Ways Migraines are Diagnosed
What are the symptoms of migraines?
Migraine symptoms vary – not everyone will experience every symptom, and it may differ each time, but the usual symptoms include:
• Vision abnormalities – loss of vision, blurred vision, tunnel vision, seeing shapes or spots of light, flashes in the vision
• Sensitivity to light and sound (photophonia and phonophobia)
• Throbbing pain in the head
• Pain in one side of the head
• Nausea and/or vomiting
• Stiff neck
In the days before a migraine begins you may experience:
• Abnormalities in vision like floaters, loss of vision or flashing lights
And following a migraine most people find they are very tired and slow.
Generally women are more likely to suffer from migraines than men, and men present with chronic migraines later in life than women.
How are Migraines Diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask you a series of questions to determine your medical history and whether you are suffering migraines.
The questions include:
• What age did your headaches begin?
• What triggers your headaches?
• What symptoms you suffer
• How regularly you suffer
• Do migraines run in your family?
• Do the migraines coincide with your period?
Your doctor may want to run some diagnostic tests to rule out other conditions which may cause the migraine headaches.
Migraines can be treated with a range of medications – and there are preventative medications and lifestyle changes which can prevent the migraines developing.
Medications to treat migraines include:
• Anti-inflamatory pain relief
• Aspirin (a blood thinner and pain medication)
• Triptans (blood vessel constrictors)
• Anti-nausea medications
There are a number of environmental factors that can cause migraines. These include:
• Hormonal changes in women (which is why many women suffer migraines around the time of their period)
• Food additives or certain foods – keep a food diary to see what foods you consume and you may see a pattern.
• Caffeine and/or alcohol.
• Over-stimulated senses – overpowering smells, bright lights, loud noise.
• Atmospheric pressure – changes in weather.
Preventative medicines include beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, anti-depressants, anti-seizure drugs, anti-inflamatory pain medication and botox injected into the muscles of the forehead and neck.