Many people are familiar with migraines, and most people have had one at some point in their lives. For some, migraines happen rarely, but for others, they happen chronically and can affect their quality of life. Keep reading below to learn about migraines and how to recognize and get through them.
What is a migraine?
A migraine is a severe, throbbing headache that affects your quality of life. Some people are more prone to them than others, and some people get them after periods of intense stress or physical exertion. Although anyone may be susceptible to migraines, they tend to be more common in women.
Is a migraine coming?
Figuring out if you are about to experience a migraine varies from person to person, but in many cases, they start with what is known as an “aura,” which includes visual disturbances such as flashes of light or blind spots, and other disturbances such as a tingling or strange feeling on one side of your head or even tingling in one arm or leg, and trouble speaking.
Symptoms of migraines:
Migraines can progress through a series of four stages, although not everyone who has one will go through all four. Those four stages are known as:
During the prodrome period which occurs about one to two days before the migraine, you may notice subtle changes that warn you of a pending migraine. Some of those symptoms are as follows:
· Food cravings
· Neck stiffness
· Mood changes
· Fluid retention
During the aura period, which may occur right before or during a migraine, a person may experience:
· Vision loss
· Difficulty speaking
· Visual phenomena such as seeing various shapes, bright spots, or flashes of light.
A migraine can last up to 72 hours if left untreated. How often they occur varies depending on the individual. For some, they happen every once in a while, and for others, can strike several times a month. During the attack phase, people may experience some or all of the following:
· Nausea and vomiting
· Sensitivity to light, sound, and occasionally different smells and touch
· Intense, throbbing, pulsating pain on one or both sides of your head
After you have a migraine, you may feel drained, exhausted, or confused for up to a day. Others experience an elation that it has passed. In some cases, sudden head movement may bring back the pain of a migraine briefly.
When to see your doctor:
Migraines are frequently underdiagnosed and untreated. If you have migraines regularly, try to keep a record of your attacks and discuss them with your doctor to see if there is a pattern. Although you may not be able to prevent all migraines, a doctor can provide the support and medication that you need to keep them at bay and improve your quality of life.