A migraine is usually experienced by women because of falling estrogen levels before menstruation that causes severe head pain often accompanied by sensitivity to sound, smells or light. The common manifestations of a migraine is the one-sided “pounding” a headache, nausea, vomiting, eye pain, and sensitivity to light or sound. Migraine attacks are usually triggered by hormonal changes, stress, certain foods, oversleeping, and strong stimuli such as loud noises. Some forms of birth control pills can trigger a migraine attack, and so as with certain foods like chocolate, aged cheese, smoked meats, dairy products, alcoholic beverages, artificial sweeteners and monosodium glutamate. It will be beneficial keeping a headache diary if you are unsure what triggers your migraine to identify individual factors that lead to your migraine attack.
The pharmacologic treatment for migraines include over-the-counter (OTC) such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxen sodium, or prescription drugs like triptans. Exercise and healthy diet may help in reducing the frequency of your migraine attacks. Avoid eating foods that are known to trigger your migraines. For some people, meditation and relaxation strategies help them in preventing migraine attacks and reducing the severity of headaches such as yoga, meditation, guided imagery, and progressive muscle relaxation. Most people with migraines combine pharmacologic treatments and lifestyle changes in managing their condition. For those patients experiencing severe migraine attacks, prescription medications are usually recommended. How do we define the aura of a migraine? Migraine aura refers to specific warning symptoms before the onset of a migraine attack that may range from a blind spot in one eye, flashing lights or numbness involving one side of the body. A migraine aura usually last for several minutes and it is usually resolved once the head pain starts, though there are instances when a migraine aura may also last until a migraine is resolved. The symptoms may be frightening for those patients who have never experienced aura because it can mimic the signs and symptoms of a stroke.
Because of high levels of estrogen during pregnancy, many women find their migraines are resolved during pregnancy. It is important to discontinue any medication that was used prior to pregnancy to prevent birth defects. If you notice locking of your jaw, swollen or you’re grinding your teeth a lot, your migraine might be related to Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMJ, so you need to contact a TMJ specialist who will recommend effective exercises and routine changes to help in your condition. The most effective method to treat your migraine includes identification of the triggering factors, lifestyle changes and taking medications as prescribed by your doctor.