Migraine symptoms can be quite severe and even incapacitating. Sometimes the symptoms are accompanied by other symptoms. Some people have recurrent attacks of migraine. The most severe and common symptoms of migraine are:
- An intense, pounding headache that only affects one side
- Auras, or warning signs, which might be seeing bright spots or zig-zag patterns that aren’t really there. They tend to disappear when the headache begins
- Nausea and vomiting. Migraine headaches are often called “sick headaches,” because of this symptom
- Numbness or tingling on the same side of the body as the headache
Migraines are caused when the blood vessels in the head dilate a great deal. The pain doesn’t come from the brain, as the brain has no pain receptors, but from the lining of the brain, or the meninges, the scalp, muscles of the head, and their blood vessels. Sometimes the blood vessels in the temple and the neck can be seen to be dilated. Placing cold compresses on them can bring relief, even temporarily.
Some specialists believe that people who suffer from frequent migraines also have a deficiency of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter. One of its roles is to help regulate relaxation or constriction of blood vessels.
Migraine Symptoms: Types of Migraine
Some doctors divide migraines into three classes: common, classic and complicated. Interestingly, the symptoms of a complicated migraine may not produce pain. However, this sort of migraine headache has terrible and unpredictable neurological symptoms, like speech disorders, palsy, and hemiparesis.
What Triggers Migraine Symptoms
Migraine symptoms can be triggered by many things, including food allergies, red wine, MSG and nitroglycerine. They can be triggered when a person decides to stop drinking coffee, as caffeine is a drug that constricts blood vessels. Stress can lead to symptoms, as can intense emotions and hormones that come with menstruation, ovulation or birth control pills. Sleep disorders, exhaustion, eye strain and even weather changes can cause the symptoms.
How to Cope with Migraine Symptoms
Migraines can be hard to cope with, but there are some things a sufferer can do until they’re over.
Taking an aspirin every day might control migraine symptoms in some people.
Since some foods trigger migraine attacks, it might be good for the sufferer to note what they ate just before the symptoms began and avoid them in the future. Chocolate and hard cheese might trigger an attack.
When they feel a migraine coming on, a patient might want to rest for a while, listen to soothing music and just try to relax.
The patient can also press a cloth dipped in cold water to that side of their head or to their face. This may help the blood vessels to relax, as mentioned above. Other professionals believe that resting the hands in a basin of warm water might also relieve the headache. The patient can also take vasoconstrictors to narrow the blood vessels, or take other sorts of pain relievers.
If the migraine attacks are very frequent and debilitating, the sufferer might take calcium channel or beta blockers. However, these drugs have side effects and might not be helpful for everyone who has migraine symptoms.