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Published on February 01, 2017

Migraines 101

This intense form of headache is in a class all its own.

woman holding her headAnyone who has experienced a migraine will recognize the symptoms, which typically include intense pain on one side of the head, sensitivity to light and noise, and nausea.

Migraines come on suddenly, and can last anywhere from six to 48 hours. The intensity of the symptoms means that, unlike most headaches, migraines disrupt daily routines and can make bright lights, loud sounds, and other strong stimulants intolerable.

Recognizing the Signs

Some lesser-known migraine symptoms include loss of appetite, chills, sweating, and fatigue. Some people experience “migraine aura,” which is flashing lights or temporary vision loss that precedes other symptoms and typically lasts up to half an hour.

While the root cause of migraines is unknown, research has identified a connection with changes in serotonin levels that cause blood vessels to shrink or swell. Family history can also play a role, so if any of your relatives experience frequent migraines, mention it to your physician during your next wellness visit.

Treatment Talk

Resting in a quiet, dark room with a cold compress on the forehead often helps relieve migraine symptoms. An important step to take in preventing or managing migraines is to learn to recognize foods or environmental factors that act as triggers and work to avoid them.

Migraine treatment may include pain medications such as naproxen or a combination of acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine, possibly with a prescription to help with nausea, if needed. Your doctor may also prescribe medication to prevent migraines if you experience them frequently.

Locate a physician to create a migraine treatment plan for you at kpgcares.org.

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