A migraine is neurological condition resulting in a type of headache that causes an intense throbbing sensation, usually in one area of the head. It may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light or sound.
Migraine episodes present itself quite differently from other types of headaches. An episode may appear in stages and can even persist for several days. A migraine often very painful to the point that it interferes with daily life.
The good news is that if you are suffering from migraines, you do not have to deal with it for the rest of your life. An internal medicine specialist can help you find the best treatment plan, consisting of medication and lifestyle changes, in order to manage the condition.
Here is everything you need to know about migraines.
Symptoms of Migraines
Migraines are described as very painful headaches. Common words used to describe the severity of a migraine headache are throbbing, pounding, debilitating, and pulsating.
This pain may start out dull but will continue to grow in severity without treatment. Migraines often last on average 4 hours but can exceed longer than 24 hours and even last several days if not treated correctly.
Migraine pain usually affects the forehead area and one side of the head. However, it can occur on both sides, or shift.
Along with the headache, migraines may also present the following symptoms:
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Changes in vision such as blurring or blind spots
- Confusion or disorientation
If you are experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms or experiencing a migraine episode that lasts more than several hours, even with medication, it is important to seek medical treatment from an internal medicine specialist as soon as possible.
Stages of Migraine
There are typically four stages of a classical migraine, known as:
This is the warning stage before a migraine starts. Symptoms in this stage may start one or two days before the onset of the migraine. Symptoms include:
- food cravings
- fatigue or low energy
During the aura stage, the individual may begin to experience problems in their vision, sensation, movement, and speech. Examples of these problems include:
- difficulty speaking clearly
- feeling a prickling or tingling sensation in your face, arms, or legs
- seeing shapes, light flashes, or bright spots
- temporarily losing your vision
This is known as the attack phase, where the peak of the headache pain occurs. During this stage, the following symptoms are common:
- increased sensitivity to light and sound
- nausea and/or vomiting
- dizziness or feeling faint
- pain on one side of your head, either on the left side, right side, front, or back, or in your temples
- pulsing and throbbing head pain
The last stage, known as the hangover phase, occurs when the headache pain has eased. In this stage, the following may occur:
- trouble concentrating
- body aches
- hypersensitivity to certain stimuli
Causes of Migraines
It is still unclear what exactly causes migraines. It may be due to some of the following reasons:
- Family history and genetics
- Triggers (emotional, hormonal, dietary, environmental, etc.)
- Changes in the brain that affect:
- the way nerves communicate
- balance of chemicals
- blood vessels
The best internist will be able to assess your particular condition and situational factors in order to determine what the leading triggers and causes are resulting in migraines.
Treatment of Migraines
If you are experiencing migraines, then an internal medicine specialist can help you find the best treatment plan according to your causes and triggers. This often involves pain relieving medication, lifestyle changes to avoid or reduce the impact or triggers, treatment to manage symptoms, and in some cases, medication to manage the brain changes that are causing migraines.
It is important to seek medical assistance from the best internal medicine specialist if you are experiencing migraines, as self-medicating can worsen symptoms and lead to long-term complications. With the right treatment plan, migraine pain can be completely controllable.