About Migraine Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

The Migraine Research Foundation estimates that 1 billion people worldwide experience migraines, including 39 million men, women and children in the United States. Often used as a term to describe a severe headache, migraine is actually a neurological disease that can cause multiple debilitating symptoms.

 

Migraine Symptoms

Migraine affects each individual sufferer differently. Some may express a single symptom while other may experience a combination. Common symptoms include the following:

  • Severe head pain or pressure
  • Blurred or disturbed vision
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Light sensitivity
  • Sound sensitivity
  • Numbness in hands, feet and/or limbs

Symptoms can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, sometimes more.

 

Migraine Triggers

Migraine attacks are brought on when an individual encounters a physiological trigger. These can include:

  • Bright  or blinking lights
  • Strong smells
  • Loud noises or noisy, crowded areas
  • Sudden changes in weather or altitude
  • Cigarette smoke or other chemical fumes
  • MSG or other foods

What about stress?

It’s a common myth that stress is a migraine trigger, but since stress is emotional, this is not the case. Stress can cause affected individuals to be more susceptible to migraines and can exacerbate symptoms once they do occur, but it is not a trigger itself.

Migraine Treatments

Even Migraine sufferers who do their best to avoid triggers will eventually experience symptoms. Over-the-counter and prescription medication can be taken to ease pain, but the effectiveness of currently available drugs can vary from person to person. Many migraine treatments are aimed instead at changing the patient’s lifestyle to lessen the chances of an attack.

Lifestyle Changes

Diet, sleep habits, and stress management techniques may be altered in hopes of improving resistance to triggers.

Alternative Therapies

Acupuncture, massage and progressive muscle relaxation may help reduce stress and tension.

Botulinum Toxin

The neurotoxin Botulinum, marketed under the brand name Botox, is also occasionally injected into a patient’s forehead to prevent migraines by temporarily paralyzing the muscles. While approved by the FDA, this treatment is not known to be widely effective.

Join the Fight

More research is needed to improve treatment options for migraine sufferers. If you experience migraines, consider applying for one of our clinical studies, which test investigational medicines before they become available to the public. If you are interested in learning more about our clinical trials, please visit the link below. Your participation could make all the difference.