Updated 10 September 2021
What are the Symptoms of Headaches and Migraines?With headaches, the common symptoms include:
- A pounding feeling in your head,
- A mild ache or pain in the head that is either persistent or infrequent,
- Irritability, and
- Photophobia (light sensitivity),
- Phonophobia (noise sensitivity),
- Blurred vision,
- Blind spots,
- Experiencing a flash of light,
- Tingling of the face and/or hands, and
- Experiencing a foul (odour) smell prior to the onset of the migraine.
What can Trigger Headaches and Migraines?Headaches may be triggered by a number of factors. Some of these include:
- Exposure to allergens,
- Exposure to cigarette smoke or smoke from burning rubber,
- Exposure to fuel, exhaust, and chemical fumes.
- Stress and muscle tension,
- When you skip meals,
- When you fail to get sufficient sleep,
- Bright natural or artificial light like sunlight, fluorescent light or light from energy saving bulbs, light from a TV screen, computer monitor and/or mobile phone,
- Fumes from certain chemicals such as the exhaust of a vehicle, diesel and/or petrol,
- Some foods and drinks can also trigger migraine in some people. Caffeine and caffeinated beverages are known to trigger migraine, salty or fatty foods, and also additives, such as; aspartame (an artificial sweetener that is found in many soft drinks) and monosodium glutamate or MSG.
Tests & Diagnosis for Headaches and MigrainesYour doctor would normally ask you certain questions pertaining to your headaches in order to find the causative factor(s) behind them. A physical examination is also required to look for telltale signs of other underlying ailments that could be the root cause of your headaches. In extreme cases, especially where other symptoms are observed, your doctor may request a blood test, urine and/or stool sample to look for pathogens. Your doctor may refer you to a neurologist if you have frequent and persistent or unusual headaches, or migraines that cannot be traced to any ailment. An MRI scan may be necessary to exclude other causes such as concussion, brain tumor, or cancer. You can get help today for your headaches and migraines by calling this telephone number - 'Headache Australia' - Tel: 1300 886 660.
What are the Treatment Options for Headaches and Migraines?The treatment options for headaches can vary and be dependent on the primary cause of the headaches. For example, if your headache is caused by dehydration, then getting hydrated by drinking lots of water daily should help remedy the situation. If headaches are associated with photophobia (light sensitivity), you can deal with the problem by using dim lights in your home or workplace. Ultimately, most headaches can be treated with the administration of over-the-counter analgesic medications like Ibuprofen and Paracetamol. There is also evidence that certain exercises like yoga can help to provide relief from headaches and migraines. Physiotherapy, acupuncture, and remedial massage can also help to relieve you of your headaches and migraines as these treatment options can relieve stress and muscle tension which are factors responsible for headaches and migraines. There are also specialised medications that can be used for Migraines and these can be discussed with a doctor to see it they are suitable for you.
Ways to Reduce the Occurrence of Headaches and MigrainesWhile you cannot cure headaches and migraines, you can actually reduce their rate of occurrence. You can do this by ensuring:
- You drink plenty of water daily to prevent dehydration.
- You do not skip meals.
- You take time-off to rest well and get enough sleep.
- You limit the amount of time you spend watching TV or staring at the screen of your computer monitor and/or mobile phone.
- You find convenient and suitable ways to manage home and work stress.
- You stay clear of caffeine (coffee) and caffeinated beverages.
- You maintain a healthy dietary plan and engage in regular exercises.
Complications of Headaches and MigrainesYou should take your child or yourself to see your doctor if any of these complications of headaches and migraines are observed or experienced:
- High fever,
- Development of skin rash,
- Stiff neck,
- Difficulty in talking and/or walking,
- General body weakness,
- Problems with your eyesight or vision,
- Seizures or fits,
- Where the headaches and migraines do not seem to subside regardless of whatever treatment measures you apply,
- A drooping face and slurred speech, which could be a sign of a stroke.