Migraine is a neurological disease that can have extremely debilitating symptoms for those affected. There are an estimate 190,000 migraine attacks experienced every day in England alone, with around 6 million people suffering in the United Kingdom.
Migraine symptoms can drastically vary from each person that has them, with symptoms possible lasting anywhere from a few hours, to 2 or 3 days. Some people may notice particular times when their migraine attacks occur. The most common symptoms of migraine are:
- Eye pain.
- Nausea and/or vomiting.
- Sensitivity to light and/or sound.
- Severe, ‘pounding’ pain, usually on one side of the head.
There are two main types of migraine, migraine with aura, and migraine without. With migraine with aura, you will get warning signs before the headache part of the migraine, such as blurred vision, the appearance of blind spots, or even numbness/weakness down one side of the body.
Migraine without aura is far more common however, and unfortunately you will receive no such warnings before the headache impacts you. Some people may also get ‘silent migraines’, whereby you experience some of the other symptoms and not the headache.
The cause of migraines is not fully known, but they are believed to be connected to unusual brain activity that temporarily affects nerve signals, chemicals and blood vessels in the brain.
It’s unclear why this change in brain activity happens, but your genes make you more likely to experience migraines due to a specific trigger.
There is currently no cure for migraine, although a number of prescription migraine treatments are available to ease the symptoms and some that can prevent or help relieve further migraine attacks.
Painkillers, or anti-inflammatory tablets are often the first line treatment, but if these have not worked, then Triptan medication might be your next option.
Prescription Triptan medication are not the same as painkillers or anti-inflammatories, as Triptans causes the blood vessels around the brain to contract. This reverses the dilating blood vessels, which is believed to be the cause of your Migraine. Triptan medication is available in various forms and strengths.
One of the best ways of preventing migraines before they even occur is to recognise the things that trigger an attack. Some people who experience migraines begin to feel unwell a day or so before a migraine attack, these strange sensations are called the prodrome. We have prescription medication to prevent migraine attacks, which is called Propranolol (a beta blocker). This medication is unsuitable for patients with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), vascular disease or heart failure.
Whatever your needs and wether you are looking to prevent or treat them, you can buy migraine treatment from Medical Specialists®. If you've been diagnosed with migraines, you can order migraine medication from us today by completing a simple online consultation.
A migraine 'trigger' is something that happens to you, or something that you do, which then results in you experiencing a migraine attack.
The migraine attack could begin anywhere between 6 to 48 hours after the trigger happens.
Common triggers for migraines include:
- Sleep (both too much and too little).
- Too much caffeine
- Hormones (e.g. linked to a woman's menstrual cycle, or when going through menopause).
- Food (Missing meals or eating sugary snacks instead of a proper meal can cause a migraine attack. Not having enough food is one of the most common food-related causes of migraine attacks).
- Light (Sunlight and artificial lights can trigger migraine attacks).
- Exercise (For some people, sudden vigorous exercise can trigger a migraine attack. This is more common in those who don't usually do much physical activity).
- Computers (Sitting in front of a computer for a long time can trigger a migraine attack).
Perhaps surprinsingly to some, there is no actual specific test to diagnose migraine. Diagnosis will depend upon your own doctor looking at your medical history and ruling out other causes for your symptoms. To make a firm diagnosis, information from two sources will be used:
- A detailed history of the headaches and/or other symptoms is taken. This history includes assessing:
- The features of the headaches (Such as how severe your pain is, how frequent it occurs, are there any other symptoms alongside the heacache).
- Looking at how your everyday activities are impacted by the headaches.
- Any family history of headaches.
- A thorough examination should then be conducted, including a complete neurological assessment.
To help with your diagnosis, you may be asked to monitor your attacks via a migraine dairy.
Here, you can record useful information such as the time and date of the attack, what symptoms you had, what were you doing at the time of the attack, note if there were any obvious or possible triggers, note if you then took any medication for the attack and if it helped to relieve your symptoms, which migraine stages you experienced. With all of the above, an accurate diagnosis can then be made.