A Migraine Doctor Chicago IL Patients Rely On
Many people suffer from occasional headaches. Do you know the cause of your headaches? Many of us do and have specific plans and treatments for when they occur. But do you know how to prevent headaches in the first place? Though there is not a one-size-fits-all cure for headaches, if you can define the root cause you may have a better chance of avoiding them in the first place. At WholeHealth Chicago, we believe that you may not need to see a migraine doctor in Chicago IL for every instance of a headache. When possible, preventative measures are often effective in avoiding them. What follows is some information you may find helpful. However, if you continue to suffer from severe headaches, we encourage you to make an appointment with a migraine doctor from our office for a comprehensive exam.
Common Trigger Factors for Headaches
There are various kinds of headaches and trigger factors that can cause them. A migraine doctor from WholeHealth Chicago can help you to identify which apply to you, and what treatments might be most effective.
Tension Headaches are by far the most common. Many people suffer from these at one time or another and women are affected twice as much as men. The cause cannot be pinpointed though a number of events can encourage the onset of these headaches. Tension headaches can occur if you are hungry, stressed, anxious, exhibit bad posture, or do not get a good night’s sleep. If you are the recipient of tension headaches on a regular basis you may want to examine these triggers in your life and how to avoid them as much as you can. That is the easiest way to reduce the amount of times you experience a tension headache. If you continue to suffer from headaches and you have made the necessary changes to your routine, you may want to consider seeing a migraine doctor from WholeHealth Chicago.
Cluster Headaches can be very painful and be a daily occurrence for several weeks at a time. They have a shorter duration than tension headaches but are a lot more severe. Symptoms of a cluster headache include pain on one side of your head, watery eyes and congestion on the same side as the pain. Cluster headaches are usually seasonal and because of that are sometimes incorrectly confused with being caused by allergies. These headaches are similar to migraines as far as their severity, but they do not tend to last as long. A migraine doctor from WholeHealth Chicago for the nerve pain associated with cluster headaches may be able to treat them.
Sinus Headaches are generally caused by inflamed sinuses and usually resolve on their own when the sinus inflammation decreases. Home remedy treatments work for many sufferers. A migraine doctor from WholeHealth Chicago may be able to suggest options.
Migraines are often confused with tension headaches as they may present with the same symptoms. However, a migraine headache can be much more painful and may include vomiting, vision impairment temporarily, and light sensitivity. The pain can be so bad that it becomes debilitating. The causes can be very similar to tension headaches. If you make lifestyle changes and do not see any improvement from migraines, it may be time to call a migraine doctor from WholeHealth Chicago.
Some people assume that any time they have a really bad headache, it must be a migraine. Not true. In fact, migraines are a specific condition, with symptoms, causes, and treatments that differ from other headaches. To begin, what sets migraines apart is the throbbing pain–often on one side of the head–which can be intense and even incapacitating. Migraine doctors Chicago IL at WholeHealth Chicago, we find a two-prong approach to migraines is often the most successful: Deal decisively with the pain of an attack (including using prescription medications, if necessary) and also find the best strategies to prevent these headaches from happening in the first place.
What is a Migraine?
A migraine is a severe, pounding headache so intense and overwhelming that it can be debilitating. Though migraines can affect the entire head, they usually begin on one side (hence the name migraine, from the Greek word hemikrania, meaning “half the skull”). A migraine attack may last for just a few minutes or continue for up to several days. (If severe head pain persists for more than a few days, it’s probably not caused by a migraine, so you should see your doctor.) In some cases, a migraine is preceded by a series of early warning signs, known collectively as an aura. These visual disturbances may include flashing lights, wavy lines, blind spots, or even a temporary loss of peripheral vision.
Migraines afflict about 10% of the population, striking women far more often than men. Episodes can vary in frequency from several times in one week to once every few years. While the intensity and frequency of migraines often subside with age, auras may continue unabated; in older people, they are sometimes mistaken for symptoms of a stroke.
- Throbbing, pulsating pain, starting near one eye or temple and extending throughout one or both sides of the head
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Sensitivity or painful aversion to light or noise
- Symptoms may be preceded by visual distortion or disturbances (called an aura), such as patterns of flashing lights, wavy lines, blind spots, or loss of peripheral vision
- Other early warning signs include dizziness, numbness on one side of face, tingling, chills, fatigue, irritability
What Causes Migraine?
Although heredity is believed to play a role, the exact underlying cause of migraines isn’t known. Scientists currently think that migraines are the result of spasms in the arteries that supply blood to the brain and scalp. The affected blood vessels constrict, causing other arteries in the brain to rapidly dilate, which triggers the release of chemicals that cause intense pain and inflammation. Some research indicates that a low level of the brain chemical serotonin may also play a role in this process. Migraines may also be triggered by a host of other factors that include:
- Stress, overwork, or even relaxing periods that follow hectic ones, such as weekends and vacations
- Insufficient sleep–or too much sleep
- Sudden changes in weather (barometric pressure)
- Exposure to bright lights or certain visual patterns
- Fluctuations in blood sugar levels
- Caffeine withdrawal
- Cigarette smoke
- Certain odors
- Hormonal swings during menstrual cycles
- Birth control pills
- Vasodilating drugs
- Certain foods and beverages, especially those containing compounds known as amines
- Nitrites (chemicals found in bacon, hot dogs, and other cured meats)
- Foods containing tyramine, a chemical found naturally in pepperoni, red wine, chicken livers, active yeast preparations, and aged cheeses
Treatment and Prevention
If your migraines are mild or infrequent, you may be able to get sufficient relief from an over-the-counter pain reliever such as aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofren–provided you take the pain reliever during the first 30 minutes of an attack. A combination of acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine–available in nonprescription headache formulations–can even relieve the pain of severe migraine in some people.
For those who get frequent migraines (two or more disabling attacks per month), prescription medications may be the only way to prevent or reduce symptoms. Drugs used for this purpose include beta-blockers, antidepressants, and special antimigraine drugs. Other drugs are available for halting migraine symptoms once they begin; these include so-called triptan medications, such as sumatriptan. Your doctor may also prescribe drugs for general pain relief and for controlling nausea (which can result from a headache itself or as a side effect of other migraine drugs).
While prescription drugs are available for treating and preventing severe migraines, there are a number of natural remedies that can be beneficial and also have fewer side effects than prescription medications. For some sufferers, supplements may eventually replace the drugs used for preventing migraines–though conventional medications are usually necessary for treating the severe pain of ongoing attacks.
In addition, you might try using alternative medicine approaches for your migraine. Acupuncture, aromatherapy, craniosacral therapy, biofeedback (and other relaxation techniques) have all been shown to benefit migraine sufferers. One important point: Don’t stop taking any medication without consulting a physician.
Just a reminder: If you have a serious medical condition, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a program of supplements.
Get Relief from Your Pain by Seeing a Migraine Doctor Chicago IL Patients Appreciate
Call WholeHealth Chicago and schedule an appointment for an exam with a migraine doctor Chicago IL.