About 30 million individuals in the United States are suffering from migraines, and it affects about three times as many women as men. A migraine is a pulsating headache, often originating on one side of the head. Indulging in physical activities can intensify this pain, but the generic symptoms can vary from person to person and from one attack to the next.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke says migraines are a brain disease that cause many symptoms that can cause discomfort. They can last anywhere from a few hours to up to even three days. Migraines can be caused by genes or external environmental factors, but the exact cause of migraines is as yet unknown. The symptoms of migraine are brought on by a change triggered in the chemical activity that impacts both peripheral and central nervous systems.
Symptoms can sometimes start showing up gradually or suddenly. At times, they also show up overnight, making people wake up with a severe headache. Anyone who thinks their bad headaches aren’t migraines, might want to take a closer look at some of the symptoms, especially women. Knowing the symptoms can help properly treat headache pain and manage it.
Here are 11 ways to identify migraines:
The Headache is only on one side
Migraines may be experienced by people on both sides of the head, but the pain is usually only present on one side at a time. This symptom makes identifying migraines easy as it this is not really witnessed with other forms of headaches. A tension headache, for instance, pains all over the head, and a sinus headache aches around the cheeks, forehead, and eyes.
Feeling a heartbeat in the head, or while touching the temple it is possible to feel the vein throbbing, or feel like the head will explode, these are all signs of a migraine.
Migraines can also cause numbness, tingling, or even the feeling of weakness on one side of the body. Some people can also have a speech aura and may be troubled in finding their words. These are all caused because of impairment in the function of the brain, caused by migraines.
Flashes & Sparkling Lights in Vision
When a person is suffering from migraine, there is a slow wave of electrical activity from the back of the brain to the front. This leads to decreased blood flow to the brain, and everything tends to slow down. In turn, one fourth of patients experience a vision aura during their migraines. A visual aura can cause various forms of distorted vision, which includes sparkling lights, different colours, pixelated vision, flashes, colourful zigzag lines, etc. These types of vision changes are not associated with other kinds of headaches.
Elevated Sense of Smell & Hearing
When a migraine starts, the brain gets into a condition called hyper excitement. Everything around you is ramped up, resulting in increased perception of lights, noises, and smells than before. This is one such symptom that can be considered to be unique to migraines when compared with regular headaches. Most people do not feel this way during a normal or a regular headache. Anyone suffering from such pains who notices any changes in the sense of smell or hearing, should consult their doctor immediately.
Many individuals who experience migraines have reported feeling nausea, dizziness, and vomiting. Our gut has a nervous system, and when activating the brain nerves, it activates the gut as well. Medical science experts firmly believe that our gut slows down during a migraine headache, which often leads to nausea.
Out of Focus Even When There’s No Pain
People have complained of having depression; irritability; euphoria; and loss of focus before, during, and after their migraine attacks. It is common to be facing difficulty in concentrating on things. This has to do with the slowing of the brain. So if such a condition persists even after the headache is gone, there’s a high chance this is a migraine and not just a headache. There is a good chance that it may attack again.
During the phases of a migraine, the brain can get a little exhausted, increasing the feeling that no amount of energy drinks or coffee can help result in a perk up. You might feel a little too much exhausted and that is a sign that this is a migraine attack.
It Hampers The Daily Routine
A migraine is more than just a headache. It can be disabling and interfering with normal life. Many times, the severity of the aching is so intense that most people cannot possibly carry out their daily chores without making a huge extra effort.
The body’s trigeminal nerve is believed to play a major role in triggering migraines. When these nerves get activated, they start communicating with a major pain pathway in the upper portion of the spinal cord. It starts sending signals upward to the brain, and possibly sends signals into the neck, causing stiffness and pain. This can range from mild to severe. It’s best to take precautions as soon as possible to avoid implications.
The Pain Seems Never-ending
Migraines can last from a few hours to up to 3 full days. One can have it several times in a year, a few times in a month, or even have migraines half the month. If such a thing happens, sufferers should consult their physician right away because regular headaches are just not that frequent. Also, delaying can do nothing but worsen the condition.
Anyone who detects one or more of these symptoms, should speak to their primary health care provider immediately and get a complete diagnosis done in case the condition worsens. Visit a neurologist or a headache specialist so they can help to control the migraines. A trained specialist can help most people lead a normal life. With medication, almost everyone can manage their lifestyle better and lower the negative impact of migraines as well.
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