June 2020 is migraine awareness month! Over 38 million people in the United States suffer from migraines. Migraines are not your typical headache, they are much more debilitating and excruciating. In order to understand the importance of awareness, let’s dig a little deeper into the root of migraines!
What exactly is a migraine?
Migraines are commonly known as intense headaches with a sensitivity to light. Varying in pain levels, some people live with chronic migraines while others suffer from a migraine on occasion. Regardless of the frequency, migraines are no joke. The pain associated with a migraine is indescribable, as everyone’s tolerance is different.
There are many theories as to why a migraine happens in the first place. With a direct cause unknown, most research leads to an over-activity or an abnormal activity of brain cells and waves. This leads to miscommunication among the nerves, resulting in a migraine.
Do migraines have triggers?
Some people know what causes their migraines, which is extremely helpful! They know to avoid certain triggers to prevent a migraine from setting in. For example, certain foods, drinks, hormone changes or emotional settings are known to trigger migraines. It varies for everyone, but extreme stress can be a huge cause of migraines.
It is important to take note of what you were doing prior to the onset of your migraine. Were you eating spicy food? Were you arguing with a spouse or parent? Were you under a tight deadline at work? All of these factors can play a role in your migraine patterns. If you know your triggers, you can work hard to avoid them!
How do I know if I have a migraine?
Sometimes migraines get confused with headaches. Over time, those with chronic migraines learn to live with them. However, it is important to recognize the difference between a migraine and a headache because migraines are of a higher severity.
Migraines are oftentimes initiated with what is called an “aura.” An aura is debilitating and confusing. It is best described as a bright light impairing your vision, almost as if you were looking at the sun for too long. Once this aura sets in, a migraine almost immediately follows. Nausea and sensitivity to light are two other giveaways that you may be suffering from a migraine.
There is hope!
For those suffering from migraines, don’t give up! There is extensive research being conducted today to establish treatment plans and awareness for migraines. Migraines are on their way to being considered a neurobiological disease, which will offer much more treatment plans and diagnoses to many Americans in need.
Contact Dr. Sara at AZ Sleep & TMJ Solutions in Scottsdale to learn more about migraines and how you can lessen the pain!