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What are the Symptoms and Treatments for Migraines?

Jul 23, 2018

Migraine headaches can be painful and debilitating. For some individuals, the associated manifestations may be so severe, performing daily activities such as working or even moving can prove quite challenging.

These headaches are thought to be precipitated by structural changes in an impacted person's brain. Scientists supporting this hypothesis believe that these alterations impinge upon the trigeminal nerve, which plays a significant role in the creation of pain. Other medical researchers opine that the illness may be the result of chemical imbalances occurring within the brain.

Migraine headaches may be precipitated by numerous different triggers. Biological factors include changes in bodily concentrations of hormones, receiving too much or too little sleep and the use of specific medicinal drugs. Migraines might also be elicited by environmental precipitators like exposure to specific toxins, stress, certain odors and sounds or drastic weather or temperature changes. In addition, lifestyle factors such as alcohol intake, dietary choices and excessive exercise could bring about a migraine condition.

Symptoms Of Migraine Headaches

The manifestations can vary from person to person. However, many migraine sufferers are afflicted with one or many commonly experienced symptoms including severe pain located on one side of their head, light, smell and sound insensitivity, vision disturbances, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.

Certain people stricken with migraines also experience what is referred to as aura. Aura is a type of warning signal that alerts those impacted that an attack is imminent. Aura typically presents itself through some form of sensory disturbance. Many afflicted persons report suffering either bizarre visual occurrences, tingling over specific bodily regions or, in some cases, their entire body or speech impediments.

In addition to the typical migraine condition and migraine with aura, the disease might also present itself in the forms of hemiplegic and retinal migraines. Hemiplegic migraines occur when an impacted individual suffers weakness on one side of their bodies in addition to the more usual headache manifestations. Retinal migraine attacks are categorized by manifestations in vision like decreased vision or temporary blindness in one eye that occur prior to the prototypical headache manifestations.

Treatment Options

One common therapeutic protocol is the administration of prescribed drugs geared towards alleviating or eliminating the associated pain. After performing a thorough physical examination and assessing the severity of a patient's condition and overall health, a doctor might prescribe one of several medications indicated for migraine disease.

These preparations might be administered in different forms such as orally, through the nasal cavity via a spray or mist and possibly through injections. Medications might be effective for some people but may also elicit side effect, interact with other drugs being used to treat other ailments or not be safe to ingest in patients diagnosed with other illnesses.

Some migraine patients benefit from the use of a Transcranial Magnetic Stimulator (TMS). During this process, migraine sufferers place a mechanical device to their heads which emits electrical impulses into their brains during attacks. A disadvantage of TMS treatment is the risk of developing seizures. However, that risk is believed to be minimal.

Some physicians opine the best form of treatment is prevention. In certain instances, especially for people experiencing frequent migraine attacks, the believed appropriate course of treatment is the administration of various drugs such as antidepressant medications or cardiovascular preparations. As is the case with migraine medications, however, preventative drug therapy carries the risk of side effects or negative impact with other medications or specific medical conditions.

Important Facts To Consider

Some important facts related to the occurrence of migraines include:

  • Nearly 40 million Americans experience this condition.
  • More than 11 million Americans report that the associated symptoms range from moderate to severe and often preclude them completing daily activities.
  • The disease is more prevalent in women than men.
  • Most migraine headaches occur in people between the ages of 35 and 55.
  • People stricken with migraines are said to ingest twice as much medication and visit hospital emergency departments twice as much as those not diagnosed with the condition.
  • According to statistics obtained from the World Health organization (WHO), migraines are the 19th most prevalent disability-inducing medical problem.

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