Migraines are a chronic condition that can last for years or for a lifetime. Triggers can include: hormones, foods, drinks, stress and exercise. Other causes include environmental factors such as weather and a genetic predisposition. Symptoms include throbbing in one area that can vary in intensity, nausea and sensitivity to light, sound and smell. Migraines are common in families and women.
Over 15% of the world’s population suffers from migraines. The earliest mention of migraines in writing is in the Ebers papyrus in 1500 BCE.
There are four phases of migraines. Phase 1, called Prodromephase. It is marked by mood changes, irritability, depression, fatigue, cravings, stiff muscles, constipation and/or diarrhea, and sensitivity to light and smell.
Phase 2 is called the Aura. It is where you can experience vision disturbance, pins and needles feelings, numbness, speech and language issues, the world spins, and weakness.
Phase 3 is the Pain Phase. It can last as long as 4-72 hours of pain for adults. You can have several migraines in a lifetime or several in a single week. Neck pain is common. Also during this time you can experience nausea (90% of suffers), vomiting (a third of people), sensitivity to a variety of things, irritability, fatigue, sweating, confusion, light head, and the world can spin.
Phase 4 is called Postdrome. The final phase, often in conjunction with menstruation, involves fatigue, muscle soreness, hunger, and stress.
According to the International Headache Society there are seven subcategories.
Category One, Migraine without aura. It is the most common form of migraine.
Category Two is a migraine with aura.
Category three is Childhood Periodic Syndromes which includes vertigo, abdominal migraine, cyclical vomiting.
Four is Retinal Migraine has a hallmark of visual disturbances.
Category five is complications of migraine, including long or frequent migraines and can be associated with seizure or a brain lesion.
Category 6 is Probable migraine which has the characteristics of migraine but not enough to diagnose, common medication overuse.
Seven is Chronic Migraine. Chronic Migraine is greater than 15+ days month for more than three months. Chronic migraines effect 1.5-2.2% of the population.
How do you prevent migraines? It’s hard. A variety of things help to improve migraines such as medication, nutrition, lifestyle alterations, and surgery. It is best to check with your doctor to find out what approach is best for you.
Information taken from: Web MD, International Headache Society, and Wikipedia.