Posts Tagged ‘what is a migraine headache’
Wednesday, November 9th, 2011
Not all chronic headaches were created equal- there are many types of headaches besides migraine headaches, such as sinus headaches, tension headaches, and rare cluster headaches. How many types of headaches are there? Learn more about constant rebound headaches, common migraine triggers, and headache relief remedies.
This is part one, which discusses migraine headaches.
Migraines- Could a headache by any other name be just as severe?
Millions of people suffer from excruciating symptoms of migraines, such as debilitating, severe headaches, extreme nausea and gagging, hypersensitivity to lights, noises, and scents, and unusual visual and olfactory hallucinations. But migraine sufferers aren’t alone in their frequent headache pain; other chronic headache patients experience everyday headaches that don’t classify as “migraine headaches.”
How long will my Migraine Headache Last? A Migraine Symptom Chart
What causes migraines?
It is unproven exactly what causes migraine attacks, but scientists understand that it has to do with blood vessel contractions, various fluctuations in the brain, and inherited brain defects. With migraine headaches, pain occurs on one side of the head, and is often so agonizing that sufferers are unable to work, drive a car, or do much of anything until the pain subsides, which could take anywhere from a couple of hours…to a couple of days.
What are the Signs of Migraine Attack? 30 Migraine Symptoms
How many types of migraines are there?
There are many kinds of migraine headaches, but most generally fall into two categories- migraines with aura, and migraines without aura. An aura is a phenomenon that occurs minutes before a migraine attacks. It serves as a 15-minute warning of an approaching migraine, but doesn’t allow much time to prepare. Occasionally, an aura may occur 24 hours in advance, but that much rarer.
4 Headaches that Require Emergency Intervention
What is a migraine aura?
Symptoms of migraine aura include visual hallucinations described as bright fairy lights, zigzag rainbow squiggles, sparkly “fireflies,” crescent-shaped glowing figures, tunnel vision, and voids- dark blind spots on the edge of one’s field of vision, sometimes causing temporary partial blindness. Other signs of a migraine aura are stroke-like in nature- muscular feebleness, sudden garbled speech behavior, loss of consciousness, and numbness or paralysis on one side of the body. It is important to note that migraines with auras don’t always lead to head pain.
Go Ask Alice: Migraine Auras in Wonderland
Migraine treatments- prescription and natural remedies
Currently, medications for migraine headaches include a variety of treatment types, sometimes prescribed in combinations. Migraine remedies include triptans, which halt an attack, abortive drugs that prevent migraine attacks, narcotic pain relievers, and anti-nausea medications. However, many of these prescription migraine drugs come with adverse side effects.
Improve your Memory while taking Topamax for Migraines
Natural ingredients and exercises for migraines include magnesium, butterbur herbs, riboflavin, acupuncture, aromatherapy, biofeedback, and exercises such as yoga and tai chi. These alternative approaches cause no side effects, and treat the body as a whole.
Read more about migraines and other types of headaches:
6 Migraine Myth-conceptions
Can Anxiety Attacks cause Migraines?
Relieve Your Headaches With Yoga: Try These Moves!
5 Types of Headaches- Health.com
Headaches – different types of headaches – WebMD
Migraine: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia
Image credits, from top:
Alex E. Proimos, mislav-m, dream designs, Salvatore Vuono, en:Peter Newell, Ambro
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, September 28th, 2011
Manage your migraines by changing your lifestyle. Here are 20 tips on eating healthy, reducing stress, and finding the right migraine management tactic. Change your life, one step at a time!
- Mind your blood sugar. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is a common migraine trigger. Avoid eating sugary foods, as that will cause your blood sugar to rise temporarily, before dipping back to abnormally low levels again. Opt instead for foods that have natural sugar and dietary fiber.
- Keep things fresh. Cook your meals using fresh fruits and vegetables over canned or freeze-dried. Frozen veggies, however, are okay- they have the same healthy nutrients as the broccoli and carrots on the fresh produce aisle.
- Avoid phony baloneys. Cut artificial sweeteners and food colorings out of your diet, or at least reduce your consumption of artificially flavored treats, such as diet soda, candy, and Cheetos. Often, foods containing synthetic ingredients cause allergic reactions or headaches.
- Don’t go trigger-happy. Avoid the temptation to indulge in foods that you know for a fact trigger migraine headaches; think about the aftereffects, instead. Invest in a good migraine cookbook.
- Take notes. Unsure about potential headache triggers? Invest in a migraine journal- studies show that keeping track of your eating habits, feelings, and environment in a headache diary is instrumental in diagnosing migraine triggers.
- Take your meds. Stay on top of your migraine medications, and renew your prescriptions on time- all the better to avoid an unnecessary trip to ER.
- Think fast. Feel a headache coming on, but you’re not sure? Don’t wait for a full-blown migraine attack to ruin your day. If you get a migraine aura, respond accordingly.
- Think ahead. Whether you’re going on a 3-day vacation or just a long drive to the city, be prepared for the possibility of a migraine; carry a migraineur’s first-aid kit, map out nearest pharmacies and ERs, and make your backup plan before going out the door.
- Eat frequently. Let’s face it- migraines are not flexible. Any fluctuations in your eating habits will likely result in crippling head pain. Eat small healthy meals throughout the day, and don’t let more than three hours lapse between snacks.
- Sleep tight. Changes in your sleeping habits are also common migraine attack triggers. Migraine sufferers who take naps in the middle of the day or sleep in on their day off usually wake up with a head pounding “weekend headache.” Adhere to a strict sleep schedule by waking up at the same time each morning, and going to sleep at the same time at night. Don’t take a catnap, and don’t change your sleeping hours when on vacation.
- Lose a couple. Try to keep your weight down to a healthy level through diet and exercise. Studies show a correlation between obesity and migraine.
- Keep fit. Exercise improves the mood, regulates your cardiovascular system, keeps blood flowing smoothly, prevents chronic illness, and fights depression. Some excellent activities for migraine sufferers and other patients of chronic pain are yoga, tai chi, spinning, and light aerobics.
- Gain a new perspective. Keeping your hopes up, thinking positive, and not taking life too seriously are all traits that are common among people who eventually overcome their chronic illness symptoms.
- Take a break. Schedule some time just for yourself, and use it doing something you love that puts you in a good mood. Take a ceramics painting class, treat yourself to a relaxing massage or aromatherapy session, or just lose yourself in a used books store. It’s a great way to alleviate stress, rejuvenate, and collect your thoughts.
- Say ohm. Learn how to calm your mind through meditative exercises, such as Hatha yoga and progressive relaxation. Meditation takes practice at first, but eventually you will learn how to slow your breathing, transport yourself mentally, and find your inner peace.
- Try going dairy-free, just once. Sometimes, people suffer from allergic reactions to lactose for years without even knowing it. Lactose intolerant individuals often suffer migraine-like head pain that disappears once they cut dairy products from their diet. Try it for a week, and see what happens.
- Manage stress. Stress is the leading trigger of migraine headaches, in addition to innumerable other chronic illnesses. Avoid stressful situations whenever you can, practice healthy stress-relieving tactics, and learn how to cope with the stress in your life that just won’t go away.
- Stay connected. Millions of Americans suffer from migraine illness, so there’s no reason to suffer alone. Find out about any neighborhood migraine clinics or meetings. Check the internet for migraine forums, migraineur blogs, and “migraine awareness” advocacy sites like the American Headache Society.
- Educate yourself. Scientists make breakthroughs in migraine cures and headache remedies every year. Stay informed about your current migraine treatments, including side effects and dosage information.
- Open your mind to nature. Conventional migraine medications aren’t 100% effective, or without risks. Many like Topamax cause side effects such as brain fog and memory loss. Some popular natural ingredients for for migraines include herbs such as butterbur extracts and vitamins and minerals, such as riboflavin and magnesium.
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Migraine: Lifestyle and home remedies – MayoClinic.com
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