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Migraines - Not An Ordinary Headache!

Sep 15, 2008
INTRODUCTION: Migraine is a disease, a headache is only a symptom. These headaches, with nausea and vomiting, usually begin in childhood and tend to becomes less severe and frequent with age. They can occur any time of the day, though they often starts in the morning. The pain is caused by vasodilation in the cranial blood vessels (expansion of the blood vessels), while Headache pain is caused by vasoconstriction (narrowing of the blood vessels). The disease characteristics can include: Pain typically on one side of the head with a pulsating or throbbing quality, Moderate to intense pain affecting daily activities, Nausea or vomiting, Sensitivity to light or sound.

Attacks often last from four hours to three days, sometimes longer and visual disturbances or aura Exertion such as climbing stairs makes the headaches worse. Approximately 20% of people experience aura, the warning associated with migraine, prior to the headache pain. It is frequently mis-diagnosed as sinus headaches or tension-type headaches and affects up to 15% of the population. Migraines can produce a host of serious physical ailments including strokes, aneurysms, permanent loss of vision, severe dental problems, coma and even death. Sufferers experience not only excruciating pain, but social ostracism, job loss, disruption of personal relationships, and prejudices at work. These headaches seem to be caused in part by alterations in the level of a body chemical called serotonin and they are not the same in all persons.

SYMPTOMS: May include Moderate to severe pain on 1 or both sides of the head, Pulsating or throbbing pain, Pain that becomes worse with physical activity, Nausea with or without vomiting, Sensitivity to light or sound. Approximately 20% of these people experience what's called an aura before the headache pain. Symptoms of an aura include flashes of light, zig zags, or blind spots in your vision or tingling in an arm or leg. With a Classic migraine, a person has these visual symptoms ten to thirty minutes before an attack: sees flashing lights or zigzag lines, has blind spots or loss of vision for a short time. With a routine migraine, a person does not have an aura, but does have the other symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting. Females also tend to report higher levels of pain, longer headache time, and more symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting.

TREATMENT: Treatment is separated into eliminating particular triggers, control of the specific attack, and long-term prevention. There are two basic ways to treat migraine headaches with medicines: prevent the attacks, or relieve the symptoms during the attacks. A lot of people use both forms of treatment. Other home treatment plans can help, such as doing relaxation techniques and using cold packs. In your headache diary (you should keep one), make a list of home treatment methods that work for you in various situations.

Alternative medical treatments with drugs belonging to the group called Phenothiazines have proven helpful as non-analgesic options for treating severe headaches.

At present, there is no known cure for the disease, only treatments for the symptoms. Furthermore, such treatments are not yet totally effective and sufferers may show a diminished tolerance to a variety of medications, treatments, and pain management regimens. As always, talk with your doctor about what sets off your headaches and to help find the right treatment for you.

CONCLUSION: Migraine is a true neurological disease and often becomes worse in the first trimester of pregnancy, but many women are headache-free later in their pregnancy. This disease and epileptic seizure disorders are also interrelated. People who suffer from these headaches are frequently dismissed as neurotic complainers who are unable to handle stress. It is the second most common type of headache syndrome in the United States and is most commonly found in women, with a 3 to 1 female-to-male ratio. They can continue through the 30s and 40s.

Migraines afflict 28,000,000 Americans, with females suffering more frequently (17 percent) than males (6 percent). This type of headache is one of the most common problems found in emergency departments and doctor's offices. Occurrence among women increases sharply up to age 40 years and then declines slowly. Headaches tend to occur in families, suggesting that genetic factors contribute to a persons susceptibility for the disease.

The National Headache Foundation suggests you speak to your physician about your headaches IF: you have several per month and each lasts for several hours or days, disrupts your home, work, or school life, you have nausea, vomiting, vision, or other sensory problems. Tests will be carried out to determine if you have migraine or not. Before your appointment, jot down: how often you have headaches, where the pain is located, how long they last, when they happen, such as during your menstrual cycle, other signs, such as nausea or blind spots, any family history of the disease. By simply talking with your physician, you may be able to give enough information to diagnose migraine.
About the Author
Richard H. Ealom is a writer who has authored at least 60 articles about Diseases,Causes,Cures. Learn of Alternative Treatments for Migraines that work by visiting the The Migraine And Headache Program! website. You are allowed to use this article as long as you leave this box unchanged
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