Symptoms | Treatment

migraines, laurel, hyattsville, lanham, washington dc, maryland, Choice Pain, Dr Tristan Shockley, pain management center Maryland, chronic pain treatment Washington DC, chronic pain treatment Maryland, spinal injections for back pain Maryland, non-surgical treatment for back pain Washington DC, non-surgical treatment for back pain Maryland, home remedies for back pain Maryland, home remedies for back pain Washington DC, spine injections for back pain Washington DC, pain care treatment options Washington DC, spinal injections Laurel Maryland, injections for back pain Washington DC, injections for back pain Washington DCWhile there is much about headaches that is not understood, migraines may be caused by functional changes in the trigeminal nerve system, a major pain pathway in your nervous system, and by brain chemical imbalances, including serotonin, this regulates pain messages in the nervous system.

Serotonin levels drop during a headache. When this occurs, the trigeminal nerve releases substances called neuropeptides, which travel to your brain's outer covering. This causes blood vessels to become dilated and inflamed. The result is headache pain. It is also possible that low amounts of magnesium may cause nerve cells in the brain to misfire.

Common migraine headache triggers include hormonal changes, certain foods, such as alcohol, chocolate; fermented, pickled or marinated foods; aspartame; caffeine; and many canned and processed foods. Studies also indicate that skipping meals or fasting may also trigger migraines. Other migraine headache triggers include, stress, sensory stimulus, physical factors, such as intense physical exertion, environmental changes and certain medications.

Symptoms

A typical migraine headache attack produces some or all of these signs and symptoms:

  • Severe, throbbing or pulsating pain, usually on one side of the head
  • Pulsating or throbbing quality
  • causes of migraines and treatment options in hyattsville, maryland, laurel and lanham
  • Physical activity increases pain
  • Regular daily activities are hindered
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Light and sound sensitivity
  • Typically lasts from four to 72 hours
  • Frequency varies from person to person

While it is less common, some people experience migraines with auras, meaning they experience sparkling flashes of light, zigzag lines or blind spots in the field of vision, tingling, pins and needles sensations in one arm or leg and even weakness or language and speech problems.

Some sufferers may have one or more sensations of premonition before the onset of a headache, including:

  • Intense energy or feelings of elation
  • Cravings for sweets
  • Thirst
  • Drowsiness, irritability or depression

Treatment

According to the American Academy of Neurology, more than 28 million Americans, three times more women than men, suffer from migraine headaches, a severe type of headache that is often disabling. The pain can be excruciating and may incapacitate you for hours or even days.

The good news is that in the last decade, migraine headache pain relief has improved dramatically. Patients who have seen a doctor in the past with little success, it's time to make another appointment. While there's still no cure, medications may help reduce the frequency of migraine headaches and stop the pain once it has started. Home remedies and changes in lifestyle partnered with the right medications may make a tremendous difference for migraine sufferers.

There are several drugs commonly used to treat other conditions that also may help relieve migraines in some people. Some medications aren't recommended if you're pregnant or breast-feeding. Some aren't used for children. Your doctor can help find the right medication for you.

All of these medications fall into two classes:

  • Pain-relieving medications - these stop pain after it has started. It is generally most effective to take pain-relieving drugs as soon as you experience signs or symptoms of a migraine headache. Additional relief may be found by resting or sleeping in a dark room after taking medication. Types of pain-relieving medications include:
    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These medications, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, may help relieve mild migraines. Drugs marketed specifically for migraine, such as the combination of acetaminophen, aspirin and caffeine (Excedrin Migraine), may also ease moderate migraines, but aren't effective alone for severe migraines. In cases where over-the-counter medications do not offer relief, your doctor may suggest a stronger, prescription-only version of the same drug. NSAIDs may lead to ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding and rebound headaches if taken too frequently or over a long period of time.
    • Triptans. The first drug specifically developed to treat migraines was Sumatriptan (Imitrex). This drug mimics the action of serotonin by binding to serotonin receptors and causing blood vessels to constrict. This drug is available in oral, nasal and injection form. Injected sumatriptan works faster and is more effective than any other migraine-specific medication. The relief can be felt in as little as 15 minutes.
    • Medications for nausea. While these medications do not relieve the migraine pain itself, medications like metoclopramide (Reglan), chlorpromazine (Thorazine) and others can be useful for relieving the nausea and vomiting associated with migraines. Some drugs may also improve gastric emptying, which can lead to better absorption and more rapid action of many oral drugs. It's best to take these medications early in the course of the migraine.
  • Preventive medications - these reduce or prevent a migraine headache. The best candidates for preventive therapy have two or more debilitating attacks a month, use pain-relieving medications more than twice a week, pain-relieving medications aren't helping or if migraines are uncommon. The goal of preventive medications include reduced frequency, severity and length of migraines. These medications may also increase the effectiveness of pain-relieving medicines used during migraine attacks. It is important to note that preventive medications do not eliminate headaches completely, and some may cause serious side effects. Types of preventive medications include:
    • Cardiovascular drugs. Beta blockers may decrease the frequency and severity of migraines. They are considered among first-line treatment agents. The drugs are commonly used to treat high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. Calcium channel blockers, another class of cardiovascular drugs, especially verapamil (Calan, Isoptin), also may be helpful. It is not precisely known why all of these cardiovascular drugs prevent migraines. Side effects can include dizziness, drowsiness or lightheadedness.
    • Antidepressants. Certain antidepressants are good at helping prevent all types of headaches, including migraines. Most effective are tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline and protriptyline (Vivactil). These medications are often the first-line treatment drugs and may reduce migraines by affecting the level of serotonin and other brain chemicals.
    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These medications, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, may help relieve mild migraines. Drugs marketed specifically for migraine, such as the combination of acetaminophen, aspirin and caffeine (Excedrin Migraine), may also ease moderate migraines, but aren't effective alone for severe migraines. In cases where over-the-counter medications do not offer relief, your doctor may suggest a stronger, prescription-only version of the same drug. NSAIDs may lead to ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding and rebound headaches if taken too frequently or over a long period of time.
    • Anti-seizure drugs. While it is largely unclear why, some anti-seizure drugs, such as divalproex sodium (Depakote) and topiramate (Topamax), which are used to treat epilepsy and bipolar disease, help to prevent migraines. However, these drugs may cause side effects such as nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, hair loss and dizziness when taken in high doses.
    • Cyproheptadine. This antihistamine drug helps to affect serotonin activity. This is sometimes given to children as a preventive measure.
    • Botulinum toxin type A (Botox). It has been found that some people who receiving Botox injections for facial wrinkles have noted improvement of their headaches. It is possible that changes in your nervous system modify your tendency to develop migraines.

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