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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:

  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Irritability
  • 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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With 20 years of experience, I, Dr. Williams have served as an expert witness for countless plaintiff and defense medical cases. As a respected and skilled board certified neurologist, I can carefully assess the condition of an injured individual to determine the cause of pain stemming from a neurological issue.

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