As a child, I’d watch my mother get migraine assaults a couple of occasions a month. She’d come residence from work, muttering, “It’s starting behind my eyes,” take two Excedrin, then retreat to her room for darkness and quiet. It was a routine I knew nicely, which made it all of the extra upsetting once I began getting migraine assaults myself.
Through the years, my mother and I’ve developed a laugh-so-you-don’t-cry bond over our raging complications and stanning of Excedrin Migraine. Though we not stay in the identical home, we’ll ship one another texts when the behind-the-eye ache begins, providing loving recommendations like, “You should probably get off your phone.” While we’ve every discovered some ad-hoc strategies that work for us, I’ve began to surprise what precise medical professionals advocate for migraine reduction. For myself and my mama, I got down to make a form of “Migraine Survival Kit” to succeed in for when the ache begins.
What Is Migraine?
About a minute into my first interview, I noticed I’ve been fully mistaken about migraine — and subsequently, migraine reduction. Like lots of people, I assumed “migraine” was an acute concern that occurred to sure individuals periodically. I’d discover myself saying stuff like, “Could you stop practicing your tuba, I have a migraine.”
However, Narayan Kissoon, a neurologist on the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, defined that moderately than a singular “bad” headache, migraine is a “genetic brain disease” or sensory processing dysfunction that’s occurring on a regular basis. It’s a continuing, heightened response to regular sensory enter that may periodically erupt into painful complications, which neurologists name “migraine attacks.”
“A person doesn’t have ‘a migraine’ and it goes away,” Kissoon advised HuffPost. “They always have migraine, but can have attacks of migraine headache. The genetic factors that predispose to getting the migraine headache are always present.”
The American Migraine Foundation states that “migraine” (no “a”) is a common time period for the illness, whereas “a migraine attack” (with an “a”) is the time period for the unhealthy headache you’re having. This might appear to be a tedious grammar lesson, however figuring out the right phrases helps with schooling, lessens stigma and encourages individuals to take migraine extra critically.
For Teshamae Monteith, a neurologist and headache specialist based mostly in Miami, understanding that migraine is a continuing, ever-present sensory dysfunction is step one in getting the correct remedy. There are therapies to alleviate the ache of acute assaults, however Monteith stated managing migraine can also be about understanding the illness and preemptive care.
“The first thing is making sure that you truly have a diagnosis of migraine,” she stated. “It’s hard to treat if you don’t have the right diagnosis.”
Only 50% of people that have migraine have been formally identified, Monteith stated. Additionally, there are circumstances of secondary complications that mimic migraine signs. So to get clear in your prognosis — and additional, your remedy plan — discuss to your major care physician or a specialist about your actual wants.