More than 37 million people in the United States live with migraine headaches. Of that group, more than three million have chronic migraines that last for 15 days or longer. Unfortunately, many people who have migraines never get properly diagnosed, which makes it nearly impossible for them to find effective treatments.
At Medical Offices of Manhattan, you’ll find experts who can diagnose your condition and help you find a treatment option that works for you.
What Causes Migraines?
Migraines are often more intense and frequent than typical headaches. Genetic factors seem to play a role in who gets migraines. If you have a family history of the headache disorder, then you have a higher risk of experiencing migraines.
Many people have specific triggers that initiate their migraines. Some of the most common triggers include:
- Salty foods, processed foods and aged cheeses
- Skipping meals
- Certain food additives, especially monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- Alcoholic drinks
- Changes in your sleeping patterns
- Bright lights, loud noises, strong smells and other sensory stimuli
- Hormonal changes in women caused by menstruation, pregnancy and menopause
- Mental and physical stress
- Some medications, especially oral contraceptives and vasodilators prescribed for high blood pressure and heart failure
Common Migraine Symptoms
Migraine symptoms often occur in four stages, although not everyone who has migraines will experience all of the stages. Each stage is associated with certain symptoms. The stages of a migraine are called:
The prodrome phase happens a couple of days before you experience a migraine. The symptoms are subtle, but they can provide a warning of the impending attack.
Common symptoms during the prodrome phase include:
- Neck stiffness
- Yawning more than usual
- Increased thirst
- Changes in mood
The aura stage occurs just before you have a migraine. While some people experience this stage, most do not. If you experience the aura stage, you can expect symptoms such as:
- Sensitivity to noises
- Vision loss
- Muscle weakness on one side of your face or body
- Trouble speaking
- Muscle spasms
- Visual phenomena like seeing flashes or shapes
The most troubling and intense migraine symptoms usually occur during the attack phase. During the attack phase, you may experience:
- Intense pain on one or both sides of your head
- Throbbing or pulsing pain
- Nausea, sometimes accompanied by vomiting
- Blurry vision
- Sensitivity to visual, aural or olfactory stimuli
- Lightheadedness that can lead to fainting
Migraine symptoms can last anywhere from four to 72 hours.
After a migraine attack, you may experience a post-dome phase for about 24 hours. During this phase, you can expect to feel:
- Sensitive to lights and sounds
Popular Treatment Options for Migraines
Doctors at Medical Offices of Manhattan use a variety of medications to treat migraines. The treatment that works best for you will depend on several factors. Some of the most popular treatment options include:
- Preventative medications like beta blockers, antidepressants, Botox, anti-seizure drugs and anti-inflammatory drugs
- Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and aspirin
- Triptans that constrict blood vessels and block the brain’s pain pathways
- Anti-nausea medications that help prevent vomiting up other drugs
- Opioids for people with intense migraines that don’t respond to other treatments
If you believe that you have migraines, contact Medical Offices of Manhattan to schedule an appointment. Your doctor will get a diagnosis and start exploring treatments options that may work for you.