Do you have throbbing headaches that seem to defy the pain relievers you have been taking? If you do, then there is a huge possibility that you might be suffering from what is known as migraine headaches. Many people with migraine headaches do not even know that is what they have because they have never been diagnosed before and so they don’t know that they can actually seek treatment. An interesting fact about migraines is that more women suffer from it than men; as a matter of fact, the ratio is three to one. The number of women who suffer from migraines is three times more than the number of men who have the same illness.
What are migraine headaches?
If you think that a migraine is just a simple headache, think again. The pain which migraine sufferers experience is so debilitating and disabling that the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized it as a disabling illness, in the same category as dementia and acute psychosis. So just what is a migraine headache?
Migraine is a throbbing or pulsating headache that is usually accompanied by nausea, vomiting or sensory symptoms known as aura. The attacks occur often and can last for days at a time. These headaches are usually so severe that when you are experiencing them, you can’t do anything else.
Symptoms of Migraine Headaches
One problem that those who suffer from this illness experience is that they are often misdiagnosed. So how do you know if you really have a migraine headache? Here are some of the known symptoms of migraines:
- Severe throbbing or pulsing headache
- Pain in one side of the face
- Light sensitivity
- Red and painful eyes
- Blocked nostril
If you find that you have really painful headaches and they are accompanied by one or more of these symptoms, then you most likely suffer from migraine headaches.
What Causes Migraine Headaches
That’s just the thing; no one knows for sure exactly what causes these headaches. There are theories and speculations, but there is no conclusive evidence about the cause of migraines. However, there are certain things that are known to trigger migraines. These triggers include:
- Sudden changes in temperature
- Strong smells
- Lack of sleep
- Lack of food
- Certain foods (you would need to watch your diet or keep a migraine journal to know what foods you react to)
- Hormone replacement treatments
Effect of Migraines on your life
If you suffer from migraines, you might have noticed that it is almost impossible to function when you are having an attack. Bending down to pick things up and then getting up again is so painful that you feel like your head has been ripped off. Doing normal household chores takes more effort than seems worth it. But household chores are not the only things that suffer when you have a migraine.
Relationships are one of the primary victims of migraine headaches. It is difficult for a mum to play with her children when she’s experiencing the debilitating pain. Laughing and talking with your husband, family members and friends is impossible. All you want to do is pull down the shades and lie down in a dark, cool room.
Another effect of this illness is the inability of one who suffers from it to make any concrete plans about anything. You are not sure that when you promise to attend your sister’s party, that you will actually be able to make it there. These headaches come with no warning and their effect is swift.
How do I Manage My Migraines?
Get properly diagnosed
The best way to manage migraines is to first of all get properly diagnosed. If you are experiencing these headaches along with the symptoms mentioned earlier, then you should go to an expert and be sure that what you really have is a migraine.
Seek medical treatment
Once you’re sure that you do have migraines, then the next thing is to seek treatment. There are several treatments available for migraine sufferers and this includes surgery. Of course this is almost like a last resort and happens very rarely. Instead, medication is usually prescribed. For fast relief, a person suffering from a migraine headache is given an oxygen mask with pure oxygen to inhale.
Know your triggers
This is really very important. If you know what triggers a migraine you can avoid these triggers. A good way to discover what triggers your migraines is to keep a migraine journal. Recording what sets you off and how long each episode lasts is a great way to find out what your triggers are.
Migraine headaches can be almost unbearably painful, but you don’t have to keep suffering the pain and effects. You can manage this illness so that it does not occur often and you can also seek help from your doctor. You should not have to suffer in silence.