Treating Migraine: Migraine affects over 35 million individuals in the United States or about 12% of the population. Migraine is more common in women than in males. Despite this, up to half of the migraine sufferers are undiagnosed. Continue reading to understand more about migraines, both severe and chronic, and the treatment options available.
What is the definition of a severe migraine?
Pain that is frequently strong and often debilitating, as well as intense throbbing, are common symptoms of severe or acute migraine. During attacks, some patients suffer nausea, vomiting, or increased sensitivity to noise or light. Severe migraine attacks might last anywhere from four hours to three days.
Migraines can be severe with or without an aura. Aura is a term that describes a perceptual disturbance. Experiencing nonexistent odors, lights, or noises are examples. When pain, nausea, or other related symptoms cause a person to forego routine daily activities, migraine is frequently considered severe.
Migraine is also classed as severe if the individual experiencing it has had two to five comparable occurrences in the past. Migraine is most frequent in persons between the ages of 25 and 55, however, it can also afflict children and teenagers. Chronic migraine is defined as a migraine that happens at least 15 times per month for more than three months in a row. This form of migraine can result in a significant loss of productivity and a poor quality of life. Acute migraine must be treated in order to prevent chronic migraine from developing.
Migraine treatment for severe cases
Treatment for chronic migraines usually includes a combination of lifestyle and trigger management, medicines, and preventative measures. Managing your food, getting adequate sleep, and avoiding your migraine triggers as much as possible is a good start, but your doctor will most likely prescribe drugs to help with pain and other symptoms. Migraine can be treated with a variety of medications.
Aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen are all over-the-counter drugs that can aid with mild to moderate migraines. Triptans, on the other hand, maybe used for migraines that are mild to severe. Triptans are a kind of migraine medication that can be taken orally or through a nasal spray.
The following is a list of regularly prescribed triptan medications:
- sumatriptan (available in oral form, injectable form, or nasal spray)
- zolmitriptan (available in oral form or nasal spray)
When used to treat a migraine that hasn’t developed to a severe state, triptans are most effective.
Migraine treatment that is natural
Supplements including feverfew, magnesium, riboflavin, and coenzyme Q10 may assist with migraines, according to research. Finally, in 2019, there will be a review. Even with the restrictions of small sample sizes and a lack of medical diagnoses, Trusted Source found that these supplements may reduce the incidence of migraine headaches.
Migraine prevention is a common practice.
Onabotulinumtoxin A (Botox) is now a popular preventative medication for chronic migraine that has been licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Monoclonal antibodies against anti-calcitonin gene-related peptide (anti-CGRP) are also used to treat chronic migraine. Anti-CGRP medications are also known as CGRP inhibitors, CGRP antagonists, and CGRP inhibitors. These are some of them:
- eptinezumab (Vyepti)
- fremanezumab (Ajovy)
- galcanezumab (Emgality)
- atogepant (Qulipta)
- erenumab (Aimovig)
The majority of CGRP migraine therapies are administered through injection. Atogepant is the first and only oral CGRP authorized by the FDA for migraine therapy.
Other types of headaches vs. migraine headaches
Ordinary tension headaches affect almost everyone. Tension headaches are characterized by a dull aching that feels like a tight band is crushing the head. The following are examples of possible triggers:
- muscle tension in the neck and scalp
- caffeine withdrawal
- too little sleep
Tension headaches are frequently relieved by taking over-the-counter pain medications. Another uncommon form of headache is a cluster headache. Men are more likely than women to suffer from cluster headaches. Sudden acute pain behind or around the eye on one side of the head characterizes the headaches. The pain usually peaks after 10 minutes, however, it can linger anywhere from 15 minutes to 3 hours. Migraine is a neurological illness, and migraine attacks are not the same as tension or cluster headaches. Migraine may be tremendously disruptive to a person’s life if it is chronic.
Aura of migraine and migraine triggers
Some migraine sufferers experience warning signs. Migraine with aura is the medical term for this. Before an attack, you may have a hazy vision, see “stars,” or other strange sensations such as bad odors. Some people may have slurred speech or other linguistic issues. There has also been a report of a temporary loss of vision in one eye. Aura might appear anywhere from 10 minutes to a day before a migraine attack.
A person may have an aura without having a migraine attack in rare instances. Migraine with aura is usually milder and less debilitating than migraine without. A variety of variables have been linked to the start of migraine attacks. More than half of those who get migraines with aura say they have at least one trigger. There are a variety of potential triggers, including:
- fluctuating hormone levels
- stress or anxiety
- fermented and pickled foods
- cured meats and aged cheeses
- fruits such as bananas, avocados, and citrus
- skipped meals
- too little or too much sleep
- bright or strong lights
- changes in atmospheric pressure due to shifting weather
- alcohol use
- caffeine withdrawal
The science of migraine headaches
Migraine is caused by a complicated chain of aberrant processes in the brain, which scientists are still attempting to figure out. The aberrant activity begins in the body’s main cranial nerve, the trigeminal nerve, according to specialists. This cranial nerve’s changes swiftly spread to a network of smaller nerves. These nerves weave a web across the dura mater, the brain’s thin outer coating.
Pain-sensing neurons in this network undergo biochemical alterations as quickly as 10 minutes after a migraine episode begins. They become hypersensitive to pressure as a result of this. As blood pressure normally increases and falls with each heartbeat, this hair-trigger response causes throbbing discomfort. Furthermore, specific arteries widen and blood flow is disrupted, resulting in the release of pain-inducing chemicals.
Some of these alterations may occur even after an attack has ended. Dopamine and serotonin, two brain messenger chemicals, are also thought to have a role in migraine development. Another idea claims that migraine is linked to the temperature of the brain. A migraine episode may develop as the body’s defense responds to temperature swings whether it’s too high or too low.
In addition, a 2015 study discovered that modest drops in air pressure caused migraine attacks in migraine sufferers. Scientists think migraine has a hereditary basis. Certain environmental elements, such as weather changes, altitude changes, and even travel, are thought to play a role in migraine. In fact, severe heat or a change in your habit or surroundings might set off a migraine episode.
A migraine attack might manifest itself as a strong headache. Chronic migraine is defined as a migraine that occurs at least 15 times per month for more than three months in a row. It’s conceivable that the episode is mild on some days and severe on others, resulting in a loss of productivity and quality of life. If you believe you have a persistent migraine, consult with your doctor so they can help you choose a treatment plan.
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