June is National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month
National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month (MHAM) recognizes the migraine and headache communities that continuously work together for chronic headaches to be recognized as authentic neurobiological disorders.
The Importance of National MHAM
- It spreads awareness and legitimizes the harsh truths of the disorders.
- It promotes research efforts and carries out different campaigns to get young people interested in the issue.
- It encourages those with migraines or headaches to seek medical care.
- It aims to enlighten migraine sufferers about various treatments available.
What is a Migraine?
A migraine is a headache that causes a pulsing feeling or throbbing pain, usually on one side of the head. However, a migraine is more than just a bad headache. It is a disabling neurological disease with various symptoms and treatment approaches. According to the American Migraine Foundation, about 39 million people in the United States live with migraines.
What Causes Migraines?
Though the cause of migraines is not fully understood, experts believe genetics and environmental factors play a huge role. Most people with migraines will have random attacks out of the blue, which is how the disease functions.
Some people will experience a migraine that has an identifiable cause. While everyone has different triggers, some common culprits affect many people. They include:
- changes in weather
- certain foods
- hormonal changes in women
- skipping meals
- sleeping too much or too little
- traumatic brain injuries
While migraines can affect anyone, it is more common in women. Due to hormonal changes, women are three times more likely to live with this disease than men. Girls are more likely to have migraine attacks when they start their first period, and women are more likely to experience them during their childbearing years.
Common Symptoms of Migraines
Symptoms of migraines vary from person to person. However, if you are experiencing some or more of the symptoms below, your headache may be a migraine:
- The pain causes a pounding, throbbing, or pulsating sensation.
- The pain is often intense, hard to endure, and may be unbearable.
- The pain may be on one or both sides of the head or in the front or back.
- You experience pain in or around your eyes and behind your cheeks.
- You are sensitive to light, noise, or smells.
- You experience nausea or vomiting.
- You experience flashes of light, bright spots, blurred vision, or blind spots.
- The pain gets worse with movement or physical activity.
- The pain is severe enough to make you miss work, school, or other activities.
- The pain lasts anywhere from four hours to several days.
How is a Migraine Diagnosed?
No blood tests or scans can reveal if your headache is a migraine. The only way your doctor will know is to talk to you. They will need details of your headache, your family history, and how the pain affects your daily life. A complete assessment will include a neurological and medical physical exam. Some questions your doctor may ask during the exam include:
- When did the headache first begin?
- How many times in a week or month do you experience a migraine?
- How severe are they?
- Are you experiencing nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to lights and noises?
- How long does the pain last?
- How much does the pain keep you from doing activities?
- Have you ever had a brain MRI or CT?
- What medications or treatments have you tried?
- Do you know of a family member with a migraine?
Treatments for a Migraine
Acute and preventative are the two primary types of treatments for migraines.
- Acute treatments are taken during an attack and are intended to stop it from progressing. Treatments include prescription medications, over-the-counter pain relievers, or pain control devices.
- Preventive treatments aim to reduce the severity, frequency, and length of migraines before they happen. Treatments include medications, procedures, lifestyle changes, devices, trigger avoidance, and behavioral or physical therapy.
Studies have shown that behavioral treatment can help reduce attack frequency and severity. Behavioral treatment is essential for managing migraines and can work with other therapies to help people achieve their treatment goals.
Watch YouTube Video: Migraine | Migraine Relief Treatment. In the following video, Abraham The Pharmacist explains a migraine and how you can treat it.
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