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Published on May 29th, 2018 | by Justin Hovey

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From the Doctor: Migraines, Part I

I have been writing articles for this paper for quite some time, and I try to keep the topics short and to the point.  However, this topic will take at least two articles to cover.  So, if you are one of the five readers of this article, keep this one on hand so the next one makes sense.

A migraine is a type of headache that causes a severe throbbing pain or a pulsing sensation.  This usually occurs on just one side of the head.  This type of headache is often associated with nausea, vomiting, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound.  The attacks can last for hours to days, and they can be disabling.  The cause of migraines is not understood, but genetics and environment play a role.  Migraines could be caused by changes in the brainstem and its interactions with the trigeminal nerve.

Migraines may progress through four stages: prodrome, aura, migraine attack, and post-drome.  A person may not experience all of the stages. In the prodrome stage, a person may experience subtle changes one or two days before the actually migraine such as constipation, mood changes, food cravings, neck stiffness, increased thirst and urination, and frequent yawning.  In the aura stage which may occur before or during the migraine, they are symptoms of the nervous system.  They are usually visual disturbances such as wavy lines, flashes of lights, or wavy lines.  They can also be touching sensations, movement, or speech disturbances.  In the migraine attack, the headache usually lasts four to 72 hours if left untreated.  They maybe rare or occur several times per month.  The pain maybe on one side or both sides of the head.  The pain could be throbbing or pulsing.  One could have sensitivity to light, sounds, and sometimes smells and touch.  In the post-drome phase, a person may feel washed out and drained, while others feel elated. During this time, one could be confused, moody, dizzy, weak, or still experience sensitivity to light and sound.

Article to be continued …

Justin Hovey, M.D., is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics.


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