If you are a migraine sufferer as I am, do you often wonder why you get them and what triggers a migraine? Well, I am going to try and shed a little light on some of the facts about migraine headaches.
A migraine is a little different from a regular headache such as tension or sinus headache. This type of headache can cause nausea, muscle weakness, light sensitivity, odd smells and noise sensitivity along with vomiting. Women seem to suffer more from them than men do because of hormones.
A migraine episode can be a very complex event, with symptoms that change over hours or even days. Migraines tend to progress through several stages:
• Prodromal phase, before the migraine
• Aura phase
• Attack phase
• Postdromal phase after the migraine
Several hours before the migraine begins - and sometimes even the day before - many people with migraines notice unusual sensations. They may feel either unusually energetic and excitable or depressed, irritable or thirsty.
In some cases, these symptoms before the headache can help health care providers diagnose the problem as migraines.
Aura Phase:An aura refers to feelings and symptoms you notice shortly before the headache begins.
Aura accompanies the migraine with additional symptoms such as dizziness, seeing flickering lights, vision loss or seeing things that aren't really there. About 1 in 5 people with migraine develop an "aura" that begins before the headache or starts along with it. An aura may not occur with every headache.
Attack Phase: The Headache Begins
The attack portion of a migraine episode can last for a few hours to several days. During this phase of the migraine, the person usually wants to rest quietly and finds normal activities difficult.
A defining quality of migraines is their intense pain. The pain of a migraine:
• Usually begins above the eyes
• Typically affects one side of the head, but it may strike the entire head or move from one side to the other. It may also affect the lower face and the neck.
• Tends to have a throbbing intensity
• May throb worse during physical activity or when you lean forward
• May get worse if you become physically active
Postdromal Phase:After the Storm
Following the most severe phase of the migraine, you may not feel well for up to a day. Symptoms of this post-migraine phase may include:
• Extreme tiredness
• Head pain that flares up when you lean over, move quickly, or experience a rush of blood to the head
Your overall experience with migraines may change over time. They can change in frequency or severity, and attacks may not always include all of these stages. Also, you may eventually develop the migraine aura without actually having a headache.
If you think you may have symptoms of migraine headaches, please see your doctor, there is help.