How Long Is Too Long For A Migraine
How long is too long for a migraine? A typical migraine lasts between four and 72 hours. If a migraine lasts longer than 72 hours, it is paramount to consult with a doctor. Also, if a person experiences 15 or more headache days per month, a doctor may diagnose this individual with chronic migraines.
Headaches: Who And When To Refer
Chronic migraine, medication overuse and TAC account for the vast majority of disabling headaches that are misdiagnosed and mismanaged and should be referred to physicians with an interest and experience in headaches. These together constitute fewer than 5% of all headache disorders. Migraine and tension-type headaches account for the vast majority of remaining headaches presenting to primary or secondary care.
Steiner et al 41 propose a three-tier model of care with 90% of headaches being looked after by the primary care physicians with minimal training on headache disorders through educational lectures delivered at a local setting. This should enable them to recognise the red flags and refer some of the difficult cases to GPs with a specialist interest , who should be able to treat 9% of patients, leaving only 1% for the specialist headache clinics or neurologists. The Level 2 doctor will require some affiliation with the headache clinic in addition to theoretical training and be able to manage most of the primary headache disorders apart from the rare ones.
Causes Of Migraines Or Cluster Headaches
The cause of migraine appears to be linked to hormones, genetics or environmental factors, while the cause of cluster headaches is not fully understood. Research has linked cluster headaches to a nerve in the face that causes intense pressure around one of the eyes.
Triggers for migraines
Cluster headaches typically recur in certain seasons, so they are often mistaken for seasonal allergies.
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Headaches: The Current Pathway
The neurological services in the UK are different from the rest of Europe, where all aspects of neurological care are provided by trained neurologists. For example, Holland has one neurologist for a population of 30,000 and in Italy one neurologist provides services to every 10,000 people. In comparison, a neurologist in the UK serves a population of between 117,000 and 200,000.2 Most of the acute neurological services are provided by interns or general physicians, particularly in small district general hospitals where the neurology in-reach is limited to a visiting neurologist from a neighbouring tertiary centre for a day or two per week . There has been an expansion of consultant posts since the mid-1990s without much increment in the trainee posts. As a result, recruiting to consultant neurologist posts has been extremely difficult over the last decade. The situation is unlikely to change and may even be worse considering the lack of additional funding to the National Health Service bodies.
The availability of modern technology, such as the internet and mobile communication, has made it easier for patients to obtain information about their condition, although it can be difficult for patients to interpret and with limited knowledge they are more likely to become worried about their diagnosis. Public education is therefore becoming increasingly important in setting directions for the future of the healthcare, and in appropriate utilisation of scarce resources.
What Are The Treatments For Migraine Headaches
It’s important to find out what your triggers are and avoid them. It may help to keep a headache diary so you can track possible triggers like:
- What you eat and drink
- How much you slept
- Activities you do
- Weather changes
You may be able to stop a migraine with headache drugs called “abortive medications.” You take these as soon as you feel a migraine coming on. Drugstores carry over-the-counter ibuprofen medications specifically for migraine headaches. If they aren’t enough to help, your doctor may prescribe stronger meds.
If other treatments don’t work and you have more than four migraine headache days a month, your doctor may suggest preventive medicines. You can take these regularly to make your headaches less frequent or severe. These meds include seizure medicines, blood pressure medicines , and some antidepressants.
CGRP inhibitors are a new class of preventive medicine that your doctor may recommend if other medicines don’t help.
Your doctor might also prescribe a medical device to help you feel better. These three devices may help prevent or treat migraines:
Cefaly. This headband-like device stimulates a nerve on the forehead that’s linked to migraines.
GammaCore. This is a handheld gadget that you can place on the vagus nerve in your neck. It interrupts nerve signals linked to migraines.
SpringTMS . You hold this device against the back of your head, and it gives off a pulse of magnetic energy into part of the brain.
- Self-relaxation techniques
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How Are Migraines Diagnosed
To diagnose a migraine, your healthcare provider will get a thorough medical history, not just your history of headaches but your familys, too. Also, they’ll want to establish a history of your migraine-related symptoms, likely asking you to:
- Describe your headache symptoms. How severe are they?
- Remember when you get them. During your period, for example?
- Describe the type and location of your pain. Is the pain pounding? Pulsing? Throbbing?
- Remember if anything makes your headache better or worse.
- Tell how often you get migraine headaches.
- Talk about the activities, foods, stressors or the situations that may have brought on the migraine.
- Discuss what medications you take to relieve the pain and how often you take them.
- Tell how you felt before, during and after the headache.
- Remember if anyone in your family gets migraine headaches.
Your healthcare provider may also order blood tests and imaging tests to make sure there are no other causes for your headache. An electroencephalogram may be ordered to rule out seizures.
Headache And Migraine Treatment And Relief
There is no specific cure for headaches and migraines, but usually, medication and lifestyle changes can bring much-needed relief and, in some cases, prevent future pain.Over-the-counter drugs, such as acetaminophen , ibuprofen and aspirin can bring relief for occasional headaches and mild migraines. However, if you experience moderate to severe migraines on a regular basis, you may want to speak to your doctor about prescription medicines. They may be able to reduce the severity of your migraines and prevent future ones from occurring.In addition, making lifestyle changes could help prevent some types of headaches and migraines, including:
- Exercising regularly
- Developing relaxation habits, such as meditation, yoga and stretching, and heat or massage therapy
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How To Recover From A Headache And Migraine
Finally, once you have dealt with the symptoms of a headache or migraine, then you need to see how to handle the after effects of the headache or migraine. For example, you might need to sit in a cold and dark room for a bit, lay down for a while, get a good meal in you, or figure out a way to reduce your stress.
It can be extremely hard to focus on work or any other task that you need to do if you are struggling with a headache, so dont be afraid to take a quick break and allow yourself the opportunity to recover.
Headaches and Migraines might not seem so different and certainly wont feel very different whenever you are suffering from one, but they are different and it can be interesting to look at how headaches are classified. Thankfully, they can at least be treated in the same way!
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How Many People Get Migraines
According to some statistics, migraines affect nearly 40 million people in the United States regardless of gender or age, though women are at greater risk compared to men and children. The Journal of the American Medical Association puts the migraine problem in even greater perspective, noting that it affects more than 10% of people worldwide.
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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.
What Is An Aura
An aura is a group of sensory, motor and speech symptoms that usually act like warning signals that a migraine headache is about to begin. Commonly misinterpreted as a seizure or stroke, it typically happens before the headache pain, but can sometimes appear during or even after. An aura can last from 10 to 60 minutes. About 15% to 20% of people who experience migraines have auras.
Aura symptoms are reversible, meaning that they can be stopped/healed. An aura produces symptoms that may include:
- Seeing bright flashing dots, sparkles, or lights.
- Blind spots in your vision.
- Numb or tingling skin.
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Is A Cluster Headache A Kind Of Migraine Attack
Cluster headache is its own condition and not the same as migraine. Cluster headache and migraine are both primary headache disorders. This means that the symptoms they cause are a result of the headache condition itself, rather than another underlying problem. Some of the symptoms of cluster headache and migraine overlap, which is why its easy to confuse the two.
Mayo Clinic Q And A: Whats The Difference Between Cluster And Migraine Headaches
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Whats the difference between a cluster headache and a migraine? Is there a way to treat severe headaches without prescription medication?
ANSWER: There are various differences between cluster and migraine headaches, including how long the headaches last, how often they occur and the area of the head they affect. Several options are available to treat these severe headaches without a prescription.
One of the defining differences between cluster and migraine headaches is their duration. A cluster headache lasts about 30 to 90 minutes. A migraine lasts longer often the entire day or potentially several days if left untreated. While its uncommon to have more than one migraine a day, its possible to have up to eight cluster headaches in one day. With cluster headaches, there are pain-free periods between the headaches. Migraine headaches often fluctuate in severity over the course of one headache, but the pain doesnt go away completely.
Migraine pain can vary in location developing on just one side of the head, behind the eye, in the back or frontof the head, or the pain may be felt throughout the entire head. Clusterheadaches involve only one side of the head typically at the temple or aroundthe eye.
Be careful how frequently you takeNSAIDs. If you take them too often, they can damage your kidneys orgastrointestinal tract. Do not exceed the dosing recommendations listed on thelabel. If taken more than 14 days a month, NSAIDs can worsen headaches.
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Are Sinus Headaches And Migraines Related
People who often have allergies with a runny nose are 10 times more likely to have migraines. Asthma and migraine also share some of the same triggers.
So, do sinus and breathing problemscause migraines? Probably not, but it seems these conditions could be related somehow. If you want relief, you’ll need the right diagnosis and, if you have more than one condition, to consider treatment for each separately, even when they’re happening at the same time.
What’s The Difference Between A Headache And A Migraine
Migraine symptoms are often mistaken for headache symptoms, but they’re not the same. Here’s how to tell if you have a headache or a migraine and how to find relief.
The blinding flash of pain, the excruciating pressure between the eyes, and the nausea racking your body until all you can think, feel, see or hear is the migraine currently wreaking havoc on your body. If you have ever had a migraine, you know.
But what if you don’t? The Migraine Research Foundation reports that 39 million adults and children in the US alone suffer from migraines, but many do not even know it. Not all migraines include all of the symptoms listed above, and some severe headaches can feel awfully close to the same level of pain. Today, migraines are the third most prevalent disease globally, yet countless cases remain undiagnosed — around 75% of people with chronic migraine are not diagnosed, according to a 2019 study.
Knowing the difference between a headache and a migraine is crucial so you can be sure to receive the right treatment. Here’s what to know about headache and migraine symptoms and causes, how to tell the difference, and how to get relief.
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Migraines Come With Heightened Sensitivities
Now that we’ve gone over the basics of regular headaches, let’s go over what migraines are and what sets them apart.
“A migraine is clinically defined as a specific type of headache that is felt more intensely, and usually has accompanying symptoms in addition to the pain felt in the head,” Dr. Williams explained. He lists common migraine symptoms as “pounding or throbbing pain that is moderate to severe and feels as if it is engulfing the entire head or shifting from one side of the head to the other,” as well as heightened sensitivities to sound, odors, or light.
That’s why migraines often have me lying in a dark, quiet room it’s an effort to quell my super acute senses.
Diagnosis Of Migraines Or Cluster Headaches
A neurologist typically will diagnose your migraine or cluster headaches during a physical and neurological exam. During the exam, he or she will take a full medical and family history, evaluate your symptoms, and order other tests to confirm your diagnosis.
Testing may include:
- Blood tests blood tests can rule out infections or toxins in the blood stream that are causing your symptoms.
- Imaging MRI and CT scans can take detailed images of the brain to determine if you have other conditions such as a brain tumor that is causing your symptoms.
- Spinal tap a spinal tap may be performed to rule out an infection in the brain.
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How Migraine Changes Everyday Life
Your migraine experience may vary compared to someone elseâs. The attacks might last a few hours or days. You could have many in a month or one every now and then. Plus, the issues that can come with it may not all affect you.
Some people find prevention or treatment strategies that allow them to get through everyday tasks. Others have a tougher time and they need to pause daily life for rest or sleep in a dark, quiet space. You may not make it to work or school. If you do, your performance or schoolwork can suffer. Migraine can also dim quality time with friends and family. All of this can lead to feeling depressed.
Migraines may not always be part of your life, though. They usually get better as time goes on. Once you are past your 30s, they usually happen less often and arenât as intense. They may even go away after 50.
Get The Right Treatment
The result is the same: Your head hurts. Does it really matter why? Yes, because the diagnosis directs the treatment.
For a sinus headache, the focus is on draining the fluid from the mucus-filled spaces behind your cheeks to relieve the pressure and pain, as well as cooling the inflammation. Typically, you’ll take , antihistamines, or antibiotics, or a combination of these medicines. This wouldn’t help, and may even be harmful, for someone with a migraine.
Itâs also possible to relieve sinus pain and pressure using a bioelectric device that emits micro-current waveforms. Sold over-the-counter device, the device targets blood vessels and nerves to get relief.
Scientists think migraines happen because of a series of changes in your brain stem, nerve cells, and brain chemicals. No one knows exactly why they start, but they can be triggered by certain foods, activities, or other conditions.
Treatment for migraine can include over-the-counter pain relievers as well as prescription drugs that are also used to treat seizure disorders, depression, and heart conditions. Other remedies might come as pills, shots, and nasal sprays.
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Sinus Headaches Are Often Misdiagnosed Migraines
Dr. Cooper also notes that “most ‘sinus headaches’ that are bad enough to take you to a doctor’s office are actually migraines. They just feel like a sinus headache because of where the pain is and how sick you feel.”
So don’t self-diagnose or misdiagnose your migraine as a sinus headache. The analysis is best left to a professional.
Migraine Vs Headache: How To Tell The Difference
If you feel pressure or pain in any area of the head, you are dealing with a headache. Headaches are one of the most common medical issues that people deal with, and just about everyone has had at least one. In fact, over 95% of people will experience at least one during their lifetime. Many people, however, only experience the milder kind or have only had headaches as a result of some other problem, like a head cold or an injury that causes headaches after a car accident.
On the other hand, some people experience much more frequent bouts of headache, or worse, they experience migraine, which is a kind of headache that causes severe pain. It is important to know the difference because early detection of a migraine can help with early intervention, which is the most effective way to nip a burgeoning migraine in the bud. There are a few important differences between headaches and migraine.
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