A migraine is a very painful type of headache that can completely incapacitate you. It is an intense experience that you can feel all over your body. The greatest problem you have if you suffer from migraines, is treatment. There is long-term preventive treatment which has side-effects that can be bothersome and there is short-term treatment you can take while you have a migraine. However, short-term treatment loses its effectiveness with time. The result is a relentless migraine lasting several days. This post intends to provide some comfort and advice you can take to deal with your migraines.
You may be very familiar with the symptoms of a migraine, but there might be certain symptoms you might not be aware of. So, just to make sure they will be described in four phases.
This phase is usually referred to as the podrome phase. It happens a few days before you have a migraine. Not everybody gets all or some of these symptoms, but they are signs you should know in case you present them. You may feel your mood has changed a little bit. You may feel either depression or euphoria and even be irritable. Some people even feel they smell things more intensely. Another, symptom is not being able to tolerate noise. Finally, a stiff neck and digestion problems can occur.
Now, what you should do is keep a daily diary of any of these feelings mentioned above and notice if you see a tendency. At this phase you can actually take precautionary measures and prevent the migraine all together. What are these precautionary measures? Medication and lifestyle changes are the answer. This is why keeping a diary of what you eat and what you do everyday becomes crucial in dealing with migraines. You need to be able to identify triggers and avoid them. Here is a list of the most common migraine triggers.
As to medications, you need to consult with your doctor which pain-relieving medication you should take, as well as the option of taking preventive medications. Do not auto-medicate yourself because abuse of pain-relieving medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can lead to gastrointestinal problems like gastritis and ulcers.
This phase is called the aura phase. Obviously, one of the symptoms is an aura; a blotchy dark spot you see with one eye, blurry vision or the loss of peripheral vision in one side of the eye. At the same time you feel dizziness and numbness and/or weakness in one side of your body. The numbness usually starts in the face and spreads towards the arm.
The aura phase tells you that a migraine is imminent. It can happen within or after one hour of experiencing an aura. If you encounter yourself in this phase, you should immediately take the pain-relieving medication your doctor recommended. Do not wait until the migraine starts. Taking medication during this phase may lessen the pain or prevent the migraine all together.
At the same time, if possible, lie down; get away from noise and light, and rest. Stress, worry and the pain felt during migraines can make them even worse. So, always try to relax.
The next two phases will be discussed in another post during the next two weeks.
The best way to deal with a migraine is by taking precautionary measures, which means, stop a migraine in its tracks and don’t let the pain start. Make note of your triggers and keep a daily diary for recording patterns. Be aware of what signs and symptoms do you usually present before having a migraine. Then, take your medications and prevent the pain phase from happening. If you follow this advice, dealing with your migraines will become easier. It all comes down to one question. What are you doing to prevent your migraines?