This Article is About
migraine headaches
visual disturbances
female population
medical disorder
nausea and vomiting
Migraine Headaches: Symptoms, Signs And Management
Join 1000's of Authors at StreetArticles Today!

Migraine headache in its classical or typical form is characterised by episodes of headache which are paroxsymal (of sudden onset), unilateral and accompanied by visual disturbances. It is often associated with dizziness, nausea and vomiting.

It is of utmost importance to indicate that although migraine is often referred to as hemicranial headaches, because it typically affects one side of the head, this is not always the case as there are many patients who experience a form of migraine with headaches which are bitemporal. In such cases of bitempooral migraine headaches, the characteristic features are the episodic, paroxsymal and pulsating (or throbbing) nature of the headaches. The visual disturbances may also not be present.

It is a fairly common medical disorder, can be quite debilitating in its severe forms and is more prevalent in the female population.

The mechanisms of the disease are not yet fully understood. However, it has been clearly demonstrated that during migraine attacks, at the onset there is an initial decrease in cerebral flow due blood vessel constriction or spasm followed by vasodilatation. Headaches are chiefly due to the dilation of blood vessels by the trigeminal nerve.

There are different forms of migraine headaces and are classified chiefly by the symptoms and signs or clinical manifestations. These forms include:

1. Classical migraine: these headaches are paroxsymal, unilateral and of a throbbing nature with visual disturbances and sensory symptoms which may precede or accompany the headaches.

2.Common migraine: these are also episodic and unilateral with chief symptoms being frontal headcahes, photophobia, nausea and vomiting. Vomiting usually provides some temporary relief or reduction in the intensity of the headaches. For this reason, the patients often induce vomiting.

3.Hemiplegic migraine: this type is type is the most debilitating and is characterised by headaches which are severe, lasts for days (sometimes days) but the distinctive feature, as the name suggests, is the hemiplegia which accompany or may develop after the headaches, but recovers slowly over hours. Hemiplegia ( hemiparesis) is paralysis or loss of motor function of one side of the body.

4.Basilar migraine: this is characterisd by occipital headaches (at the back of the head) and are preceded by dizziness, diplopia (double vision), mild speech or other sensory disturbances.

Because of the severity of migriane headaches and their debilitating nature, an important aspect in the management of patients is the identification and avoidance of the precipitating or trigger factors. These vary with individual patients. However, there are a wide range of common precipitating or trigger factors for migraine headcahes.

The common trigger factors include:

1.Dietary: dairy products, especially cheese, citrus products especially oranges, chocolates and products containing caffeine, like coffee, tea and some sodas. Hunger or long intervals between meals also precipitate attacks of migraine. Sweets can provide relief for some patients during an attack, but for others they act as a main trigger factor.

2. Environmental: bright lights, noise and vibrations, strong or pungent chemicals, sudden changes in weather patterns or extremes of heat or cold, areas of reducued oxygen concentration like crowded rooms and high altituteds.

3. Stress: worry, tension in relationhips, (family,friends, spousal or at the workplace), fatigue, lack of proper sleep, overworked, have been well documented factors.

4. Menstrual cycles: women are more affected by the disease than men and the monthly cycle for many is the main trigger. The menopausal changes that women undergo in midle age for many sometimes is the main factor which precipitated the onset of the disease.

5. Medications: these vary widely with individual patients and include those to which they have an allergy or intolerance. For example, a number of drugs used to treat high blood pressure, have been known to precipitate migraine attacks.

The treatment of migraine headcahes involve first and foremost a precise diagnosis of the disease, which form, identification of the trigger factors in each specific case, their avoidance, the appropriate lifestyle changes or modifications and the use of a number of medications. Other medical disorders like depression or uncontrolled hypertension whic can also act as a trigger also need also to be treated.

Commoly used medications are analgesic for pain relief, anti-emetic drugs for nausea and vomiting. Drugs which act on the blood vessels, hypotensive drugs such as the beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers and those which act on the nerve endings, for example the trycyclic antidepressants are generally used with good effect.

It is of utmost importance to emphasise that in any situation of persistent headaches there should be a thorough investigation of patients which may have to involve the different medical specialities. Even in cases of a correct and precise diagnosis of migraine based on the typical clinical symptoms and signs, the differential diagnosis of more serious medical disorders like aneurysms of blood vessels, brain tumors or an impending stroke must always be considered.


Street Talk

Thank you for the great medical information....well written and easy to understand for those who need laymen's terms and also very medical for those of us who do understand...Please do you have any information for those of us who get just the aura of bright lights in geometrical shapes flashing in our eyesight? This is followed by no headache. Magnesium supplementation seems to make it go away...

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
You May Also Like
Knowing more about migraine headaches
Migraine is still an enigma to the medical world as its definite cause is still in question. It is often defined as a painful headache that is felt only in one side of the head of the sufferer. Although it can occur on anyone despite of their sex and age,…
By: James Curran in  Health and Fitness  >  Headaches Migraines   Jul 11, 2011  
0
  Likes: 0

Five Things You Should Know About Natural Stress Supplements
Natural Stress Supplements, Why Take The Natural Route? Stressed? You're not the only one! In fact I would go as far as to estimate that most of us living in today's modern era are stressed out to some degree, although some of us more than others. That's why I've been…
By: Hannah Levi in  Health and Fitness  >  Mental Health   Oct 27, 2012  
3
  Likes: 3

Seven Symptoms Of Migraine
There are  seven symptoms commonly associated with migraine headaches, these symptoms, in rare cases can all occur simultaneously, or as is the norm can occur in any combination, typically depending on the individual themselves. Also each symptom associated with the headache can vary in intensity, in some cases a patient…
By: James Harley in  Health and Fitness   Sep 21, 2011  
1
  Likes: 0

Migraine Headache, Causes, Symptoms,treatments
Migraine headaches are a particularly crippling illness affecting around 13% of the population. It is estimated that up to 70% of women between the ages of 15 and 60 suffer from migraine while it is typically lower in men, around 30% within the 17 to 50 age group. A typical…
By: James Harley in  Health and Fitness   Sep 10, 2011  
0
  Likes: 0

Symptoms Of Migraine Headaches And Possible Causes
Now I've never had migraine, but I know plenty of people who have. The closest I've come to such a hellish pain was when I used to contract my weekly stress headaches. They were quite bad enough, thank you. Pain and symptoms for migraine headaches affect about 30 million Americans,…
By: Mike Bond in  Health and Fitness  >  Headaches Migraines   May 14, 2012  
9
  Likes: 3

Obesity And Health Risk
Obesity has been connected with heart disease so people are interested in a heart healthy weight loss diet. That usually means that they want to stop spending so much time at Hamburger Joes and Fat Fried Chicken. That may be it. An easy healthy weight loss diet might be to…
By: John T Jones, Ph.D. in  Health and Fitness  >  Obesity   Mar 15, 2013  
0
  Likes: 0

How You Can Be Affected By Teeth Grinding At Night
Something I found out about after doing a lot of digging around the net, was that teeth grinding at night is something affecting about 50% of folks in US alone. Being from the UK myself, I know as much as that’s a lot of people bothered by this. Or at…
By: Robbie Bowman in  Health and Fitness  >  Dental Care   Apr 04, 2012  
2
  Likes: 1

Gluten - Free Diets Fact Or Fad?
Are Gluten-Free Diets The Latest Fad? There has been a great deal of publicity surrounding Gluten-Free diets. Some of the Nations biggest stars are coming out regarding their gluten intolerances. Because of this fact people are jumping onboard the gluten-free train. However a gluten-free diet is not for everyone. Those…
By: Jewel S. Herrin CPhT. in  Health and Fitness  >  Nutrition   Nov 22, 2012  
0
  Likes: 1

Relief for Headaches: The Acupuncture Defense
One common physical complaint is headache or cephalgia. It may indicate a stress response, skeletal muscle tension, migraine, or a combination of factors. Headaches can be classified into cluster headaches, migraine headaches, sinus headaches, and tension headaches. Cluster headaches are severe forms of headaches generally experienced by men. The excruciating…
By: Madison Moore in  Health and Fitness  >  Acupuncture   Feb 27, 2011  
0
  Likes: 0

Locating Migraine And Parkinson’s Specialist In Delhi Near You
Today, due to stress and unhealthy lifestyle, people are suffering from so many health issues that they have almost got used to many other painful health problems as well. Sleeplessness, dizziness, headaches, early aging, early appearance of white hair, skin problems etc are some of the health issues that people…
By: Neurologist Delhi in  Health and Fitness  >  Headaches Migraines   Apr 29, 2016  
0
  Likes: 0

Stomach Migraines - How to Recognize Them
Stomach migraines are just what you think they are, a type of migraine that is characterized by abdominal pain and nausea.  Usually noticed in children, and especially girls, they are painful and may or may not involve an actual headache.  It is fairly rare for an adult to experience this…
By: Mathea Ford in  Health and Fitness  >  Headaches Migraines   Mar 15, 2011  
0
  Likes: 2

Know More About the Symptoms Of Abdominal Migraines
Is your 8 year kid always complaining about stomach aches? Is she turning pale and losing interest in school? The symptoms of abdominal migraines are very much similar to these. Never heard of abdominal migraines – here is a brief insight for you to identify these unknown symptoms of abdominal…
By: Article Guy in  Health and Fitness  >  Headaches Migraines   Feb 10, 2012  
0
  Likes: 0

What is Headache
Headache consists of the sensation of scalable degree of pain inside the head and located precisely in the half cephalon part of the skull . It is characterised as being an incontrolable neurological disorder which the origin according to neurologist's experts is unknown. It could be moderate to severe accompagnied…
By: kenana in  Health and Fitness  >  Headaches Migraines   Aug 16, 2011  
0
  Likes: 2

Chiropractic - Effective Solution for Headaches
Surveys show that more people are experiencing headache, going back to the year 1995 according to the National Institutes of Health there are 48 million (estimated) of people in the USA who used chiropractic treatment. Nowadays we can see that not only in the USA but all over the world,…
By: dianamariana in  Health and Fitness  >  Headaches Migraines   Jun 13, 2011  
2
  Likes: 2

Ocular Migraine - What is it And How Do I Treat It?
The word migraine brings to mind a lot of painful thoughts.  But there are a few types of migraines that can be painless most of the time.  I actually get these quite often, and they always make me fear a painful migraine coming.  Sometimes people refer to them as a…
By: Mathea Ford in  Health and Fitness  >  Headaches Migraines   Mar 12, 2011  
0
  Likes: 2

Article Views: 2225    Report this Article