What’s Causing Your Migraine?

Nearly 40 million people or more are suffering from migraines in the US alone. It is the 3rd most prevalent and 6th most disabling illness in the world and chronic migraines can affect people for more than half the month. Women are most likely to get migraines, but they affect children and adults alike and can greatly reduce quality of life. So, understanding what causes your migraines may help understand how to better deal with them.

Migraines come from many different causes, so there are many ways to treat them. The Neurology Consultants of Arizona and Dr. Luay Shayya are specialists in dealing with migraines and can find a treatment that works for you. 

How migraines work

While not every person with migraines get them the exact same way every time, migraines often present in 4 stages

  • Prodrone. Usually a day before pain sets in, you may have neck stiffness, mood changes, increased hunger or thirst, frequent yawning, or constipation. 
  • Aura. This may happen before or during a migraine, and may include seeing bright or flashing lights, hearing things, or weakness in the muscles.
  • Attack. Once the pain sets in, you can expect throbbing pain, nausea, vomiting, and heightened sensitivity to light sound and noises
  • Post drone. Exhaustion after the attack phase is most common, along with confusion.

The frequency and severity of migraines varies from person to person, and the worst cases (chronic migraines) can last at least half a month at a time. You may not present with all of the same symptoms.

What causes migraines?

Family genetics and are a common cause, but age and gender play a big role in whether or not you get migraines. The age ranges from 15-55 and women are more than twice as likely to get them, but both genders get migraines. There are a lot of risk factors that contribute to triggering migraines, including: 

  • Anxiety or stress
  • Depression
  • Hormone changes (commonly in women)
  • Seasonal changes
  • Intense physical activity
  • Overmedicating
  • Bright lights
  • Strong odors
  • Alcohol
  • Food additives

Chemical imbalances and issues with the trigeminal nerve (a pain pathway) are also suspected to play a role in causing migraines. 

How they can be treated

While there is no cure for migraines, there are many ways to manage them. Triptan drugs, pain relievers, stress management, and exercise may also help to lessen symptoms, along with Botox® and Toradol® injections. The severity of the migraine, along with frequency, often requires a different approach

You should work with a neurologist who can use a variety of methods to find out how to best treat your migraines. Schedule an appointment online or call Neurology Consultants of Arizona and Dr. Shayya to find out what treatment works best for you. 

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