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Migraines- the stages, the types, the medication

Updated on December 10, 2014

Migraines- the stages, the types, the medication

Migraines- the stages, the types, the medication

4 stages of a migraine, other types of headache, the difference between tension type headaches and migraines, current preventative medication categories, helpful holistic herbs.

4 Stages of a Migraine

1. Prodrome phase

-can take place hours of even days before the pain sets in

-you may find yourself yawning for a day or two

-you may crave more carbohydrates

-you may have increased sensitivity to light and sound

-you may get fluid retention

2. Aura phase

-can last from 5 to 20 minutes

-you may get blind spots or flashes of light in your vision

-may get colourful, geometric forms or bizarre distortions and the perception that your surroundings are larger or smaller than they really are.

-you may get unusual smells, upset stomach, sweating, odd taste, motor changes, problems with coordination or speech arrest, altered consciousness like deja vu, confusion etc.

3. Headache Phase

-pain. No explanation needed

4. The Postdrome phase

-can get an "our of it" feeling

-extreme fatigue, loss of appetite, scalp tenderness, altered moods, foggy thinking

-can last hours even days

-it is important to rehydrate

Other types of headache

Complicated migraine

-difficulty speaking, using one side of the body more than the other, alteration in sensation on one side

-differs from aura in that neurological deficits are present during the headache phase rather than in advance

Hemiplegic migraine

-half the body becomes weak

Basilar migraine

-severe dizziness, balance problems, nausea and vomiting

-may or may not have head pain

Mixed Headache

-specific combination of a migraine with a tension headache

Tension-type headaches

-can last minutes or even days

-bilateral pain, pressing or tightening in quality

-doe snot worsen with physical activity

-no nausea, photophobia and phonophobia may be present

-two types: episodic and chronic

Sinus headache

-occur only as a symptom of acute sinusitus (sinus infection)

-greenish discharge and fever

-a sinus headache is usually a migraine radiating pain in the sinuses

Cluster headache

-lasts from 20 minutes and up to 2 hours

-usually one sided with a stuffy nose, tearing, enlarged pupils, droopy eyelid on one side

-occurs several times a day for days or weeks then disappears

for weeks to months

The difference between tension type headaches and migraines:

-tension type headaches do not have an aura phase

-bright lights and sounds exacerbate a migraine but not a tension headache

-nausea and vomiting are associated with a migraine

-physical activity will worsen migraine whereas it may improve tension headache

Current preventative medication categories:

neuromodulatory drugs: valporic acid, topiramate, pregabalin, levetiracetain , lamotrigine

anti-inflammatory agents: ketorolac, indomethacin naproxen , ibuprofen

vascular agents: calsium channel blockers beta blockers, angiotensin-convertin enzyme agents

antidepressants: amitriptyline, notriptyline , potriptyline , duloxetine, escitalpram , bupropion

serotonin/dopamine receptor antagonist: olanzapine, risperidone, quetiapine

Helpful holistic herbs:

feverfew (3% to 5%)

butterbur (75 mg 2 times daily)

vitamin B2 aka Riboflavin (25 mg a day)

coenzyme Q10 (150 mg a day)

magnesium (300 to 400 mg a day)

Books about migraines

A Brain Wider Than the Sky: A Migraine Diary
A Brain Wider Than the Sky: A Migraine Diary

A wonderful biography of a man's journey through life with migraines



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    • Nicoinstitches profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Ottawa, ON

      @favored: thanks favored1!

      I get migraines 4-5 times a week so this is basically the information I have collected over the years. I still have problems distinguishing between a migraine and the beginning of a sinus infection.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      5 years ago from USA

      Thanks for breaking down this information. Sometimes it's difficult to tell which kind of headache it is, but your description helps. I have taken most of the holistic herbs you mentioned, but not feverfew. Many times headaches come on when people are dehydrated, but they don't realize it.


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