Posts Tagged ‘migraine headache treatment’
Wednesday, December 14th, 2011
Complex migraine with aura, like the basilar migraine, causes stroke-like symptoms that literally take your words away- aphasia is one of several disturbing symptoms of migraine aura. Learn all about aphasic migraine causes and treatments.
A migraine attack is not just a headache
Millions of people suffer debilitating migraine headaches, but few non-migraineurs understand that the throbbing headache, as disabling as it is, is one of many migraine symptoms. When migraine attacks strike, they often cause stomach-clenching nausea, uncontrolled vomiting, diarrhea, sharp sensitivity to lights, sounds, and scents, fatigue, and irritability. So debilitating is migraine illness that many long-time chronic migraine sufferers have difficulty keeping a job, performing daily chores, and making appointments. Depression and anxiety are common comorbidities of migraine illness.
Why do Migraines cause Nausea and Vomiting?
Migraine aura- an assault on the senses
Migraines are split into two general categories- migraines with aura (MA), and migraines without aura. An aura happens in the prodrome phase of a migraine attack- the minutes leading up to a migraine. Auras serve as a warning to the patient of the impending migraine, and usually occur about fifteen minutes before the migraine strikes. Migraine auras can cause visual hallucinations, usually described as bright flickering lights, glowing crescent-shaped forms, and rainbow zigzag images. Other migraine aura symptoms are vertigo (dizziness), olfactory hallucinations (imagined burnt scents), temporary partial paralysis, and aphasia.
Go Ask Alice: Migraine Auras in Wonderland
Aphasia- what is it?
Aphasia is defined as a communication disorder that impairs one’s ability to process language, both in written and spoken words. People with aphasia have trouble putting words together to speak or write, understanding what others are saying, and comprehending what they read. When they try to speak, words come out garbled and unintelligible. This does not mean they are unintelligent- aphasia usually results from damage to the left hemisphere of the brain. Many stroke victims suffer aphasia causing partial or complete loss of speech.
Strange but True: Migraines can Give You a British Accent
Migraines that cause aura with aphasia are usually complex basilar migraines caused by a disorder of a major artery at the brainstem or base of the brain. TV reporter Serene Branson suffered a complex migraine (also called a complicated migraine) with aura on the air while covering the Grammys. Spectators believed her to be having a stroke, so common are the symptoms of migraine aura aphasia. Other names for basilar migraines are:
- Basilar artery migraines
- Basilar migraine headache
- Basilar-type migraine
- Bickerstaff syndrome
- Brainstem migraine
- Vertebro-basilar migraine
Complex Migraine Behind CBS Reporter’s On-Air Health Scare
Symptoms of complex migraine often include pounding headache, blurred vision, temporary partial blindness, temporary partial paralysis on one side, loss of muscular strength, difficulty walking in a straight line, and garbled speech.
If you suffer any of the symptoms of aphasia- difficulty talking clearly or understanding what others are saying- contact emergency services immediately so that a stroke may be ruled out. If migraines are the cause of aphasia, then a headache specialist might prescribe preventative or abortive migraine treatments to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks.
Additionally, natural nutrients for migraines may significantly improve neurological health. Some excellent sources of natural migraine nutrients include coenzyme Q10, butterbur, riboflavin (vitamin B2), and magnesium.
Read more about migraine with aura:
Migraine Headaches and Dizziness- Stop the Ride, I want to get off!
Migraine Aura Video Simulations: You Tube’s Top 10
Migraine Aura and Hot Flashes- Treat that Hot Head ASAP
What’s that Smell? Migraine Sensitivity and Olfactory Auras
Basilar Artery Migraines: Causes, Symptoms, Tests, and Treatments
Aphasia symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment on MedicineNet.com
Aphasia and Migraine- In the Fringes
Migraine Chapter, Migraine With Aura, B.Todd Troost
Thursday, November 17th, 2011
If you suffer from frequent headaches, then you need to see a doctor for migraines right away- You might have migraine headaches, or another form of chronic headaches. Knowing which kind of doctor to see for migraines depends on your migraine headache symptoms, and specific needs for migraine treatment.
What kind of Doctor should I see for Migraines?
Part I: Primary Care Physicians
Most chronic headache sufferers begin migraine headache treatment by visiting their primary care physician, or family doctor. This is because they have established a patient history with them, and because they feel comfortable visiting a doctor whose advice they already trust. If your primary care doctor is unable to treat you for migraine headaches, then he will refer you to a specialist.
Even if your family doctor has not received training in migraine illness, he does have a basic set of principles to refer to in diagnosing your condition. These 12 principles for migraine management in primary care are as follows:
- Most headaches are benign, and can be treated by any competent physician.
- By supplying a questionnaire, you can determine to what extent chronic headaches have affected the patient’s quality of life (daily activities, work, etc.). This information is crucial for diagnosing illness and prescribing treatment.
- A physician-patient bond is necessary for providing migraine management.
- Migraine management should be specific to the patient, and tailored to meet his/her needs. Patient should be able to manage migraine treatments self-sufficiently.
- Physicians should routinely check up on their patient by reviewing a migraine diary in which the patient records migraine triggers, headache symptoms, foods eaten, and other relevant everyday headache information.
- Schedule re-evaluation check-ups, with special attention given to frequency of migraine drug use, and relative success in providing migraine headache relief.
- Migraine treatment should be adapted continuously to meet the changing needs of the migraine headache patient.
- Urge patients to use prescribed acute migraine medications responsibly, as indicated.
- Prescribe a pain reliever or other rescue treatment as a backup for when standard migraine treatments fail.
- For patients who don’t respond well to migraine medications, or who suffer more than four migraine attacks in one month, prescribe preventative migraine medications, in addition to suggesting certain lifestyle changes that are conducive to better migraine management.
- When prescribing preventative migraine treatments, take into account any comorbid conditions the patient might have.
- Develop a healthy professional relationship with your patient based on trust, mutual agreement, and consideration for the patient’s lifestyle.
When is it time to switch headache doctors?
If you feel that your primary care physician is not meeting your needs, then it might be time to shop around for a doctor that specializes in the field of migraine headaches.
Parts II and III discuss headaches specialists and neurologists.
Read more about migraine treatment:
How to make your own Emergency Migraine Attack Survival Pack
Top 20 Simple Lifestyle Modifications to Prevent Migraines
Improve your Memory while taking Topamax for Migraines
20 Best Blog Sites for Migraine Information and Inspiration
Top 20 Websites for Migraine Headache Patients
35 Things you should never tell a Chronic Migraine Sufferer
Which Doctors Provide Migraine Treatment?
Establishing principles for migraine management in primary care- PubMed NCBI
Image credits, from top:
Ambro, cohdra, photostock, scottchan
Monday, November 14th, 2011
Migraine aura can cause strange migraine headache symptoms like visual distortions, speech slurring, nausea…and hot flashes. With or without throbbing headaches, migraine with aura can be disconcerting. Learn about what causes migraines with aura, and how you can find headache relief.
Migraine headache symptoms
Migraine headaches strike millions of Americans, but overwhelming majorities of migraine sufferers are women, about three to one. Migraine symptoms include throbbing headaches on one side, in addition to other symptoms like sharp eye pain, neck and shoulder pain, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, extreme sensitivity to light, noise, and smells, and vertigo. Comorbid conditions of migraine illness are depression, chronic fatigue, anxiety, and sleep problems.
Also, read What are the Signs of Migraine Attack? 30 Migraine Symptoms
Migraine aura- with or without headache symptoms
A migraine aura happens about fifteen minutes before a migraine attack. Migraines with aura may or may not result in severe headache, but they are still migraines. Migraine aura symptoms include sudden distorted speech patterns (talking gibberish), distorted sense of spatial awareness, visual hallucinations, temporary partial blindness, olfactory hallucinations, temporary partial paralysis, muscular feebleness, loss of consciousness, dizziness, and nausea. Migraine aura symptoms are often confused with epileptic seizure or stroke.
Migraine auras separate from the migraine prodrome phase, which occurs a few days before a migraine attack. For more info on migraine phases, read The Four Phases of Migraine Headache Attacks
Hot flashes and migraine aura- studies confirm a link
Another migraine aura symptom that sometimes shocks many migraine patients is sudden hot flashes, similar to those experienced during menopause. Migraine “vasomotor” symptoms are hot face, including cheeks, nose, and ears, sweating from the face, and red, flushed cheeks. The vasomotor reaction to migraines is part of migraine aura.
- In 2009, a German study focusing on vasomotor reactivity in migraine with aura found a higher incidence of vasomotor changes among migraine with aura (MA) patients than those who did not experience aura with their migraines.
- In 2008, a study conducted by an Italian university focused on increased cerebral vasomotor reactivity and cerebral blood flow among migraine with aura patients. Scientists noted a significant alteration of cerebral autoregulation, including vasomotor reaction, among migraine with aura sufferers
What to do about migraine aura hot flashes:
Women, determine that your hot flashes are not menopausal, or perimenopausal. If your hot headedness is part of migraine aura symptoms, then your best bet is to respond immediately with migraine medication, in addition to natural migraine ingredients , such as magnesium, and butterbur, and riboflavin.
Read more about migraines with aura:
Go Ask Alice: Migraine Auras in Wonderland
Why do Migraines cause Nausea and Vomiting?
Changes in functional vasomotor reactivity in migraine with aura- PubMed NCBI
Increased cerebral vasomotor reactivity in migraine with aura: an autoregulation disorder? A transcranial Doppler and near-infrared spectroscopy study- PubMed NCBI
Migraine with aura- Mayo Clinic
Photo credits, from top:
Monday, September 12th, 2011
Biofeedback is a popular alternative therapy for relieving migraines and stress. See why many chronic pain patients opt for biofeedback to cure their headaches.
What is biofeedback?
Biofeedback is a therapeutic method that teaches you how to control bodily functions that are normally out of your control, such as your heart rate, body temperature, tension, blood pressure, and stress reaction. Using electrodes that he attaches to your skin, a biofeedback practitioner helps you recognize certain bodily reactions to stress; with practice, you will be better able to control these body signals, eventually, without the use of biofeedback equipment.
Are there different types of biofeedback?
There are three main types of biofeedback. They are:
- Electromyography (EMG), which is used to measure muscular stiffness
- Thermal biofeedback, which measures body temperature
- Neurofeedback, or electroencephalography (EEG), which measures brain activity
Can biofeedback prevent migraines?
In many cases, yes- Thermal biofeedback is effective for treating adults, teens, and children with chronic migraine headaches or tension headaches. Additionally, thermal biofeedback is also helpful in treating Raynaud’s disease, an illness that restricts blood flow to the extremities.
What other illnesses can biofeedback treat?
Biofeedback is a popular non-drug alternative therapy for treating a host of illnesses; millions of Americans use biofeedback treatments to wean themselves off medications, decrease the amount of prescription medications they currently take, or as preventative medicine.
Besides migraines, here are some other illnesses that are treatable through biofeedback:
- Anxiety disorder
- High blood pressure
6 Safe Migraine Treatments for Pregnant Moms
Alternative Migraine Treatments: Thinking outside of the Botox
Biofeedback- Mayo Clinic
Biofeedback for the treatment/prevention of migraines
Alternative Treatments for Migraines and Headaches
Sunday, May 1st, 2011
Millions of people suffer from migraines, but not everybody necessarily understand what’s causing their headaches or how to get rid of them. Here’s a short questionnaire to test your knowledge of migraine symptoms, causes of chronic headaches and how to find headache relief.
Question #1: A headache that makes you feel like you’ve got a steel band wrapped around your head means you have a:
- a) Sinus headache
- b) Migraine headache
- c) Tension headache
- d) Cluster headache
Question #2: True or False: A migraine headache is always preceded by an “aura,” a series of light flashes or hallucination which warns you of an approaching headache.
Question #3: True or False: Chronic headache sufferers should avoid certain trigger foods such as chocolate, in addition to aged foods such as cheese and wine.
Question #4: What are your chances of suffering from migraine headaches if one of your parents has been diagnosed with chronic migraines?
- a) 25%
- b) 50%
- c) 100%
- d) There’s no correlation between family history and likeliness to suffer migraine headaches.
Question #5: What do therapists recommend to chronic headache patients for identifying possible headache triggers?
- a) Visit an allergist
- b) Meditate
- c) Consult in a close family member
- d) Keep a headache diary
The causes of migraine headaches seem as numerous as the stars above. Migraines have been linked with everything from stroke, meningitis and heart defects to nightshade vegetables, oversleeping and too much caffeine. Family history can also play an important part in identifying the cause of your migraines.
Similarly, migraine treatments abound; sufferers of chronic headaches often use a combination of various prescription pain medications, Botox injections, yoga, meditation and herbs such as butterbur extract for nerve health.
Read: Relieve Your Headaches With Yoga: Try These Moves!
Question #1: If you answered c) tension headache, then you hit the nail on the head. Tension headaches are not typically as debilitating as migraine headaches, with pain pressure points occurring at the temples and the back of the neck. Learn which kind of headache you have one of 4 Headaches that Require Emergency Intervention.
Question #2: The correct answer is: b) False; only about 15-20% of migraine sufferers experience migraine with aura. If you do experience blind spots, feebleness, tingling or slurred speech, then you might have an underlying heart condition. Read Migraines with Aura may Signal Birth Defect in Heart
Question #3: The correct answer is: b) False; while it’s true that many migraine sufferers are highly sensitive to certain foods, the reaction varies among headache patients. Some chronic headache sufferers can tolerate chocolate every now and then, while others find that even a whiff of chocolate cake brings on a massive migraine. Also, some migraineurs are only sensitive to a certain combination of headache triggers. 11 Headache Triggers you Never Thought Of
Question #4: The correct answer is b) 50%; migraines are hereditary, so if only one parent suffers from migraines, then your chances of also getting them are 50/50. However, of both parents have been diagnosed with chronic migraine headaches, then your risk factor goes up to 75%. Read Is it a Cluster Headache or a Migraine?
Question #5: If you chose d) keep a headache diary, then you could be well on your way towards recovery. Practicing meditation, yoga and visiting an allergist are excellent options for treating migraines, but only if you know exactly what is causing your headache symptoms. Using a headache diary will help you pinpoint exactly when stress is the culprit, or if it’s a certain food trigger. Read 20 iPad Apps for Migraine Sufferers for some good recommendations.