Finding Parallels Between Health and Life

Learn More About Migraines and Its Treatment

Women usually experience a migraine due to falling estrogen before menstruation, causing severe head pain that is accompanied by sensitivity to sound, smells or light. A migraine attack is usually manifested by nausea, vomiting, eye pain, sensitivity to light or sound, and severe headache that is usually described by patients as “pounding pain” on one side of the head. Migraine attacks are usually triggered by hormonal changes, stress, certain foods, oversleeping, and strong stimuli such as loud noises. You need to also be aware that certain foods such as aged cheese, chocolate, smoked meats, dairy products, alcoholic beverages, artificial sweeteners and monosodium glutamate can trigger a migraine attack, and some types of birth control pills. Keep a headache diary if you’re unsure what triggers your headache so you are able to easily identify the cause in case you’ll experience a migraine attack.

The pharmacologic treatment for migraines include over-the-counter (OTC) such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxen sodium, or prescription drugs like triptans. It is important to engage in regular exercise and balanced diet to reduce the frequency of your migraine attacks. If you have identified the foods that trigger your migraine, avoid them as much as possible. For some people, meditation and relaxation strategies help them in preventing migraine attacks and reducing the severity of headaches such as yoga, meditation, guided imagery, and progressive muscle relaxation. Most people with migraines combine pharmacologic treatments and lifestyle changes in managing their condition. On the other hand, some people really require prescription medications because their migraine attacks are too severe. What is migraine aura? Migraine aura refers to specific warning symptoms before the onset of a migraine attack that may range from a blind spot in one eye, flashing lights or numbness involving one side of the body. A migraine aura usually last for several minutes and it is usually resolved once the head pain starts, though there are instances when a migraine aura may also last until a migraine is resolved. The symptoms may be frightening for those patients who have never experienced aura because it can mimic the signs and symptoms of a stroke.

Many women find their migraines are resolved during pregnancy because of high levels of estrogen during pregnancy. It is important to discontinue any medication that was used prior to pregnancy to prevent birth defects. If you notice locking of your jaw, swollen or you’re grinding your teeth a lot, your migraine might be related to Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMJ, so you need to contact a TMJ specialist who will recommend effective exercises and routine changes to help in your condition. Generally, the best management treatment for a migraine is the combination of healthy diet, exercise, lifestyle changes, pharmacologic treatments, and avoiding triggering factors.

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