Migraines are a health problem that can be treated
December 8, 2021
Migraines are painful, throbbing headaches that last from 4 to 72 hours. When you have a migraine, it may be so painful that you are not able to do your usual activities. But even though migraines make you feel bad, they don’t cause long-term damage. Migraines are a health problem that can be treated.
What causes migraines?
Experts are not sure what causes migraines. Migraines run in families, but it isn’t clear why some people get migraines and others don’t.
Some things can cause a migraine to start. These are called triggers. Your triggers may be different from someone else’s. Some common triggers include:
- Not eating.
- Poor sleep habits.
- A change from your normal routine.
- Red wine.
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG).
- Strong odors.
The main symptom of a migraine is a throbbing headache on one side of your head. You also may feel sick to your stomach and vomit. Activity, light, noise, or odors may make the migraine worse. The pain may move from one side of your head to the other, or you may feel it on both sides at the same time. Different people have different symptoms.
Some people have an aura before the migraine begins. A migraine aura is a warning sign of an oncoming migraine headache. An aura develops gradually, often within 30 minutes before a migraine headache starts, but can also occur during the headache for some people. When you have an aura, you may first see spots, wavy lines, or flashing lights. Your hands, arms, or face may tingle or feel numb. These are all short-term symptoms. The aura usually starts about 30 minutes before the headache. But most people don’t have auras.
A doctor can usually tell if you have a migraine by asking about your symptoms and examining you. You probably will not need lab tests, but your doctor may order some if he or she thinks your symptoms are caused by another disease.
You can’t cure migraines. But medicines and other treatments may help you feel better and limit how often you get migraines.
Be careful when you use your migraine medicines. Taking them too often can cause you to get another headache when you stop taking the medicine. This is called a rebound headache. If you are taking headache medicine more than 2 days a week, or if you get more than 3 headaches a month, talk to your doctor.