Migraines in Adults: Symptoms, Causes & Relief
Although migraines are common, they are quite unlike any other type of headache. Unless you have personally experienced one, it can be difficult to understand what makes them so different. Migraines can have a significant impact on the daily lives of sufferers.
Here is some useful advice on how to spot migraines, plus a few helpful tips and ways to cope when they strike.
What is a migraine?
A migraine is usually felt as an throbbing pain on one side of the head, but can affect both sides. There are two main subtypes; migraine without and aura and migraine with an aura. An aura is a signal from the brain that a migraine is beginning, and can include a range of symptoms (usually visual) that develop gradually from 5 minutes to an hour before the pain of the migraine.
Signs and symptoms of migraines:
It’s common for migraines to develop in stages, although some people experience them in different ways.
- Stage one: Pre-headache stage with changes to mood, energy levels, behaviour and appetite. It can last for hours or days before an episode.
- Stage two: Around 30% of people experience an aura - visual or other sensory problems, such as flashes of light, blind spots, or zig-zag patterns. Most last for 5 minutes to an hour.
- Stage three: Headaches with throbbing pain, often to one side of the head, feeling sick, vomiting, or experiencing extreme sensitivity to bright light and sound. It can last 4-72 hours.
- Stage four: Resolution. The headache and other symptoms fade away, but feelings of tiredness can last for a number of days afterwards.
Other symptoms of migraines include difficulty concentrating, nausea or vomiting, numbness in the hands or face and/or feeling low or irritable.
Causes of migraines:
The exact reason why migraines occur is not known. It’s believed that genes play a role – as many sufferers have a close relative who experience them too.
Some of the triggers of migraines are:
- Hormonal changes – such as women’s menstrual cycles.
- Emotional – when stress or anxiety is the cause.
- Physical – the result of tiredness or poor-quality sleep.
- Dietary – for example certain foods and drinks.
How to relieve migraines:
While there’s no cure for migraines, there are lots of options available to help reduce the symptoms. Many people find it helpful to lie in a darkened room and sleep it off.
You can take try over-the-counter pain relievers like paracetamol and ibuprofen. If you experience nausea or vomiting speak to your doctor about other treatments available.
What is ibuprofen?
Ibuprofen helps to relieve pain (like headaches), fever and inflammation. Ibuprofen tablets, capsules or liquids can be taken with water.
How Nurofen Quickzorb can help
Migraine sufferers know that it is important to act at the first sign of discomfort to help speed up recovery.
Nurofen Quickzorb contains a form of ibuprofen called ibuprofen lysine, which starts to be absorbed faster than standard forms of ibuprofen in the body and provides relief from headaches.
When to seek medical help:
Contact your GP if you are experiencing new, frequent (more than six days a month) or severe migraines or if you are concerned at all about your headache.
You should also seek medical advice if you find light or noise painful or this is not usual for your migraines, or you have other symptoms such as your arms or legs feeling numb or weak.
If you get a sudden headache that brings about blinding pain, or feeling exceptionally feverish, contact your doctor. Other symptoms that require professional support include weakness on one side of your face, affected arm/s, slurry speech, a stiff neck, seizures, or a rash.
Minimising the onset of migraines:
It’s a good idea to keep a diary so you can recognise when you are vulnerable and make appropriate changes. For example, you may notice that stress or certain types of food are triggering your migraines.
Small lifestyle changes can also minimise the chances of dealing with migraines. Things like frequent exercise, regular mealtimes, and lots of water throughout the day are good to incorporate into your daily life. Of course, avoiding alcoholic drinks and coffee can help too, as these beverages often lead to dehydration.
If you have made changes and have been avoiding any possible triggers, but your symptoms persist or you are still concerned about your migraines, seek advice from your doctor.
Other types of headaches:
Sinus headaches can occur as a result of inflamed sinuses and the build-up of mucus. This results in a feeling of pressure and pain in cheekbones, forehead and around the eyes.
A tension headache feels like an aching type of pain. It can feel as if there is pressure on your head like it’s being squeezed.
This article is for general information only and not intended as a substitute for medical advice. All information presented on these web pages is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. In all health-related matters, always consult your healthcare professional.
This medicine may not be right for you. Read the label before purchase. Incorrect use could be harmful. If symptoms persist, talk to your healthcare professional.