Migraine Specialists review your symptoms and provide caring and personalised Migraine Treatment
What is a migraine?
Migraines most often present as a one sided headache of moderate to severe intensity, as is often described as being of a throbbing or pulsating sensation.
In contrast to headaches however, migraines usually involve other symptoms such as nausea, visual changes or sensory changes, which can be just as severe.
Symptoms: The International Headache Society classifies a headache as a migraine when:
(a) the pain can be classified by at least two of the following;
-one sided -moderate to severe -throbbing -aggravated by movement
(b) there is at least one of the following associated symptoms:
-nausea -vomiting -photophobia (sensitivity to light) -phonophobia (sensitivity to noise)
(c) the headache lasts for between 4 and 72 hours.
Other symptoms that may be experienced include
How our Migraine Specialists can help you:
There is a large amount of debate around the cause of a migraine. It is most commonly believed that migraines are the result of blood vessel spasm/constriction.
The constriction occurs in the blood vessels going to the brain which brings on the aura (visual and sensory changes) followed by dilation of these same blood vessels, which brings on the pounding or intense aching of migraine.
It is still not certain why these blood vessels actually do this. There are two trains of thought; one is that it is the result of irritation to the nerves, which control the blood vessels.
The second is that it is relative to the levels of serotonin that are present in the brain. Regardless of which it is, we do know that there are many triggers that can initiate this change in the blood vessels, so treatment is usually focused on these triggers.
Other factors that have be shown to influence the incidence of a migraine are;
Hormonal fluctuations are implicated as a significant trigger for women as three times as many women suffer from migraine headaches as men, this difference being most apparent during the reproductive years.
Dietary Triggers. Common dietary triggers include:
Environmental triggers. Common environmental triggers include:
Physical and emotional factors include:
How you can help manage your migraines:
Listen to your body- the most important thing is to try to read the signals your body is sending you. If you recognize the signals of an approaching headache don’t just ignore them. Take time out from what you are doing, even if only for a few minutes and try to relax your body. When you are relaxed there is less pressure on the blood vessels and the aim is to prevent these from constricting. You may also try to ease the tension around your neck by stretching. All sufferers tend to have different strategies for dealing with migraines. Some of these strategies are:
Identify and avoid precipitating factors- Try to identify and then avoid that factors may trigger your migraine. Eg turn off fluorescent lighting and use desk lamp instead, limit computer use to one hour blocks.
Lifestyle- While lifestyle changes may seem difficult to undertake, the benefits will far out way the sacrifice. A healthy lifestyle may help reduce or even eradicate your headaches or will at least improve your overall health. The changes to improve your general health need not to be drastic, it simply involves;
Resources: Headache Australia. www.headacheaustralia.org.au
Headache and migraine Australia www.headache.com.au