Understanding Migraine Headaches
A migraine is more than just a headache. Anyone who has ever suffered from the misery of a migraine will tell you that it can be anything from unsettling and uncomfortable to downright incapacitating.
Not all people who experience migraines will get the classic headache – some people don’t experience the headache every time. Migraine headache is considered a primary headache. And because there is no apparent underlying condition that could be causing it, they can be hard to treat. So most people ask, what is a migraine headache?
What Is a Migraine Headache?
A migraine headache is more of a condition than just a headache. Migraine headaches are typically very severe and can come with additional symptoms like dizziness, nausea, and even loss of speech and sight, which can be highly frightening. Sight disturbances and other neurological symptoms accompany some people that doctors call the ‘migraine aura.’ Sometimes, there is no headache in migraines with aura, or you can avert it with painkillers at the aura stage. But in other cases, the classic migraine headache can be blindingly painful. It can last anything from 20 minutes to a couple of days.
Some people who experience sudden, severe, or recurrent migraines need to be seen by a doctor and examined for other possible conditions. But in most cases, migraines must be managed and treated as there is no cure. And often, no obvious triggers are known. Migraine can sometimes be associated with other more severe conditions. If you have what you think is a migraine for the first time, better seek advice from a medical professional.
What causes migraines?
Although the exact cause of migraine headaches is unknown, most studies think other triggers worsen a genetic link. Migraines tend to run in families and are usually hereditary. Powerful smells, certain foods, heat, or bright lights can sometimes trigger migraine headaches.
How long can a migraine headache last?
Migraines are notorious for sticking around a long time. Some migraines only last a few hours, but if you’re unlucky enough to suffer from severe, prolonged migraines, they can last for several days. Sometimes, the migraine sufferer will experience neurological symptoms before, during, and afterward, including strange floating lights and auras. They might also experience these symptoms between bouts of pain.
How do you treat a migraine?
You might want to discuss this with your doctor, but options are available for managing migraines. Many people turn to medication, understandably. Massage therapy can help to reduce the number of migraines in sufferers. A 2006 study of migraine sufferers showed that people who had massages tend to experience fewer migraines. And they even slept better during the weeks they had massages, although it was a small study. You may have to try several different treatment options before discovering what will work for you
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