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Information on Migraine Headaches

by Patrick McMahon
  • Overview

    Migraines are chronic headaches that can cause an immense amount of pain for several hours and even several days for some people, says the National Institutes of Health. The causes of these headaches is not fully known, although research indicates a person's environment and genetics play the largest role in developing a migraine condition. While the pain can be fierce, there are ways to help prevent the onset of a migraine and to treat those that can affect people regularly.
  • Significance

    Due to the intense pain that often accompanies a migraine headache, the condition can be quite significant because of the disruption that it can cause in a person's life, according to FamilyDoctor.org. Women, especially during hormonal changes, are more likely to get a migraine headache, although a large number of men can suffer from the condition too. Estimates peg 75 percent of adult sufferers as women, while the number evens out between the two sexes during puberty and old age.
 
  • Identification

    Migraines can easily be identified due to the symptoms associated with it. According to the Mayo Clinic, one characteristic unique to migraines is called an aura. An aura is changes that appear before a migraine strike, such as flashes of light, changes in a person's vision and feeling pins and needles on one or more of your limbs. Auras do not affect everyone but often signal that a migraine attack in imminent. For others, a sense of drowsiness, a craving for sweets and a burst of energy can indicate a migraine will occur in the next 24 hours.
  • Effects

    Migraines can be quite painful and disruptive for those who experience them, states the Mayo Clinic and FamilyDoctor.org. Besides the headache, which is typically describes as pulsing, a feeling of nausea can occur. Many describe sensitivity to light and sound, and the headache can also get worse with increased physical activity. Without treatment, migraines can last from four to 72 hours and can make everyday obligations difficult to attend to.
  • Considerations

    Not all headaches that a person gets are migraines. Migraines are usually significantly stronger than regular headaches. Some individuals may have a condition that causes cluster headaches, in which the pain is considerably worse than a typical headache. If a person has chronic headaches and migraines, it is important to seek medical advice. A doctor may be able to locate a cause and provide a proper treatment for it.
  • Prevention/Solution

    The Mayo Clinic states that there are two main types of treatments, preventive and pain relieving. For most migraine sufferers, the prescription drug group Triptan is widely recommended. It eliminates the pain and improves the other symptoms. For mild migraines, taking an over-the-counter drug may be able to help. When taking a medicine, it is best to lie down in a quiet, dark room and wait for the medicine to work, recommends FamilyDoctor.org. Doctors may recommend preventive drugs like cardiovascular prescriptions, antidepressants and Botox because these have all been shown to reduce the instances of migraines in patients, yet only 10 percent of sufferers take preventive measures. Regardless of the route to take to treat your migraines, a doctor will be able to help guide you down the right path for relief.

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