Millions of people live their lives dealing with daily chronic migraine symptoms. It is often difficult for doctors to diagnose the difference between migraines and headaches because some of the pain symptoms are so similar. I thought it would be simple.
Simple because migraines recur again and again and headaches go away. Right?
This is no always so, I have since learned.
Headaches from injury or trauma can also last a lifetime.
I believe, however that the cold and flu like symptoms of migraine, the sensitivities to light, sound and movement are unique.
One side of my face swells up when I get a really bad migraine, I just can't see that happening with a headache. So the physical pain symptoms, yes I can see difficulty with that. The tense muscles in the neck and shoulders, pain around the occipital, temples and forehead, and clenched jaw. But the zig zag lines, the blurry vision, the memory loss and loss of speech. No, I think those are unique to migraine symptoms.
No two people are alike and no two migraines are exactly the same. The
symptoms can range from mild to severe. Even with some headaches,
individuals need to be hospitalized if the pain becomes unbearable. So make sure you write down some symptoms clearly when they happen. It will help your doctor diagnose what is going on for you.
Try to avoid all known triggers for the symptoms. They could be obvious or subtle. Sometimes you might have to become a detective.
The more information that you can write down, the better!
Keeping a detailed list of your symptoms and when they occur will increase your chance of an accurate diagnosis.
It will help you and your physician decide on your best possible treatment program.
The management for chronic migraine symptoms can involve medications, alternative healthcare options, biofeedback or chiropractic treatments.
Find support and be kind to yourself. This is a medical condition just like having epilepsy, so make sure you treat it that way!
The treatment of the symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, unilateral pain, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to smell and others can be unique to each person. Keeping a migraine diary is a good way to be able to gather information in order to figure out what the triggers are for your migraine headaches. Once these triggers can be identified, the best thing to do if possible is to avoid the triggers.
Rest is very important with finding resolution for a migraine. With some people, the best route is to use the body's natural coping methods, which means closing themselves up in a dark quiet room away from sound and light until the entire episode passes.
If this is not something that worked in the past, then seeking further medical treatment may be necessary. Painkillers, caffeine derivatives or muscle relaxants are often prescribed to help relieve the intense headaches and/or effective triptans and ibuprofen to abort migraines.
You might like to read our how to treat a migraine with ice and heat.
Biofeedback may be beneficial to some people. If you can learn to control the headaches by becoming more aware of and changing the body's responses such as heart rate, skin temperature, and muscle tension, it could possibly help.
Read more about biofeedback and migraines.
Ask your physician about herbs, vitamins, and minerals to see if they think these might be of help for your migraines. High doses of riboflavin (Vitamin B2) may help prevent migraines because it helps to correct tiny deficiencies in the brain cells.
According to Medline Plus Riboflavin is “possibly effective for...
"Preventing migraine headaches. Taking high-dose riboflavin (400 mg/day) seems to significantly reduce the number of migraine headache attacks. However, taking riboflavin does not appear to reduce the amount of pain or the amount of time a migraine headache lasts.”
Read more about supplements for migraines.
Preventative treatment is ideal for some people.
There are times when dietary changes, relaxation methods, massage or acupuncture, works to help prevent migraine attacks.
Consulting a physician and developing a treatment plan for your migraine headaches is the wisest course of action.
Unfortunately, as you may already know, some migraines remain resistant to all medications and treatments.
Coping with migraines can definitely have challenges. Take back control of your life where you can. Work with your physician to develop a treatment plan that will work for you. Most of all take care of yourself, be kind to yourself. This is a hard journey.
Check out if there are any local support groups close by. They can be helpful and useful to connect with other migraineurs. It will allow you to talk with others that have the same problems and experience the same pain. They will understand exactly what you mean with no blank stares. Heaven!
If you can’t find a group, perhaps consider finding a professional counsellor who specializes in pain management. If you are still having problems coping with the chronic migraine symptoms, a therapist can help you to understand the psychological affects you are experiencing. Most important of all, is to lift your spirits and set aside time to be with your loved ones and things you love (including yourself) every day.
I can highly recommend using this company who has counselors online 24/7 and a combination of the natural and traditional approaches to migraine management.
This combination works for me, give them a try!
Chronic Migraine Symptoms Reference: Medline Plus Riboflavin – Vitamin B2Home › Migraine Symptoms › Managing Chronic Migraine Symptoms