Everything You Need to Know About Migraines

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Know About Migraines
Yes! Those annoying, painful, long headaches that leave you with a heavy head and horrible mood swings are none other than migraines. Migraines are neurological conditions that lead to debilitating, intense and recurring head pains. They are triggered by many factors that may be linked to your lifestyle, your surrounding, your weight, your health, and of course sleeping hours. Migraines are not cured but can certainly be treated and prevented with the right guidance and awareness.

Triggers

The exact cause of a migraine is unknown but these are some factors that trigger a migraine in many individuals.

Hormonal changes: During menstruation, sometimes some women experience migraines due to changes in hormonal levels.

Emotional changes: Depression, stress, excitement, anxiety, and shock can trigger headaches and lead to migraines.

Physical changes: Insufficient sleep and tiredness, shoulder or neck muscle pain, poor posture, physical exertion, etc. can all lead to migraine attacks. Low blood sugar levels and jet lags can also trigger migraines.

Diet changes: Migraines can largely be triggered due to consumption of alcohol and caffeine. Some foods like chocolate, cheese, citrus fruits, and foods containing additive tyramine can have an impact on the digestive system and eventually trigger the nervous system. Irregular meal timings and dehydration can be possible triggers of a migraine.

Environmental changes: Changes in your surrounding can have an impact on your nervous system that may give you an intense headache leading to migraines. Flickering screens, bright lights and stuffy rooms can be big reasons for those headaches. Strong smells, passive smoke, loud noises, and even temperature changes can trigger migraines in many individuals.

Treatments

You can’t really cure migraines but you can prevent and treat it instead. Treatment for migraines is only needed when the patient receives an intense migraine attack. Some treatments don’t treat the condition but just alleviate the symptoms that have occurred.

Lifestyle changes that might reduce the frequency of getting a migraine:

  • Get enough sleep
  • Reduce stress
  • Hydrate yourself
  • Avoid junk and canned food
  • Exercise regularly

Some people also believe that special diets like gluten-free diets can help in reducing migraine frequency.

Medications

Migraines can be managed through a course of medication. There are different types of migraine medications that act as painkillers. These painkillers should be taken early in the process of migraines instead of waiting for your headache to worsen.

Over-the-counter (OTC) medications and pills that effectively treat migraines include:

  • Naproxen
  • Ibuprofen
  • Acetaminophen

These painkillers are available at any walk-in pharmacy center. Other painkillers like aspirin with caffeine can also reduce the head pains.

Preventive Medications

There are several medications and supplements that can prevent migraine attacks. These include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Herbal extracts, such as Feverfew
  • Magnesium citrate
  • Vitamin B-12 supplements
  • Riboflavin

Before you purchase any medications, ensure that you do not have any allergies or reactions. This is to avoid Medication Overuse Headache (MOH) or Rebound Headaches that occur after taking medications to prevent migraine attacks.

Prescription Medications

For prescription medications the most common class of medications used to treat migraines are Triptans. When you experience a migraines it is due to expansion of blood vessels. Triptans counteract this expansion by contracting them. A patient would need proper evaluation by a health care professional to see if this treatment is right for them. For example it is not recommended for patient's with a history of Chest pain as Triptans could restrict blood flow to the heart which would worsen the chest pain and lead to further complications.

In the last 20 years, new approaches of migraine treatments have been developed. One of these treatments involves injection of botulinum toxin (Botox) which prevents the transmission of pain signals by our nerve cells. Botox was originally used for wrinkles but as a side effect patients noticed a decease in migraines

It is best to consult a doctor for the right prescription for migraines that will help you reduce the pain and treat the condition effectively in the long run.

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