WHAT IS A MIGRAINE, AND WHY DOES IT HAPPEN?!! A migraine is caused by abnormal brain activity.!! However, the exact sequence of events leading to a migraine remains unclear: !! Doctors think that attacks begin in the brain and then spreads via nerve signals to affect other pathways throughout the body.!! The headache itself causes intense pain (normally on one side of the head) that lasts from 4 hours to 3 days.!! Migraine headaches often begin to affect people in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood.
4 STAGES OF A MIGRAINE HEADACHE Prodrome: 1-2 days before migraine: subtle changes including depression, irritability, hyperactivity, constipation, diarrhea, food cravings, neck stiffness
4 STAGES OF A MIGRAINE HEADACHE Aura:Visual or sensory disturbances 10-15 minutes before migraine:blurred vision, bright spots, loss of vision, pins and needles in arms and/or legs, speech problems
4 STAGES OF A MIGRAINE HEADACHE Attack: pulsating pain on one side of the head sensitivity to light, sound, and/or smells nausea and vomiting blurred vision diarrhea lightheadedness, fainting numbness, tingling chills sweating increased urination problems concentrating or speaking the right words
4 STAGES OF A MIGRAINE HEADACHE Postdrome, aka migraine hangover: After the attack, you will feeldrained, and these symptoms may linger:Lack of clear thinking, weariness (need for sleep), neck pain
IN CASE YOU THINK YOU HAVE MIGRAINES…!! Migraines normally continue undiagnosed and untreated. If you regularly experience the signs and symptoms, start to keep a journal of your attacks and visit your doctor…!! If you have typical migraine symptoms and/or family history, your doctor can diagnose migraines based on your medical history.!! In addition, the following tests can be done to rule out critical causes for pain: Blood Work and Urinalysis Computerized tomography (CT) scan Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) Spinal tap
“DIAGNOSIS OF EXCLUSION”!! The bottom line of diagnosis is that…There is NO specific test that can be performed to prove that your headache is actually a migraine. Tough luck!!! Current scientific understanding is limited.
MIGRAINE TREATMENT!! Preventive medications: taken regularly (often daily), to reduce the severity or frequency of migraines. !! Beta blockers (Inderal) , calcium channel blockers (Calan) !! Tricyclic antidepressants (amitriptyline) !! Anti-seizure drugs (Topamax)!! Pain-relieving medications: acute or abortive treatment, taken during migraine attacks, designed to stop symptoms that have already begun. !! Modest pain relievers (ibuprofen, acetaminophen) !! Triptans (Relpax, Imitrex, Zomig): most effective !! Ergot (ergotamine + caffeine): less effective
COMPLICATIONS FROM TREATMENT!! Rebound headaches: medications taken often and/or in high doses can start to cause additional headaches!! Abdominal pain, bleeding, ulcers from high doses of certain pain relievers (ex/ ibuprofen)!! Life-threatening serotonin syndrome if taking certain migraine medicines (triptans, ex/ Zomig, Imitrex) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) anti-depressants simultaneously
THE MYSTERY OF MIGRAINES: WHO GETSTHEM AND WHY?!! Family history: Some sources claim that 90% of people with migraines have a family history of migraine attacks.!! Age:!Migraine can begin at any age, though most people experience their first migraine during their teenage years.!! Gender: Women are three times more likely to have migraines than men. During childhood, headaches tend to affect boys more than girls, but by adolescence, more girls are affected.!! Hormonal changes: Women may experience migraines just before or after their period. During pregnancy, attacks may be more intense during the first trimester but should occur less frequently during the rest of the pregnancy.
COMMON TRIGGERS!! Alcohol!! Stress!! Loud noise!! Bright lights!! Smoking or exposure to smoke!! Certain strong perfumes and odors!! Caffeine withdrawal!! Changes in sleep patterns!! Physical stress or intense exercise!! Missed meals!! Dehydration!! Changes in women’s hormone level due to menstrual cycle or birth control!! And….
…AND FOOD! WHO KNEW?!! More than 100 foods contain certain chemicals that are known to set off migraines.! These chemicals include tannin, nitrates, sulfites, monosodium glutamate (MSG), tyramine, and phenylethylamine (in aspartame). The most common food triggers are:!! Any processed, fermented, pickled, or marinated foods!! Baked goods, chocolate, nuts, peanut butter, and dairy products!! Foods containing tyramine: red wine, aged cheeses, smoked fish, chicken livers, figs, and certain beans!! Some fruits: avocado, banana, citrus fruit, tomato!! Meats containing nitrates: bacon, hot dogs, salami, cured meats!! Onions
WITH ALL OF THESE POSSIBLE TRIGGERS AROUNDYOU, WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PREVENT MIGRAINES?? First off, don’t cry like this child….
THE BEST PREVENTION TOOL: TAKE CARE OFYOURSELF!