Could My Migraine Attack Be A Symptom Of Covid
We are still learning about migraine and COVID-19, says Spears. We do know that the COVID-19 headache usually presents differently than a typical headache. Its been described as intense pressure in the head that is made significantly worse with coughing and sneezing, he says.
Is it true that people with migraine are more likely to experience headache as a symptom of COVID-19? There isnt enough data to know if thats the case with COVID-19, but it is true in many other conditions, says Spears.
If someone has migraine and they develop a sinus infection, theyre more likely to develop a migraine-like headache. When people with migraine have anything going on thats head- or neck-related, theyre more likely to experience a migraine-like headache, he says.
This also applies in people with migraine who also have diabetes or high blood pressure, says Spears. If something is going on in the entire body or systemically, theyre more likely to manifest that in migraine-like headache if they have a history of migraine, he says.
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Unexplained Or General Headaches
For unexplained, ongoing headaches, you may be able to manage or ease your symptoms at home through comfort measures, rest, and responsible use of medication.
Massage therapy can ease muscle tension that contributes to headaches, or you can perform self-massage techniques at home.
Managing your stress can help reduce your pain. Also, consider reducing the intensity of your exercise schedule or focusing on your form while exercising.
If your headache continues to persist, see your doctor. You may have an underlying condition that they can diagnose. With proper treatment, youll be able to address your persistent headache pain and return to your normal quality of life.
How Prevalent Are Migraines
Migraines are about three times more common in women than men, and may affect more than 12 percent of the U.S. adult population. Migraines often run in families, and can start as early as elementary school but most often in early adulthood. They often fade away later in life, but can strike at any time. The most common cause of recurring, disabling headache pain, migraines are also the most common underlying cause of disabling chronic, daily headache pain. While migraines are the No. 1 reason that patients see a neurologist, most cases are handled by primary care physicians.
Things that can make the headaches more likely to occur include:
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What Is A Migraine
A migraine is not simply a bad headache. A migraine is an intense headache that may be accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea , vomiting , visual problems and an increased sensitivity to light or sound.
Migraines commonly last between four hours and three days. Some people experience migraines several times a week. Others might only experience attacks every few years. If you experience headaches on 15 days or more each month, and eight of these headaches are migraines, this is known as chronic migraine.
Although migraines are not life-threatening and do not shorten peoples life expectancies, they can significantly damage the quality of peoples lives. A World Health Organisation study identified migraine as the sixth highest cause worldwide of years lost due to disability . Repeated migraines can have a negative impact on family life, social life and employment.
There are two main types of migraine: migraine without aura and migraine with aura .
What Do I Do If My Migraine Lasts For More Than 72 Hours Or Wont Go Away
You should talk to your provider about a plan should your migraine extend past the 72-hour mark. You may need treatment for a condition called status migrainosus. We define this as a migraine that lasts more than 72 hours without a pain-free interval. Status migrainosus is often treated differently than shorter migraine attacks and may require you to receive different treatments.
If your pain is different, much more severe than usual and includes any red flag symptoms, get emergency treatment. If youre unsure, call your doctor or a health information line.
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How Can You Get Rid Of A Migraine
If a person is sure what they are feeling is a migraine, they should start treatment quickly, says Dr. Bryant. So, if you experience an early phase or feel a migraine coming, you should treat it ASAP.
For non-medicated treatment, you should go into a dark and quiet environment if light or sound is a trigger, says Dr. Bryant. An ice pack can also help relieve head pain and gentle stretching may dissolve muscle tension.
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But for moderate to severe head pain, medications work the best, and the earlier you take them, the better. For over-the-counter treatments, Dr. Diamond suggests pain relievers such as ibuprofen , and aspirin and acetaminophen . However, its important to note that these medications are not long-term solutions. If taken two to three times a week, check-in with your doctor, because multiple days in a row can actually cause medication-overuse headaches and bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract.
If OTC meds aren’t working for you, or you find yourself needing to take them every day, its time to check-in with your doctor. Prescription medicines work to prevent and get rid of an attack once we know it’s coming, says Dr. Diamond. Triptan medications were usually the first line of defense, but newer CGRP blockers are especially successful in reducing migraine headaches with few side effects, adds Dr. Bryant. Most of my patients tell me that it has been a life changer for them.
How Can I Make A Migraine Go Away
Prevention is one of the best tools for stopping migraine symptoms. One of the most effective ways to treat migraine is simply not to have one, says Alex Feoktistov, MD, the founder and the president of the Synergy Integrative Headache Center in Chicago, Illinois. Identifying and avoiding the things that trigger your migraine onset is key. Trigger avoidance is a very important treatment strategy that allows us to reduce migraine attack frequency naturally, Dr. Feoktistov says.
Migraine can be challenging to diagnose and treat, but there are many helpful medications and strategies. Seek advice from a headache specialist if you experience moderate or severe headaches that are difficult to control. A headache specialist can help to establish a treatment plan that includes preventive and acute treatment for migraine pain.
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How Do I Know If I Have Chronic Migraine
Chronic migraine is currently defined as having 15 or more headache days per month for three months, and at least 8 of those headache days include migraine symptoms or are treated like migraine. About 3 to 5% of people in the U.S. experience chronic migraine. Episodic migraine is defined as 14 or fewer headache days per month. It can become chronic in some people if its not recognized or treated.
A primary care physician or headache specialist can provide a diagnosis and help you manage your migraine. If you think you may have episodic or chronic migraine, keep track of all of your headache daysboth migraine and other types of headacheand speak to your doctor.
Timing can play a role in diagnosis of other headache disorders, such as new daily persistent headache and hemicrania continua. Both disorders involve constant head pain that continues for over three months without relief. NDPH commonly has a distinct, sudden onset, while hemicrania continua is marked by pain only on one side of the head.
Its important to share your symptoms and duration of pain with your doctor so they can diagnose and treat your condition appropriately. Factors like time, as well as location of pain and your specific symptoms, can help with getting a correct diagnosis and working on a treatment plan tailored to your lifestyle and headache.
What Causes A Migraine
The cause of migraine headaches is complicated and not fully understood. When you have a headache its because specific nerves in your blood vessels send pain signals to your brain. This releases inflammatory substances into the nerves and blood vessels of your head. Its unclear why your nerves do that.
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Will A Migraine Go Away On Its Own
If you have a migraine and dont know how to treat it or dont have access to medication at the moment, rest assured that a migraine attack doesnt last forever, even if you do nothing. Many migraines resolve on their own or with simple measures like sleep, Dr. Sachdev says.
But given how painful it can be to experience a migraine, it makes sense that youd want to do what you can to get rid of it ASAP. There are a lot of measures that can be taken to make that migraine livable or very mild, Dr. Mikhael says. Some are as simple as going into a dark room and trying to sleep it off, while others require targeted migraine medication to get things under control, he says.
Big picture, though: Migraine attacks tend to be a recurring thing. Meaning if youve had one, youre more likely to have them again in the future, Dr. Mikhael says.
Some people who experience heavy hormonal changes have seen their migraine attacks stop after becoming pregnant1 or after menopause.2 It does fluctuate from person to person, but migraines tend to get better as you get older too, Dr. Mikhael says.
Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Migraine:
Relax at a Quiet and Dark Place and Perform Relaxation Techniques:
Sensitivity to sound and light is one of the most common symptoms of migraine. You need to get away from such things if possible, especially when you are having migraines. This would aid you in relieving migraine pain and can also alleviate stress.
Simply lie down and pay attention to your breathing. Go for slow and deep breaths from your diaphragm. Feel that your stomach rise as you inhale and fall as you exhale.
This can actually help you relax.
Deep breathing and relaxation exercises can help shorten and relieve migraine attacks. They also help in preventing migraines from happening. Some individuals find that relaxation techniques like meditation and massage also helps release the tension they feel in their neck, jaw or face. If you can release tension then your migraine wonât be as severe or long lasting.
Try Caffeine to Find Relief:
One more home remedy for migraine could be a cup of coffee. Many OTC pain relievers contain caffeine as it can enhance the effects of the medication. Just make very much sure that you do not drink too much. This is because drinking more than a cup of coffee could set you up for a caffeine withdrawal headache at a later time.
Individuals with migraines who use caffeine more than 3 days in a week may develop a dependency on the caffeine. This can in turn cause more headaches. So, moderation is the key with caffeine.
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Biofeedback To Get Rid Of Migraine:
There is one more way to get rid of migraine and that is biofeedback. This technique actually helps people learn to recognize stressful situations triggering migraines. If the headache begins slowly, many individuals can make use of biofeedback for stopping the attack before it becomes completely blown.
Deterrence And Patient Education
Timely diagnosis and management of migraine headaches are essential, as they can sometimes be debilitating and affect the quality of life. Patients should be educated about the different phases of migraine headaches and the benefits of abortive and prevention therapy. Patients should be educated about lifestyle changes, which can help in reducing the frequency and severity of migraine attacks. Patients should also be instructed to go to a doctor in case of worsening symptoms or the occurrence of new neurological symptoms, which might warrant neuroimaging.
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Whats A Migraine Journal
- Keeping a migraine journal is not only beneficial to you, but it helps your healthcare provider with the diagnosis process. Your journal should be detailed and updated as much as possible before, during and after a migraine attack. Consider keeping track of the following:
- The date and time of when the migraine began specifically when the prodrome started, if youre able to tell its happening. Track time passing. When did the aura phase begin? The headache? The postdrome? Do your best to tell what stage youre in and how long it lasts. If theres a pattern, that may help you anticipate what will happen in the future.
- What are your symptoms? Be specific.
- Note how many hours of sleep you got the night before it happened and your stress level. Whats causing your stress?
- Note the weather.
- Log your food and water intake. Did you eat something that triggered the migraine? Did you miss a meal?
- Describe the type of pain and rate it on a one to 10 scale with 10 being the worst pain youve ever experienced.
- Where is the pain located? One side of your head? Your jaw? Your eye?
- List all of the medications you took. This includes any daily prescriptions, any supplements and any pain medication you took.
- How did you try to treat your migraine, and did it work? What medicine did you take, at what dosage, at what time?
- Consider other triggers. Maybe you played basketball in the sunlight? Maybe you watched a movie that had flashing lights? If youre a woman, are you on your period?
Pearls And Other Issues
- Cortical spreading depression is the probable cause of the aura. It can activate trigeminal nerve afferents and alter hematoencephalic barrier permeability. Trigeminovascular system activation can initiate neurogenic inflammation related to migraine headaches.
- The attacks are recurrent and occur through a cascade of events over hours to days.
- Typical migraines progress through a prodrome, an aura, headache, and the postdrome.
- There is no one approach to treating migraines. Each case must be individualized according to its comorbidities.
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Living With Constant Headaches
For most of us, an occasional headache is nothing more than a temporary speed bump in the course of a busy day. Even so, most men can ease the problem with simple lifestyle measures and nonprescription medications. Relaxation techniques, biofeedback, yoga, and acupuncture may also help. But for some of us, headaches are a big problem. Learn to recognize warning signs that call for prompt medical care. Work with your doctor to develop a program to prevent and treat migraines and other serious headaches. And don’t fall into the trap of overusing medications for some gents, rebound headaches are the biggest pain of all.
Image: wavebreakmedia LLC/Getty Images
When To Seek Medical Help
The American Migraine Foundation estimate that less than 50% of people with migraine seek help from a doctor.
If a migraine episode lasts for longer than is typical for an individual, they should seek a doctors advice.
They should visit the emergency room if a migraine episode becomes too severe and at-home treatments do not alleviate symptoms.
An individual should seek immediate medical attention if they have the following :
- an extremely severe headache
- a headache that starts abruptly like a thunderclap, especially if the individual is aged over 50 years
- a migraine headache accompanied with a stiff neck, or fever, confusion, slurred speech, or seizures
- speech, vision, movement, or balance problems that differ from the regular migraine pattern
Always seek medical attention if someone has a headache following a head injury.
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When To Get Medical Advice
You should see a GP if you have frequent or severe migraine symptoms.
Simple painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, can be effective for migraine.
Try not to use the maximum dosage of painkillers on a regular or frequent basis as this could make it harder to treat headaches over time.
You should also make an appointment to see a GP if you have frequent migraines , even if they can be controlled with medicines, as you may benefit from preventative treatment.
You should call 999 for an ambulance immediately if you or someone you’re with experiences:
- paralysis or weakness in 1 or both arms or 1 side of the face
- slurred or garbled speech
- a sudden agonising headache resulting in a severe pain unlike anything experienced before
- headache along with a high temperature , stiff neck, mental confusion, seizures, double vision and a rash
These symptoms may be a sign of a more serious condition, such as a stroke or meningitis, and should be assessed by a doctor as soon as possible.
The Danger Of Using Acute Migraine Medication Too Often
When people with migraine use acute medication too often, they can develop medication-overuse headache, according to the American Migraine Foundation. These headaches are also known as rebound headaches.
The risk of medication-overuse headaches can put people with migraine in a difficult position, says Spears. Migraine is a condition where the sooner you treat it with medication, the more likely it is that youll be successful in stopping it. At the same time, if you take your rescue medication too frequently, it will lead to rebound, he says.
Most of the medications commonly used to treat migraine attacks, such as aspirin, NSAIDs, acetaminophen, triptans, and others, have all been associated with rebound headaches, according to the American Migraine Foundation. Its recommended that people dont take these medications for acute treatment of migraine for more than two days a week.
The one class that hasnt been shown to cause medication-overuse headache is gepants, says Spears. But we still try to limit patients to using them two days a week, he says.
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