What causes migraines webmd

What causes migraines?

A migraine is usually a severe headache that can last for hours or even days. The throbbing or pulsating pain usually starts in the forehead, on the side of the head, or around the eyes. The headache gradually gets worse. Almost any movement, activity, bright light, or loud noise seems to hurt more. Nausea and vomiting are common with migraines.

Migraines can only happen once or twice a year, or as often as every day. Women suffer from migraines more often than men.

Types of mirage

There are different types of migraine headaches. The most common types of migraines are classic migraines and common migraines.

Classic migraines

Classic migraines (also called complicated migraines) start with a warning sign called aura. This type of migraine is sometimes referred to as an "aura migraine". With the aura, the way you see it changes often. You may see flashing lights, colors, a line pattern, or shadows. You may temporarily lose some of your eyesight, such as B. Your lateral vision.

You may also feel a strange tingling or burning sensation, or have muscle weakness on one side of your body. You may have problems communicating. You can also feel depressed, irritable, and restless.

Auras last around 15 to 30 minutes. Auras can appear before or after a headache. Sometimes the pain and aura overlap, or the pain never occurs. The headaches of classic migraines can occur on one side of your head or on both sides.

Frequent migraines

Frequent migraines does not start with an aura. For this reason, these types of migraines are also known as "migraines without aura". Frequent migraines may start more slowly than classic migraines, last longer, and interfere with daily activities more severely.

Common migraine pain can only occur on one side of the head. Most people with migraines have frequent migraines (they don't have an aura).

Migraines without a headache

Migraines without a headache Sometimes referred to as a "silent migraine", you may experience other symptoms of migraine, but not pain. At least not the usual migraine pain around the eyes and temples.

These types of migraines can even include an aura phase. You may also experience the same sensitivity to light and noise as you would with a typical migraine.

Hemiplegic migraines

Hemiplegic migraines cause one side of your body becoming weak, similar to a stroke. These symptoms are only temporary. They are part of the migraine attack. Areas of the body affected by the weakness can be the face, arm, or leg.

The weakness can last from an hour to even days. It mostly goes away within 24 hours. In this type of migraine, the headache can come before or after the weakness. These types of migraines are rare.

Retinal migraines

Retinal migraines (also known as eye migraines) cause changes in vision that are not related to changes in auric vision.

With retinal migraines, symptoms can result in decreased vision or even blindness in one eye. These symptoms don't last long. They can appear before or after a headache. If you suffer from these types of migraines, it is important to contact your doctor.

Icepick headache

Icepick headache are not migraine headaches. They create a sharp pain around your eyes and temples. This stabbing pain can appear in the same place repeatedly or jump to different areas each time.

This type of headache can happen anytime without warning. If you are a person who has migraine headaches, you are more likely than others to get ice pick headaches as well.

Cluster headache

Cluster headache are not migraine headaches. They are rare headaches that occur in patterns called cluster periods. These periods can mean having a headache at the same time each day for a week or even a month.

Cluster headaches can be very painful. They usually cause pain on one side of your head. This pain can be so severe that your eyelid will droop and your nose will become stuffy.

Cervicogenic headache

Cervicogenic headache are not migraine headaches. It is a headache caused by another illness or physical condition and is usually a problem in the neck.

Often times, this type of headache can be caused by a sudden movement of the neck. You could also get a cervicogenic headache from holding your neck in the same position for too long. The pain can last for hours or days. It can be confined to one side of your head or face.

What does a migraine feel like?

The pain of a migraine headache can be intense. It can interfere with your daily activities. Migraines are not the same in all people.

Possible symptoms of migraines are listed below. You may have a "premonition" several hours to a day before your headache starts. Premonitions are feelings that can indicate an impending migraine.

These feelings can include intense energy, fatigue, food cravings, thirst, and mood swings.

Symptoms of migraines

Possible symptoms of migraines are:

  • Severe throbbing or dull pain on one side of the head or on both sides.
  • Pain worsened by physical activity.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Changes in your vision, including blurred vision or blind spots.
  • Annoyed by light, noise or smells.
  • You feel tired and / or confused.
  • Stuffy nose.
  • Feel cold or sweaty.
  • Stiff or tender neck.
  • Drowsiness
  • Tender scalp.

What causes migraines?

Doctors don't know exactly what causes migraines. It appears that migraine headaches can be caused in part by changes in the levels of a body chemical called serotonin.

Serotonin plays many roles in the body and can affect blood vessels. When serotonin levels are high, blood vessels narrow (shrink). When serotonin levels drop, blood vessels widen (swell).

This swelling can cause pain or other problems. Another aspect that is being investigated is that migraine headaches are associated with a spreading pattern of electrical activity in the brain.

Some research suggests that there might be a hereditary factor in migraines, which means they can run in families. Researchers have identified some genes associated with migraines. However, you're not sure why these genes affect some people more than others.

The American Migraine Foundation reports that there is a 50% chance you will have migraines if either of your parents has migraines.

If both parents have migraines, your chances go up to 75%. Ultimately, migraines seem to be caused by a combination of factors: genetic factors, environmental factors, and lifestyle.

Women are more likely to have chronic migraines (migraines that occur 15 days a month or more). This is likely related to hormones. Hormones fluctuate each month around the time of your period. They can also fluctuate if you're pregnant or going through menopause.

What are some migraine risk factors and triggers?

Some things make the chance of migraine headaches more likely (these are called "risk factors"). Other things can trigger a migraine (these are called "triggers").

Frequent Risk factors are:

  • Family history: Migraines are more common in one or both parents.
  • Gender: Women have migraines more often than men.
  • Age: Most people have their first migraines in adolescence, but migraines can start at any age, usually before the age of 40.

Frequenttrigger of migraines are:

  • To eat and drink: Certain foods and drinks (see the list below) can cause migraines. Dehydration and dieting or skipping meals can also trigger migraines.
  • Hormonal changes: Women may experience migraines related to their menstrual cycle, menopause, or the use of hormonal contraception or hormone replacement therapy.
  • Stress: Stress can trigger migraines. Stress includes feeling overwhelmed at home or at work, but your body can also become stressed from exercising too much or not getting enough sleep.
  • Senses: Loud noises, bright lights (e.g. flash or sunlight), or strong smells (e.g. paint fumes or some perfumes) can trigger migraines.
  • Drug: Certain medicines can trigger migraines. If you think your migraines are related to your medicine, talk to your doctor. Your doctor may prescribe another medicine.
  • Illness: Infections like the common cold or flu can trigger migraines, especially in children.

Foods that can trigger migraines:

  • Aged, preserved, cured, or processed meat (including bologna, game, ham, herring, hot dogs, pepperoni, and sausage)
  • aged cheese
  • alcoholic beverages (especially red wine)
  • Aspartame
  • Avocados
  • Beans (including runner, broad, lima, Italian, marine, pinto, and chickpea beans)
  • Brewer's yeast (including coffee yeast cakes, donuts, and sourdough bread)
  • Caffeine (in excess)
  • Canned soup or bouillon cubes
  • Chocolate, cocoa and carob
  • cultured dairy products (such as buttermilk and sour cream)
  • Figs
  • lenses
  • Meat tenderizer
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Nuts and peanut butter
  • Onions (except small amounts for seasoning)
  • papaya
  • Passion fruit
  • Pea pods
  • Pickled, canned, or marinated foods (such as olives and cucumbers, and some snacks)
  • Raisins
  • red plums
  • sauerkraut
  • Seasoning salt
  • Peas
  • Ready-made sauces

How is migraine diagnosed?

Your doctor can diagnose migraines based on the symptoms you describe. If the diagnosis is inconclusive, your doctor will do a physical exam. Your doctor may want to do blood tests or imaging tests, such as: B. an MRI or CAT scan of the brain.

These tests can help make sure that there are no other causes of the headache. You may also be asked to keep a headache log. This can help your doctor determine the causes of migraines.

Can migraines be prevented or avoided?

Medication to prevent migraines can be helpful if your headache occurs more than twice a month. You may consider this medicine if your headache is making your work and function difficult. These drugs are taken every day whether or not you have a headache.

Preventive medications for migraines may include prescription drugs, which are often used to treat other illnesses. Anti-seizure drugs, antidepressants, drugs to lower blood pressure, and even botox injections are some of the preventive drugs your doctor may prescribe. Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) inhibitors can also help prevent migraines. To do this, they block a gene-related peptide in your sensory nerves. This peptide is known to increase during a migraine attack, so blocking it can help prevent migraines.

There are also a number of non-medical treatments available that will help minimize migraine pain and frequency. One of them is an FDA cleared electrical stimulation device. It's a headband that you wear for 20 minutes once a day to stimulate the nerve associated with migraines. Another non-medical treatment is counseling designed to help you keep your migraines under better control. This advice works best in combination with medical migraine prevention.

What else can I do to prevent migraines?

While there are no safe ways to prevent migraine headaches, here are a few things that can help:

Eat regularly and don't skip meals.

  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule.
  • Do sports regularly. Aerobic exercise can help relieve tension and keep your weight in check. Being overweight can lead to migraines.
  • Keep a migraine journal to find out what is causing your migraines and which treatments are most helpful.

Treatment of migraines

There are 2 types of medication for migraine treatments. One type known as "abortive" focuses on not making the headache worse and providing relief from the headache.

You should start this type of treatment as soon as you think you may have a migraine. The other type, called “prophylactic or preventive”, involves medicines taken every day to reduce the occurrence of headaches (see section above).

Talk to your doctor about which of these two medicines is best for you. Some people use both types. Over-the-counter and prescription drugs that are used frequently or in high doses can cause other problems.

Which medications relieve migraine pain?

For mild to moderate migraines, over-the-counter medicines that may help relieve migraine pain include:

  • aspirin
  • Acetaminophen (a brand name: Tylenol)
  • a combination of acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine (a brand name: Excedrin Migraine)
  • Ibuprofen (a brand name: Motrin)
  • Naproxen (Brand Name: Aleve)
  • Ketoprofen (Brand Name: Orudis KT)

People with severe migraines may need to try “abortive” prescription drugs. A medicine called ergotamine can be effective alone or in combination with other medicines.

Dihydroergotamine is related to ergotamine and can be helpful. Other prescription drugs for migraines include sumatriptan, zolmitriptan, naratriptan, rizatriptan, almotriptan, eletriptan, and frovatriptan.

If the pain does not go away, stronger pain relievers, such as narcotics or barbiturate (sleeping pills) medicines, may be needed.

These medicines can develop into habit and should be used with caution. Your doctor can only prescribe these when needed and only for a short period of time.

what else can I do?

To relieve your migraine pain, try the following:

  • Lie in a dark, quiet room.
  • Place a cold compress or towel over your forehead or behind your neck.
  • Massage your scalp with a lot of pressure.
  • Put pressure on your temples.
  • Have some caffeine.

Living with migraines

Migraines can come on quickly and often without warning. They can ruin your day or even several days at a time. They can cause you to miss your job, miss important events, and stop having fun. If you have recurring migraines, you likely feel like you are not in complete control of your life.

Work with your doctor to regain control. Keep a migraine diary. Document when you get migraines and what you have done and eaten.

Record what the weather was like and whether you have been exposed to unusual smells or environments. Knowing your triggers can help prevent migraines.

Your doctor may also prescribe different medicines or combinations of medicines for you. That way, you can find out what type of migraines are most effective at preventing or stopping when they start.

Questions to your doctor

  • How can I prevent migraines? Are there any lifestyle habits that I can change?
  • What about medicine? Can Migraines Be Cured?
  • What Are Possible Side Effects Of Migraine Medicine?
  • What should I write in my migraine diary?
  • Will my child get migraines?