To suffer a migraine attack is definitely no laughing matter. These violent headaches are so debilitating that many sick days are taken as the sufferer is often bed ridden and can become very ill whilst in the grip of a migraine. For some, migraines are manageable, for others they must endure the attack if they cannot find a medication that is effective.
What is a migraine?
Migraines are severe headaches that can last from about 4 hours up to 72 hours. They are very debilitating for the many people who suffer them. Generally nausea and vomiting accompany a migraine. Sensitivity to light and high noise levels are also a factor. Sufferers of migraines often report warning symptoms known as “aura’s” that can occur before the onset of a migraine. These symptoms can range from changes in smell, perception, flashing lights and visual disturbances.
What causes a migraine?
Migraines are caused by blood vessels that enlarge in the brain, known as vasodilatation. This in turn causes chemicals to be released from the nerve fibers that surround the large arteries in the brain. These chemicals are responsible for causing inflammation and pain and further increase the enlargement of the artery, which increases the pain even more.
The pain can be felt like a pounding, vice like grip and is extremely excruciating, often making normal routine for the sufferer impossible. It is common whilst enduring an extreme migraine to be bed ridden and unable to function for the duration. As the pain is so intense, nausea and vomiting usually accompanies.
What can trigger a migraine?
There are lots of factors that can trigger a migraine. For some it is the food they consume, such as chocolate, red wine or even aged cheeses. Bright light, certain odors, Hormones, caffeine and cigarette smoke can all set off migraines. Changes in weather, not enough or too much sleep can be a trigger. By knowing what sets off a migraine you may be able to keep them at bay or at least limit the number of attacks. If certain foods consumed are the culprit, simply cut them out of your diet to reduce your attacks.
What can you do to relieve or cease a migraine?
For those that suffer mild migraines, over the counter preparations are usually helpful in relieving the symptoms. For severe migraines it may be necessary to take prescription medication prescribed by your Doctor. Preventative medication may also necessary for those that suffer regular migraines. Aspirin is often good for migraines as it has anti-inflammatory properties. If you can feel the onset of a migraine, it is best to lie down quietly in a dark room. Try to avoid doing anything that can aggravate or increase the migraine. If you have been diagnosed as a migraine sufferer, take your medication as soon as possible. Sleep is the best medicine if you are able.
If you are finding that you are experiencing severe headaches that include any of the symptoms outlined above, it is imperative that you see your family Doctor. Your doctor can ascertain your situation and symptoms and prescribe a suitable medication to help relieve your symptoms.