Migraines, which appear more frequently in women than men, should not be confused for typical headaches. Those who have never experienced a migraine may not understand the severity and its impact on the migraine sufferer. While a common tension-type headache can cause mild discomfort, a migraine can cause a debilitating throbbing or pulsating pain
Migraines tend to be unilateral headaches, meaning they affect only one side of the head. This differs from tension headaches, which can be unilateral but are more often bilateral. In addition to the pain, migraine symptoms can induce nausea, vomiting, and an adverse reaction to even moderate levels of sound and/or light.
If you are a migraine sufferer, learning your triggers can help you avoid—or at least minimize—their onset. Keeping a “headache diary” of factors suspected of contributing toward your migraines can help you narrow down the most likely causes. Some of the more common triggers are:
- Fluorescent lighting
- Flickering or flashing lights (e.g. Christmas lights)
- Eyestrain (such as caused by staring at a computer screen)
- Cocoa (chocolate)
- Chlorinated water
- MSG (mono-sodium glutamate)
- Fatigue (physical, mental or emotional)
- Changes in the weather
- Air pollution
In addition to the triggers, you can learn to recognize preliminary symptoms. Though not always evidenced, many sufferers report specific signs in advance of the onset of a migraine. When recognizes, these enable the victim to brace for the ordeal and perhaps take steps to avoid it completely. Watch for symptoms such as:
- Wide swings in mood
- Abnormal irritability
- Visual aura (e.g. seeing flashes of light, zigzag lines, or spots)
Just as the triggers and symptoms of migraines can differ from person to person, treatment options and their effectiveness also vary. Preventative steps—such as breathing exercises, acupuncture, relaxation, physical activity, chiropractic adjustment, and other natural remedies—are helpful. In the midst of migraine episodes, victims may find relief by using cold packs, sleeping, or seeking solitude in a dark, quiet room.
The total duration of a migraine can range from a few hours up to three full days, during which the victim may be virtually incapacitated. The good news is that the episode will pass. Plus, a variety of treatments are available. If you experience severe and/or recurring migraines, consult with a doctor like Infinity Wellness Center in Austin to find the cause of your migraines and create a treatment plan. You do not have to live in pain.