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  • Writer's pictureSimmone Cser

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:

  • nausea

  • vomiting

  • difficulty speaking

  • 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:

  • food cravings

  • depression

  • fatigue or low energy

  • frequent yawning

  • hyperactivity

  • irritability

  • neck stiffness

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

  • Peripheral numbness

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

  • nausea

  • 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

  • vomiting

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:

  • dehydration

  • hormone changes, like oestrogen and progesterone fluctuations during menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause

  • excess stress

  • loud sounds

  • intense physical activity

  • skipping meals

  • changes in sleep patterns

  • certain foods

  • bright lights

  • severe heat, or other extremes in weather and changes in barometric pressure

Migraine treatment

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

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