Migraine: Types, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Migraine

According to WebMD migraines are more than just bad headaches. Some people get warnings, called auras, before their migraine starts. In this article we’ll look at migraine with auras, the headaches that come with them, and some rarer kinds of this problem and how you can get migraine relief.

What is Migraine with Aura?

A migraine with aura is a special type of headache that gives you warning signs before a head pain hits. These warnings can include strange things like seeing flashing lights, zigzag lines, or having trouble with your senses or talking. Understanding these signs can help you handle your migraines better. After an aura, a strong headache usually shows up in a migraine attack. It’s like a pounding and pain-full headache, usually on one side of your head. It can also make you feel sick, so you might throw up, be bothered by light, or have trouble with loud sounds. This headache can last for a few hours to a few days and can really slow you down. Aura is a disruption of the senses that occurs in the early stages of a migraine episode. So, aura can include:

  • Confusing thoughts or experiences
  • Seeing strange, sparkling, or flashing lights that aren’t real
  • Seeing zig-zagging lines of light
  • Experiencing blinds spots or blank areas in the field of vision
  • Feeling pins and needles in arm and leg
  • Having difficulty speaking
  • Experiencing weakness in the shoulders, neck or limbs
  • Seeing things that aren’t real out of one eye, like transparent strings of objects
  • Having unclear vision in part of something
  • Having part of the field of vision disappear, then reappear

What are the Types Of Migraine?

Most people get the typical migraine, but there are some unusual kinds. These include:

Hemiplegic Migraine:

This rare type causes temporary weakness or paralysis on one side of your body. You might also have trouble with your vision and talking.

Retinal Migraine:

This is the rarest kind and can make you lose vision in one eye for a short time. Even though your vision comes back, it can be scary, so you should see a doctor.

Vestibular Migraine:

This one messes with your balance and coordination. You might feel dizzy like the world is spinning, and have problems standing up straight.

Chronic Migraine:

This means experiencing migraine episodes more than 15 days per month.

Menstrual Migraine:

This happens in a pattern that aligns with the menstrual cycle.

Abdominal Migraine:

This refers to migraine episodes accompanied by irregular gut and abdominal function, often leading to nausea or vomiting. It usually involves abdominal pain and primarily affects children under 14 years of age.

Basilar Migraine:

This uncommon type, also known as “migraine with brainstem aura”, can impact neurological functions, including speech.

What are the  Symptoms of Migraine?

In addition to the aura and headache, migraine can bring other symptoms like:

  • Feeling very tired.
  • Not being able to eat.
  • Having trouble talking.
  • Feeling upset in your stomach.
  • Neck stiffness
  • Increased urination
  • Frequent yawning

Examples of migraine auras include:

  • Seeing different shapes, bright spots, or flashes of light
  • Temporary vision loss
  • Sensation of pins and needles in an arm or leg
  • Weakness or numbness in the face or on one side of the body
  • Difficulty speaking

What are the Causes of Migraine?

While the exact causes of migraines are not completely understood, both genetics and environmental factors seem to be involved. Alterations in the brainstem and its connections with the trigeminal nerve, a significant pathway for pain, could be implicated. Imbalances in brain chemicals, particularly serotonin, which helps control pain in the nervous system, may also play a part. Scientists are examining the role of serotonin in migraines. Additionally, other neurotransmitters like calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) contribute to migraine pain.

Migraine Triggers:

There are a number of migraine triggers, including:

  • Hormonal changes in women
  • Drinks
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Excitement
  • Sensory stimuli
  • Sleep changes
  • Physical strain
  • Weather changes
  • Medications
  • Foods
  • Foods activities

Certain dietary factors can trigger migraine, including:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Nuts
  • Cheese
  • Citrus fruits
  • Foods containing the additives tyramine and monosodium glutamate (MSG)

Certain medications can act as triggers for some individuals, such as:

  • Sleeping pills
  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • Certain types or birth control pills

Various environmental factors might also potentially triggers migraines, including:

  • Flickering screens
  • Strong odors
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Loud noises
  • Humidity
  • Stuffy rooms
  • Changes in temperature
  • Bright lights

Other possible triggers include:

  • Fatigue
  • Lack of sleep
  • Tension in the shoulders and neck
  • Poor posture
  • Overexertion
  • Low blood sugar
  • Jet lag
  • Irregular meal times
  • Dehydration

Avoiding triggers, whenever possible, may help reduce the frequency of migraine episodes.

What are the Risk Factors of Migraine?

So, several factors make you more prone to having migraines, including:

  • Family history
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Hormonal changes

What is the Diagnosis of Migraine?

Figuring out if you have a migraine can be tricky because they’re different for everyone. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and may send you for tests, like brain scans, to make sure nothing else is causing your pain. Sometimes, you might need to see a special doctor called a neurologist who’s an  expert in the brain and nervous system. In your condition is uncommon, complicated, or suddenly worsen significantly, tests to eliminate other potential causes for your pain might include:

  • MRI scan
  • A CT scans

What are the Treatments of Migraine?

Treating migraine is about making the pain go away and helping to prevent them from coming back. So, here are some ways doctors can help:

Medications for Relief:

Medications for relieving migraine pain are most effective when taken at the first sign of a migraine-right when symptoms start. Some medications used to treat migraines include:

  • Pain relievers
  • Triptans
  • Dihydroergotamine (Migranal, Trudhese).
  • Lasmiditan (Reyvow)
  • Oral calcitonin gene-related peptides antagonists, known as gepants
  • Intranasal zavegepant (Zavzpret)
  • Opioid medications
  • Anti-nausea drugs
  • Blood pressure-lowering medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Anti-seizures drugs
  • Botox injections
  • Calcitonin gene-related peptides (CGRP) monoclonal antibodies
  • Atogepant (Qulipta)
  • Rimegepant (Nurtec ODT)

If you get frequent migraines, your doctor might suggest taking medicine every day to stop them happening as often and you can get migraine relief. Simple things like getting enough sleep, eating regular meals, and finding ways to reduce stress can make a big difference for migraine relief.

Migraine vs. Headache:

A migraine episode differs from a regular headache. The experience is distinct, and they can stem from different causes. Keeping track of symptoms and their timing can aid both the individual and their healthcare provider in identifying migraine episodes. Examples of what to note include:

  • When symptoms begin
  • Possible triggers like stress or menstruation
  • The type of headache experienced
  • Any additional symptoms
  • Duration of symptoms
  • Any noticeable signs of migraine, such as an aura
  • Medications taken and their effects

FAQs:

Can migraine turn into a tumor?

No, there is no evidence to suggest that migraine can cause brain tumors. If you experience frequent or severe migraines it’s essential to consult with healthcare professionals for proper evaluation and management.

Can migraine lead to memory loss?

Yes, some migraine sufferers may experience cognitive symptoms and memory loss can be one of them. So individuals with migraines might encounter difficulties with memory such as suddenly not remembering specific events or details although the severity and nature of these symptoms can vary among patients. If someone is concerned about memory loss or cognitive symptoms related to migraines it is advisable to seek medical advice for a proper evaluation and management.

Does migraine affect the eyes?

A retinal migraine includes episodes of short-lasting vision problems or temporary blindness. These episodes might happen before or during a headache. Unlike a regular migraine aura a retinal migraine usually impacts just one eye not both. However, the loss of vision in one eye is usually not connected to migraines.

What leads to zigzag migraines?

Causes of retinal migraines may include factors such as stress, caffeine, alcohol, and dehydration.

What is visual snow?

Visual snow is the type of visual hallucination Where a person sees small moving dots in both eyes at the same time. So these dots can be spread across the whole field of vision or only part of it. Interestingly the phenomenon occurs in all lighting conditions including when the eyes are closed.

 What is phosphene?

A phosphene refers to the luminous patterns like stars, zigzag, swirls, spirals, and squiggles that you see when you tightly close your eyes and press on them with your fingers. Essentially these visual experiences occur when the cells in the retina are stimulated often from rubbing your eyes or after a strong sneeze, cough, or head impact.

What is Micropsia?

Micropsia is a condition where objects are perceived as smaller than their actual size. This can be caused by disorders in various parts of the visual system and has been linked to issues with the eyes, retina, and lesions in the central nervous system.

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