Migraines are recurring, pulsing headaches and are often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. Although they most typically affect one side of the head, migraines can produce steady, painful throbs on the sides and front of the head and even around the eyes. Migraines can last anywhere from one hour to three days, making work, normal daily function and the simple enjoyment of life next to impossible.
For some, the extreme pain and other unpleasant symptoms caused by migraines can include early warning signs that can manifest in visual disruption such as flashes of light or blind spots, or come in the form of tingling in the face, arm or leg.
Migraine causes and symptoms can vary from person to person. The causes are not completely understood, but we do know that they are largely contributed to by genetics and certain environmental conditions. So, if migraines run in your family, it is very likely that you may suffer from them.
Hormonal changes are also thought to contribute to the causes of migraines. Fluctuations in estrogen due to menstruation, pregnancy and menopause are thought to cause migraines in certain women. Additionally, hormonal medications, such as oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy can increase migraine symptoms in certain women and decrease migraine symptoms in others.
Stress, bright lights, loud sounds and strong smells can cause migraines. Sleep pattern changes – whether too much or too little sleep – can lead to a migraine. Overexertion, skipping meals and changes in weather or barometric pressure are known causes of migraines, as well as certain foods, beverages and additives in the items we ingest. Specifically, alcohol – especially red wine, coffee, chocolate, soda – anything with caffeine, salty and processed foods, as well as aged cheese and certain sweeteners and preservatives are all culprits.
It is also believed that changes in the brainstem and its interaction with the major pain pathway, as well as imbalances in brain chemicals such as serotonin – which regulates pain – can also attribute to the onset of migraines.
A migraine can be comprised of four parts, although not everyone will experience all four. The first portion can include symptoms, such as neck stiffness, mood changes ranging from depression to euphoria, food cravings, constipation and increase thirst and urination…all which may occur one or two days prior to the onset of a migraine.
The next step that can affect migraine sufferers is what occurs just before or during the migraine itself, and lasts and increases over few minutes to an hour. This is usually visual in nature. Some migraine sufferers see shapes, bright spots, flashes of light or experience temporary vision loss. It can also come in the form of pins and needles in the arm, leg or feet. There can be weakness or numbness in certain parts of the body or uncontrollable jerking movements as well.
The duration and intensity of a migraine attack can vary from person to person, occurring rarely or as often as a few times a month. Some experience more intense pain than others. Sensitivity for certain migraine sufferers might include only sight and sound, whereas others also become sensitive to smell and touch. Nausea for some may be slight, yet it may result in vomiting for others.
Finally, the fourth part of a migraine is when the actual attack has subsided and the sufferer feels drained, foggy, lightheaded – even to the point where a quick turn of the head or getting up to fast might trigger migraine pain once again. Conversely, some migraine sufferers feel elated after the actual attack subsides.
Women are much more likely to suffer from migraines than men – in fact, three times as likely; and although migraines can affect people at various times in their lives, migraines tend to arise in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood and peak during a person’s 30s.
Currently, there is no cure for migraines, but there are medications which can help to prevent migraines and make them less painful to endure. The right medications, coupled with certain lifestyle changes – including diet and stress reducers such as meditation, yoga, massage and moderate exercise – can help keep migraines at bay, but those who take medications need to be careful. Certain medications can be addictive, some can cause digestion issues and there is even something called medication overuse. Medication overuse is when, after extended use, medications stop relieving migraine symptoms and perhaps even cause them.
Do you suffer from migraines?
The medical and research professionals at Riverside Clinical Research are planning on conducting research studies for this condition. If you suffer from any of the symptoms associated with migraines and think you may want to participate, do not hesitate to enroll with Riverside Clinical Research so that you can be contacted about studies in your area. If you are interested becoming a clinical research trial volunteer or if you would simply like to learn more about the clinical research trials at Riverside Clinical Research, please feel free to access our patient portal which can be found on our website.
Clinical research and the findings that are uncovered within that process are vital to advancement of medicine and, more specifically, essential for discovering better ways to prevent, treat, control and diagnose illnesses. An award-winning research facility, Riverside Clinical Research, has earned a stellar reputation for clinical research trial trendsetting. Additionally, Riverside Clinical Research doctors and experienced research professionals work closely with clinical trial volunteers to monitor and assess the benefits and effectiveness of medication. Deemed one this area’s best medical research facilities, Riverside Clinical Research can support up to 26 in-house patients and a large number of outpatients.
Riverside Clinical Research volunteers not only contribute to the significant breakthroughs in healthcare, they have the elite privilege of access to medical treatments before they are made available to the general public.
If you want to help shape the future and make the world a better place, call the professionals at Riverside Clinical Research for more information at 386-428-7730 Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. or Friday from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.; or if it is more convenient, email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Riverside Clinical Research is conveniently located at 1410 S. Ridgewood Avenue in Edgewater.