For most women life doesn't stop when they get a bad headache. But if you get a migraine it could knock you out for 24 hours or more. If your headache is more than just a headache, help is available.

What are they?

Migraines are throbbing headaches that occur on one side of the head and are often accompanied by sensitivity to external stimuli, nausea, or vomiting. They afflict about 30 million people in the United States. Of those, approximately 75% are women, usually between the ages of 10 and 40.

Some people experience several migraines a month, while others have only a few throughout their lifetime. Normally they begin on one side of the head and build in intensity. In severe cases, some can last for several days. A status migraine, which is rare, is characterized by intense pain that usually lasts longer than 72 hours and may require hospitalization.

Typically migraines are characterized by a neurological phenomenon called an aura. Visual auras include seeing shimmering lights, zigzag lines, wavy images or hallucinations. Non-visual auras include weakness, speech abnormalities, dizziness, or tingling and numbness of the face, tongue or extremities.

What causes them?

Medical experts do not know what exactly causes migraines, although they know many of the triggers that cause them in people who suffer:

  • Alcohol such as red wine
  • Environmental changes such as weather, altitude or time zone changes
  • Food with caffeine (chocolate, coffee) or nitrates (processed meats)
  • External factors such as perfume, glare or stress
  • Hormonal changes such as those that occur around menstruation

What can I do?

In addition to lifestyle changes such as avoiding migraine triggers and managing stress, doctors often prescribe medications to treat migraines. Some medications are taken regularly to prevent the migraine from ever occurring. Other treatment includes medications and therapies taken at the onset.

If your headache is more than a headache, don't suffer another day.

Call Riverside Community Hospital at (951) 788-3463 to find a doctor or speak to a nurse today.

Source: Neurology Channel