Because It’s More Than Just A Headache
We tend to think migraines and severe headaches as synonymous with each other. However, they’re not. This article seeks to address this, and the many other things we think are facts about the debilitating neurological condition.
Migraines: The Facts
- Migraines are believed to be in the world’s top three most common illnesses (behind dental caries and tension-type headaches).
- About 1 in 7 people worldwide suffer from it.
- Women are three times more at risk of developing migraines throughout their lifetime than men due to the hormonal changes they undergo – from puberty to childbirth to post-childbirth and menopause.
- In the US, about 37 million people suffer from it mostly within the age range of 35 to 55.
Most of us, when we feel like a severe headache is coming on, say “Oh, I have a migraine coming.” But we have to understand that the neurological illness is more than just a headache. This notion, among other things, is what this article hopes to correct.
Migraines: The Five Things You Need To Know
- A migraine is not synonymous with headaches; it’s more than that.
Migraines are more than just a headache. It’s not the only symptom of the brain-affecting condition. In fact, an individual can have migraines without the pain at all.
These are the most well-known migraine symptoms:
– Weakened vision
– Nausea or vomiting
– Heightened sensitivity of the senses like (e.g., ultra-sensitive to light, sounds, smell, and even touch)
And as this condition is neurological, it can:
– Affect the urinary system (frequent urination)
– Cause changes in blood pressure and cardiac rhythms
– Cause nasal or sinus congestions
– Impact the brain (Brain fog or the inability to think, decide, and even speak clearly)
– Subject the sufferer to mood changes, and,
– Paralyze the body temporarily among many other things.
- There is no exact cause of migraines.
It’s wrongful for people to think that those who suffer from migraines are more stressed than those who don’t have the condition. In truth, they’re not. While stress is a major causative factor for it, it isn’t the only trigger. Brain chemical changes that lower serotonin levels are one. Other triggers include dehydration, changes in sleep patterns, skipping meals, extreme weather changes, use of certain medications like oral contraceptives, and even bright lights.
- About 90% of those who suffer from it are disabled during and after attacks.
Accordingly, migraines during the pain phase are as painful and disabling as quadriplegia, acute psychosis, and dementia. Additionally, the disability chronic migraines causes are comparable to that of paraplegia, rheumatoid arthritis, even blindness.
- Painkillers don’t cure migraines.
Over-the-counter and prescribed painkillers might help manage this neurological disorder, but they’re not migraine’s cure-all solution. “Help” in a way that they reduce the pain to tolerable levels but don’t really drive it or the condition away. Caffeine can make painkillers more efficient, but dependency on these types of medications can aggravate the situation in the long run.
- Lifestyle changes are beneficial but not always enough to ward off migraine attacks.
Aside from painkillers, lifestyle changes can also aid in managing migraines. Many studies show that alternative medical methods like acupuncture improve the condition. Moreover, making healthy deviations to one’s eating and sleeping habits, exercise routines, and even steering away from stressful situations also significantly help. But some people have frequent and severe migraine attacks that make it difficult for them to implement beneficial changes to their lifestyles. Simply put, adopting healthy living isn’t a cure for the condition.
There is no cure for migraines just as there is no one reason for its attacks. But we can always hope to manage it. Talk to your healthcare provider for ways to do so. Don’t let this condition disable you.