Stop and Think! What is a Migraine?

A migraine is more than just a bad headache. It causes severe, throbbing pain on one side of the head, often accompanied by fatigue, nausea, vision changes, and irritability. Migraines disrupt daily routines and social obligations. About 12% of people in the United States experience migraines.

What causes a migraine?

The exact cause of migraines is unknown, but genetics and environmental factors likely play a role. Specific nerves in your blood vessels send pain signals to your brain, releasing inflammatory substances.

Symptoms of a migraine

Migraine symptoms vary across four stages: prodrome, aura, headache, and postdrome. Not everyone experiences all stages.

Prodrome (up to 24 hours before): Early warning signs that a migraine is coming. Symptoms may include:

  • Constipation
  • Mood changes
  • Food cravings
  • Neck stiffness
  • Increased urination
  • Fluid retention
  • Frequent yawning

Aura (lasting 5-60 minutes): Sensory, motor, and/or speech symptoms that act as a warning sign of a migraine headache. Symptoms may include:

  • Visual disturbances (shapes, bright spots, flashes)
  • Vision loss
  • Pins and needles in limbs
  • Weakness or numbness in the face or body
  • Difficulty speaking

Headache (lasting 4-72 hours): The phase where severe head pain occurs. Symptoms may include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light, sound, and odors

Postdrome (lasting a few hours to 48 hours): The recovery phase, often referred to as a “migraine hangover.” Symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Stiff neck
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dizziness

How is a migraine treated?

While there’s no cure, researchers recommend managing migraines with:

  • Medications to stop or prevent migraines
  • Avoiding triggers
  • Alternative remedies

Medications:

  • To stop migraines: Taken at the first sign of a migraine to reduce symptoms.
  • To prevent migraines: Taken daily to reduce the frequency and severity.

Researchers suggest keeping a migraine journal to track triggers, symptoms, and duration. Identifying triggers can help manage and treat migraines more effectively.

For instance, if stress triggers your migraines, consider seeing a mental health professional. If missing meals is a trigger, set reminders to eat regularly.

At IGAKU, we understand the impact migraines can have on your life. Book a consultation today to receive personalized guidance and support for managing your migraines and improving your overall health.

Ready to learn more about managing migraines and enhancing your quality of life? Book a consultation with IGAKU today. Our experts provide comprehensive insights and tailored recommendations to help you find relief and regain control over your daily activities.

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