Friday, July 15, 2016

Migraine Headaches

Headaches are a common occurrence and can affect individuals of all ages at any time.  Having a headache sure can be a nuisance, especially when you have a full day of work, school, or something fun planned.  It’s no fun to have to go through the day and not be at your full potential because your head hurts.  Most of the time we can take over-the-counter medication and our headache will go away, but sometimes having a headache may be a bigger concern. 

Headaches can be short-term or long-term, temporary of life-threatening.  Generally they are associated with other conditions too, such as colds, allergies, and stress or muscle tension.  Described as follows, medical professionals also categorize headaches as either primary or secondary.

·      Primary.  These headaches have no organic cause that can be directly identified.  Migraines, tension-like headaches, and cluster headaches are included in this category.  If you or a loved one experience this type, they can be managed in the primary care setting.
·      Secondary.  These headaches do have an organic cause, meaning they are caused by either a tumor or aneurysm.  Secondary headaches warrant further investigation and will require more in-depth medical treatment.

Our focus is going to be on headaches that are more likely to be experienced by you or your loved ones which include migraine headaches.  Following are several triggers that could result in either a migraine or cluster headache, these include:

ü  Alcohol use or having environmental allergies
ü  Intense odors, being in bright lights, or overuse of certain medications
ü  Being tired, sleep deprivation, being depressed
ü  Being under emotional or physical stress, having anxiety
ü  Menstrual cycles and/or use of oral birth control may also trigger headaches
ü  Foods consumed with tyramine, nitrites, MSG, or milk products

First of all we’ll discuss migraine headaches.  If you or your loved one experience a migraine headache, you will most likely complain of symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, stress and anxiety, pain that is often behind one eye or ear on one side of the body, sensitivity to light, and/or sensitivity to sounds.  Upon your visit to your provider related to your headaches they will take into consideration any immediate family history and your health history to determine any apparent headache patterns.  Also, your provider may inquire if you have noticed any changes in your daily functioning within the past 72 hours, such as having more difficulty completing tasks because of your headaches. 

A migraine headache can occur with an aura, without an aura, or it may be atypical.  Any indication of an aura will also be discussed between you and your provider to gain a better insight about your experience.  An aura is an event that triggers your headache.  The aura event is almost the exact same each and every time and you begin to easily recognize when a headache is going to begin.  There are 4 stages your body goes through when you experience a migraine with an aura, if this pertains to your specific case your provider or professional with Total Home Health will go over the stages thoroughly with you.

A migraine without an aura is a little simpler.  If you experience a migraine without an aura you will notice the following signs and symptoms:

ü  Pain is aggravated if you engage in physical activity.
ü  The pain occurs in an area on one side of your body and will be pulsating.
ü  You may be sensitive to sounds, lights, and/or have nausea and vomiting.
ü  Headache will persist for 4 to 72 hours
ü  Headache often occurs early in morning or during stress

In comparison, an atypical migraine will cause you to experience a headache that lasts for over 72 hours and it is one that does not fit any other criteria.  If you are older with a new onset of headaches, or if headaches are beginning to noticeably affect your thinking abilities, imaging studies of your head will be completed to try to determine the extent of your problem.

Total Home Health has a program that is right for you and all your migraine needs.  When in your presence, our nursing professionals will take all measures that we feel will help keep you more comfortable and decrease the duration and intensity of your headache.  When you experience a migraine we will do our best to create a cool, dark, quiet environment in your home to increase your comfort and decrease your headache intensity.  We will help you to maintain a slightly upright position instead of lying flat, which will also help decrease pain.  We will also administer the appropriate medication to you to help with your headache.  Total Home Health professionals will not only be your nurse, but we will be your friend and teacher.  We will educate you on how to best prevent future headaches so that you can continue to function as independently as possible in your home…enroll today!

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