Women usually experience a migraine due to falling estrogen before menstruation, causing severe head pain that is accompanied by sensitivity to sound, smells or light. The common manifestations of a migraine attack include eye pain, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light or sound, and severe headache that is usually described as “pounding pain” on one side of the head. Hormonal changes, stress, certain foods, oversleeping, and strong stimuli such as loud noises are the common triggering factors of a migraine attack. Some forms of birth control pills can trigger a migraine attack, and so as with certain foods like chocolate, aged cheese, smoked meats, dairy products, alcoholic beverages, artificial sweeteners and monosodium glutamate. Keep a headache diary if you’re unsure what triggers your headache so you are able to easily identify the cause in case you’ll experience a migraine attack.
The pharmacologic treatment for migraines include over-the-counter (OTC) such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxen sodium, or prescription drugs like triptans. It is important to engage in regular exercise and balanced diet to reduce the frequency of your migraine attacks. As much as possible, avoid eating foods that are known to trigger your migraine. For some people, meditation and relaxation strategies help them in preventing migraine attacks and reducing the severity of headaches such as yoga, meditation, guided imagery, and progressive muscle relaxation. Most people are usually capable of managing their migraines with the right combination of lifestyle changes and medications. For those patients experiencing severe migraine attacks, prescription medications are usually recommended. What is the definition of migraine aura? A migraine aura refers to a set of warning symptoms that the patient experiences before migraine attack such as a numbness involving one side of the body, blind spot in one eye or flashing lights. An aura may last for several minutes and it is resolved once the head pain starts or it may also last until a migraine is resolved. There are patients who never experience migraine aura and this can be because it can mimic the signs and symptoms of a stroke.
Many women find their migraines are resolved during pregnancy because of high levels of estrogen during pregnancy. In order to prevent the risk of birth defects, it is important to discontinue any medication that was used prior to pregnancy. You might be suffering from Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMJ if you experience headaches or a migraine along with jaw locking frequently, if you keep grinding your teeth or your jaw always feel swollen, so you need to contact a TMJ specialist who will recommend effective exercises and routine changes to help in your condition. In general, the best way to effectively manage your migraine is to identify the triggering factors, lifestyle changes and taking medications as prescribed by your doctor.