Your head has been pounding all day. Is it because of allergies? Stress or anxiety? Or something you’ve never experienced before? If the pain becomes debilitating and lasts for days, you may be suffering from something far worse than a headache. It could be a migraine, but help is available.
WHAT IS A MIGRAINE?
A migraine is a headache that can cause severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation, usually on one side of the head. Migraine symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine attacks can last for hours to days, and the pain can be so severe that it interferes with your daily activities.
Migraines have multiple phases: prodrome, aura, headache, and postdrome. These symptoms can often be relieved with ketamine therapy.
WHAT CAUSES A MIGRAINE?
Although migraine causes aren’t entirely known, environmental and genetic factors could play a role in their development. Shifts in the brainstem and its connections with the trigeminal nerve, the main pain pathway, could be involved. So might imbalances within brain chemicals — like serotonin, which helps control pain in your nervous system. Researchers continually study the function of serotonin in migraine development. Other neurotransmitters assume a role in the discomfort of migraine, particularly calcitonin gene-related peptides.
HOW DOES IT DIFFER FROM A HEADACHE?
If someone has a severe headache and decides to rest, they may assume it’s due to migraine pain. But that may not be true. Most headaches result from a person’s environment and related stress and eventually go away, sometimes without intervention. But a migraine is truly, scarily debilitating. Another difference is duration. A lousy headache may last 30 minutes, but a migraine can consume hours, if not days, of your life.
HOW TO GET RID OF A MIGRAINE
Migraines can trigger debilitating pain, nausea and retching, and heightened sensitivity to sound and light. The thumping pain can instantly ruin your day and add restrictions to your everyday life.
Like other kinds of pain, you can manage discomfort caused by migraines with an integrative healthcare approach. Longtime sufferers of migraine pain who’ve maintained some semblance of control over their lives could have specific routines or steps they follow to minimize pain, but what can someone try who only suffers occasional irritation?
- One treatment option is ketamine therapy. Because research has proven that faulty neurotransmitters may cause migraine pain in the brain, ketamine may be well suited to offer relief.
- Follow a regular treatment plan. If you’ve been diagnosed with migraine pain and your doctor or clinician has recommended a specific treatment regimen, follow it as best you can. Treatment may include taking over-the-counter pain relievers and resting in a dark room.
- Apply a cold or frozen compress to your forehead or temples, as recommended by the National Headache Foundation.
- For symptoms of many kinds of mental illness or chronic pain, healthcare professionals recommend you abstain from caffeine. But in the case of migraine pain, caffeine works as a vasoconstrictor and forces vessels to narrow and relieve pain. In other words, sip small amounts of caffeine when you suspect a migraine is just around the corner.
- Try exercise, yoga, meditation, or lifestyle changes to relieve pain.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
Suppose you experience migraines or have a blood relative with migraines. In that case, a neurologist will probably diagnose migraines based on your medical history, symptoms, and the results of a medical and neurological examination.
If your discomfort is extraordinary, multifaceted, or suddenly becomes extreme, you may undergo specific tests:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): An MRI scan utilizes a strong magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of your brain and blood vessels. MRI scans may help uncover tumors, strokes, brain bleeding, infections, and other brain and neurological conditions.
- Computerized tomography (CT) scan: A CT scan utilizes a sequence of X-rays to make detailed cross-sectional images of your brain. CT scans are an excellent tool to diagnose brain damage, tumors, infections, brain bleeding, and other possible medical issues that may be triggering headaches.
If you suffer from the agony of a migraine, you’re not alone. Much more severe than an ordinary headache, migraines affect about two percent of all people living in the United States, regardless of gender or age. You should take possible migraine symptoms seriously. Their symptoms can be long-term and debilitating if disregarded.
Contact us today to learn more about the innovative treatments we offer for migraine relief!