, migraine-related or not
- Neck pain
- Extreme sensitivity to light (similar to migraine symptoms)
- Loss of consciousness
Is there any connection between chronic migraine headaches and brain aneurysms?
According to the Cleveland Clinic, there is no proven connection between migraines and brain aneurysms. Although ruptured aneurysm headaches can mimic migraine headaches in their severity, for the typical migraine patient there is no cause for alarm. An MRI can detect if a brain aneurysm exists. So, unless you have been diagnosed with a cerebral aneurysm, the odds of your migraine headaches being in any way linked with a brain aneurysm are highly unlikely. However, if you notice any sudden, unusual changes in the intensity or frequency of your migraines, then you should call emergency to schedule an MRI- just to be safe.
Read more about migraine prevention:
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Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011
If you get migraines at work, you might qualify for disability benefits and legal protection if you ever get fired you from your job. As migraine headache falls under the Americans with Disabilities Act, you should receive compensation for time missed from work. Symptoms of migraines include neck pain, intense, throbbing headaches, vomiting, dizziness, sensitivity to light, smells, and noises, and temporary partial blindness. Side effects from drug treatments may include memory loss, fatigue, depression, and anxiety.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
According to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you have the right to take up to twelve weeks off from work each year without pay, and without fear of losing your job. Any group health insurance you have through work remains active, according to FMLA conditions. This is good news for people who get frequent migraine headaches, because it allows you to stay home and experiment with new abortive migraine medications and pain relievers without having to call in sick if headache symptoms- nausea, cramps, sharp pain- become overbearing.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act covers migraines, but that alone does not guarantee that your job isn’t at stake. If you are a chronic migraine sufferer, and if you require days to recover from a migraine attack or to try unfamiliar headache remedies, then your employer will have to find somebody to replace you for every day you call in sick, either temporarily…or permanently. Regardless of the fact that your migraines are ADA-approved, and even if you disclosed your migraine history with your employers beforehand, the risk of possibly losing your job to migraine headaches constantly lingers overhead.
“It is difficult when you’re dealing with employees who do not visibly appear to have any impairment whatsoever, but are dealing with issues of stress or fatigue.” -Businessweek
ADA redefines “disability”
In May of 2011, the Americans with Disabilities Act expanded on their definition of “disability,” responding to continuing discrimination of disabled persons in the workplace and the courtrooms. Where the burden of proof previously rested on the employee to prove that her migraines became a disability, it now rests on the shoulders of the employers to show that migraines headaches don’t in fact diminish one’s ability to work.
In its early years, the ADA defined disability as any physical or mental condition that significantly impairs one’s ability to lead a normal life. So what’s the catch? The employee had to prove in court that he was not able to do his job because of his disability. More often than not, the judge would throw out the case. There was simply not enough evidence to support the litigant’s claim.
Today, the ADA specifies certain illnesses that usually qualify as a disability, making it harder for employers or judges to ignore an employee’s request for disability benefits. They are:
- Cerebral palsy
- Major depression
How do the new ADA amendments help migraine sufferers?
Before, if you filed for disability benefits, you had to convince the judge that you were unable to perform your job duties. For people with “invisible diseases,” such as migraines, that burden of evidence can be next to impossible. Now, it’s the employers’ responsibility to made special accommodations in the workplace for people with disabilities- make it easier for them to do their job. For migraine patients, it could mean providing a scent-free environment, granting special permission to wear “migraine sunglasses,” or enabling them time to recuperate from crippling migraine attacks.
Read more about migraine law:
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Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010
The primary risk factor of migraines is genetics. Researchers have found that 70% to 80% of people with this condition have a family history of migraines.
Migraines affect more women than men. Nearly 75% of people afflicted are women. There seems to be some correlation between female hormones and migraines. Examples of such hormones are estrogen and progesterone. Throughout a woman’s cycle, levels of these hormones increase and decrease, and cause migraines in those who are migraine-prone.
About 5 – 10% of children suffer from migraines. In contrast to adults, boys and girls suffer equally, but are less likely to have migraines when they reach adulthood. Some girls experience migraines more frequently after puberty, but puberty is not the cause of migraines.
The majority of people suffering from migraines are between 15 and 55 years of age.
There are medical conditions that have a tendency to be present in people with migraines. These include depression, epilepsy, anxiety, high blood presser and stroke. They do not cause migraines nor do they increase the likelihood of a person developing a migraine. Yet, these problems may accompany migraines.