Migraines are more than just severe headaches!
Migraines are a serious neurological condition— often ignored or underestimated. WHO (World Health Organization) data says that it’s the sixth most disabling disease in the world. While you can’t prevent all migraines, you can manage your symptoms and find relief.
Roughly 36 million people (about twice the population of New York) in the United States have migraine headaches.
What are Migraines?
WHO (The World Health Organization) defines migraine as ‘a persistent headache disorder.’ It is characterized by recurrent attacks triggered by the activation of a deep-brain mechanism that leads to the production of pain-producing chemicals in the head’s neurons and blood vessels.
- Migraine usually starts during adolescence and affects adults mostly between the ages of 35 and 45.
- Because to hormonal influences, it is more common in women, usually by a frequency of about 2:1.
Migraines usually come in four stages: prodrome, aura, attack and postdrome.
- Prodrome is the period before the migraine (one or two days earlier) where you feel some symptoms ranging from minor stomachaches to full-blown vomiting and sweating.
- Auras are periods before the actual headache (that last several minutes)—defined by tingling or numbness along your face.
- Migraine Attack (usually lasts from 4 to 72 hours) marked by intense throbbing pain in your head.
- Postdrome includes headaches of varying intensity after these phases; this is how you might end up with migraines two days later with no warning at all.
A migraine can be a tricky thing to deal with, especially when you or someone else is experiencing it. It’s important to know the symptoms so that you’ll be able to recognize them and get the treatment you need. The symptoms of a migraine are:
- pain on one side of the head
- throbbing or pulsing pain
- sensitivity to light and sound
- nausea and vomiting
- sensory or visual disturbances, including blurred vision, blind spots, flashing lights
Aura, also known as a warning, is a group of symptoms that precedes the onset of a migraine headache. Aura usually happens 10-30 minutes before the pain begins and can last anywhere from 5-60 minutes.
Sensory disturbances such as seeing spots, lights, or flashes are the most common type of aura—the visual disturbances will often show up as geometric shapes or zigzag lines. You might experience vision loss in one eye during this time. Hearing a strange noise or music (auditory aura) is rare but still possible for some people. Less commonly, you may feel tingling sensations or numbness in your limbs or face (motor aura).
There are several different risk factors that can increase the chances of migraines.
- Genetics- You’re more likely to have them if a close blood relative does. One study estimated that if one parent has migraines, there’s about a 40% chance their child will develop them too. And if both parents do, the chance rises to 70%.
- Hormones- Many women find they get migraines at times when their hormone levels change—like before and during their periods, or around menopause. This suggests fluctuations in hormones such as estrogen may trigger headaches for some people.
- Environmental triggers- Some people find certain environmental triggers set off migraine attacks. Common ones include bright lights or loud noises—so it’s possible your partner’s snoring could be contributing to your migraines!
Your body is telling you something. listen to it!
Migraines aren’t something that happens to you—migraines are a medical condition with real symptoms, and they’re more common than you might think. You’re not alone!
Migraine treatments have come a long way in recent years—there’s no reason for you to suffer through the pain any more than necessary. If your current migraine medication isn’t working for you, talk to us about getting on something more effective.