What Makes Migraines Different From Other Headaches?
Migraines affect nearly 10% of the population. They create a throbbing
or pulsing and painful sensation in the head. Some who suffer from these
types of headaches also have accompanying nausea and vomiting. Many will
also have sensitivity to sound and light. The pain that comes with the
migraine can last for several hours, and even for days in severe cases.
They affect the quality of life of the sufferer, and it can be hard for
those who do not suffer from migraines to understand the pain and misery
they can bring.
Without any treatment, the migraine headache can be quite brutal. It can
last from several hours up to several days. This varies by the person,
just as the frequency of the attacks will vary. Some may have migraines
once or more a month. The most common symptoms of the migraine include
pain on one or both sides of the head, throbbing pain, blurred vision,
nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.
In some cases, people feel lightheaded and may even faint. Many sufferers
have their first migraine when they are children, and they keep coming
back throughout their life. These are far more powerful and troublesome
than a common tension headache. They tend to come in four different stages,
although not all sufferers go through all of these stages.
The Prodome Stage
In some cases, a day or two before a migraine really sets in, sufferers
might notice some changes in their life and routine. It's important
to pay attention to these types of changes since they can signal the approach
of the migraine.
Some of the most common changes that occur can include:
- Stiff neck
- Excessive yawning
- Certain food cravings
The Aura Stage
The aura stage can occur before or even during the actual headache portion
of the migraine. During this stage the nerves produce flashes of light
and other visual effects. However, they can also affect the other senses,
such as sound and touch. The aura stage is relatively uncommon and most
migraine sufferers do not go through this stage.
Individuals who typically find that the symptoms will ramp up over the
course of a few minutes, and then can last for as long as an hour. In
addition to flashes of light, the aura may manifest as seeing shapes or
bright spots in front of the eyes. Some also may notice a sensation of
pins and needles in their arm or leg.
The Postdrome Stage
This is the final migraine stage, right after the headache leaves. Most
people feel worn out after the experience. However, some say that they
feel great during this stage, even ecstatic. This may be due to the fact
that the headache is actually finally gone. Those who suffer from chronic
migraines should make it a point to seek out medical attention. A neurological
expert can help find ways of coping with the migraines, such as through
the use of pain relieving or preventative medications.
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