Migraine pain can be intense, particularly for those who are experiencing a migraine for the first time and may not know it. If a person is able to recognize the signs and common triggers for a migraine, they may be able to prevent migraine symptoms from worsening.
A migraine generally occurs due to changes in the brain. Migraines are severe headaches, usually pulsating and on one side of the head, and can be associated with nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light (photophobia) and sensitivity to sound (phonophobia). They are generally worsened by physical activity.
Migraine pain can be triggered by external factors. Common migraine triggers include:
- Environmental changes
- Allergy attacks
- Lack of sleep (or too much sleep)
- Loud noises
Researchers have yet to pinpoint a root cause for all migraines, but suspect that migraine pain is related to changes in the blood vessels and surrounding nerves in the brain. In many patients, there are nerves outside the brain that – when irritated – serve as migraine triggers by causing a cascade effect that leads into the brain and results in standard, migraine pain.
There are four stages that a migraine sufferer may experience: prodrome, aura, attack, and postdrome.
- Prodrome: Takes place 24 to 48 hours before a migraine. If experiencing this stage, an individual may have one of a slew of emotional and/or physical symptoms, including anxiety, depression or muscle cramps.
- Aura: Serves as a “warning” stage leading up to a migraine attack. If experiencing this stage, an individual commonly has changes in their senses, such as hearing, speech, touch, vision and/or taste. They may also feel physical symptoms, such as muscular spasms or weakness.
- Migraine Attack: Moderate to severe headache that lasts between four hours and three days. As discussed above, it is linked to various other symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, photophobia and phonophobia.
- Postdrome: Results in a hangover-like feeling immediately after a migraine attack. Postdrome often lasts about 24 hours and may cause depression, exhaustion and other symptoms that make it difficult for a person to focus on everyday tasks.
Migraine stages may vary in length and severity, and a person may experience one, several or all stages.
There is no telling when a migraine will happen. However, an individual who understands migraine symptoms and stages will more promptly identify the signs of a migraine and intervene accordingly.
At The Migraine Institute, state-of-the-art diagnostic techniques are used to ensure patients get appropriate and precise care. Dr. Jonathan Cabin, a board-certified head and neck surgeon who possesses dual-subspecialty training in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, will perform a comprehensive patient evaluation. If the patient is a candidate for interventional procedures, he then will recommend a personalized treatment regimen of Botox or minimally invasive surgery.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Cabin, please call us at 310.461.0303 or fill out our online form.