A migraine is usually experienced by women because of falling estrogen levels before menstruation that causes severe head pain often accompanied by sensitivity to sound, smells or light. The common manifestations of a migraine is the one-sided “pounding” a headache, nausea, vomiting, eye pain, and sensitivity to light or sound. The common triggering factors of migraine attacks include hormonal changes, stress, certain foods, oversleeping, and strong stimuli such as loud noises. Some types of birth control pills can trigger migraines, and various foods such as aged cheese, smoked meats, chocolate, dairy products, alcoholic beverages as well as artificial sweeteners and monosodium glutamate. Keep a headache diary if you’re unsure what triggers your headache so you are able to easily identify the cause in case you’ll experience a migraine attack.
The treatment for a migraine is usually over-the-counter (OTC) such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium, or prescription drugs like triptans. It is important to engage in regular exercise and balanced diet to reduce the frequency of your migraine attacks. If you have identified the foods that trigger your migraine, avoid them as much as possible. For some people, they find meditation and relaxation strategies helpful in preventing migraine attacks and reducing the severity of headache such as meditation, guided imagery, yoga, and progressive muscle relaxation. Most people with migraines combine pharmacologic treatments and lifestyle changes in managing their condition. For some patients who are experiencing severe headaches and migraine attacks, prescription medications are highly recommended. What is migraine aura? Migraine aura refers to specific warning symptoms before the onset of a migraine attack that may range from a blind spot in one eye, flashing lights or numbness involving one side of the body. A migraine aura may last for several minutes and it’s usually resolved once the head pain starts, although there are instances when a migraine aura may last until a migraine is resolved. The symptoms may be frightening for those patients who have never experienced aura because it can mimic the signs and symptoms of a stroke.
Many women find their migraine headaches resolved during pregnancy because of consistently high levels of estrogen during pregnancy. In order to prevent the risk of birth defects, it is important to discontinue any medication that was used prior to pregnancy. Sometimes migraines are related to Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMJ if you experience headaches or a migraine along with jaw locking frequently, if you keep grinding your teeth or your jaw always feel swollen, so it helps to contact a TMJ specialist who will be recommending effective exercises and routine changes to help in your condition. In general, the best way to effectively manage your migraine is to identify the triggering factors, lifestyle changes and taking medications as prescribed by your doctor.