Having headaches is normal, but a severe one may be an indication of an underlying health condition. One example of a severe headache is a migraine, which is a result of certain changes in the brain. These severe headaches may come with a sensitivity to smells, sound or even light. This condition is discomforting and painful to endure, so it’s important to learn about its causes, symptoms and treatments. To learn more, keep reading!
What is a Migraine?
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Characterised by unbearable headaches affecting half (unilateral) or both sides (bilateral) of the head, migraines are a neurological disorder which can occur repetitively and last for hours or even days.
Headaches are just one of the components of migraines. There are also gastrintestinal, neurological and cognitive indications which can occur. Migraines might have a pulsing sensation and be accompanied by bouts of nausea and extreme sensitivity to sound and light. For many people, being prone to migraines can have a profound impact on their lives, but there are also many other people that find help with various herbal or home remedies.
Signs and Symptoms of Migraines
Migraines are a type of neurovascular condition potentially connected to genetics, which regulate the function of brain cells. Signs and symptoms vary, from mild pain to a physiological emergency. There are generally 5 phases associated with migraines, although not all people experiencing one will go through every stage. These stages are:
- Prodromal, or pre-headache stage: in this stage, you may experience depression, irritability, body pains and mood swings.
- Aura stage: this is actually a neurological and focal experience that progresses over time. Moreover, you may experience stiffness and aching around the shoulder and neck.
- Pain stage: this particular stage usually starts with a dreadful bilateral or unilateral headache accompanied by light sensitivity, nausea and vomiting. The pain usually becomes worse when engaging in physical activity.
- Resolution stage: in this stage, the agonizing pain progressively settles down with the use of effective treatments.
- Postdromal, or recovery stage: this stage mainly entails fatigue, exhaustion and weakness once a headache finally ceases.
Causes of Migraines
Scientific research shows that migraines are actually caused by a certain blend of genetic and environmental factors. There is also a range of conditions that may trigger migraine attacks, including:
- Environmental changes
- Physical factors
- Changes in sleeping pattern
- Sensory stimuli
- Food additives
- Hormonal imbalances
Risk Factors of Migraines
Factors that may increase the risk of migraines include:
- Hormonal changes
- Family history
Treatments for Migraines
Most people with migraines are able to manage the pain as long as it’s mild to moderate. They do this using the following home remedies and treatments:
- Drink a moderate amount of caffeine
- Get enough sleep
- Withdraw from stressful surroundings
- Have some rest with little to no sensory stimuli
- Rest with some comforting pillows
- Support the head and the neck while sleeping
- Use a cold compress against the painful area
- Get regular physical exercise
- Avoid certain foods
- Drink a lot of water
Medications for Migraines
Migraines can often be managed with medications such as painkillers. They should be taken at the earliest signs of an oncoming migraine. Other over-the-counter helpers include:
With proper treatment and precautions, migraines will vanish in an instant.