Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Treating and Managing Migraine Headaches

Either you’ve had one or you know someone who has.  Whether they occur on occasion or chronically, migraine headaches can have a huge impact on your life. But, there are a variety of methods to manage migraines and get you back to your day-to-day activities as quickly as possible.

What is a migraine headache?

According to the Mayo Clinic, “migraines,” as they’re often called, are a specific type of headache that may include:

Sensitivity to light, sound, or smells.
Throbbing pain on one side of the head.
In some instances, an aura, a flashing bright light, appears prior to the other symptoms.

Causes of migraine headaches:

1. Genetics:  Do you have a family history of migraines? You have an increased risk of suffering from this type of headache, too.
2. Environment: Changes in the weather may affect migraines.
3. Food: For some individuals, there might be a link between certain foods and migraine headaches. Foods on that list?  Aged cheeses; salty foods; chocolate; wine; caffeine; processed meats, such as hotdogs and cold cuts; soy sauce and MSG; and extremely cold foods. Check out this link, which explains a possible link between bananas and migraine headaches.
4. Lifestyle:  Stress and changes in your sleep patterns can be connected to migraine headaches.
5. Hormonal Factors: Fluctuations in hormones due to menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and menopause may impact migraines.

Who is affected by migraines?

Approximately 36 million Americans, or 12 percent of the population, suffer from migraines, according to the American Migraine Foundation.

In adolescence, boys outnumber girls with regards to migraines. However, by adulthood women take the lead over men in terms of suffering from this type of headache. Check out this site for more statistics on migraines.

How are migraines treated?

Medication.  Both preventive and pain-relieving medications, in over-the-counter and prescription form, are available for treating migraines. Remember to use your FamilyWize discount prescription drug card when filling a prescription from your physician to maximize your savings.
Exercise.  Research shows individuals who engage in regular aerobic activity are less likely to suffer from migraines.
Stress relief.  Meditation, biofeedback, and yoga are a few stress relief options to try in managing migraines.
Other alternatives.  Natural options such as acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic care are often successful in the management of migraines. In addition, supplements and herbs, specifically riboflavin, feverfew, and magnesium, have been suggested for managing migraines.

When should you seek help for your migraines?

Any migraine headache, whether occasional or chronic, should be taken seriously. Left untreated, migraines can result in absence from work or school and have an impact on your life in general.

Why is it important to manage migraines?

Although migraines technically can’t be cured, managing both the severity and frequency of these headaches can greatly improve the quality of life for the sufferer.

Always consult your physician or healthcare provider about options before starting treatment for migraine headaches. Working together with qualified healthcare professionals, you can successfully manage migraine headaches.

Live Healthy. Live Smart

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