Headaches are something that everyone deals with from time to time. Unfortunately, some people must contend with especially severe headaches known as migraines. Fortunately, those living with chronic migraines can find relief with proper treatment.
A Wide Range of Problems
So what are migraines exactly? In a nutshell, they are headaches that are characterized by throbbing and severe pain, which last for hours or even days on end. This pain usually attacks one side of the head, and the afflicted person will simultaneously feel a pulsing sensation in the same location. The symptoms don’t end there; those suffering with migraines must often contend with both nausea and vomiting. They might also become very irritated by nearby lights and sounds.
Some migraine sufferers experience an aura before the headache starts. These auras differ from person to person; some people report feeling tingling on one side of their face. For others, this tingling occurs in an arm or leg. Alternatively, others might experience blind spots or flashes of light.
Migraines are not without their warning signs, which will tend to pop up one or two days before the headache starts. They include frequent yawning, food cravings, neck stiffness and fluid retention. Additional warning signs constipation, increased urination and mood changes.
Causes and Risk Factors
Even in modern times, doctors still are not completely sure as to the causes of migraine headaches. Our genes can influence our migraine risk, as can various environmental factors. Other possible culprits include brain chemical imbalances and changes in the way the brainstem interacts with the trigeminal nerve.
While the causes of migraines remain elusive, the risk factors for migraines are well known. For example, having a family history of migraine makes it more likely that you will develop this problem yourself. Gender is also important in this regard, as women are significantly more likely to suffer migraines than men. In terms of age, migraines appear most often in people in their thirties. Finally, women might experience migraines around their menstruation period.
Some migraine medications are designed to relieve the symptoms of migraines, while others are used to prevent them from occurring. Some examples of the former include over-the-counter pain relievers, triptans, dihydroergotamine and anti-nausea drugs. In contrast, preventative medication can include blood pressure-lowering drugs, antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs and even Botox injections.