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National Headache & Migraine Awareness Month

Davis Orr

National Headache and Migraine Awareness Month

June is National Headache & Migraine Awareness Month!

Hey, there! Thanks for stopping by for this week’s edition of the awareness blog. Today’s topic is one of those cases where you will absolutely use what you learn here today, so you’ll definitely want to give it a good read. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. I, for one, had an amazing weekend. I’m not usually a big botanical garden kind of girl, mostly because the ones I went to before were pretty disappointing. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE flowers, but I’m not about to drop 20 bucks to see a rosebush next to a peeing baby fountain. Anyway, the one I went to this weekend was pretty amazing and I’m still feeling all the romantic vibes… or maybe that’s just all the bug bites? It’s definitely both. The bug bites were totally worth the extra antihistamines, though. It was nice to get outside and enjoy the world a little bit.

Today we’re going to talk about migraines. If you’ve ever had a migraine, you know how much they can suck. Migraines can totally stop you in your tracks and leave you scrambling to find the nearest dark room with soundproofing and a bottle of Excedrin. They can come on out of nowhere, or they can be triggered by something. Sometimes you get a little warning that it’s coming when you see spots, but sometimes you don’t. At least when you get the aura, you can take some medicine before it starts to try and prevent or minimize the pain. Let’s get clinical, shall we?

Migraine headaches are very common in the United States. Out of the nearly 45 million people who suffer from chronic headaches in the U.S., over half of them suffer specifically from migraines. The actual number of people who suffer from migraines is between 28 million people and 36 million people (depending on the source, reports vary. The actual number is less important than the point that number makes, which is that migraines are very common). People who suffer from migraines usually experience them more often than just one fluke migraine. Unlike with other headaches, people tend to either be susceptible to them or not. Usually, if you’re someone who gets migraines, you’ll likely have a history of them or be prone to having one in the future. That doesn’t mean that they have to occur frequently, but people with migraine can generally recall episodes that have happened in the past. Migraines can occur at any age, but they usually emerge during the years of puberty. If you are going to be one of those people who suffer from them, you will likely experience your first migraine between during puberty. This is because hormone changes can trigger this type of headache.

Migraine headaches are a severely painful and sometimes debilitating type of headache. They can last anywhere from hours to days, and they can majorly impact daily life, or one’s ability to daily tasks such as work, cook, get dressed, or even eat. Many people who suffer from migraines have been able to identify a cause. Migraines can be triggered by a number of things, such as hormone fluctuations, foods, allergies, light, and of course stress. Some women who experience migraines can correlate their headaches to their menstrual cycle, making them much easier to predict and prevent. It’s much easier to deal with them when you know when they may come. Some people have been able to specific triggers that cause their migraines to occur. For some it may be caused by something like a bright reflection of the sun on the back of a car. For some it may be caused by a specific food or drink. I know a person who gets migraine headaches from black tea. That’s a pretty specific trigger, and it wasn’t that easy to pinpoint. Identifying your triggers is the most proactive thing you can do to manage migraines or try to prevent them in the future. Of course, not all migraines can be traced back to a trigger. Some people have no idea what causes their triggers, and have no common factors in the time preceding each attack. It can be very helpful to keep a record or diary of them as they occur, noting what you were doing that day, where you were, what you ate, or how you were feeling prior to the headache. Doctors can sometimes find a common thread that may not be apparent to you.

Many people who suffer from migraines experience warning signs and symptoms before the headache actually starts. If you can recognize the symptoms, you can better manage it or prevent it. There are a few medications designed to prevent them when taken during the warning symptoms. Warning signs and symptoms are referred to as the “aura” that occurs prior to the onset of the actual headache. Auras are considered perceptual disturbances. These warning signs and symptoms can be different for everyone, but commonly include some variation or combination of these symptoms:

• The most common warning sign for people with migraines is a visual symptom where the person sees dots, or flashing spots, or zigzag lines, or some other sort of visual change or disturbance. Some migraine patients have reported blank spots, or blurry spots, also. • Migraine headache auras can also affect a person’s cognition. Some people report experiencing a sudden sense of confusion, or difficulty formulating sentences or following a train of thought. • Some people feel a physical sensation prior to the onset of the headache. These physical symptoms can be described as a tingling or pins and needles type of feeling in a leg or an arm. Other physical symptoms can be characterized as stiffness, which can occur in the neck and shoulders or in the limbs. • Migraine headache patients can also experience an unpleasant smell or sensitivity to smell as an aura.

*I want to clarify something before we continue on with migraines. If you or someone you know is experiencing a severe headache, visual changes, loss of feeling or sensation or difficulty speaking, and these symptoms are unusual for you, seek medical care. I don’t want to scare anybody or make anyone overreact, but it may be a sign of something more serious. The key here is to know what is normal for your body. If someone commonly experiences these symptoms, then it’s not necessarily alarming, assuming that their doctor already knows about them. But, if you have never experienced these symptoms before, it is best to be seen by a doctor. Other health issues that may be more dangerous than migraines can cause symptoms like these.

There is no cure-all for migraine headaches, and each patient responds differently to treatment options. Sometimes, lifestyle changes are necessary to minimize a person’s risk of migraines, or reduce the frequency or migraines. Lifestyle changes or alterations such as getting more sleep, drinking more water, avoiding triggering foods, exercise, and most importantly, reducing your stress level can be very helpful in preventing migraines. If these lifestyle alterations don’t help, there are also quite a few medications that can be used for treating and managing migraine headaches. First and foremost, there are always over the counter pain relieving medications such as Advil, Aspirin, Aleve, Tylenol, and Excedrin. Excedrin is specifically designed to treat migraines, but it doesn’t work for everyone. Caffeine in small amounts in combination with a pain reliever, which is what Excedrin is, can be very helpful for migraines. There are also preventive medications used to treat migraines. Sumatriptans, like Imitrex, are a class of medications designed to treat migraines. People find drugs in this class to be pretty effective, but sometimes other kinds of medications help, too. Antidepressants, anticonvulsants, beta blockers, gabapentin and even botox are used to treat migraines as well. Patients are often able to find a combination of lifestyle alterations and medications that control their migraines, or significantly reduce their frequency. If you think you may be experiencing migraines, see a doctor to talk about it. There is no sense in suffering needlessly.

That’s all folks! See you next week for another installment of the awareness blog post! Hope you all have a wonderful week.

If you are new to our blog: Hi! Welcome! We’re so glad you found us, and decided to give us a read. This awareness blog is run by Personalized Cause. Personalized Cause is an awareness accessory company based in California that specializes in one of a kind custom awareness ribbons. In fact, Personalized Cause is the number one source for low volume custom awareness ribbons in the U.S.! Our custom awareness ribbons allow customers to personalize the awareness ribbon of their choosing with a name, date, message or phrase. Custom awareness ribbons are a unique and powerful way to advocate for your cause, support a loved one, or raise awareness. We believe that combining your cause with your choice of personalization can change how others perceive and understand your cause, even without directly speaking to them. This awareness blog was created in an effort to help raise awareness for causes that affect people worldwide. We hope to educate our readers on prevention and early detection through our awareness blog because awareness saves lives. We hope you’ll come back next week!

Migraine awareness is represented by either a purple awareness ribbon or burgundy awareness ribbon, depending on the type. Migraine Hemochromatosis is represented by a burgundy awareness ribbon. Chronic Vestibular Migraine is represented by a purple awareness ribbon. To order a burgundy custom awareness ribbon for Migraine Hemochromatosis, visit:

https://www.personalizedcause.com/personalized-awareness-ribbons/burgundy-awareness-ribbon-pin-personalized?rq=migraine

To order a purple custom awareness ribbon for Chronic Vestibular Migraine, visit:

https://www.personalizedcause.com/personalized-awareness-ribbons/purple-awareness-ribbon-pin-personalized?rq=migraine

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