Understanding and Treating Migraine Headaches
Migraines are severe headaches that cause throbbing pain, debilitating nausea, and sensitivity to light or sound. Afflicting over three million Americans each year, these headaches can last anywhere from a few hours to over a week if left untreated. Many who suffer from migraines are unaware that the headaches they experience can be diagnosed and treated by a doctor.
Before consulting with a physician, it is important to understand the symptoms and stages of a migraine headache:
- Prodrome – This stage usually occurs one or two days before the migraine episode and is marked by mood changes, neck stiffness, frequent yawning, constipation, and food cravings, among other symptoms.
- Aura – Not everyone goes through this stage during a migraine, but those who do can experience bright flashes of light, vision loss, difficulty speaking, or a pins and needles sensation in an arm or leg.
- Attack – During the migraine attack, sufferers experience painful throbbing or pulsing pain on one side of the head, blurred or sensitive vision, lightheadedness, and nausea.
- Post-drome – During the 24 hours after the episode occurs, it is common to feel weak, moody, dizzy, or confused.
For anyone experiencing this pattern or any of these symptoms, consult with a physician to determine if migraines are in fact the source of the problem. If so, a doctor may be able to offer preventative or pain-relieving solutions that can help to mitigate the effects of a migraine headache. If looking for over-the-counter medication, Excedrin can help relieve the pain of a migraine. Unlike some prescribed medications, however, Excedrin cannot prevent migraines and is only mostly used once a migraine has already begun.
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