A migraine can be a very debilitating condition. If you have migraines, you know that they can interfere with work, school, and your social life. You may feel like you can’t do anything when you have a migraine. Dr. David Rabinovici can help you understand when to see the doctor about your migraines.
What is a migraine?
A migraine is a headache usually accompanied by a pulsing sensation, nausea, and increased sensitivity to light and sound. Migraines can last for hours or even days. It is estimated that more than 29 million people in the United States suffer migraines.
There are two types of migraines: with aura and without aura.
Aura is a set of symptoms that precede the headache and can include visual disturbances, such as flashing lights or blind spots. It is not everyone who has migraines experiences aura.
The majority of people who have migraines experience migraines without aura. This type of migraine is more common in women than in men.
What causes migraines?
The exact cause of migraines is not known; some of the reasons include the following:
- Hormonal changes in women: Migraines often occur during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.
- Diet: Skipping meals or fasting can trigger migraines. Eating certain foods such as aged cheeses, chocolate, caffeinated beverages, and processed meats can also trigger migraines.
- Stress: Both physical and emotional stress can trigger migraines.
- Sensory stimuli: Bright lights, loud noises, and certain smells can trigger migraines.
- Changes in the environment: Changes in weather or altitude can trigger migraines.
- Sleep changes: Too much or too little sleep can trigger migraines.
How are migraines diagnosed?
Migraines are usually diagnosed based on the symptoms. There is no specific test to diagnose migraines. Your doctor may ask about your medical history, your family history of migraines, and your symptoms.
How are migraines treated?
There is no cure for migraines, but there are treatments to help relieve the symptoms. Some of the treatments include:
- Pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help relieve migraine pain.
- Anti-nausea medications: They can help relieve nausea and vomiting associated with migraines.
- Triptans: These medications are specifically designed to treat migraines. They can be taken as a pill, nasal spray, or injection.
- Ergots: These medications can also be used to treat migraines. They are taken as a pill or injection.
When to call a doctor
Fainting can signify a more severe problem, such as a heart condition. The reason being is that when you faint, your brain is not getting enough oxygen. With a migraine, you should not faint.
When you have a migraine, you may feel confused or disoriented. This is because the pain can interfere with your thinking. Call your doctor if you are having trouble speaking or understanding what others are saying.
Migraines can cause paralysis on one side of your body. This is called hemiplegic migraines. If you have paralysis, seek professional help.
If you have a severe headache that does not go away with over-the-counter pain relievers, call your doctor.
If you think you may be suffering from migraines, please see your doctor at New York Neurology Associates. There are treatments available to help relieve the symptoms of migraines.