How to deal with migraines
There are a variety of types of migraine, all of which can vary in terms of duration, severity and symptoms. If you haven’t already sought a diagnosis, it’s important that you do. Effective treatment depends on accurate diagnosis. Even when you have been diagnosed, you may want to seek a second opinion. Unfortunately, most people are incorrectly diagnosed at first. This is due to the difficulty of diagnosing a condition whose symptoms can, for the most part, only be described subjectively. Medical practitioners may be quick to finish a patient’s sentences when asking about symptoms. Getting the right diagnosis is essential. It can be dangerous to confuse different types of migraine, as the wrong treatment can be dangerous.
There are two major classifications of migraine, those with an aura, and those without. An aura constitutes any visual disturbance, a sense of being disconnected from reality and sometimes a strong feeling of déja-vu. These symptoms usually come on up to an hour before the migraine pain starts. Your doctor may refer to this type of migraine as ‘classic’ or ‘complicated’ type. The aura can sometimes be confused with the symptoms of a stroke, as one side of the body becomes numb. Sufferers also complain of double vision, light and sound sensitivity and general bodily weakness. When the migraine hits, it will be characterized by an intense headache.
A more common type of migraine is without an aura. These migraines often strike without warning. They are characterized by an intense, pulsating headache, often on one side of the head. These migraines tend to recur at intervals, steadily progressing in intensity. Sufferers may want to avoid movement, light, sound and smells in order to avoid making the symptoms worse.
Further types of migraine include migraines which occur without any headache. This is often one of the most difficult to diagnose, as patients may experience an aura, bodily pain, dizziness and nausea – all symptoms which can easily point to other conditions and illnesses. Further types are rare, but characterized by similar symptoms.
Untreated migraines can sometimes progress to become chronic. With this condition, sufferers experience migraine symptoms for at least eight days each month. This condition needs to be treated with medication. It is highly advisable to prevent migraines reaching this stage by seeking medical treatment early on.
There are many different potential triggers for migraines. One of the strongest triggers is a change in hormone levels. This happens around menstruation and therefore it is quite common for women to experience the onset of migraines before menstruating.
Another common trigger is sustained physical discomfort. This can include situations which may be uncomfortable for some, but not for others. For example, sitting in front of a computer screen in a stuffy office can often be enough to trigger a migraine in some people. Be especially carefully about the type of light you are taking in – artificial light is much worse than natural sunlight. You can find out more about controlling the temperature of your work or home environment by reading up on the latest thermostats.
Stress is a major trigger for migraines. Another is missing meal or becoming malnourished. Sometimes the key to preventing migraines is simply to take better care of yourself – don’t fret so much about work; take the time to prepare and eat nutritious meals.
There is also a long list of foods which may trigger migraines, including those with caffeine, MSG and alcohol. If you often go to work with a hangover and survive on coffee and junk food all day long, it is quite likely that these are the triggers for your migraines.
Aside from prescription medication for your type of migraine, you can try to help reduce the symptoms by lying down in a dark and quiet room. A wet cloth placed over the scalp may help, along with a gentle massage of the temples. Migraines often lead to vomiting. In some sufferers, this helps to relieve the tension. In other sufferers, the pain may become unbearable to the point where they cry. Crying is usually good, relieves tension and enables the sufferer to sleep. Sleep is the best home cure for migraines. Although some migraines may last for three days, most are gone after the sufferer sleeps for several hours.