Migraine is a headache disorder characterized by recurrent head pain that are moderate to severe. Typically, the headaches affect one half of the head, are pulsating in nature, and last from two to 72 hours. Associated symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, light and sound sensitivity, numbness, visual changes and even speech difficulty. The pain is generally made worse by physical activity. Up to one-third of people have an aura which typically means a short period of visual disturbance before the headache starts. Occasionally, an aura can occur with little or no headache following it.
Migraines are believed to be due to a mixture of environmental and genetic factors. About two-thirds of cases run in families. Changing hormone levels may also play a role, and two to three times more women than men. The risk of migraines usually decreases during pregnancy. It is, however, believed to involve the nerves and blood vessels of the brain.
Initial recommended treatments are over the counter Advil, Tylenol and Excedrin. However when the pain gets serious we triptans, ergotamines, nausea medications as well as daily preventive medications. The preventive medications include some blood pressure medications, anticonvulsants, antidepressants and Botox. We first evaluate the pain by doing brain scan, blood work to rule out other causes. We discuss dietary factors, job, sleep, stress and other environmental factors. If the patients fail many medications Botox is an insurance covered strong alternative which has a success rate of %80.
For further information visit: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/migraine/migraine.htm
Creating Dialogue with Patients on the Pathophysiology of Migraines: “Why do I get migraines?” Dr. Nada Hindiyeh gives advice on how to
answer this question. - view video