If you get headaches that fluctuate in severity from moderate to severe, you may be suffering from migraine. Not sure what your symptoms mean? You’re not by yourself. We’ve enlisted the help of our headache specialists to give answers to frequently asked concerns concerning migraine symptoms.
What is the difference between migraine and headache?
There is a distinction between migraine and headache, which some people use similarly.
Migraine is a type of neurological disorder. It is a clinical condition, and researchers have a strong knowledge of the neurological system alterations that occur during a migraine episode. It’s more than “just a headache.” Migraine episodes may be debilitating, and they frequently entail a slew of symptoms in addition to head pain.
Although experts have a decent knowledge of the changes that occur in the neurological system during a migraine episode, scans and blood tests do not reveal these changes. As a result, doctors diagnose migraines primarily on a specific set of symptoms rather than test results.
Headache is a broad phrase for discomfort in the head. Headache or head pain is a typical sign of migraine, although not all headaches are migraine.
How do I know if I’m having a migraine attack?
Symptoms differ from one individual to another. A migraine episode is characterized by moderate to severe, even agonizing, head discomfort. The discomfort is usually concentrated in one area of the head (one side or both, front or back, behind the eyes or behind the cheekbones) and feels throbbing or pulsing.
Nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light, sound, or smell are other frequent migraine symptoms.
Migraine episodes might disrupt your job, school, or other activities, forcing you to miss events or perform poorly. An assault might last four hours or many days.
A migraine episode has four stages: prodrome, aura, headache, and postdrome. Prodrome symptoms are experienced by 75% of migraine sufferers and might act as early warning indications of an attack. Recognizing the symptoms of a migraine attack early allows a person to take acute medicine before the headache phase begins, so preventing or reducing future symptoms.
Are symptoms like dizziness, nausea and sensory sensitivity associated with migraine?
Migraine symptoms frequently extend beyond headaches. Common symptoms include nausea and vomiting, as well as neck discomfort, sleeplessness, anxiety, and depression. Vestibular migraine can also cause dizziness or vertigo.
Many migraine sufferers have increased sensitivity to light, sound, and smell. However, between 40% and 70% of migraine sufferers experience allodynia, or pain from things that should not hurt. Because of incorrect pain processing in the neurological system, this often-overlooked side effect of migraine causes something as simple as a gentle touch of the skin, brushing of the hair, or even changes in temperature to seem painful to someone with allodynia.
What is Aura?
Migraine episodes can occur with or without an aura. Only approximately 25% to 30% of migraine sufferers have aura. Some people may get aura without the headache phase of migraine over time.
Aura is most typically visual and manifests as a sequence of sensory abnormalities that occur immediately before the headache phase of a migraine episode. These disruptions might appear in the visual field as blind patches, sparks, brilliant dots, and zigzags.
Aura can also be sensory, causing symptoms such as numbness or tingling in the face, hands, or feet. It can also be motor-related, which can cause weakness in areas of the body or a difficulty to speak correctly.
Aura typically lasts 5 to 60 minutes.
When should I be worried about migraine?
Migraine is classified as either episodic or chronic based on the number of headache days per month. People who suffer from episodic migraine experience 14 or fewer headache days per month. Chronic migraine sufferers have 15 or more headache days per month (for three or more months), at least eight of which involve migraine symptoms. For some people, episodic migraine can progress to chronic migraine if it is not properly diagnosed and managed.
If your aura or migraine is becoming more frequent, you should see your doctor to explore your options.
A migraine attack might sometimes necessitate hospitalization. If you suffer the worst headache of your life, especially if it appears abruptly and peaks in intensity within minutes, seek emergency medical assistance to ensure it is not a stroke or other serious disease.
Can I make lifestyle changes to avoid migraine symptoms?
An essential component of managing migraines is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. A healthy diet with at least three balanced meals per day, as well as making an effort to avoid skipping meals, staying hydrated with at least eight glasses of water per day, limiting caffeine intake, getting six to eight hours of good sleep each night, incorporating regular exercise, and managing stress with mindfulness, meditation, yoga, or visiting a therapist are all examples of helpful lifestyle habits.
While you can’t always manage migraine symptoms, you can learn to recognize them, get medical attention, and collaborate with your doctor to develop a unique strategy for prevention and treatment. Although the symptoms of migraine can be crippling, it is feasible to prevent them from interfering with your normal activities.