Migraines are tricky, because no one really knows exactly why they happen. Many experts believe that genetics and environmental factors are mainly to blame. Others see migraines as the result of a problem with how the brainstem interacts with the trigeminal nerve, which is a major pain pathway. Still others point to an imbalance of serotonin levels.
No matter what’s causing your migraines, the one thing we can all agree on is that a migraine attack significantly impacts a sufferer's quality of life.
That’s why our team at Prime Choice Family Clinic & Urgent Care in Frisco, Texas, makes migraine education and care a key part of our comprehensive services.
The stages of a migraine
It’s estimated that nearly 39 million people in the United States have migraines. Unfortunately, some believe the number is much higher since many people with migraines are undiagnosed. Much of that is due to the fact that people simply don’t recognize that they have migraines.
It’s easy to chalk up head pain as a run-of-the-mill headache, but if you look closer at the four stages of a migraine, you’ll notice there are some key differences.
We refer to the first stage of a migraine as the prodrome stage. This stage occurs 1-2 days before a migraine attack and typically causes subtle changes, including constipation, food cravings, and mood changes.
Only 25-35% of people with migraines go through Stage 2, which involves a unique migraine symptom called aura. Aura can occur before or during a migraine attack, and it’s usually accompanied by vision changes and other nervous system disturbances, such as speech and auditory irregularities.
The brunt of the migraine attack occurs during Stage 3. Attacks can last anywhere from 4-72 hours. In addition to intense, throbbing headache pain, you may also experience sensitivity to light, sound, smell, and touch. Your migraine attack may also come with a bout of nausea or vomiting.
The final stage of a migraine is what we call the postdrome stage. At this point, you may feel completely drained after an attack or you could feel elated.
If you notice that you experience any of these symptoms in addition to headache pain, it’s likely that you have migraines.
What you should know about migraine triggers
While the exact reason why migraines occur isn’t understood, we do know that certain things can trigger them. No two people are the same, so no two people necessarily respond to the same triggers. However, there are a number of common triggers, and they include the following:
- Hormonal changes in women, such as during menstruation
- Certain drinks, such as wine and coffee
- Unmanaged stress
- Bright flashing light
- Loud sounds
- Strong smells
- Disruptions to your normal sleep habits
- Increased or intense physical activity
- Weather changes
- Medications, such as oral contraceptives and vasodilators
- Certain goods, such as processed foods
- Skipping meals
- Food additives, such as monosodium glutamate (MSG)
If you notice that you experience migraine-like symptoms as a result of these or any other triggers, it could be helpful to keep a migraine diary. Write down what the trigger was, when it occurred, what symptoms resulted, and things of that nature. This could give you and your doctor a fuller understanding of what’s going on.
How we treat migraines
One of the first things we do when we treat migraines is try to pin down which triggers you’re most sensitive to. Then, we help you take steps to avoid them. For example, we may recommend that you modify your physical activity or make adjustments to your diet.
We also evaluate your risk factors and see if things like your family history, age, or sex are playing a role in your migraine attacks.
In addition to lifestyle adjustments and migraine management strategies, we also offer uniquely formulated IV hydration treatments that specifically address migraine symptoms. Through a simple IV, we deliver powerful ingredients, including magnesium sulfate, directly into your bloodstream, which can help eliminate the pain and nausea associated with migraines.
Are you ready to get a handle on your migraines? We can help. To learn more, call 214-550-0911 or book an appointment online with Prime Choice Family Clinic & Urgent Care today.