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What To Do If You Have Migraine

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Address Teeth Grinding Or Excessive Chewing

What to do if you have chronic migraines

People have to eat to survive, and chewing is an important part of eating. However, studies suggest that excessive chewing might be linked to more headaches and even migraine. Researchers focused on gum-chewing for the study and found that tension headaches and migraine were more common in people who chewed gum frequently.

While you cant avoid eating, you may want to rethink chewing gum if you regularly experience migraine. You may also want to consider if you clench or grind your teeth while sleeping, as this could have a similar effect.

Keep Track Of Your Migraines

Keep a migraine diary to help you determine possible triggers.

Write down the following:

Once you know your migraine triggers you can try to avoid them. Another option is to challenge them using behavioral strategies. These include things like challenging negative thoughts or learning relaxation techniques.

How Can I Tell If I Have A Migraine Or A Sinus Headache

Many people confuse a sinus headache with a migraine because pain and pressure in the sinuses, nasal congestion, and watery eyes often occur with migraine. To find out if your headache is sinus or migraine, ask yourself these questions:

In addition to my sinus symptoms, do I have:

  • Moderate-to-severe headache
  • Sensitivity to light
  • If you answer yes to two or three of these questions, then most likely you have migraine with sinus symptoms. A true sinus headache is rare and usually occurs due to sinus infection. In a sinus infection, you would also likely have a fever and thick nasal secretions that are yellow, green, or blood-tinged. A sinus headache should go away with treatment of the sinus infection.

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    What To Do If You Have High Blood Pressure

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    Find A Quiet Dark Place To Relax

    Sensitivity to light and sound is one of the most common migraine symptoms. Get away from these things if you can. This can help you find relief from your pain and can alleviate stress.

    Lie down and pay attention to your breathing. Try taking slow, deep breaths from your diaphragm. Feel your stomach rise with the inhale and fall with the exhale. This can help you relax.

    Dehydration can cause headaches and even migraine, but new research shows hydration can reduce and possibly even prevent headache pain. In the study, people who drank their recommended daily water intake had headaches that were:

    • shorter in duration

    If you dont regularly drink enough water, increasing your intake may both help reduce your migraine pain and prevent repeat attacks.

    What Causes Vestibular Migraine

    Vestibular migraines, like other migraine syndromes, tend to run in families. Although science has not completely clarified the complex mechanisms of migraine, it is known that women tend to suffer more from the condition than men, and symptoms may get worse around menstruation.

    In addition, people vulnerable to vestibular migraines can experience episodes after migraine triggers including altered sleep patterns, MSG, menstrual cycle and food such as chocolate, ripened or aged cheese and red wine.

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    Treatment For Pregnant And Breastfeeding Women

    In general, migraine treatment with medicines should be limited as much as possible when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

    Instead, trying to identify and avoid potential migraine triggers is often recommended.

    If medicine is essential, your GP may prescribe you a low-dose painkiller, such as paracetamol.

    In some cases, anti-inflammatory medicine or triptans may be prescribed.

    Speak to a GP or your midwife before taking medicine when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

    Page last reviewed: 10 May 2019 Next review due: 10 May 2022

    Impact Of Chronic Migraine

    How to tell if your headache is actually a migraine

    If you have chronic migraine it will have a huge impact on your daily life. Chronic migraine is related to greater disability and has a huge impact on your physical, social and work life. It can also have a huge impact on your relationships. Many people with chronic migraine report lower quality of life and poorer health than people with episodic migraine.

    It can be challenging to find an appropriate treatment and you may have spent years trying to find a way to make your migraine manageable.

    If you are struggling with chronic migraine speak to your GP, specialist or contact our Helpline.

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  • What Are The Symptoms Of Migraines

    The primary symptom of migraine is a headache. Pain is sometimes described as pounding or throbbing. It can begin as a dull ache that develops into pulsing pain that is mild, moderate or severe. If left untreated, your headache pain will become moderate to severe. Pain can shift from one side of your head to the other, or it can affect the front of your head, the back of your head or feel like its affecting your whole head. Some people feel pain around their eye or temple, and sometimes in their face, sinuses, jaw or neck.

    Other symptoms of migraine headaches include:

    • Sensitivity to light, noise and odors.
    • Nausea and vomiting, upset stomach and abdominal pain.
    • Loss of appetite.
    • Feeling very warm or cold .
    • Pale skin color .

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    Can Migraine Be Worse During Menopause

    If your migraine headaches are closely linked to your menstrual cycle, menopause may make them less severe. As you get older, the nausea and vomiting may decrease as well. About two-thirds of women with migraines report that their symptoms improve with menopause.

    But for some women, menopause worsens migraine or triggers them to start. It is not clear why this happens. Menopausal hormone therapy, which is prescribed for some women during menopause, may be linked to migraines during this time. In general, though, the worsening of migraine symptoms goes away once menopause is complete.

    Are Migraines Hereditary

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    Migraines tend to run in families. As many as four out of five people with migraines have a family history. If one parent has a history of migraines, their child has a 50% chance of having them. If both parents have a history of migraines, the risk jumps to 75%. Again, up to 80% of people with migraines have a first-degree relative with the disease.

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    What Causes Migraines

    Researchers do not yet understand all of the factors that cause migraines. It appears they may be caused in part by changes in the level of a body chemical called serotonin. Serotonin plays many roles in the body and effects blood vessels. When serotonin levels are high, blood vessels constrict . When serotonin levels fall, the blood vessels dilate . This swelling can cause pain or other problems. Another cause being studied is that migraine headaches go along with a spreading pattern of electrical activity in the brain.

    Some research suggests there could be a heredity factor for migraines, meaning they may run in families. Researchers have identified some genes associated with migraines. They are unsure why these genes impact some people more than others. The American Migraine Foundation reports that if one of your parents has migraines, there is a 50% chance that you will, too. If both of your parents have migraines, your chances jump up to 75%. Ultimately, migraines seem to be caused by a combination of factors: genetic, environmental, and lifestyle.

    Women are more likely to have chronic migraines . This is likely linked to hormones. Hormones fluctuate each month around the time of your period. They can also fluctuate if you are pregnant or going through menopause.

    Use Hot Or Cold Packs

    Using heat or ice can help to alleviate pain in your head or neck. The cold compressors have a numbing effect, which can lessen your pain. They work by constricting your blood vessels to help soothe your nerves. Place the ice pack on your head for about 15-20 minutes at a time. If your head is feeling very tight, hot packs can relax your tense muscles. Taking a warm shower will have a similar effect.

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    Symptoms Of A Migraine

    The main symptom of a migraine is usually an intense headache on one side of the head.

    The pain is usually a moderate or severe throbbing sensation that gets worse when you move and prevents you from carrying out normal activities.

    In some cases, the pain can occur on both sides of your head and may affect your face or neck.

    What Is A Migraine

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    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 .

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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.

    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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    What Are The Symptoms Of Migraine

    The main symptoms of migraine are an intense, throbbing or pounding headache often affecting the front or one side of the head, nausea and sometimes vomiting , and an increased sensitivity to light smells and sound. The throbbing headache is often made worse by the person moving.

    Other symptoms of migraine might include poor concentration, feeling hot or cold, perspiration , and an increased need to pass urine. This can occur before, during or after the migraine attack.

    People might also experience stomach aches and diarrhoea.

    It is common for people to feel tired for up to two or three days after a migraine.

    How Are Migraines Treated

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    Migraine headaches are chronic. They cant be cured, but they can be managed and possibly improved. There are two main treatment approaches that use medications: abortive and preventive.

    • Abortive medications are most effective when you use them at the first sign of a migraine. Take them while the pain is mild. By possibly stopping the headache process, abortive medications help stop or decrease your migraine symptoms, including pain, nausea, light sensitivity, etc. Some abortive medications work by constricting your blood vessels, bringing them back to normal and relieving the throbbing pain.
    • Preventive medications may be prescribed when your headaches are severe, occur more than four times a month and are significantly interfering with your normal activities. Preventive medications reduce the frequency and severity of the headaches. Medications are generally taken on a regular, daily basis to help prevent migraines.

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    When Should I Seek Help For My Headaches

    Sometimes, headache can signal a more serious problem. You should talk to your doctor about your headaches if:

    • You have several headaches per month and each lasts for several hours or days
    • Your headaches disrupt your home, work, or school life
    • You have nausea, vomiting, vision, or other sensory problems
    • You have pain around the eye or ear
    • You have a severe headache with a stiff neck
    • You have a headache with confusion or loss of alertness
    • You have a headache with convulsions
    • You have a headache after a blow to the head
    • You used to be headache-free, but now have headaches a lot

    Create A Calming Environment

    If you notice a migraine coming on, take a break from your current activity. Find a quiet room where you can rest. Your bedroom is a good place since you can get more privacy. You want to shut the door, turn off the lights, and close your blinds.

    In addition, try to stay off your phone. The light from the screen can strain your eyes. Plus, when youre hunched over for an extended period it can increase your headache.

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