Chronic migraine pain
Patients suffering from migraine pain can feel the effects not only physically, but it can cut into loss of work, costing billions. Patients reporting intense, frequent and debilitating headache pain are often found to have a migraine disorder. At Miami Headache Institute, our specialty is treating migraines effectively in cases where patients have not been able to experience relief from prior treatments.
A serious impairment in the ability to perform daily tasks is reported by 39% of migraine patients with more than half experiencing a more complete loss of function and requiring bed rest to deal with the pain. Fewer than one in ten migraine patients do not suffer from this disabling effect. Migraines cost American businesses over thirteen billion dollars every year. Many sufferers will miss over a week of work every year due to their migraines alone.
Migraine headache disorders are as many as three times more common in women than in men. There seems to be a link between fluctuating female hormones and the occurrence of migraine symptoms and these hormonal changes are probably responsible for menstrual migraines. Upwards of sixty percent of women suffering from migraines report increased onset during their menstrual cycle.
The majority of people with migraine disorders are not receiving medical care. This fact contributes to under and mis-diagnosis as well as self prescribed treatment and overuse of medication that can, in turn, lead to increased symptom frequency. Disorders also associated with migraines and chronic headaches are depression, sleep disorders, anxiety, epilepsy and stroke. Migraines and these associated disorders can be treated with similar medications and share many traits.
Migraines Have Four Phases
The major phases of a migraine headache are the prodrome phase, the aura phase, the headache phase and the resolution phase. Most, but not all, headaches patients experience these same phases in that order. The four phases are detailed below.
Prodrome phase symptoms precede the migraine by up to 24 hours and are experienced by 60% of migraine patients. The symptoms, which signal the oncoming headache, may include mood shifts, increased yawning, increased thirst, bloating, neck pain, excessive urination, constipation and diarrhea. Increased sensitivity to lights and sounds is also common.
The aura phase is experience by about 15% of migraine patients. The appearance of aura in migraine patients usually assures the onset of a headache. The aura phase can last as long as an hour. Visual auras are the most common and can include the patient seeing flashing or shimmering lights. Other neurological symptoms such as hemisparesis and paresthesias are known to accompany auras before migraines.
The headache phase of a migraine begins unilateral but can evolve to bilateral if the pain moves to another section of the head. The associated throbbing and pulsing pain can increase due to cranial pressure. Things like physical activity, coughing and sneezing will increase the pain. Secondary symptoms that commonly appear are nausea, vomiting, dizziness, phonophobia and photophobia. Most patients will seek a bed in a quiet dark room during this phase.
Exhaustion, mood shifts and irritability are the most common symptoms during the resolution phase.
Doctors and staff at Miami Headache Institute are experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of migraine headaches. We will provide a number of treatment options to combat your particular headache symptoms and causes. Call us today to schedule your first appointment.