Fun Fact: Did you know? Migraine headache symptoms may sometimes begin one to two days before the headache itself begins.
A migraine is a powerful headache that often happens with nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light. Migraines can last from 4 hours to 3 days, and sometimes longer. Experts have figures to show that many people get them, women 3 times more than men.
Most people start having migraine headaches between the ages 10 and 40. But many women find that their migraines improve or disappear after age 50. Migraine headache symptoms are many and not very pretty. We’ve listed some of them below:
What Triggers Migraine Headache Symptoms?
Migraine headaches are a symptom of an overall condition known as migraine. Doctors don’t know the exact cause of migraine headaches. But they seem to be related to changes in the brain and to genes that run in families. You can even inherit the triggers that give you migraine headaches, like fatigue, bright lights, weather changes, and others.
Some people with a migraine experience aura. The most common auras are visual , such as flickering lights, spots, or lines. You may see a little jagged line, that will develop some cross hatches, and it might sort of move in a curved direction.
Auras typically last between five minutes and an hour, with a 60-minute “skip phase” before the headache sets in. Some patients have auras without a migraine-type headache or any headache at all.
Depression, irritability, or excitement
Mood swings can be a sign of migraines. Some patients will feel very depressed or suddenly down for no reason. Others will feel very high. Research also suggests that moderate or severe depression increases the risk of episodic migraines becoming chronic.
Lack of restful sleep
Waking up tired or having trouble falling asleep are common migraine headache symptoms. Studies have shown an association between lack of restorative sleep and the frequency and intensity of migraines.
When migraines strike, it’s tough to get a good night’s sleep. A lot of people will have insomnia as a result of their migraine. This inability to sleep can be the start of a vicious cycle, as research suggests that lack of sleep can also trigger migraines.
Stuffy nose or watery eyes
Some people with migraines have sinus issues, such as stuffy nose, clear nasal drainage, droopy eyelids, or tearing.
One large study found that among people who complained of sinus headaches, nearly 90% were having migraines. The study was funded by GlaxoSmithKline, a company that makes migraine medicine.
Here Are Some More Migraine Headache Symptoms Below:
Throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head
Pulsating pain is a classic symptom of migraines. The throbbing is often felt on one side of the head. In an online survey of patients with migraines, the National Headache Foundation found that 50% “always” have throbbing on one side, while 34% say they “frequently” have this symptom.
Migraine pain often burrows behind the eye. People will blame it on eye strain and many will get their eyes checked, but that won’t make their headaches any better.
Nausea or vomiting
Many people who suffer migraines experience nausea, and 29% have vomiting. A recent analysis of the National Headache Foundation’s study found people with frequent migraine-related nausea have more severe pain and more trouble getting relief from medication than migraine sufferers with little or no nausea.
How Are Migraine Headaches Treated?
There’s no cure for migraine headaches. But many drugs can treat or even prevent some of them. You can also get them less often by avoiding triggers. Common types of migraine treatments include:
Pain relief. Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs often work well for some people. The main ingredients are acetaminophen, aspirin, caffeine, and ibuprofen. Never give aspirin to anyone under the age of 19 because of the risk of Reye’s syndrome. Be careful when you take OTC pain meds because sometimes they can add to a headache. If you use them too much, you can get rebound headaches or become dependent on them. If you take any OTC pain relievers more than two days a week, it’s time to see your doctor. She can suggest prescription meds that may work better.
Nausea medicine. Your doctor can prescribe it if you get nausea with your migraine.
Preventive medicines. If you don’t respond to other treatments and you have 4 or more migraine days a month, your doctor may suggest these. You take them regularly to reduce the severity or frequency of your headaches. They include seizure medicines, blood pressure medicines (like beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers), and some antidepressants. CGRP inhibitors are a new class of preventive medicine that your doctor may recommend if others don’t help.
Biofeedback. This technique helps you recognize stressful situations that could trigger a migraine. If the headache begins slowly, biofeedback can stop the attack before it becomes full-blown.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). You place this device on the back of your head at the start of a migraine with aura. It sends a pulse of magnetic energy to part of your brain, which may stop or reduce pain.
This article was first published on AfricaParent.com