Migraine headaches usually start on one side of the head. They can also move from the back of the head to the front, behind the eye.
A migraine headache can start as a dull ache that develops into a pulsing pain. Some people feel pain or pressure in their temples.
A migraine episode may have the following four stages, distinguished by changes in symptoms:
Prodrome: This stage can include sensitivity to light and sound, tiredness, mood changes, neck pain, and nausea.
Aura: A migraine aura is a sensory disturbance. An aura may be visual, involving lights, lines, or spots in the field of vision. Or, the aura may be physical, causing a pins-and-needles sensation. Auras affect one-third of people with migraine.
Headache: A migraine headache causes pain that gets worse with movement. A person may also have nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to sound, smells, light, or a combination.
Postdrome: The final stage of a migraine episode can involve tiredness, trouble concentrating, weakness, and dizziness.
There is no test to diagnose migraine.
A doctor will ask for detailed descriptions of the intensity and frequency of migraine headaches and the extent to which symptoms interfere with everyday life.
When a person is experiencing a migraine episode, the following treatments can help:
- Sleep: This may put an end to a mild episode.
- Analgesics and antiemetics: Examples include metoclopramide and the combination medications Fioricet and Fiorinal.
- Triptans: Examples include naratriptan, zolmitriptan, rizatriptan, and sumatriptan.
However, people should not use triptans if they have, or have a risk of, cardiac ischemia.
Also, Botox injections can help relieve migraines. A healthcare professional can inject Botox around the head, neck, and shoulders to block muscle contraction.
The following medications may help prevent migraine episodes:
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