There are few things in life as frustrating as having a headache. It makes it hard to even think. A migraine is a headache that is magnified to the point it begins to affect all that you try to do. Did you know that there are seven different kinds of migraines that vary from a little discomfort to a complete disruption of your life? Late on in the article, we will see what they are. If you aren’t sure if you have a common headache or a full-blown migraine check out the symptoms of a migraine. By the end of this article, you will be able to identify your migraine as well as determine if the symptoms are your body’s way of telling you to go to the doctor.
Causes of Migraines
There is no set way to determine the cause of a migraine. It can often vary between people. It can be triggered in multiple ways for a single person. The best thing for you to do is to write down your activities, including what you smell and eat, and take it to your doctor. If you can determine what triggers your migraines, you may be able to reduce the amount that you get.
There are a few common triggers that you may want to consider.
- A chemical imbalance in your brain
- A hormonal imbalance, more so in women than in men
- What you eat
- When you eat
- Too much sleep
- Not enough sleep
- Sudden changes in your routine
- Environmental changes
- Lights and sounds
- Physical Exercise
- Lack of physical exercise
- Mineral deficiency
It may seem like anything could be triggering your migraine, and you could be right. That is why a journal is so important. Now that you know what could be triggering your headache, look at the symptoms and see if maybe that headache is a migraine.
The Ten Symptoms of Migraines
You may not get every one of the symptoms on this list. However, if you are experiencing three or more of these symptoms, you may want to contact your doctor. Write down any and all symptoms along with your activities. That will ensure that your doctor can come up with the right treatment plan for your individual needs.
- Sensitivity to light
That nightlight is suddenly so bright that you can’t stand it. This is normally anywhere from one hour to minutes before the headache starts. It can last long past the pain is gone. The only thing that you want to do is to sit in a dark room.
- Sensitivity to noise
If every noise seems like it is too high, you may have this symptom. If you have children, this may be the hardest of all the symptoms. This can occur just like the sensitivity to light, minutes to an hour before the headache.
- Motion Sickness
Does every motion seem exaggerated? Do you feel like you are moving even though you are laying still? Then there is a good chance that you have this symptom. Usually, the pain brings on this symptom, but it can occur prior to the headache.
- Nausea and/or Vomiting
If food makes you feel like you are going to throw up, or if moving makes your head swim, you are probably just nauseated. Feeling queasy or vomiting may be your body’s reaction to the pain. It may also be telling you that something is wrong.
- Sudden changes in behavior
Are you normally a friendly person but you now want to be alone? Or are you irritable for no reason? Perhaps you switch back and forth between moods, or your moods are all over the place. These sudden behavior changes are completely normal. That does not mean they should be long term. If you are experiencing uncontrolled rage or mood swings, then you need to talk to a doctor. These are not normal symptoms of a migraine.
- Pain on one side of the head
Migraines will cause headaches only on one side. They do not hurt all the way across, in the front, or in the back.
- Lightheadedness and/or fainting. It is not uncommon for the pain of migraines to cause you to faint, or at least feel like you are going to faint. This symptom can manifest itself as a warning that you are about to get a migraine, or it can be caused by the pain of a migraine.
- Pins and Needles in the limbs. Pins and needles, tingling, or stinging is a very common symptom of migraines. It can cause you to have issues performing everyday tasks. It can also be very uncomfortable. You can expect to see this symptom prior to getting a migraine. It will usually last the entire time you have the migraine.
Everyone is different, but most migraines can be classified by type. It is worth learning the types so that you can have an informed discussion with your doctor.
The Types of Migraines
The seven types of migraines are very distinct. We will look at the characteristics of each type in detail. The goal is to inform you so that you know how to treat your symptoms. If you don’t feel as though any of these matches what you are experiencing, let your doctor know.
The typical migraine that most people experience is migraine without visual disruptions. You could experience nausea, vomiting, the inability to move around, steady throbbing on one side of the head, or heightened senses. You can expect it to last four hours to three days.
A complicated migraine can begin to show symptoms an hour before your head starts to heart. These can disrupt your life. They can cause numbness or pins and needles in your arms or legs. Changes in your senses, such strange smells or dark spots in your vision. Muscle weakness is not uncommon and can mean that you cannot go about your normal activities.
Painless Migraines are uncommon but do occur. These give you some or all the symptoms listed above but do not cause any pain in your head. You could get the pain anywhere in your body including your abdomen.
Basilar-Type Migraines tend to occur in teenage girls around the time of menstruation but can occur in anyone. They originate from the brainstem but do not cause any issues with either motor skills or limbs.
The actual symptoms vary from person to person. Most of the time, the adolescent will outgrow out of these types of symptoms.
Hemiplegic Migraine is very rare. They cause paralysis of one or more of the limbs. Blacking out is common. These major symptoms can last for as long as the headaches last. They can also cause permanent damage. It also tends to be hereditary.
Retinal Migraines cause blindness in one or both eyes for as long as the headache lasts. It is a very rare type.
If you get migraines more than two weeks out of a month then you have chronic migraines. You can get all the symptoms or none of them. There is no way to prevent them and they often disrupt your daily life. Treatment is the only way to ease the duration and pain caused by them.
When to See A Doctor
You should see a doctor when your symptoms are not controlled. If your symptoms are keeping you from living your life, you need to get a treatment plan. Chronic migraines can cause damage. You will want to see a doctor if you are having migraines more than three days a week or more than two weeks out of a month. Fainting, confusion, or blindness can be a rare symptom of migraine and should be investigated from the very first time you experience it.
Above all else, you should see a doctor the moment you feel that there is something wrong. Occasional migraines caused by stress are more thing, but constant migraines that cause you to stress over getting them is something else entirely. When in doubt, get checked out.
The most important thing to remember when you are dealing with a migraine is that you in control. At first, you will feel like your migraines are ruling your life. However, with the right treatment plan, and an accurate journal to determine your triggers, you can take control of your life. Stay connected with your doctor. Be honest and proactive in your treatment. This way you can reduce the number of migraines that you get.