Migraine - the other headache.
I am sure that Migraine is some kind of special hell all of it's own. Having lived with them all of my life,
They have varied from days of dissociated lightheaded sensations to impaired speech, numbness is my hands, classic aura (flashing lights) to vomiting and intense pain for up to 2 days. Always followed by what is often termed the ‘Migraine Hangover’ which in itself ranges from low level pain, non tolerance for light, loud noise or sudden movement and extreme fatigue as well as cognitive impairment i.e coordination and concentration.
What is Migraine?
I never ever refer to Migraine as a headache. They are more than just the cause of “really bad headaches,” migraine is a neurological condition that can cause multiple symptoms. While intense, debilitating headaches frequently characterize it, additional symptoms may include:
numbness or tingling
sensitivity to light and sound
The pain is often described as: Pulsating, throbbing, perforating, pounding, debilitating. Migraine pain most commonly affects the forehead area. It’s usually on one side of the head, but it can occur on both sides or it can shift. Most migraine attacks last about 4 hours. If they’re not treated or don’t respond to treatment, they can last for as long as 72 hours to a week. In migraine with aura, pain may overlap with an aura or may never occur at all.
Symptom's & Stages
Migraine symptoms may begin 1 to 2 days before the headache itself. This is known as the prodrome stage. Symptoms during this stage can include:
fatigue or low energy
In a migraine with aura, the aura occurs after the prodrome stage. During an aura, you may have problems with your vision, sensation, movement, and speech. Examples of these problems include:
difficulty speaking clearly
feeling a prickling or tingling sensation in your face, arms, or legs
seeing shapes, light flashes, or bright spots
temporarily losing your vision
The next phase is known as the attack phase. This is the most acute or severe of the phases when the actual migraine pain occurs. In some people, this can overlap or occur during an aura. Attack phase symptoms can last anywhere from hours to days. Symptoms of migraine can vary from person to person. Some symptoms may include:
increased sensitivity to light and sound
dizziness or feeling faint
pain on one side of your head, either on the left side, right side, front, or back, or in your temples
pulsing and throbbing head pain
After the attack phase, a person will often experience the postdrome phase. I like to call this the ‘Migraine Hangover’. During this phase, there are usually changes in mood and feelings. These can range from feeling euphoric and extremely happy to feeling very fatigued and apathetic. A mild, dull headache may persist.
What causes Migraine?
Researchers haven’t identified a definitive cause for migraine. But they still believe the condition is due to “abnormal” brain activity that affects nerve signalling, and chemicals and blood vessels in the brain. There are also many migraine triggers that are continually reported, including:
hormone changes, like oestrogen and progesterone fluctuations during menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause
intense physical activity
changes in sleep patterns
severe heat, or other extremes in weather and changes in barometric pressure
Migraine’s can’t be cured, but you can manage them by working with your body holistically - Nutrition, exercise (& if you are a women then exercise for your time of the month), hydration, managing your stress, get enough good quality sleep, magnesium supplements are wonderful for migraine people, speak to your GP and get your eyes checked regularly.
My personal tips that help me manage
Keep a Migraine Journal over a period of time. Really take notice of the 3 days that preceded the attack – your emotions, where you were in your menstrual cycle, your stress, your sleep, did you over exercise? You WILL find a pattern and in finding that pattern there comes the ability to better manage and even eliminate an attack. They never go away, but reducing the amount of times they happen gives you back your life.
Pilates 44 Studio (Simmone Cser)
Photo credit iStock-Getty-Images