Could Your Headache Be a Migraine?
Most people get headaches now and then, but how do you know if it's a migraine? This is a headache in which blood vessels constrict and dilate, releasing
inflammatory substances that cause painful pulsations. The mild to severe pain
can last from four hours up to a week, two to four times a month.
Your headache may be a migraine if you have any combination of these symptoms:
- Moderate to severe pain (often described as pounding,
throbbing pain) that can affect the whole head, or can shift from one side of
the head to the other
- Sensitivity to light, noise or odors
- Blurred vision
- Nausea or vomiting,
upset stomach, abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Sensations of being very warm or cold
- Fever (rare)
- Bright flashing dots or lights, blind spots, wavy or jagged lines (aura)
If you think you might be a migraine sufferer, see a
doctor for your
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- Can migraines be prevented?
- What medications treat migraines?
- What pain relievers can cause rebound headaches?
- What foods trigger headaches?
Did You Know?
- Botox may prevent
and treat migraines.
- Certain foods, like aged cheese and red wine, can
- An aura is a sign that a migraine is about to begin;
this includes blurred or distorted vision, blind spots or bright colored,
flashing or moving lights or lines in vision.
- A cluster headache is
an intense headache that occurs one to three times per day, which may last two
weeks to three months.
- A rebound headache is one that occurs from over-using
medications for headache pain.
- Tension headaches are the most common type of adult
headache; thought to be caused by tightened muscles in the back of the neck
Know Your Numbers
- There are 150 diagnostic headache categories.
- People spend $4 billion a year on over-the-counter pain
relievers for headaches.
- 45 million Americans suffer chronic headaches.
- 28 million Americans have migraines each year.
- 70% of migraine sufferers are women.
- 78% of headaches are the tension type.
For more, please read the Migraine Headache
and General Headache
WebMD the Magazine - September/October 2005
Last Editorial Review: 10/31/2005
© 2005 WebMD Inc. All rights
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