Migraines can quite literally be such a pain in the head.
A headache is the most common type of pain that people come to see me about.
However, it is important to distinguish between a dull headache or tension headache and a migraine.
You only tend to understand what a migraine really feels like if you have had one.
It is different to any type of pain and the way it presents itself can differ from person to person. It can also be hereditary.
*So let us delve deeper into the condition more and gain a better understanding of its traits today – starting with the symptoms.
* Migraines are usually based on one side of the head but can affect both sides.
* You might experience blurred vision, often with flashing lights – this is one of the first signs of the onset of a migraine
* A throbbing pain which is extremely intense, so much so it can affect the ability to focus or concentrate on other senses. For example, it may be more difficult to hear what other people are saying, or to focus on objects or hold a proper thought process. Sufferers often prefer to stay in a dark and quiet room and find lights and sounds very uncomfortable
Many things can trigger the symptoms of a migraine, even strong tasting food and drink such as red wine and chocolate.
Avoiding these triggers can help keep migraine attacks at bay.
High blood pressure, extreme heat or long periods of exposure to the sun can also trigger the symptoms of migraines.
And some medication can cause headaches which then may develop into migraines.
Migraines may occur quite often (eg: once or twice per week) or perhaps just once or twice a year. The good news is they can be controlled with effective treatment and this will in turn reduce the frequency significantly.
The main reason it is important to understand the difference between a normal headache and a migraine is because conventional headache pain relief treatments, such as ibuprofen and paracetamol, may not work for a migraine.
If it is treated appropriately to begin with it may be prevented altogether and a sufferer may get away with a mild headache.
However if mistreated, the resulting migraine can leave them in a lot of pain and sufferers may even be debilitated for a few hours while they sleep it off.
Some people also have severe nausea or vomiting that can be so severe they may not even be able to swallow pain relief medication.
So let’s look at treatment. The conventional methods of pain relief (cold flannels, ibuprofen, paracetamol and sleep) should be tried.
If they do not provide relief the next thing to try easing is nausea.
There is a tablet formulated to dissolve straight through the gums in the mouth into the bloodstream that can provide a rapid result in reducing nausea.
Another drug that is on the market and designed to pinpoint the exact starting point of the migraine (usually inflammation of an artery) and reduce it at its specific site is called sumatriptan.
A short consultation with the pharmacist may be all you need to try this wonder drug and see if it can help reduce the intensity of you migraines.
If you are a sufferer and have not got it under control yet please visit your local pharmacist for a consultation and get on top of your migraines once and for all.
Please note if the symptoms sound like something you suffer from but have not as yet been diagnosed as a migraine sufferer please contact your GP for a review.