Migraines And Headaches

June is National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month

Did you know that headaches are among the top ten causes of disability worldwide?

Definition—A migraine headache is a chronic neurological disease characterized by recurrent to moderate to severe headaches.  Migraine headaches usually start in childhood or early adulthood.

There are usually 4 stages—Prodrome / Aura / Headache Attack / Postdrome.

Prodrome—Happens 1 to 2 days before the onset of the headache.  The person may experience constipation, depression, food cravings, hyperactivity, irritability, neck stiffness, and uncontrollable yearnings.

Aura—This may occur before or during an actual migraine.  Auras are nervous system symptoms that are usually visual disturbances, such as flashes or light.  Sometimes they can include sensory-motor and speech disturbances.  Most people don’t experience auras.

Headache Attack—When untreated, a migraine usually lasts 4 to 72 hours.  However, this does vary from person to person.  The symptoms are a pain on one or both sides of your head, a pain that is pulsating, sensitivity to light, sound, and sometimes smell.  You may also include nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, lightheadedness sometimes followed by fainting.

Postdrome—This is the final stage and occurs after an attack.  Some people feel drained and washed out, while others feel euphoric.

What causes a migraine headache?  There is no definite answer, but it appears that genetics and environmental factors play a role.

Common triggers or migraines are hormonal changes in women before or during their periods, pregnancy and menopause; food such as aged cheeses, salty foods, and processed foods; food additives like MSG and aspartame; drinks including alcohol, wine, and caffeinated beverages; stress and sensory stimuli—examples are bright lights, sun glare, loud sounds, and unusual smells.

If you have any of these symptoms, please see your doctor!

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