Migraines are a kind of headache that can also involve other symptoms. Migraines can affect both adults and children. They are more common in women than in men. Migraines often start off mild and then get worse.

Migraine Symptoms:

  • Headache – This is often one sided and throbbing
  • Nausea and sometimes vomiting
  • Feeling sensitive to light and noise – Lying down in a quiet, dark room often helps.
  • Aura – Some people have something called a migraine “aura.” An aura is a symptom or feeling that happens before or during the migraine headache. Each person’s aura is different, but in most cases the aura affects the vision. You might see flashing lights, bright spots, or zig-zag lines, or lose part of your vision. Or you might have numbness and tingling of the lips, lower face, and fingers of 1 hand. Some people hear sounds or have ringing in their ears as part of their aura. The aura usually lasts a few minutes to an hour and then goes away, but most often lasts 15 to 30 minutes.

Women who get migraines with aura usually cannot take birth control pills. That’s because they might increase the risk of stroke.

Many people get other symptoms of migraine that happen several hours or even a day before the headache. Doctors call these “premonitory” or “prodromal” symptoms. They might include yawning, feeling depressed, irritability, food cravings, constipation, or a stiff neck.

Some people find that their migraines are triggered by certain things. If you can avoid some of these things, you can lower your chances of getting migraines.

You can also keep a “headache calendar.” In the calendar, write down every time you have a migraine and what you ate and did before it started. That way you can find out if there is anything you should avoid eating or doing. You can also write down what medicine you took and whether or not it helped.

Common Migraine Triggers:

  • Stress
  • Hormonal changes
  • Skipping meals or not eating enough
  • Changes in the weather
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Bright or flashing lights
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Certain drinks or foods, such as red wine, aged cheese, and hot dogs

If your migraines are frequent or severe, your doctor can suggest others ways to help prevent them. For example, it might help to learn relaxation techniques and ways to manage stress. There are also medicines that can help.

Some women get migraines just before or during their period. Medicine can help with this, too.

For mild migraines, your doctor might suggest an over-the-counter medicine such as acetaminophen (Panadol), ibuprofen (Nurofen), or similar. For more severe migraines, there are prescription medicines that can help. Some, such as medicines called triptans, help to relieve the pain from a migraine attack. Other prescription medicines can help to make migraine attacks happen less often. If you have severe nausea or vomiting with your migraines, there are medicines that can help with that, too. 

Do not try to treat frequent migraines on your own with non-prescription pain medicines. Taking non-prescription pain medicines too often can actually cause more headaches later.

Most of the primary headache disorders can be managed by your GP. ​​If you continue to have severe headaches or accompanying symptoms that are disrupting your life, the GP may refer you to see a Neurologist.

Neurologists confirm the diagnosis mainly based on the history and sometimes scans are required to rule out secondary causes of headaches. The doctors at Clinical Neurology Services have years of experience in management of adult and paediatric migraines. We can discuss various prophylactic measures to help with your migraines which may include antidepressants, antihypertensives, anti-seizure medications, injection treatments and botox apart from non pharmaceutical measures. 

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