A migraine is a type of headache disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of moderate to severe headaches. It is a neurological condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Migraines often involve pulsating or throbbing pain, typically on one side of the head, and can be accompanied by other symptoms.
Causes: The exact cause of migraines is not fully understood. However, several factors are believed to contribute to the development of migraines, including:
Genetics: Migraines tend to run in families, suggesting a genetic predisposition.
Triggers: Certain triggers can provoke migraines in susceptible individuals. Common triggers include hormonal changes (in women, migraines may be related to menstrual cycles), certain foods or food additives (such as aged cheese, chocolate, caffeine, or artificial sweeteners), stress, lack of sleep, environmental factors (bright lights, loud noises), changes in weather or barometric pressure, and certain medications.
Neurochemical imbalances: Imbalances in brain chemicals, such as serotonin, may play a role in the development of migraines. Changes in serotonin levels can affect blood vessels and cause pain.
Migraines are more than just headaches. They often involve other symptoms, which can vary from person to person and from episode to episode. Common symptoms of migraines include:
Headache: Migraine headaches are usually moderate to severe and often have a pulsating or throbbing quality. They typically affect one side of the head but can occur on both sides. The pain is often worsened by physical activity and may last from a few hours to several days.
Aura: Some individuals may experience an aura before or during a migraine attack. Auras are usually visual disturbances that can include flickering lights, zigzag lines, blind spots, or temporary loss of vision. Auras may also involve sensory or language disturbances.
Sensitivity to light, sound, and smell: During a migraine attack, many people become sensitive to bright lights, loud noises, and certain smells. These stimuli can worsen the headache pain and overall discomfort.
Nausea and vomiting: Migraines are frequently associated with gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
Fatigue and mood changes: Migraines can cause fatigue and affect mood, leading to irritability, depression, or anxiety.
Before we book you in for any treatments at Healand Clinic, we will take you through a full consultation.
This process, conducted in person, or on video, with one of our expert team members is designed to ensure you get the right treatment for you, and that any questions you may have are answered in full before the process begins.
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DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
Diagnosing migraines involves a thorough medical history and physical examination to rule out other possible causes of headaches. Keeping a headache diary to track the frequency, duration, and triggers of migraines can be helpful.
Treatment for migraines focuses on two main approaches: prevention and acute relief.
Prevention: For individuals with frequent or severe migraines, preventive medications may be prescribed to reduce the frequency and severity of attacks. These can include medications originally developed for other conditions, such as beta-blockers, anticonvulsants, tricyclic antidepressants, or CGRP inhibitors.
Acute relief: When a migraine attack occurs, acute medications can be used to alleviate the pain and associated symptoms. These can include over-the-counter pain relievers (such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDs), triptans, ergotamine derivatives, or anti-nausea medications.
Additionally, lifestyle modifications may be recommended to manage migraines. These can include identifying and avoiding triggers, maintaining a regular sleep schedule, managing stress through relaxation techniques or counseling, regular exercise, and ensuring a healthy diet.
HOW CAN HEALAND HELP WITH MIGRAINES?
We offer a range of therapies that can help with migraines. Please book a consultation to discuss this further with us.