We often get confused between normal headaches and migraines. Headache is just one of many symptoms of migraine. Migraine patients require proper doctor consultation for taking medicines. Normal OTC drugs for general headaches don’t solve the purpose.
Migraines can be episodic and chronic. Episodic migraines last for hours while chronic migraines last longer than episodic migraines and are more frequent. If someone is having headache for 15 days a month, out of which 8 days the headache is of migraine symptoms and this continues for consecutive 3 months or more, it means the person is having chronic migraine. Other characteristics of chronic migraine are
1. Causes moderate to severe headache
2. Pain is more intense at one side of the head
3. Pain gets worse with walking or doing a daily routine.
Causes of migraine
Neurological disorder – An underlying neurological condition may trigger the pain.
Imbalance in the brain – Any obstruction in the chemical and nerve pathway of the brain can result in headaches.
Genetic factors – If any of your parents or siblings are having migraine (if the condition runs in the family), your chance of contracting the disease gets increases.
Many times, chronic migraine can be the underlying symptoms of other health conditions like brain injury, brain tumors, meningitis, problems in the blood vessels of the brain, intracranial pressure that’s too high or too low. Migraine triggers are different for every person. Avoiding these triggers could help prevent migraine attacks.
Common triggers are
Mental health condition – With increased anxiety and stress, there are high chances of experiencing the symptoms of migraine (headache).
Weather – Shifts in temperature, pressure, humidity may affect your migraine condition.
Use and abuse of caffeine – Caffeine is a potent CNS stimulator. Carbonated beverages, high sugar sodas can trigger migraine attacks.
Poor posture – Bad or poor posture affects your body very much. The way you sit impacts greatly on the neck, shoulder, and overall body muscles and bones. Poor sitting posture may reduce the blood flow between different parts of the body. This reduced blood flow could result in migraine.
Certain food and drinks – Salty, spicy or artificial sweeteners may act as the common triggering factors. Monosodium glutamate is a common food preservative that is known to trigger migraine.
Medication – Vasodilators drugs that are used for treating blood vessels problems, the vascular system can trigger chronic migraine.
Hormonal changes – Both types of migraine – episodic and chronic are more common in women. The woman's body experiences usual hormonal changes because of the menstrual cycle. There is a significant hormonal shift before and after menopause age. This change may trigger an attack of migraine.
Sensory stimulation – On-off lights, loud music, and strong perfume or odors might trigger migraine headaches.
Lack of sleep – Not taking enough quality sleep or taking too much sleep, either of these may trigger the episode of chronic migraine.
Chronic migraine patients are at increased risk of complications like anxiety, depression, and other psychological problems.
Consult the doctor immediately if you experience headache with any of these symptoms - Severe vomiting, shortness of breath, numbness, blurry vision, seizures, speech difficulty, dizziness, and weakness.
Disclaimer: The content on this site is for informational purposes only, and should not be taken as professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other health professionals for any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.