New to Migraines?
Originally posted on Chronically Ellie
Did you know that there about 37 million people in the U.S. have migraines? The World Health organization suggests that 18 percent of women and 7 percent of men in the U.S. suffer from migraines.
So, what is a migraine? According to Professor Peter Goadsby, of King’s College London and Trustee of The Migraine Trust, migraine is an “inherited tendency to have headaches with sensory disturbance. It’s an instability in the way the brain deals with incoming sensory information, and that instability can become influenced by physiological changes like sleep, exercise and hunger.”
There are many different side effects with migraines, including but not limited to, nausea, light and sound sensitivity, inability to function and many others.
There are 4 phases to a migraine headache. Prodrome, Aura, Headache and Postdrome
Prodrome is the first potential phase of a migraine, and it can begin hours or days before the actual migraine hits. In a way, it’s a sort of a warning sign that you may be having a migraine. However, sometimes you may not realize that you are experiencing prodrome until the migraine has hit. Some potential symptoms are aphasia (difficulty finding words and/or speaking), difficulty concentrating, fatigue, cravings, mood changes, neck and back pain and sleepiness.
Aura Migraine are separated into two main categories; migraines with aura and migraines without aura. Migraines with aura are only experiences by about 25% of Migraineurs, however, if you have more than 2 auras you are classified as having Migraines with aura.Aura can look very different for each patient, however here are a list of some possible symptoms of aura.v Allodynia (hypersensitivity to feel and touch, where what would e normal is painful)v Aphasiav Auditory hallucinationsv Confusionv Decrease in or loss of hearingv Dizzinessv Hemiplegia (one sided paralysis that only occurs in hemiplegic migraines only)v One sided motor weaknessv Parasthesia (prickling, stinging, burning, numbness, tingling usually on the arms and legs or face)v Olfactory hallucinationsv Visual (these range greatly from blurry vision to partial loss of sight to blind spots to wavy lines)v Vertigo
The headache phase can be, but is not always, the most debilitating phase of a migraine. Migraines symptoms are actually not confined just to the head. Symptoms can be felt around the whole entire body. Furthermore, the headache phase can be “silent” or “acephalgic,” where you cannot feel the pain or the headache phase does not occur. These types of headaches can leave you with the same disoriented symptoms that any migraine will leave and recovery should be treated like any other migraine.
Some symptoms of the headache phase are:v Pulsing or throbbing frequently unilateral pain, however migraine can be bilateral.v Pain around the eyes, sinuses, teeth and jaw due to inflammation of the trigeminal nerve.v Confusionv Dehyrdrationv Dizzinessv Nausea and/or vomitingv Neck painv Hot flashes/chillsv Heightened sensitivity to light, sound and/or odorsv Vertigov Anxiety/panic
The way that I describe how I feel after a migraine is like I’ve been “hit by a bus,” and that I have a “migraine hangover.” Postdrome can last for hours, if not days. My doctor told me that for as many days as I’ve had a migraine, I need to give myself as many days to recover. That is because postdrome symptoms may include fatigue, lowered mood levels, and poor concentration and comprehension.
Migraines are so hard to treat because every symptom is distinct to each and every patient. While many patients experience some of the same symptoms, each migraineur has different triggers and pain solutions. For me, going gluten free, undergoing allergy immunization, Botox and biofeedback helped me immensely. However, there is no cure for migraines, only ways to manage it.
If you’re new to migraines or just want to learn more, here are a few of my favorite migraine websites. They have testimonials, statistics and other helpful bits of advice.