Migraine is a complex, debilitating headache condition that produces effects such as visual disturbances, vomiting, and in severe cases, temporary paralysis. Attacks can last up to seventy-two hours, and remedies often include resting for several hours in a dark room. Women are around three times more likely to suffer from migraines, as shown in this study. Migraines attacks can seriously disrupt home life, work, and socializing. However, the severity of an attack can be significantly reduced by taking appropriate migraine relief medication during the premonitory phase when any of the following warning signs can appear.
Here are 7 warning signs that it’s time to pull out your migraine relief medication because one is on it’s way…
Migraine is sub-divided into common migraine and the more intense chronic migraine with aura. This is a visual disturbance which begins as a light or dark shadow on the edge of the field of vision. It can last up to an hour, with the patient seeing a variety of stars, flashing lights, or multi-colored zigzags which increase in size, blocking the vision until the attack has ceased. Activities such as driving or operating machinery are understandably dangerous during an aura. Accompanying sensations emanating from the brain’s cortex include tingling or numbness in the fingertips, vertigo, dizziness, confusion, and weakness.
2. Lack of Restful Sleep
The body’s twenty-four-hour Circadian cycle reacts to daylight. As darkness advances, it prompts the body to produce higher levels of melatonin, which promotes sleep. Interrupted sleep or a lack of it can activate a migraine. Some migraine sufferers find it impossible to get a real good night’s sleep. You may find that you need a weighted blanket to help you sleep through the night.
3. Neck Stiffness
The neck or top of the spine consists of seven vertebrae collectively known as the cervical spine. Migraine is brought on by an extreme sensitivity in the nerves and various systems within the body which all pass through the cervical spine. Many causes of migraine, including anxiety and stress, begin to react with the nerve endings in this area, producing a warning sign of tense or stiff neck muscles. Mental tension and stress are considered to be the leading precipitating factors for migraines, according to this study by the International Headache Society.
4. Food Cravings
Before a migraine attack, there is often a craving for sweet or savory food such as chocolate or cheese leading many people to mistakenly believe these cause migraines. Glucose within the bloodstream should be at a balanced level and can be seriously affected by skipping meals or indulging in too much bread or confectionery, which contain refined sugar. Cravings can occur for up to three days before the migraine actually starts and are more likely to lead to nausea or vomiting. Migraine sufferers who recognize an urge to eat unsuitable food should choose fruit or vegetables such as beetroot, onions, bananas, carrots, and tomatoes, which contain beneficial complex sugars.
5. Stuffy Nose or Watery Eyes
These warning signs are a result of sensitivity within the nerves known as the hemicranias continua which run from the brain to the neck. In some severe forms, it can cause drooping eyelids. Migraine pain is usually concentrated on one side of the head and causes the corresponding eye to water for several minutes or days before an attack begins.
Excessive yawning prior to a migraine attack is related to reduced energy levels. The body and brain rely on a steady stream of glucose in the blood to provide enough energy to function correctly. Dehydration, hunger, stress, and lack of sleep can cause a drop in glucose known as hypoglycemia. The resulting low energy level prompts an imbalance in dopamine, a neurotransmitter. In addition to yawning, there is often nausea, faintness, or fluctuations in body temperature.
7. Frequent Urination
This is a common warning sign associated with dopamine levels and thirst. The brain relies on water to function and expelling excess fluid through urination decreases its availability. Drinking extra water and taking migraine relief medication can help reduce the pain of the oncoming attack.