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Migraines 101: Types, Symptoms, Triggers, and Finding Relief

migraines-101-types-symptoms-triggers-and-finding-reliefMigraines are a health condition that is known for having a painful, often throbbing headache. But migraines are more than just a typical headache. A headache does not always have to exist for a migraine episode to occur.

As many as 1 billion people in the world have migraines. In the United States, about 39 million people have the condition, including men, women, and children. But women have a higher risk of developing migraines than men.

Migraines are associated with multiple symptoms because they are a neurological condition that also include the following:

  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light, sound, and certain smells
  • Blurry vision
  • An aura – either a visual, sensory or motor disturbance that comes on before the attack

These symptoms can be so debilitating for some that they are forced to rest in a cold dark room until the pain subsides. Migraine attacks can last anywhere from 3 to 72 hours, causing a person to miss out on a variety of activities.

Triggers for Migraines

Doctors always advise migraine sufferers to learn their personal triggers. Triggers vary for every person. Being aware of your personal triggers can help you avoid them and have fewer migraine attacks. Some of the typical triggers that may bring about a migraine include the following:

  • Loud noises
  • Bright lights
  • Inadequate sleep or jet lag
  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Smoking and alcohol
  • Food additives
  • Dehydration or hunger
  • Caffeine
  • Medication overuse
  • Weather changes
  • Hormones
  • Certain foods
  • Strong and toxic odors
  • Certain medications

Types of Migraines

There are different types of migraines that are categorized based on symptoms. To help you determine which exact type of migraine you have, we’ve listed each of them below.

Chronic Migraines

It is considered chronic migraines if you have migraines for more than 15 days out of a month’s time for at least three consecutive months. Compared to those with acute migraines, people who have chronic migraines are more likely to have the following:

  • Severe headaches
  • Depression
  • Other chronic pain conditions like arthritis
  • History of neck or head injuries
  • Other health conditions such as high blood pressure

Acute Migraines

Also referred to as episodic migraines, these migraines are not chronic and occur only occasionally. They happen less than 14 days a month.

Vestibular Migraines

They are also called migraine-associated vertigo. The vestibular system is responsible for balance. People with vestibular migraines may feel off balance, dizzy, or as if their surroundings are spinning. As many as 40% of people with migraines suffer from some vestibular symptom. Food sensitivities may trigger vestibular migraines.

Optical Migraines

Also known as eye migraines, ophthalmic migraines, ocular migraines, monocular migraines, or retinal migraines. It is a rare migraine type with aura and includes temporary vision issues that are reversible and usually affect only one eye. Some of the symptoms include the following:

  • Loss of vision in one eye
  • Scintillations or flashes of light
  • A blind spot or scotomata, partial loss of vision

The vision problems start about an hour before the onset of head pain. Most people who have optical migraines have also reported having another migraine type in the past. Exercise or fatigue can trigger an attack.

Menstrual Migraines

As many as 60% of women suffer from this type of migraine. They may or may not include an aura and usually occur before, during, or after menstruation. Studies have shown that menstrual migraines are more intense, have more nausea, and last much longer than other migraine types. Menstrual migraines are due to the changes experienced in the body when hormone levels shift.

Acephalgic Migraines

Sometimes called migraines without headache, aura without headache, silent migraines, or visual migraines without headache. These migraines include an aura but no head pain. Adults who just began having migraines after age 40 frequently have these migraines. Visual symptoms are most common. The aura gradually happens over several minutes and moves from one symptom to another. Some of the symptoms are numbness, feeling weak, speech issues, and inability to move the body in a normal manner.

Complex Migraines

The term is used to generally describe migraines, although it is not very accurate because it is such a broad term. Some people use the label to describe migraines with auras and symptoms of a stroke:

  • Loss of vision
  • Trouble speaking
  • Weakness

Traditional Ways to Get Migraine Relief

After the onset of a migraine, it is a common practice to take over-the-counter or prescription pain medication. These work as temporary relief, but may come with unpleasant side effects, especially if used long-term. Some people also consider surgery to cope. It can be dangerous though and has its own set of risks. The bottom line is that both medications and surgery do not address the underlying cause of migraines.

The Alternative Method to Cope with Migraines

Given the risks of medications and surgery, many people are seeking a safe and natural method to get relief from migraines. A recent study revealed a link between migraines and a misalignment in the top two bones of the neck. Could it be the reason for your migraines?

  • Does your migraine pain begin at the base of your skull?
  • Have you had an injury or trauma in the head or neck?
  • Does your head feel heavy, and does your neck hurt?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, an upper cervical misalignment could be the cause of your migraines. We at Upper Cervical of Monmouth in Morganville, New Jersey utilize a gentle yet precise method to assess your condition and adjust any misaligned vertebrae in your neck. Visit our clinic and get real help from a migraine chiropractic specialist.