There is no cure for migraine headaches, but there are pain-relief treatments and preventive medications available.
If you routinely suffer from intense headaches accompanied by other symptoms of a migraine attack discussed below, it’s important to consult with your primary care doctor. Without treatment, migraines can intensify over time and interfere with your ability to function in your day-to-day life.
Prescription medications for migraines are often categorized as preventive or abortive.
Preventive drugs, as the name indicates, are intended to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks. Abortive medications are taken during a migraine to reduce the severity of symptoms that are already present or beginning to emerge.
Choosing the right medication depends on a number of individual factors. Migraines are complex conditions that vary widely in how they manifest themselves, and different drugs target areas involved their often-debilitating attacks.
Migraine Stages and Symptoms
Migraines generally, though not always, progress through four stages:
- Prodrome: A day or two before a migraine attack, a person may experience seemingly unrelated indicators that include constipation, increased hunger, hyperactivity, irritability, depression and neck stiffness.
- Aura: Visual disturbances, such as flashes of light, that may appear before or during a migraine attack; the aura stage may also include a prickling sensation in a leg or arm.
- Headache: A migraine headache may last for a few hours or a few days. The pain is often described as pulsing or throbbing, and it can affect one or both sides of your head. The headache stage may be accompanied by a sensitivity to light and sounds; nausea or vomiting; blurry vision; and lightheadedness.
- Postdrome: After a migraine passes, you may feel physically drained as well as soreness or lingering discomfort around the headache site. Many migraine sufferers report a sense of feeling hungover and weak; these effects may persist for a few days. Less typically, some people report a sense of euphoria following a migraine attack.
While the precise causes of migraines are not known, it is thought that they may be triggered by a mix of genetic and environmental factors. Migraines frequently run in families, and they are sometimes associated with other conditions including depression and anxiety disorders.
If you live in the Littleton, Colorado, area and you suffer from migraine-like symptoms or recurring headaches, please contact board-certified internal medicine specialist Dr. Andy Fine online or call 303-703-8583 to schedule your appointment.