Posts Tagged ‘headache symptoms’
Tuesday, November 29th, 2011
Does thinking about the holidays cause headaches? Learn how to manage your migraines… eat migraine-friendly party foods…reduce stress…determine your seasonal migraine triggers…and have the holiday you deserve!
There’s nothing merry about migraines.
Let’s face it- most of us get a bit stressed out as the holiday season approaches. Even if you don’t suffer from migraine headaches, you’re liable to get the occasional tension headache. Family stress, work deadlines, pricey gift tags, and the constant influx of party food and alcohol all add up to one big migraine attack.
Don’t let the Migraine Monster turn you into a Grinch! Here are some excellent tips for coping with stress and finding headache relief…
Watch out! Here come the triggers…
What are the classic holiday comfort foods? Hot cocoa, nut-crusted cheese balls, wine spritzers, ginger spiced cappuccinos, gifted dried salami, ageless fruitcake, chocolate-coated EVERYTHING, and Buffet Casserole Surprise.
These are all trigger foods for some unsuspecting migraineur.
Tip #1- Question the cook, or bring your own goods to the party!
Avoiding Migraine Triggers- Here, There and Everywhere
Don’t be the life of the party!
You’re going to be in many situations during the next few months in which you will be offered numerous alcoholic drinks, at either work parties, family parties, or New Year’s Day parties.
Tip #2- Avoid hangover headaches by knowing your alcohol limit!
Don’t go to late-night parties, and don’t be ashamed to excuse yourself early if you feel tired. Disturbing your regular sleep pattern is your ticket to migraines. Avoid sleeping late, even when you have the day off, and resist the temptation to take a cozy winter afternoon nap.
Tip #3- Sleep regular hours to avoid headache symptoms!
Are Sleep Seizures, Exploding Head Noises Causing Insomnia?
When you can’t remove yourself from a stressful situation, you need to learn how to cope. Learn how to recognize certain cues as your body’s natural reaction to stress- heart palpitations, tension headache, profuse sweating, and anxious thoughts. Accept that stress and anxiety come and go, and that you have the ability to control your response, and thus prevent stress-related migraine headaches.
Tip #4- Understand that migraines don’t own you!
Top 20 Simple Lifestyle Modifications to Prevent Migraines
Assuming that physical exertion is not one of your migraine triggers, try to include exercise in your daily schedule- even if it means avoiding the elevator, parking on the other side of the parking lot, or walking to work. Exercise reduces stress, burns calories, increases circulation, and promotes good feelings.
Tip #5- Stay active!
8 Ways to Avoid Exercise Headaches after Working Out
Ignore the collective holiday frenzy. You don’t have to make it to the mall before it closes- it will open again tomorrow. Guaranteed. And if you get stuck in traffic, use the opportunity to practice relaxation techniques, collect your thoughts, clean out your purse (with one hand!), or just listen to the radio.
Tip #6- Take it easy!
Many of us have unrealistic expectations when it comes to the holiday season. We’re so worried about keeping up with the Jones’ holiday parties, and finding our place in the Have’s and Have-not’s, that we often forget to appreciate the circle of friends and family that we already have. No wonder you have headaches!
Tip #7- Find some holiday truth!
5 Simple Ways to Build a Migraine Support System of Friends
Recognize the symptoms of depression.
This is probably the hardest part of the holiday season for migraine sufferers- it’s the Depression Double Whammy! Migraine patients are naturally prone to depression and anxiety. Add to that seasonal depression that affects migraineurs and non-migraineurs alike, and you have a prescription for disaster. Studies prove that depression worsens chronic headaches, causing a vicious circle.
Tip #8- Conquer depression: stay connected to friends, seek help, find out if you suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and if necessary, inquire about taking antidepressants.
7 Websites that will Change your Life and Make you Happier
Chalk it up to the weather!
Weather changes are a common migraine triggers for many headache sufferers- shifting barometric pressure, temperature ups and downs, and humidity cause constant seasonal headaches.
Tip #9- You can’t avoid the weather, but you can prepare for it!
Don’t get sniffly!
Flu bugs, head congestion, fever, watery eyes, sore throat, and sinus headaches are all unfortunate realities of the holiday season. Find out if natural migraine remedies can help alleviate some of your cold symptoms as well. Take extra vitamin C. Gargle salt water often. Use saline eye drops. Ask your headache doctor if antihistamines are safe for you to have on your current migraine management plan.
Tip #10- Nurse yourself well!
Read more about migraine prevention:
Can Anxiety Attacks cause Migraines?
De-Clutter your Home, De-Clutter your Mind for Stress Relief
What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?
6 Mindful Ways to Minimize Holiday Stress
New survey highlights holiday misery for migraineurs
How to Avoid Holiday-Induced Migraines
Image credits, from top:
Idea go, photostock, Ron Bird
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:
Image credits, from top:
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:
Image credits, from top:
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011
How can you tell if your migraine headaches require emergency attention?
Migraine headaches are a neurological disorder that causes sharp, throbbing head pain, in addition to queasiness, vomiting, visual disturbances, and extreme sensitivity to bright lights, strong scents, and loud noises. Migraine pain can be unbearably draining and excruciating. If you’ve ever been in the middle of a migraine attack, then you understand the urgency to find something that will immediately alleviate your agony.
Stay home, or call 911?
Millions of migraine sufferers visit their local hospital emergency rooms every year, hoping for some quick migraine pain relief. Unfortunately, unless your headache symptoms are severe enough to suggest a stroke, you will probably wait many long hours before even seeing a nurse. As far as the ER ranking system goes, you are going to be somewhere very near the bottom of the patient chain.
So, how does one know when to call the doctor, when to call 911, or when to call in sick and just stay home?
Headache warning signs
Below are eight common red flag headache warnings that necessitate a trip to ER, followed by some less urgent migraine conditions that can wait until your visit to the headache doctor.
Call 911 or go to the emergency room if any of these headache symptoms occur:
- A migraine headache that has lasted longer than 72 hours
- Migraine head pain that is more severe than usual
- Headache accompanied by fever, hypertension, sore neck muscles, or a rash.
- Migraine pain that wakes you up out of a deep sleep in the middle of the night
- Severe headache combined with intense stomach upset, such a nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps.
- Headaches that result from head trauma, a car accident, or a bad fall
- If you are over the age of40*, and have not been diagnosed with migraines, then any new or uncommon pattern of headaches that could suggest migraines
- Symptoms that indicate neurological damage:
- Visual disturbances, such as blurred vision, flashing orbs of light, blind spots, or hallucination
- Dizziness, loss of balance and sudden weakness
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Speech difficulties, such as stuttering, slurring and muttering incoherently
- Any other peculiar behavior (Read Strange but True: Migraines can Give You a British Accent)
The following scenarios do not require a trip to ER, but do call for a visit to a neurologist:
- You are having more than three migraines every week
- You are using pain medication every day, or at least four times per week to treat headaches
- Migraine head pain increases in severity, and doesn’t alleviate
- Headache triggers that include physical exertion, coughing or sneezing, and bending over
- Any unusual shift in your typical migraine pattern
- You have not been diagnosed with migraines, but you suspect your chronic headaches are related, and you are under the age of 40*
Brain Tumor, Stroke and 8 other Illnesses you probably don’t have
Top 10 Headache Symptoms that Point to Migraines
When to Call the Doctor About Your Migraines or Headaches
Migraine: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia
Migraine- When to Call A Doctor
Should I Visit the Emergency Room for a Migraine?
Wednesday, June 8th, 2011
Overcome Anxiety and Migraines: Stress is the leading cause of headache symptoms. It’s no wonder, then, that such a high correlation exists between panic disorder and migraine headaches. Close to 60% of women and 40% of men who suffer anxiety attacks also experience chronic headaches. Learning how to stop panic attacks in their tracks is a crucial step towards overcoming anxiety, chronic migraines and other stress symptoms.
What causes panic attacks?
Panic attacks occur when your brain gets a message signaling danger, triggering the fight or flight response, which pumps adrenaline and produces increased energy, heightened senses and mental acuteness. Now, sometimes that stress response can be a life-saving mechanism. If you ever find yourself in a real emergency, such as being trapped in a burning building, that boost of energy will come in handy. But when these stress symptoms occur in the absence of any perceived danger, they can quickly escalate into a full-fledged anxiety attack, which in turn renews your feelings of panic, triggering more stress hormones, and thus continuing the vicious circle of anxiety.
How do you stop having anxiety attacks?
The only way to put an end to migraines and anxiety is to learn how to recognize and stop anxiety attacks before they spin out of control.
Listed below are 4 important skills you must learn in order to overcome panic disorder and prevent stress-induced migraine headaches:
1) Relax: Take some long, slow deep breaths. Focus on your surroundings. Know that you are safe, that there is no real threat. Imagine your comfort zone- the one place in the world where you are (almost) always content, relaxed and centered. Most of us have at least one such spot. Maybe it’s lying on your bed, flicking through a magazine? Or surrounded by family and friends around the dinner table? Even if you have to make one up, imagine your’e in your element. Picture yourself from the outside looking in, almost as a casual observer- it puts things into perspective.
2) Don’t allow negativity: Imagine a barrier that only allows happy, comfortable thoughts, and deflects negative thoughts. Negative messages are, I’m going crazy, everybody is watching me freak out, or when will this ever end? This is an important skill to master. If you’re alone, yell, Stop!! Not alone? Think it; send yourself a message that these feelings are all a big hoax, that there is no danger, and your body is just reacting to a sudden burst of adrenaline, which will all be over in approximately 3 minutes.
3) Use positive affirmations: Replace any fear-inducing messages or phobias with healthy, positive statements. If your fear is that you’re having a heart attack, say to yourself that no, you are not having a heart attack, and that you are only experiencing heart palpitations because of your adrenaline response. If you’ve been avoiding social engagements because you fear getting a migraine attack, give yourself permission to go to that office party, book club meeting or birthday celebration…and politely excuse yourself if you absolutely need to. Make sure that people around you know that you suffer from chronic migraines, and you’re less likely to feel guilt or embarrassment at having to turn in early.
4) Acknowledge your feelings: One of the biggest mistakes made by people who suffer from anxiety disorder is the tendency to “ban” certain feelings or ideas. They think that certain images are taboo, or crazy, and that thinking them means they will happen in real life. Example: people who say they are afraid of heights are really afraid of thinking “jump!” when they pass by an open window in a tall building. Author Dr. Claire Weekes, who has treated patients with anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder and phobias, once described a patient, a nurse who cared for newborn infants; she was suffering from severe fatigue, and worried about a thought she felt whenever she passed by an open window while holding a baby, an image of her throwing the baby out the window. The fact that she had this thought gave her anxiety attacks, even though she would never give in to the thought, just as the height-phobic individual would never actually jump. When we accept our thoughts and refuse to attach labels to them, we allow ourselves to be unaffected by them.
10 Clues your should Include in your Headache Diary Today
Relieve Your Headaches With Yoga: Try These Moves!
New Study Warns against Taking these Painkillers with Antidepressants
Wednesday, June 1st, 2011
Do you know the difference between migraine headaches and common headache symptoms? If you experience head pain often, it’s important to know if you are suffering from chronic migraines, which may warrant a trip to the emergency room.
Tension headaches are the most common, and they are caused by constricted muscles in the shoulders, neck and head; neck pain often accompanies a tension headache.
Migraines, however, are a neurological disorder, and are caused by engorgement of the blood vessels. There is a high correlation between stroke, heart attack and chronic migraine patients. Migraine Sufferer to World: It’s not just a Headache, People!
If you experience any of these migraine symptoms with your headaches, please visit a neurologist immediately:
1) Head pain: Migraine head pain can occur on either side of the head, or on both sides at once, and the severity can alternate between moderate and excruciating. Pain duration can last anywhere from 4 to 72 hours. 7 Headache Categories:Which Type of Headache do you Have?
2) Throbbing or palpitating: Migraineurs often describe their symptoms as intense, pulsating waves of pain; this is caused dilated blood vessels, which allow unrestricted blood flow to the brain, creating the characteristic throbbing sensation. Migraine Pop Quiz: How Well do you Understand your Headaches?
3) Stomach upset: Migraine patients often complain of severe stomach problems during a migraine attack. Nausea, abdominal cramps, vomiting and diarrhea are all common migraine headache symptoms.
4) Alternating between hot and cold: Hot and cold flashes occur as a result of poor circulation. Patients may have cold feet at times.
5) Light sensitivity: A particularly debilitating side effect of chronic migraines is the intense pain caused by bright lights, stark white surfaces and contrasting patterns of black and white. For this reason, severe migraine headache patients require a very dark room in order to recuperate from an attack. Migraines Caused by Eye Strain? Tinted Glasses can Help
6) Interference with daily life: Regular activities that most people take for granted can become practically impossible for people who get frequent migraines. Driving to work, shopping for groceries, celebrating a birthday party- all these things get put on hold when a migraine threatens to storm. Migraine Pain, Portrayed through Art and Poetry
7) Fatigue: Stress, chronic pain, inactivity, feelings of depression- all these combine to create mental exhaustion. Is Gluten Sensitivity Giving You a Headache?
8) Auras: Auras are a phenomenon which herald an advancing migraine. Symptoms of migraine auras are flashing, darting light hallucinations, blind spots, blurred vision, nausea and dizziness. Auras can occur before the headache, or arrive at the same time. Migraines with Aura may Signal Birth Defect in Heart
9) Fever: It’s not usual for a fever to accompany a migraine, but it is not unlikely, either.
10) Feebleness: After several years, chronic migraines can leave one feeling frail, disconsolate and weary. Unless an effective migraine treatment is sought out, long-term migraine relief is not possible.
Get help for your migraines. Below is a list of valuable information about migraine medications, coping mechanisms and support groups:
10 Clues your should Include in your Headache Diary Today
Top 20 Websites for Migraine Headache Patients
Top 4 Headache Treatments
Friday, May 13th, 2011
Almost everybody gets a bad headache at some point in life; the familiar throbbing head pain, tight banding around the skull and steady ache behind the neck are annoying at the very least, excruciating at their worst. Ninety percent of women and 70 percent of all men have suffered tension headaches at least once. Health experts attribute the symptoms of tension headaches to stress,tense muscles, lack of sleep and hormonal changes.
Neurologists recommend that chronic headache patients follow a lifestyle which includes light exercise, regular sleep habits, relaxation techniques and avoidance of caffeine and other dietary headache triggers.
Wine, Cheese, Perfume, and other Headache Triggers
Below are the 4 most common methods for treating chronic headaches:
#1: Neurologist: A trip to a neurologist is the single most effective way to find a cure for your headache symptoms. A neurologist will issue a CT scan or MRI in order to rule out life-threatening conditions such as a brain tumor, aneurysm or stroke. Neurologists often prefer biofeedback as an effective and natural treatment for tension headaches. Biofeedback monitors your heart rate, blood pressure and tension to help you identify stress triggers and learn to relax the body through correct breathing.
#2: Acupuncture: Sometimes headache sufferers wish to stop taking prescription pain medicine or over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication for their migraines or other headache symptoms. Studies have proven that chronic headache patients have had positive results through the ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture. Acupuncture utilizes responsive grid zones on the body; practitioners insert micro-thin needles to activate the body’s endorphins for pain reduction, rejuvenation and relaxation, thereby naturally alleviating headache pain.
Does Acupuncture Relieve Migraines?
#3: Homeopathy: A qualified homeopathic practitioner can prescribe natural treatments to prevent chronic headaches, along with some helpful tips for following a healthy diet and avoiding common food triggers. The philosophy behind homeopathy is that the body’s response to stimuli is always correct, so rather than fight headache symptoms, a homeopath will prescribe certain herbs which mimic the body’s reaction to headache triggers. Nux vomica and belladonna are common homeopathic herbs which are diluted and administered for headache relief.
Migraine Pop Quiz: How Well do you Understand your Headaches?
#4: Nutrition: Dietary supplements are essential for maintaining a healthy response to inflammation, according to many health experts. Supplementing with nutrients such as magnesium, coenzyme Q10, riboflavin, or vitamin B2 results in dramatic health benefits for a growing number of migraine patients.
Alexander Mauskop, MD, director of the New York Headache Center, says that “up to 50 percent of headache sufferers can be magnesium deficient.” Magnesium is known to alleviate aches and pains associated with daily life and influence the brain’s response to inflammation.
Migraine Headaches Send Millions to the Emergency Rooms
How to Transform a Chronic Migraine into an Episodic Headache
Oprah.com, PubMed Gov, WebMD, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke