Migraines are the third most common disease in the world. Although there are no direct cures, there are many ways to manage severe pain
Something you might not know is that headaches should not be considered normal and that migraines are actually a neurological disorder. Both require medical advice and it is always a good idea to see a headache specialist.
"Migraines are the third most prevalent disorder and one of the top ten causes of disability worldwide," revealed Dr. Issa. They are also three times more likely to occur in women than men. Women are likely to see a decrease in migrane pain after menopause, but it varies for everyone.
Although they occur most frequently in women of childbearing age, anyone, even children and teenagers, are susceptible. To know if you or someone you know might be suffering from severe head pain, it's best to understand the four distinct phases before a migraine hits.
The first phase is unusual tiredness and neck pain. This may occur hours to one week before a migraine actually hits.
The second phase is called the aura phase, and is only present in 20-30% of those with migraines, according to Dr. Issa. Here, people may see flashing lights, have face/arm numbness or even have difficulty speaking.
"Both phase one and phase two are biological cues that a migraine may occur."
In phase three, you feel one-sided, severe throbbing pain that may come with nausea and vomiting. You also are likely to be sensitive to sound and light.
In the last phase, migraines are completely exhausted and are unable to return to normal daily activities.
For children, the symptoms may be different.
"In terms of children manifesting migraines, they may not manifest it as a one-sided headache,
explained Dr. Issa. "The presentation could be more bilateral and more of an ache. But as they grow up and go through puberty, they might manifest it more classically."
For some kids, a migraine may also manifest as abdominal pain rather than a typical headache. For this, a doctor would usually prescribe an antihistamine to help the pain subside.
While migraines are not curable, there are many options you can take for prevention and ways to reduce the pain.
For one, it's best to avoid the common triggers of migraines.
"Looking at people's dietary habits and helping them find modifications is one great approach," explained Deidre. Hydration is also a very important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and living pain-free.
People with busy lifestyles often toss sleep schedules aside. Not getting enough sleep may lead to stress -- another major trigger of migraines.
The Center for Healing Neurology offers acupuncture services, which encourages relaxation. They also have guidance counseling and medication that can be prescribed.
Don't be afraid to reach out to a doctor about your head pain and ask about your options, especially if your headaches are recurring and severe.