If you suffer from chronic migraines, you have our sympathy. These painful headaches, which also trigger a host of other unpleasant symptoms, including light sensitivity and nausea, are often debilitating.
According to the International Headache Society, chronic migraines are defined as headaches which happen more than fifteen times a month, over a period of three months. Eight of the headaches (out of the fifteen headaches) must be classified as migraines which aren’t triggered by overuse of medications.
Those who have less than fifteen “headaches days” monthly likely fit into another category, which is the sub-type, episodic migraine.
Now that you know the formal definition of chronic migraines, let’s talk about the symptoms, causes and treatments…
Symptoms of Chronic Migraines
These headaches are categorized as moderate to severe. They tend to bring discomfort which is restricted to one side of the head. As well, pain tends to have a pulsating quality. These types of headaches will get worse when headache sufferers perform typical physical activities. They are headaches which often trigger vomiting and nausea. As well, they usually trigger sound and light sensitivity.
Causes of This Health Condition
The root causes of chronic migraines are not fully understood. However, some researchers believe that chronic migraine sufferers may have underlying central nervous disorders which make them susceptible to an array of migraine “triggers”.
As well, genetics may play a role. Also, it’s possible that brain chemical abnormalities and nerve pathways are responsible for migraines of the chronic and episodic types.
Now, let’s talk about triggers. There are many triggers and you probably know some of yours already…
Some foods tend to bring on these headaches. For example, foods which are aged or contain a lot of salt may be triggers. As well, foods which are highly-processed may set the stage for these headaches.
Other common triggers include skipping meals, drinking booze (or caffeinated beverages), consuming artificial sweeteners, eating foods with MSG, exposure to loud noises and/or intense light, pungent smells and hormone shifts.
Medication, including birth control pills, vasodilators and HRT (hormone replacement therapy) may also be triggers.
Also, stress tends to make every health condition worse and it’s definitely a trigger for migraines of the chronic type. Physical stress may also play a role in the development of migraines. In addition, alterations to normal sleep patterns may make these headaches more likely. Lastly, changes in weather do trigger these headaches in certain people.
Treatment Options to Consider
When you suffer from this type of headache, you’ll need to relieve your pain. There are drugs which relieve discomfort when they are taken during flare-ups. They are formulated to stop symptoms quickly. Examples include, but are not limited to, Excedrin Migraine, Advil and Tylenol.
There is also a class of medications which are preventative. They are taken consistently over the long term in order to decrease migraine frequency and severity. Examples include Beta Blockers, antidepressants and anti-seizure medications.
If you have more questions, please talk to your doctor. Find more headache pain help and relief by visiting our home page.