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Migraine

By: | Tags: | Comments: 0 | November 12th, 2015

Introduction

Migraines are a severe type of headache that affects over 30 million Americans, with a 3:1 ratio of women to men. In some cases, these painful headaches are preceded or accompanied by an aura, such as flashes of light or blind spots. Migraine pain can be excruciating and may incapacitate you for hours or even days.

Although the exact cause of migraine is unclear, there is evidence that dysfunction of the trigeminal nerve (the nerve responsible for sensation in the face, forehead, and anterior scalp) and imbalances of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, especially serotonin, play a role in the development of migraine headaches. In addition, genetics also appears to play a role in the development of migraine headaches.

Symptoms

Moderate to severe headache with a pulsating or throbbing quality, usually on only one side of the head
Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
Sensitivity to sound (phonophobia)
Nausea with or without vomiting
Pain is aggravated by physical activity
Pain is disabling
Migraine Triggers

Hormone changes (menstrual migraine) & pregnancy
Foods: Alcohol, chocolate, MSG, aspartame (Equal), caffeine, aged cheeses
Stress
Environmental: changes in barometric pressure, altitude, or season
Sensory stimulation: bright light, sun glare, powerful scents
Physical exertion
Lack of sleep
Treatments

Abortive medications to stop the pain after the headache has started
Prophylaxis medications to prevent or reduce the incidence and severity of the headaches
Botox
Nerve blocks (trigeminal, occipital, cervical)
Identification and avoidance of triggers
Regular exercise
Quit smoking

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