Symptoms: Classic migraines have a precursor, which is called an aura, which lasts between 15 and 60 minutes. This aura involves zigzag lines or shimmering stars in the field of vision. The aura may include blind spots or tunnel vision, and in rare instances, speech disturbances, confusions and tingling, numbness or weakness in the arms. Once the symptoms associated with the aura subside, the migraine headache pain develops.
Overview: Migraine, from the Greek hemikrania, or “half of the head,” refers to a throbbing pain in one side of the head. Often this throbbing pain is accompanied by a stiff and tender neck, as well as extreme sensitivity to noise and light, difficulty concentrating and even nausea.
While predominately limited to “half the head,” the pain may travel throughout the head. Migraines may last as little as four hours or as long as three days. They are usually followed by an after effect phase (postdrome) which includes exhaustion and feeling mentally inept.
Overview: Women suffer from migraine headaches more than men by a three to one margin. The American Council for Headache Education has reported that 90% of those suffering from migraines have a family history of the condition, so genetics may play a role in migraines.
Migraine headaches with aura, or classic migraines, affect about 30% of migraine headache sufferers. The other 80% don’t experience the aura. We do not know why some people experience the aura and some don’t; we don’t even understand the exact cause of migraines in general. Current thinking is migraines have to do with the blood flow in the brain, electrical imbalances in cells and hormonal changes in the central nervous system.
While the exact cause of migraines is yet to be found, there is correlation between migraine headaches and emotional stress, intense physical exertion, changes in the weather, environmental pollutants, certain medications, changes in sleep patterns and foods such as dairy products, red wine, chocolate, refined sugars, food dyes and additives, and gluten containing grain products (e.g. bread, cookies, cakes, pasta).
Dr. Suzan Starler, D.C. has successfully treated many individuals who suffer migraines. She can help you diminish the frequency and intensity of migraine headaches, and help you determine which specific factors are triggers to your case .