Having a chronic migraine and finding a dark or quiet place to rest? Well, you do not need this all at after reading this article.
A chronic migraine usually causes intense heartbeat or pulsating sensation in an area of the head.
Migraine attacks can cause significant ache for hours or days. Sensory warning symptoms (aura) preceded or accompanied some migraines such as flashes of blind spots, light, or a tingling sensation in a leg or arm.
Medications can help reduce the frequency and severity of these migraines, and it may be the case that a first treatment does not work satisfactorily and must be replaced by another one. The right medicines, combined with self-help resources and lifestyle changes can make a big difference.
Causes Of Chronic Migraine
Although much of this topic is not understood, genetics and environmental factors seem to play an essential role in migraine.
Changes in the brain stem causes migraines and its interactions with the trigeminal nerve, an critical pain pathway.
Imbalances in brain chemicals, including serotonin, which helps regulate pain in the nervous system, may also be concerned.
Migraine attacks can low serotonin levels and also can cause the trigeminal system to release substances called neuropeptides, which travel to the outer covering of the brain (meninges) and as a result give headaches.
Chronic Migraine triggers
Whatever the exact mechanism of the headaches, some factors can trigger them. The most common include:
- The hormonal changes in women: The fluctuations of estrogen seem to trigger problems in many women with migraine. These women usually present headaches immediately before or during menstruation, when they have a significant decrease in estrogen.
Others have a greater tendency to develop migraines during pregnancy or menopause.
Hormonal medications, such as oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy, can also worsen these headaches, although for some they occur less frequently when taking these medicines.
- The food additives: The sweetener aspartame and the monosodium glutamate preservative, many foods contain, can trigger migraines.
- Alcohol: especially wine and highly caffeinated beverages can trigger migraines. Stress. Stress at work or home can cause headaches too.
- The sensory stimuli: Bright lights and the brightness of the sun can cause migraines, as can loud sounds. Unusual odors, including perfumes, paint thinners, second-hand smoke and others, can be triggers for some people.
- Changing in the sleep-wake pattern.:Lack of sleep or too much sleep can trigger migraines in some people, just like jet lag.
- The physical factors: An intense physical effort, including sexual activity, can cause migraines. Changes in the environment can also create a headache. A shift in time or barometric pressure can cause a migraine.
- Oral contraceptives and vasodilators, such as nitroglycerin, can aggravate migraine.
Chronic Migraine Risk factors
Several factors make a person more likely to have migraines.
- Family background: Up to 90 percent of people with migraine have a family history of migraine attacks. If one or both parents have migraines, then it is very likely that the children will also suffer from it.
- Migraines can start at any age: Although most people experience their first migraine during adolescence. Most people who suffer from migraines, at 40, have already had their first ever attack.
- The hormonal changes: If a woman has migraines, her headaches may begin just before or shortly after the onset of menstruation. They can also change during pregnancy or menopause, and in general, migraines improve after menopause. Some women say that migraine attacks begin or worsen during pregnancy, however, for many, the attacks grow or disappear in the later stages of pregnancy.
- Sex: Women are three times more likely to have migraines. Headaches tend to affect children more than girls during childhood, but at the time of puberty and later, more girls are concerned.
Symptoms of Chronic Migraine
Migraines generally begin in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood.
They can progress through four stages, including prodrome, aura, headache, and postdrome, although it may be the case that a person does not experience all stages.
Stages of Chronic Migraine
One or two days before a migraine, you can notice subtle changes that indicate that one of those episodes is approaching, including:
- Food cravings
- Neck stiffness
- Uncontrollable yawns
The aura can occur before or during migraine headaches. These symptoms of the nervous system are usually visual disturbances, such as flashes of light, touching sensations (sensory), movement disturbances or language (verbal).
Most people experience migraine headaches without aura. Each of these symptoms usually begins little by little, they accumulate for several minutes and then, typically, they last for 20 to 60 minutes. Examples of aura include:
- Visual phenomena, such as seeing different shapes, bright spots or flashes of light.
- Sight loss.
- Tingling sensations in an arm or leg.
- Alterations of speech.
Less commonly, weakness in the extremities are associated with an aura, known as hemiplegic migraine.
When left untreated, a migraine usually lasts 4 to 72 hours, but the frequency with which headaches occur varies from person to person. It is possible for a person to have migraines several times a month or less often. During a chronic migraine episode you may experience the subsequent symptoms:
- Pain that has a pulsating throbbing quality.
- Sensitivity to light sounds and sometimes smells.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Pain on both sides or one side of the head.
- Blurry vision.
- Dizziness, sometimes followed by fainting.
The final phase, called postdrome, occurs after a migraine attack. During this time you may feel exhaustion, although some people report feeling slightly euphoric.
When To See A Doctor
Migraines often occur without diagnosis or treatment. If a person usually has signs and symptoms of migraine attacks, he should keep track of his attacks and how he treats them. Then it is necessary to go to a doctor’s office to discuss their headaches.
Even if you have a history of headaches, it is essential to consult a doctor if changes appear in the usual pattern or suddenly the headaches feel different.
You go to the emergency room or must consult a doctor straight away if you have any of the these symptoms, which may specify other more serious medical problems:
- A severe and sudden headache, like thunder
- Headache with fever, stiff neck, mental confusion, seizures, double vision, weakness, numbness, or difficulty speaking
- A chronic headache that gets worse after coughing, straining, or a sudden movement
- A new headache if you are older than 50
Tests And Diagnosis Of Migraine
If a person has a migraine or a family history of migraine headaches. It is likely that the neurologist will diagnose the disease based on his medical history, an examination of the symptoms, also a neurological and physical examination.
The specialist can also recommend a variety of tests to rule out other possible causes of your pain if your condition is uncommon, complex or suddenly becomes severe.
The doctor might recommend for blood test to check blood vessel problems, toxins in your system, and infections in the spinal cord or brain.
Computed tomography (CT)
The CT uses a series of X-rays to create detailed cross-sectional images of your brain.
CT also helps doctors diagnose tumors, infections, brain damage, brain illness, and other medical problems that may be causing the headaches.
Magnetic resonance images
This procedure helps diagnose tumors, strokes, hemorrhages in the brain, infections, among other medical conditions of the brain and nervous system.
If the doctor suspects an underlying disease, such as infection or bleeding in the brain. You can recommend this procedure, in which a thin needle is inserted between two vertebrae in the lower back to remove a sample of cerebrospinal fluid and then analyzed in a laboratory.
Chronic Migraine Treatment
Migraines cannot be cured, but it is possible to work together with doctors to learn how to manage this condition. Specifically to treat headaches a variety of medications have been designed, although some drugs commonly used to treat other diseases can also be used, as they can provide relief and prevent migraines. The medications used to combat migraines fall into two broad categories:
- The medicines that relieve pain. They are taken during migraine attacks and are designed to stop symptoms that have already begun.
- The preventive medicines. They are taken regularly, often on a daily basis, to reduce the severity or frequency of migraines.
The choice of a strategy to control headaches depends on the frequency and severity of them, the extent to which the cause that causes them and other medical problems that exist are minimized.
Some medications are not recommended if the patient is a woman and is pregnant or breastfeeding, and others are not suitable for children. The doctor can help find the right medication for each patient.
Chronic Migraine Prevention
Regardless of whether a person takes preventive medications, they can benefit from specific lifestyle changes that reduce the number and severity of migraines. One or more of these suggestions can be very useful in that regard.
Avoid triggers If certain foods or smells seem to have triggered your migraines before, avoid them in the future.
Your doctor may recommend that you reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake, as well as avoid smoking, establish a daily routine with regular sleep patterns and regular meals and manage stress.
- Exercise regularly: Regular aerobic exercise reduces stress and can help prevent migraines. If your doctor agrees, choose an aerobic activity you enjoy, such as walking, swimming, and cycling. Start with a slow and gentle warm-up, because intense training can soon cause headache.
It is believed that obesity is also a causative factor of migraine, so regular exercise can help lose weight or sustain a healthy weight
- Reduce the effects of estrogen: If you are a girl who has migraines and estrogen seems to trigger or worsen headaches, you may want to avoid or reduce medications that contain estrogen, such as birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy. Talk to your doctor about the alternatives or the appropriate doses for you.
Home Remedies For Chronic Migraine
Taking into account some measures of personal care can alleviate the pain of migraine. For example
- Try muscle relaxation exercises: Relaxation can help relieve the pain of migraine. These techniques may include progressive muscle relaxation, meditation or yoga.
- Rest and relax: If possible, rest in a dark, silent room when you feel headaches are about to begin Wrap an ice pack in a piece of cloth and place on the back of your neck and press gently on the painful areas on your scalp.
- Get enough sleep, but not too much. It is vital to sleep the proper time every night. It is best to lie down and get up always at the same time.
- Keep a record of your headache: Recording can help you learn more about what triggers migraines and what treatment is most effective
It is said that nontraditional therapies can be useful when a person suffers from chronic migraine. Among the most common options are:
- Acupuncture: In this treatment, a practitioner inserts several fine needles in various areas of the skin, at defined points. Clinical trials have found that acupuncture is useful for relieving headaches.
- Biofeedback: Biofeedback seems to be effective in relieving migraine pain. This relaxation technique uses specialized equipment to teach how to monitor and control specific physical responses related to stress, such as muscle tension.
- Massage therapy: Massage therapy can help reduce the frequency of migraines.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This therapy may benefit some patients suffering from migraine.
- The herbs, vitamins, and minerals: There is evidence that they can prevent migraines or reduce their severity. The most commonly used for these purposes are the fever few plant, vitamin B-2 (riboflavin), coenzyme Q10, magnesium.
How to prepare for a medical appointment to prevent chronic migraine?
After going to a family doctor’s office, it is very likely that a patient will be referred to another doctor specialized in the evaluation and treatment of headaches, that is, a neurologist
To make the majority of your time, it is a good idea to do some preparation before going to your appointment. Here we offer some ideas to help you in that regard.
- Write down the symptoms you are experiencing, even if they seem unrelated to the migraines.
- Write down essential personal information, including significant tensions or recent changes in life.
- It is particularly important to make a list of all medications, as well as the doses you have used to treat headaches.
- Sometimes it can be challenging to remember all the information provided during a medical appointment, someone accompanying you may remember something you missed or forgot.
List down questions you want to ask the doctor. For migraine headaches, some fundamental questions can be:
- What triggers my migraines?
- Are there other causes of my symptoms?
- What tests do I need to do?
- Is my condition probably temporary or chronic?
- Best course of action in my case?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach that is being suggested to me?
- Changes in my lifestyle or diet do you recommend?
- I have these other health conditions. How can I handle them better mutually?
Probably the specialist will also have a series of questions for you, for example:
- When did you start experiencing migraine symptoms for the first time?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- How severe are the symptoms?
- What seems to improve the symptoms?
- What seems to make your symptoms worse?
- Does anyone in your family have a migraine?
What can be done in the meantime?
Keep a diary of headaches
A log can help your doctor determine what triggers the migraines. Keep in mind when your headaches start, how long they last and what usually provides relief. Be sure to record your response to the medications you take for a headache, as well as the foods you ate in the 24 hours before the attacks, any unusual stresses, how you have felt and what you have been doing when the headaches occur.
Since stress triggers migraines in many people, try to avoid stressful situations, or use stress reduction techniques such as meditation.
Get enough sleep
Try to retain a regular sleep schedule and sleep a sufficient number of hours, little or much.
Quick Answers To Frequently Asked Questions
What is a hemiplegic migraine? Hemiplegic migraine is a severe and rare type of migraine. Many of their usual symptoms mimic those of stroke; For example, muscle weakness can be so extreme that it causes temporary paralysis on one side of the body, what doctors call hemiplegia.
Why do chronic migraines happen? Abnormal brain activity causes a migraine headache. Most medical researchers believe that the attack begins in the brain and involves nerve pathways and chemicals.
What causes Chronic migraines in women? 50% of migraines in women happen just before, during or after the period. This is often called “menstrual migraine.” Changing hormone levels during this time can trigger a migraine because estrogen controls the chemicals in the brain that influence a woman’s pain sensation.
Can a chronic migraine cause lumpy language? Yes, but it’s bizarre. Migraines are every so often preceded by an aura, a neurological disorder that can involve tingling or numbness in the hands and face, changes in vision, and problems with speech or language.
In general, how long do Chronic migraines last? Migraine headaches typically continue for 4-72 hours. They can from several times a week to only once a year.
Can a chronic migraine last a month? In some patients, headache is particularly severe and long-lasting, and may even become chronic: it occurs continuously for weeks, months or years (at the extreme).
Do Chronic migraines cause speech problems? People with hemiplegic migraines experience paralysis or weakness on one side of the body, disturbances in vision and speech, and other symptoms that often mimic a stroke. Disease is usually temporary but may last several days.
Can a migraine cause ring in the ears? Migraine can cause symptoms such as inability to speak correctly, ringing in the ears and vomiting.
Is it a severe migraine? Migraine has long been consider a painful condition that affects the quality of life but is not dangerous. However, several studies have indicated that migraineurs, particularly those with aura, have an increased risk of ischemic stroke.
Can migraines last a week? A typical migraine lasts less than 24 hours; a migraine can be as short as 20 minutes or last for weeks. A migraine sufferer has periods without a headache between attacks. Tension-type headache can persist for days, weeks or even years in extreme cases.
What is a basilar migraine? Basilar migraines are headaches that initiate in the lower part of the brain, known as the brainstem. They cause symptoms such as double vision, dizziness, and lack of coordination. These changes, called aura, can happen 10 to 45 minutes before the head hurts.
What percentage of migraines has an aura? 15 percent. The majority of patients with migraine, about 85 percent, suffer from migraine without aura. Symptoms include severe and recurrent headaches that occur mainly on one side of the head, but can change hands during an attack, or shift from one side of an attack to another, or even spread gradually through the entire head.