The severity of migraines can range from mild to debilitating. In any case, the identification of symptoms, prevention and treatment of migraines are valuable for improving migraine sufferers’ quality of life.
Dr Hadi Manji is a leading consultant neurologist in London who has helped countless patients with the management of their migraines. He shares his professional expertise so that you can understand migraine symptoms, prevention and treatment.
What are migraine symptoms?
Migraine sufferers typically experience a gradually increasing, one-sided, throbbing headache. This can be associated with:
Also, migraines can cause significant disability and productivity at work. They occur in 8 per cent of men and 18 per cent of women.
Are there migraine warning signs?
Some people might get warning (premonitory) symptoms 24 to 48 hours before the migraine starts e.g.
- Excessive yawning
- Urinating more frequently
Auras, which are neurological symptoms that happen immediately before an attack, occur in 30 per cent of patients. These auras include flashing lights, zigzag lines or a disturbance in speech.
How can I prevent migraines?
To prevent migraines, patients can identify triggers:
- Dehydration (the strongest reversible trigger)
- A lack of sleep
- Too much sleep
- Red wine
- Menstrual cycle
What triggers a migraine will vary from individual to individual. In any case, a healthy and regular diet, adequate hydration, exercise and sleep are vital for preventing migraines.
What should I do during a migraine attack?
For a migraine attack, take medication early (paracetamol, aspirin or ibuprofen). If these fail, consider the triptan group of drugs. In patients with frequent attacks, a preventative medication may be prescribed (e.g. beta-blockers, topiramate, calcium channel blockers or tricyclic antidepressants).
In patients with chronic migraine and who are unresponsive to the usual medication, there is a role for Botox injections and greater occipital nerve (GON) blocks. Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CRGP) inhibitors are a new class of drugs that have recently been introduced but not yet approved by NICE (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) for treating migraines.
Do you have concerns about your neurological health? Visit Dr Hadi Manji’s profile to learn how he can help you.