Migraines & Headaches
A severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, normally on 1 side of the head. This is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Significant pain can last for hours to days and can be so severe that the pain is disabling when a migraine attack occurs.
Migraine attacks can start as early as in childhood or may not occur until early adulthood. Women are more prone to getting migraines. They are 3 times more likely than men to have migraines. Having a family history of migraine attacks is one of the most common risk factors.
SYMPTOMS OF MIGRAINES & HEADACHES
Symptoms may show up 1 or 2 days before the headache. This is known as the prodrome stage. Symptoms may include:
- Food cravings
- Fatigue or low energy
- Frequent yawning
- Neck stiffness
Some people also experience an “aura” after the prodrome stage. An aura causes visual, motor, and/or speech disturbances, like:
- Difficulty speaking clearly
- Feeling a prickling or tingling sensation in the arms and legs
- Flashes of light
- Seeing shapes, light flashes or bright spots
- Transient vision loss
After the initial stage, you will enter the attack phase. This is the most acute phase where the migraine occurs. These symptoms can last anywhere from 4 hours to 3 days. The symptoms experienced can vary from person to person. Some symptoms may include:
- Feeling dizzy or faint
- Increased sensitivity to light and sound
- Pain on one side of the head
- Pulsing and/or throbbing pain
After this phase, a person will experience the postdrome phase. The person often experiences changes in mood and feelings – range from feeling euphoric and extremely happy to feeling very fatigued and apathetic.
TREATMENT OPTIONS AVAILABLE FOR MIGRAINES & HEADACHES
Used to prevent migraines from occurring or treating it once it occurs. Migraine treatments can help stop symptoms and prevent future attacks. Depending on the severity of your headaches and any of your other health conditions, your doctor will decide what medication to prescribe. Over-the-counter medicines may provide relief as well. Many medications have been designed to treat this condition. Some drugs for other conditions may also help relieve or prevent migraines.
Medications used to treat migraines fall into 2 categories:
- Pain-relieving medications: Also known as acute or abortive treatment, these types of drugs are taken during migraine attacks and are designed to stop symptoms.
- Preventive medications: These types of drugs are taken regularly, often on a daily basis, to reduce the severity or frequency of migraines.
Your treatment depends on how frequent, how severe, the degree of disability your headaches cause and other medical conditions.
If you’re pregnant or breast-feeding, some medications may not be suitable for you. Certain medications aren’t prescribed to children. Your doctor will be able to help find the right medication for you.
This a two-stage treatment specifically designed to treat migraines and provide long-term relief. The therapy involves two steps:
- IV drip treatment: For three consequent days, a patient comes to the clinic and receives a cocktail of the specially selected medications through IV drip to target his symptoms. Each session takes around 1 hour. This so-called cocktail consists of 5 medications:
- local anaesthetic
- two medications, which decrease production of dopamine (a neuromediating substance that triggers pain)
- 31 injections of Botox: The number of injections is impressive, but this number is related to the amount of trigger points which are located on our head. The Botox is injected exactly to these points with no cosmetic purpose, but for therapeutic benefits. The injections will not affect your mimics or face expression. It helps to break “communication” between nerves, which transmit painful signals that helps to prevent future attacks. Usually, such a treatment may provide a stable relieve for the period of 4-6 months depending on individual peculiarities of every patient. After this time, the treatment may be repeated.
DIAGNOSING MIGRAINES & HEADACHES
- Consult with the doctor & physical examination: By telling your doctor your symptoms and getting a physical exam done, your doctor can rule out other potential causes. If you experience migraines or a family history of migraines, a neurologist will diagnose migraines based on your medical history, symptoms, and a physical and neurological examination. More tests may also be recommended to rule out other possible causes for your pain if your condition is unusual, complex or it suddenly becomes severe.
- Blood tests: Tests for blood vessel problems, infections in your spinal cord or brain, and toxins in your system may be ordered.
- MRI: A powerful magnetic field and radio waves are used to produce detailed images of the brain and blood vessels. Tumors, strokes, bleeding in the brain, infections, and other brain and nervous system (neurological) conditions can be diagnosed using MRI.
- Computerized tomography (CT) scan: A series of X-rays are used to create detailed cross-sectional images of the brain. Tumors, infections, brain damage, bleeding in the brain and other possible medical problems that may be causing headaches can be diagnosed using CT scan.
- Spinal tap (lumbar puncture): A spinal tap (lumbar puncture) may be ordered if he or she suspects infections, bleeding in the brain or another underlying condition. A thin needle will be inserted between 2 vertebrae in the lower back to extract a sample of cerebrospinal fluid for analysis.