What Is Chronic Migraine?
Not all headaches are created equal.
Chronic Migraine sufferers know that all too well.
A migraine headache – unlike a tension headache – is terribly painful. It can leave a sufferer totally debilitated, with sensitivity to light, sound, smell and more.
It can also make really hard to manage your daily routine because all you want to do is crawl into bed and lie in the darkness.
Migraines are considered “Chronic Migraines” when a person has them 15 or more days per month. Chronic migraines affect about 1 percent of the population of the U.S.!
Tension headaches are pretty common and can be easily self-diagnosed.
Of course they’re painful too, but tension headaches can easily be treated with over-the-counter pain medications and don't often last for a long time.
Migraine Headache Symptoms
While a tension headache symptoms include dull ache or pressure in the temples or forehead, neck stiffness and tiredness, the symptoms of chronic migraine can be much more severe. They can also last for days on end.
Migraine symptoms usually include:
- Pain often felt on only one side of the brain
- Severe throbbing and pulsating pain
- Sensitivity to light, sound or smell
When You Feel A Migraine Coming On
If you experience chronic migraines, you’ll often start feeling symptoms up to two days before the actual migraine begins. This period is called the "predrome phase." You might experience depression, irritability, neck stiffness and frequent yawning during it.
Kinds of Migraine Headaches
There are two distinct kinds of migraine headaches: With aura and without aura.
Aura refers to sensations that may be felt prior to when a migraine starts, such as seeing flashes of lights, tingling or numbness in the face, dizziness and brain fog.
If you experience any of feelings your migraine is considered "with aura." These migraines are less common but can be a clear sign that a migraine is coming.
A migraine without the initial aura would be considered the latter.
Diagnosing A Migraine
Overall, migraines can be difficult to diagnose. Chronic headaches may be a secondary condition caused by a different underlying problem and not actually occurring naturally in and of itself.
If you think you are suffering from frequent migraines, it is important to accurately document your symptoms.
Having a better understanding of what is happening, when your symptoms occur and how severe they are will help you and your medical care provider identify the problem more accurately.
Just like with many chronic conditions, it’s unknown what actually causes migraine headaches.
There are, however, certain triggers that bring on a chronic migraine. If migraine sufferers try to avoid these triggers, they’ll be less likely to bring on one of these painful events.
The most common triggers to migraine are:
- Anxiety and stress
- Sensory stimulation
- Sleep deprivation
- Hormones (More typical for women. Women tend to experience hormonal changes more often than men.)
As with any medical condition, the better you understand your symptoms and triggers the better chance you’ll have a treating your migraines.
If you are a Migraine sufferer, who is experiencing extreme headaches, finds it difficult to work or do any of your regular activities, and this is happening several times a month, it’s time to reach out for help.
No one should have to live with that kind of pain and suffering. At Heartroot Health and Wellness, we’re here to help.