Migraines are notorious for causing pain. But what triggers them? How can they be prevented? And what are the best therapies? Here are answers to five of your biggest migraine questions. I hope they will help clear up a few misunderstandings and provide some useful information along the way.
1. What exactly is a migraine?
The “classic ” migraine is preceded by aura, which usually consists of strange visual disorders — zigzagging lines, flashing illuminates, and occasionally, temporary vision loss. Numbness and tingling affecting one side of the lips, tongue, face, and the hand on the same side may also happen. But only about a third of migraine sufferers experience aura, and fewer still with every attack.
The migraine headache, with or without aura, often — but not always — creates pain that usually begins on one side of the head. A migraine headache also often has a pulsating quality to it. Many people experience nausea, extreme sensitivity to sun or sound, or both.
It’s also possible to confuse other sorts of headaches with migraines. Migraines can cause nasal congestion and a runny nose, so they’re sometimes mistaken for sinus headaches. And the regular headache that most of us have experienced can have some of the features of a migrainous one, such as unilateral pain and nausea.
In short, arriving at a definition and diagnosis for migraine is complicated. Yet a simple headache diary — keeping track of headaches and factors that might have triggered them — can be very helpful in making a diagnosis.
2. What causes a migraine?
Migraines are best explained as beginning lower in the brain, in the brain-stem, which controls basic functions, such as respiration and responses to pain, and modulates many others, including incoming sensory information. The theory is that if certain areas of the brain-stem aren’t working properly or are easily aroused, they’re capable of starting cascades of neurological events that account for migraine’s multiple symptoms.
Dental forces, such as bite misalignment, and head trauma are also responsible for causing headaches and migraines.
3. What triggers a migraine?
There are too many triggers to list them all here. Many migraine sufferers are sensitive to strong sensory inputs like bright light, loud noises, and strong smells. Lack of sleep is a trigger, but so is sleeping too much. Many women have menstrual migraines associated with a drop in estrogen levels. Alcohol and certain foods can start a migraine.
One of the more common triggers, stress, is one of the hardest to control. Interestingly, migraines tend to start not during moments of great stress but later on, as people wind down.
4. How can migraines be prevented?
If you are prone to migraines, there are many steps to take to prevent or diminish the attacks:
- Identify triggers so you can avoid them. That can take some time and real detective work.
- Keep to a regular, stress-reducing schedule that includes a full night’s rest, balanced meals, and exercise.
- Wearing blue- or green-tinted glasses can help fend off an attack in people with light sensitivity.
- Try medications, such as beta blockers, tricyclic antidepressants, and anti-convulsants. All have side effects, so they should be taken at low doses and only if migraines are frequent.
5. How can they be stopped?
Pain relievers like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) can halt a mild attack, but rebound headaches may develop if they’re taken too often. Rebound headache occurs after the body gets used to having a medication in its system; when it’s not there, headaches happen. Migraines can quickly snowball into more serious pain, so it’s important to treat the headache early, regardless of the medication.
If your pain is related to dental force imbalances or head trauma, you may also be a good candidate for an alternative headache and migraine treatment called TruDenta, which is offered exclusively at Pasadena Pain Management.
TruDenta works by retraining the muscles and nerves connected by the trigeminal nerve nucleus to function properly. Therapies last about 50 minutes and include the use of several FDA cleared technologies. Depending upon the severity of your diagnosis, your treatment may consist of one to 12 treatments completed weekly.
TruDenta®patients report a 93% success rate for pain relief!
To get a full detailed analysis of the TruDenta® treatment plan, contact Pasadena Pain Management and request a FREE CONSULTATION.
HEADACHE AND MIGRAINE TREATMENT IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Pasadena Pain Management offers pain management treatment for TMJ/TMD, migraine, headaches and neck pain in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Pasadena Pain Management, we offer the exclusive TruDenta treatment therapy — a highly specialized form of care that involves cutting-edge dental technology, without needles or injections. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable pain management care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping our patients happy and pain free.